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Show/Mayweather, NWO PPV, Bullshit
Rumors, and Lots More News... 
February 21, 2008

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Can we please just get the presidential election over with?

I mean, christ, I remember when debates wouldn't start until January (you know, 10 months before the election), and I didn't even vote in a primary until the first week of May, which was still plenty of time to tally up the delegates and have the conventions over the summer and then run a spirited campaign for 2-3 months in the fall. I remember that, 

because the year in question was FREAKING 2004. Just four years ago, that was the general outline of things. It was still an overlong process, but it's the one we were used to, dammit.

Now this time around, we've been having debates for 8 months already, Ohio is among the last important primary states and is holding its vote the first week in MARCH. The net result: it's still February and we already know who'll be running for president, but the damned election is still 9 months away. So very, very stupid. Let's just ditch the pandering female automaton and the mentally impaired believer in the literal truth of Creationism, and get it over with, already... I vote for a General Election no later than June!

Then again, we live in a land where FOX can expand "American Idol" to three bloated nights of crap per week to fill up a seemingly infinite amount of time, and no matter how contrived and drawn-out the process, Americans turn out in slack-jawed droves to watch. Yay for democracy?

My name is Rick Scaia, and I approved this pre-ramble. Now onto the (some what slim) slate of wrestling news for today:

