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TNA Drama, WWE Regressing Towards the Mean, NoC PPV, and Lots More...
July 23, 2009

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com


Ahhhhh, yes. It is that time of year, again.
You know the time: the time when the Spotted North American Whiskey Owl changes its mating habits, and begins searching for a baseball team outside of its usual geographic region. Oh yes, whiskey owls are very picky in this regard. And they can't have any of this everybody-getting-injured and seven-games-under-.500 shit going on.

We're more into everybody getting healthy at the right time, and being buyers instead of sellers, and stuff like that. Oh yeah, OO Nation, I'm saying it: this is the time of year when The Rick stops caring about the Cincinnati Reds' every move and STARTS caring about the New York Yankees' every move.
Jealous much?
I mean, all of you out there with only ONE team to care about, this has GOT to annoy you, right? But the way I see it, I'm entitled to two teams. The Reds are the team I grew up cheering for after I moved to Ohio in 2nd grade, but I was lucky enough to have parents from Connecticut who trained me to love the Yanks well before they started to get good again in the late 90s. So with that in mind: I hereby change the colors on my ship.
Be off with you, stinky Redlegs! And you mighty resurgent Pinstripers may take their place!
Part of me feels shitty about what's happend to the Reds in the last 2 weeks. Another part, however? Not so much. The Yanks are going back to the playoffs this year, baby! Last year was just a one year hiccup. Baseball in October is going to be fun again for The Rick this year, and 22-out-of-30 franchise fans aren't nearly as lucky as I am.
It's nice being one of the lucky 8-of-30. Though I admit: it'd be nicer if (one of these days), I was caring about October because of the Reds.... ideally, DOUBLE Caring. Imagine how nice that would be. I mean: BOTH my teams have won World Series in the past 20 years (which is more than you can say for the schmucks who like Pittsburgh or Kansas City or Seattle or the ExpoNationals), and try to wrap your head around how awesome a Reds/Yankees World Series could be for me....
Well: I know it's already happened. Probably more than once. But the most recent time, I wasn't even born yet, so as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't count. I'd like a do-over on that front, instead of this crap-ass Tigers vs. Cardinals stuff that NObody can possibly care about in October, though. It's not even like the Cubs are making October fun anymore with their last-second losing ways. They're losing well before the last second, and leaving us with the Angels and the Phillies. Bore. Ing. And anybody who likes the Red Sox is mentally enfeebled, too. [Note: this is why Bill Simmons opted to talk to Dave "I'm a Barely-Literate Fan of ALL Genres That Involve Half-Naked Men Hugging" Meltzer on his podcast last week, rather than talking to me; he didn't have the balls to talk to a Yankees fan. Boo!] So let's please The Rick, and keep on with the Yankees being Mighty, and if it's at all possible, let's cut this shit where the Reds are craptacular and the losers of 8-out-of-10, OK?
And now, I give you The News:

  • Of course, the big story today is that Kurt Angle is trying to usurp Jeff Jarrett's booking power in TNA....
    Or: maybe not.
    I actually don't know how to address this issue, but I know making a big, fat, hairy deal out of it ain't right, so I'll just say this much:
    Kurt Angle was divorced from his wife Karen last year. All reliable intel indicates Jeff Jarrett (who's first -- and up till now, only -- wife died from cancer in 2007) is now co-habitating with the former Karen Angle and slipping her the El Kabong at her leisure. This was an only minor issue for TNA and Angle/Jarrett over the past several months, since it's not like Jarrett should be expected to remain celibate 2 years after his wife's death, nor should Karen be out of play 1 year after she ditched Kurt. So Jarrett/Angle were co-existing peacefully enough, or so the story went.
    Then on Friday, days before TNA's most recent PPV, an anonymous caller to the "Bubba the Love Sponge" show "broke the story" of Jarrett/Karen and claimed to be a TNA-affliated person who was disgusted by the whole thing. [Note: the caller's voice was digitally-altered and as yet, no one knows who it was.] All of a sudden, Jarrett decided not to show up at the Sunday PPV, and Angle and his Main Event Mafia went over HUGE at the PPV.
    The wanktastic "wrestling media" have been wetting themselves over this, and I sort of get it: it might be real, it might be lascivious, it might be more interesting than anything TNA has done as a storyline in -- well -- it's entire existence....
    But guess what? It still does zero to make me want to tune in any more attentively than usual to Impact on Thursday nights. By which I mean: I'll still DVR the Saturday morning showing and watch THAT, since my appetites for reruns of Tina Fey and Pam-from-the-Office trump my appetite for Impact 36 hours earlier than usual.
    The "wrestling media" is painting this as a huge scandal, massively interesting, and some kind of awesome real-life drama. Whether it's tales of Jarrett getting "sent home" from his own company after it was revealed he was boning Angle's ex-wife, or tales of Angle using this as a way to usurp Jarrett's power and booking spot in TNA (his TNA contract is up in 6 weeks, and one version of the story is that he'll refuse any renewal that comes while Jarrett is still in booking power), this is apparently the hottest thing in the universe.
    At best, it's two morons acting out an episode of Jerry Springer. And you folks know me: I don't go for that shit. If I did, you would all have access to my gigantic file of Scott Hall Stories, in which he makes an ass of himself 300 times over and needs serious help. But you don't. Because I usually don't talk about that real-life shit if it doesn't add to our understanding/enjoyment of the on-screen product.
    And at worst, there are more than a few people who think this is a case of TNA/Vince Russo "working an angle" on the intarwebs by fabricating the story of Angle/Jarrett tension just as Angle's TNA contract is about to expire. Which is even dumber than if this dumb thing were real.
    *MY* stance? Meh... in terms of relevence, TNA is almost the exact equal of ECW, and I'm not going to get too worked up. I really hope that Russo/et al are too classy to have totally fabriacted this "angle," but I'm not capable of dismissing the possibility that they are taking a semi-real situation (Jarrett with the former Mrs. Angle) and trying to milk it for cheap heat. So no matter what's going on, I still put TNA's feet to the fire, and insist they ENTERTAIN ME if they want space in my column.
    Tabloid stories and shit like that isn't gonna get them any more coverage from me than Mike Knox's latest antics in ECW. Seriously.
    If I had to take anything substantial out of this Angle/Jarrett story, it'd be this: Angle really IS having his contract expire in 6 weeks. Jarrett really WASN'T at the PPV (or this week's TV tapings). Both of those are unusual situations. If, somehow, they really are entangled in a Springer Mess, that might influence one or both of those situations. But to be honest: the best intel *I* can get right now says that (while this story might be true-ish), Jarrett's position as a TNA owner