  • Probably the biggest (real) news of the week is the return of Big Show to WWE and his immediate confrontation with boxer Floyd Mayweather.
    The angle has been done very well and was a ratings boon for WWE on Monday night, but the story goes back to Sunday's No Way Out PPV. In case you missed it, the quick and dirty results for that show were:
    Chavo Guerrero beat CM Punk (with surprisingly limited shenanigans) to retain the ECW Title.
    Ric Flair defeated Ken Kennedy cleanly, via submission, to keep his career alive.
    Undertaker won the SD! Elimination Chamber, last eliminating Batista. Match was a pretty big load of suck till the closing minutes, then it got good.
    Edge defeated Rey Mysterio to retain the World Title. Match was short and underwhelming due to Rey's injury limitations.
    After the match, Big Show came out, reminded us that he's won ALL THREE current titles (WWE, World, ECW), then smacked Rey around some to make his point of being a once dominant force who will be dominant again. This led to Rey's buddy, Mayweather, jumping into the ring. Show thought that was cute, and got down on his knees (he was still as tall as Mayweather) and gave Floyd free shots. Floyd took advantage and broke Show's nose (for real).
    John Cena beat Randy Orton by DQ (Orton retains WWE Title). Picking up where they left off last summer, these two were the dictionary definition of "adequate" in terms of action, leading up to the utterly lame DQ finish. More interesting in this match: Cena is so polarizing a figure that he's even got the dimmer-witted in the audience CHEERING FOR ORTON. Hey, folks, nobody likes rib-poking Homey the Clown more than I do, but c'mon: let's not get ridiculous, here.
    Triple H won the RAW Elimination Chamber. Excellent stuff throughout, and in the end, even though HHH went over, he last eliminated Jeff Hardy and it was done in such a way that it was actually a loss that elevated Hardy. I've said it once, and I'm sure I'll say it again: Hardy may not be a long-term signature star, but he is now firmly in the category of your Foleys and Eddies who were just so over that they could believably get a crowd-pleasing token world title run (or three). I hope that whenever WWE gets done with this lame-ass Cena/Orton/HHH crap, they use Hardy to freshen things up over the summer.
    Anyway, that's the NWO PPV in a nutshell... but back to Big Show and Mayweather...
    The angle at the PPV came off great, at least in part because it seemed so spontaneous and genuine. The clearly stiff shots Mayweather took at Show drove it all home. I mean, I'm quite certain Show told Mayweather "lay 'em in there and make it look good," but even he couldn't be expecting a 150 pound guy to break his nose that easily.
    They followed that up on Monday night in a segment carried almost entirely by Big Show... I'd forgotten how good the big lug is at conveying subtle emotion. Again, attention was given to making it seem "real," and after Show's quasi-apology followed by his open mockery of Mayweather, we ended up with an agreement between the two to have a match. A very well handled 15 minute segment.
    The problem is: I don't think it's gone over quite the way WWE thought it would. Wrestling fans certainly seem intrigued to some degree (if RAW's rating is any indication), but not so much the mainstream press or fight fans. This has gotten only the mildest of mentions on ESPN and the ilk, and it's because, in boxing, Floyd Mayweather may be pretty much the best (especially when you throw in the infamous "pound for pound" qualifier), but boxing isn't "sexy" from a box office perspective if it's not the heavyweights. Well, with a few exceptions. But usually, it's the heavyweights, and there are no good heavyweights out there these days, and Mayweather is still in the process of building his reputation as a box office draw, rather than an established mega-star.
    And herein lies the rub for WWE: there is no instant buzz like there was when Tyson showed up 10 years ago (christ, it really has been 10 years...), and on top of that, without that more mainstream response to the angle, you're left with the wrestling fans responding to it. And as we saw on Monday: they responded favorably to Big Show, and unfavorably to Mayweather, even though Show was clearly cast as the dickhead heel.
    Why? In simplest terms, it's because Mayweather is an outsider, and Big Show is one of our guys. So go Big Show and squish that guy like a bug! In slightly more analytic terms, Mayweather ain't much in terms of charm or wit, and any time one surrounds oneself with a freaking huge posse, one instantly comes off like an insecure little douchebag. So welcome to Doucheberg, USA, Floyd. Population: You.
    You could reasonably be entitled to one Don-King-esque "guy in suit" to be your omni-present personal manager, and one "guy in satin ring jacket" to be your trainer. Also: I would permit the return of Cryme Tyme as your personal rappers, given the music they've given to Mayweather. But what are the other 15 hangers-on doing, other than making you look like a self-involved prick? Especially bad: one of the posse members is bigger than Big Show, which is not good when Show's whole shtick is predicated on his bigness.
    The assumption is that this'll come to a head at WrestleMania, so WWE's got 6 weeks to tweak things. We'll see if they roll with the crowd responses, or if they try to fix things, and whether or not they can deliver a single transcendent "moment" that is so big that ESPN and the mainstream pick up on it.
    As it stands now, though, I don't particularly care too much about those aspects since, as a WRESTLING ANGLE, I thought it was well done, and connected with me in a way that kind of does want to see Mayweather take his medicine, even if it's not a full dose.
  • Semi-connected to the Show/Mayweather angle is Rey Mysterio... indications are that the original plan called for Rey and Mayweather to team up at WM24 to take on Big Show (allowing for a more traditional "sports entertainment segment" with enough extra-curriculars that everybody could save face in the end).
    That's out the window, as Mysterio's torn bicep will require surgery. In fact, it's possible that by the time you read this, he'll already have had the procedure (although tomorrow night's SD! will claim the surgery isn't taking place till next week, seeing as how Rey is part of the show and all). A typical recovery time from this injury is around 4 months, though it could be longer depending on the extent of damage they find once they open Rey up.
    So Rey will be out till at least the summer. And that leaves WWE trying to figure out exactly what form the Show/Mayweather confrontation will take. WWE doesn't have enough money to get Mayweather to take a dive, so Big Show will be adding to his WM Record of Futility (I think the guy is 0-for-6 or something, the anti-Undertaker) one way or the other. The question is: how? My vote: make it a straight up boxing match, and play up the fact that Big Show trained semi-seriously to get into boxing during his hiatus. Then steal the DQ finish from Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper at WM2, where the wrestler gets the blindside the interloper, but the interloper still gets the moral victory.
    But again: there's six weeks to figure all that out. For now, let's just make this bullet point about wishing Rey the best for a full and speedy recovery.
  • As mentioned above, Monday's RAW was a huge ratings winner for WWE. After last week's dismal showing (a 3.4, or back to October '07 levels), RAW bounced back up to a 4.0. That's even stronger than what they did on the night after Cena's return.
    And best of all, unlike the night of Cena's return, more people were watching at the end of the show than at the beginning. RAW opened with a 3.8 first hour and built to a 4.2 second hour (as opposed to the Cena return, which did a 4.2 first hour and a 3.6 second hour). That's not necessarily a testament to the show being wall-to-wall strong (it sure as hell wasn't), but does speak to WWE fixing some of the formatting/pacing problems I bitched about 2 weeks ago where they essentially dared you to change the channel. This was a better constructed show, where even if the thing currently on your screen sucked, you knew there was still something good coming up next.
    To wit: RAW had two pretty lengthy segments that really tried my patience. First, Gene Snitsky. Who the hell keeps thinking this guy should be on TV for 15 minutes at a time? Especially in a match with a foregone conclusion? And second, the whole Vince/Hornswoggle/JBL/Finlay thing was the perfect counterpoint to the Show/Mayweather segment. One had that feel of spontaneous realism to it, and the other reeked of Hollywood Writer Monkeys trying to create an over-scripted, contrived Soap Opera Moment. Once again, JBL was used as a Puppet Of The Monkeys, acting at random with no apparent motivation. And then in the end, when we're supposed to believe Hornswoggle is dead, he doesn't get medical attention or a stretcher: he gets carried off, lovingly, by a teary-eyed Finlay. I guess in wrestling, women and midgets don't do stretcher jobs: they get tenderly carted away by their burly male protectors.
    Other than that, though, most things on the show were OK or better by me. A bit by-the-numbers and predictable (if you didn't see Titties McSuperbowl's return coming down Fifth Avernue once Santino announced the stipulations, you are dumber than a houseplant, for instance), but done briskly and with some sizzle. Well: except for any segment involving Randy Orton, who is actually SLOWING DOWN in every aspect of his performance, if that's even possible. His speaking bits have me convinced he's stoned out of his gourd, and his ringwork has gotten to the point where he's now taking 40 seconds to perform a single 3 second stomp. If that's your speed, fine, but personally, I find it to be the precise opposite of riveting TV.
    Luckily, both Triple H and Cena are guys who can, you know, hold your attention by acting at full speed and being seemingly able of acting and reacting to stimuli in real time. I swear: I think HHH did more work to keep the crowd into the Cena/Orton main event than Orton did. And while I must admit that I was secretly hoping for a Big Finish where HHH let the two beat the crap out of each other, and then pummeled them both with Sweet Lady Sledge, I was satisfied enough by the double Pedigrees to end the show. I figure heading into the three-way WM24 feud, I won't be alone in being 100% behind HHH.
    Well, I'll be alone among a certain class of Internet Wankers who still hold onto a very strong HHHatred, but I think among the fanbase at large, HHH will be mega-over, with Cena as a polarizing tweener, and Orton as the guy most people could probably just do without.
  • The past week has been a good one for unmitigated bullshit rumors in the wrestling world.

    We'll start with Eminem, who was reported to be "secretly training for a WWE career" by a hip-hop lifestyle website. That made the round for 2-3 days before Eminem's people finally got sick of hearing about it and issued a public denial.
    It's too bad, too, since I can think of few celebrities I'd rather see pounded into oblivion on a weekly basis than that over rated, humorless drama queen who is so self-involved he doesn't realize how cosmically stupid he looks when he gets furiously angry at a hand puppet but is still such a pussy that he sics his posse on it. Oh, and it goes without saying that this would be a good time to remember my previous rant about posses and how they make you look.
    Of course, with every bullshit rumor, there might just be a kernel of truth hiding in there somewhere... in this case, there have been internal discussion about WWE running a "Celebrity Battle Royale" at WM24, if they can get enough D-listers to sign up. Kevin Federline and some of the Jackass guys have apparently already been contacted as part of the feeling out process.
    But no Eminem.
  • And then, the King of Unmitigated Bullshit: Hulk Hogan, who has somehow managed to plant TWO MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE pieces of bullshit in the media in the past week. That's hard to do.
    Bullshit Rumor #1: Hogan is "just days away" from announcing a new wrestling promotion to compete with Vince McMahon.
    Bullshit Rumor #2: Hogan wants to get in on WM24 as Ric Flair's opponent, because "they've got a lot of unsold tickets down there, brother."
    In a span of five days, Hogan both wants to put Vince out of business *and* try to help him sell tickets. He's either schizophrenic or full of shit.
    For the record, WM24 is having no trouble selling tickets. It's not "sold out," because WWE still doesn't know the exact configuration of the stadium, but most tickets that have been released have been sold. And the tickets that'll be released in coming weeks probably won't have much trouble selling, either. So I have no idea what that little play by Hogan is all about, unless he's just so obsessed with being remembered as the best of his generation that he needs yet another PPV win over Flair to feed his ego.
    As far as Hogan starting his own promotion? Look, Hogan's said things like this off-and-on for years, and one time, he even held six hours worth of TV tapings in Florida under (I believe) the XWF name. That most of Hogan's boasting has never resulted in anything, and that the one time it DID result in something, it never aired anywhere on TV (but I believe is available on DVDs to this day)., leads me to an "I'll believe it when I see it" stance.
    The fact that Hogan's stumping for a spot at WM24 only further makes me question just how accurate his claims of being "days away" from announcing his own company are.
    The fact that the plans Hogan had in place last summer were heavily centered on the Big Show being one of his top stars also makes me wonder precisely what the hell is going on, seeing as how Big Show just returned to WWE.
    But don't let that stop you from speculating on what kind of show Hogan would run. Supposedly, he's got upwards of $40 million in investment capital and is a few dotted-I's and crossed-T's away from a "major cable network timeslot." Oh, and Eric Bischoff is involved. Can't forget Uncle Eric.
    To be honest, you know what I'd like to see: Hogan and Bischoff really do get together with an idea to compete with WWE. Except: they are secretly funded BY WWE. Supply them with just enough resources (monetary and talent) to build a competitive show and stoke WWE's creative fires, stage a phony 3-year "war" for ratings, and then in the end, Vince can smite Bischoff again. Even better: don't let Hogan and Bischoff know that Vince is their secret beneficiary, and have somebody act as a go-between to Hogan and Bischoff won't know is really acting as Vince's mole. It'd be awesome, baby!
    Better than Hogan vs. Savage as a year-long world title feud, anyway.
  • Speaking of TV deals, I guess I shouldn't have been so dismissive of MyNetworkTV last week when discussing SmackDown!'s possible new homes.
    Here's a morsel of information I was not aware of: apparently, WWE's contract with NBC/Universal prevents them from having any programming on any cable network outside of NBCU. I did not know this, and I can't confirm it, but a bunch of people wrote in to tell me this was the case. They were all quoting a report by Meltzer, though, not anybody directly associated with the negotiations.
    All I can tell you is that I *was* aware that NBCU put a "first negotiating position" or "matching rights" clause into the WWE contract, but that's all I was aware of. If they really got WWE to agree to full exclusivity in perpetuity, well, then.... I dunno, but WWE's retarded for agreeing to that. Let NBCU have first dibs on any show you want to produce, but to have them prevent you from shopping programming anywhere else? That's stupid, and WWE may have tied its own noose on this one.
    If true, the NBCU exclusivity means that if WWE cannot convince NBCU to grant them a timeslot on one of their networks (USA, Sci-Fi, and Bravo being the three likeliest), then they are left with very few options. One of which is MNTV, which via a technicality, is considered an over-the-air broadcast network (though it isn't in the vast majority of TV markets; it's a forgotten sub-channel on most digital cable systems). Another of which is a deal with Superstation WGN out of Chicago, whose penetration as a basic cable channel is probably stronger than MNTV in most parts of the country, but which would be 100% UNavailable on cable in many key markets (including most of the northeast, WWE's "home turf"). A third and final option is syndication, a dying form of distribution and truly a last-ditch option.
    Things are, perhaps, looking bleaker than what I indicated last week if these truly are the option. On a national basis, MNTV is a joke, plain and simple. The WGN deal is the one that TNA turned down. And syndication would mean airing in late night and weekend timeslots that make Fridays at 8pm look like a dream slot.
    So: Bravo Network or bust? Or maybe we'll catch a break and Meltz is just spreading misinformation, and one of those other deals (like the Versus one I talked about) could be worked out to land SmackDown on a semi-respectable TV outlet.
  • After a sustained stretch of 1.2 ratings, TNA Impact dropped to a 1.0 last Thursday night. A case could probably be made that this was due to Valentine's Day, but frankly, I am personally offended by the idea of TNA Wankers actually getting laid (and potentially procreating), so I'm going to blame the low rating on the fact that the show wasn't very good.
    Or rather, most of the show was par-for-the-course, but the ending was stultifyingly stupid. Which is bad, because (a) the ending is the part of a show I weigh most heavily when decided how entertained I was, and (b) the ending was centered on the Angle/AJ/Christian dynamic which has usually been mega-awesome, but which was reduced to most inane retardation last week.
    "What happened, The Rick?" you ask. Kurt Angle decided to renew his wedding vows with wife Karen. Christian came out and caused a distraction. The minister was as distracted as everyone else. AJ ended up standing next to Karen. The minister wasn't paying attention when he said "Man and Wife." And now, somehow, AJ Styles is legally married to Kurt Angle's wife. Only in RussoLand, folks.... some TNA apologists have already suggested "they were playing it for laughs," but I don't quite buy that your top-line story should be predicated on main event comedy segments. Which leaves me no choice but to declare that just might be one of the top 10 most insultingly dumb things I've ever seen on a wrestling show.
    We'll see if TNA can bounce back (both ratings-wise and non-suck-wise)...
  • Despite TNA's box office failure in South Carolina a few weeks ago, they are intent on getting away from the ImpactZone in Orlando for as many PPVs as possible. Hey, I guess a couple hundred paying fans is still better than zero, right?
    March's PPV is in Norfolk, VA. And April's all-cage-match PPV was just announced as taking place in Boston. Well, just outside of Boston, in a tiny arena WWE used for RAW tapings during its darkest days in the mid-90s. I think it's Lowell, MA, and it's the place where Shawn Michaels "lost his smile."
    I know the ticket pricing issues that caused sales in South Carolina to suck are being reprised in Virginia... don't know if that'll be as big a problem in the Northeast, where an exceptionally rabid fanbase might be willing to pay a premium for a non-WWE product.
  • WWE has an interesting survey up, asking fans' opinions about the No Way Out PPV and requesting information about your TNA and UFC viewing habits.
    I'd say that they might be on to something, but after answering the survey honestly once, I started dicking around with fake answers to see what sorts of different questions I could get it to ask me... and you know what I discovered? If you answered the first question "Did you watch WWE No Way Out on PPV?" with a "no," they instantly terminated the survey and said "You do not qualify for this survey."
    Which is just about what I expect out of WWE these days. Lowers forms of plankton could look at WWE's PPV buyrates and tell them they could learn more from people who DON'T buy PPVs than from the dwindling few who do, and yet: here's WWE convinced that there's nothing wrong, and they only want to hear from the hardcore loyal fans who remain compelled to buy their product. If you don't purchase the PPVs despite caring enough to be marginally aware of current TV events, you have no useful insights into the state of the product. None. Brilliant.
    [Simple factoid: in a typical week, WWE's domestic TV audience would conservatively be around 8 million unique viewers. Discounting WrestleMania, WWE PPVs averaged 270,000 buys per show in 2007. Unless each PPV buy represents a living room with 32 viewers, there is some substantial portion of WWE's weekly audience that doesn't buy PPVs. And THOSE are the people who could tell you helpful things about the state of the product if your goal is increasing PPV buys. I'm not even talking about some fanciful notion of doing surveys where you try to figure out what happened to 60% of your PPV buys and 40% of your TV ratings since 2000. I'm just talking about maximizing your profits with the audience you got today.]
    I remain steadfast in my belief that there are entire departments at WWE that need to be fired, en masse, and replaced by competent and non-sycophantic people. And it's not just departments like creative or ones associated with the on-screen product. This survey proves it. There are concepts taught in 200-level marketing classes that the people who made this survey apparently failed to master back during their sophomore years of college.
    Anyway, if you want to try to shape WWE's product, you can take the survey right here. Just remember to say you watched the PPV, even if you didn't. And don't worry if you stole the PPV or downloaded it illegally or whatever; they don't give you that as an option, and force you to lie about obtaining the PPV legally.
  • Last item for today: Ted DiBiase Jr. was arrested on DUI charges in Tampa, FL, last week. He crashed his Cadillac Escalade, and when cops showed up, he reeked of booze and failed a field test.
    DiBiase had relocated to Tampa as part of the OVW-FCW migration of WWE developmental workers. No word on whether or not this will affect his standing with the company, but I thought I remembered this being somehow covered by the Wellness Policy. It could be a minor suspension and counseling for Teddy Jr....
    With Ted and Harry Smith being among the more promising developmental prospects, it kind of sucks that both have managed to make variations on the same stupid mistakes, thus impeding their progress. Hopefully both get their acts cleaned up...
    Otherwise, I say just get it over with, and introduce DiBiase Jr. to Nick Hogan, and let them terrorize southern Florida with their unique brand of drunken bad driving and misplaced senses of entitlement! They can even team up to be the first tag team champions of Hogan's fictional wrestling promotion! All fans seated along the entrance aisle will have to sign waivers, as you never know where the car piloted by one of those pricks will end up! It'd be gold!
    Or maybe not.
  • That's all, folks. See you again next week with all the news that's fit to print. 

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PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
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PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
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SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28



Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.




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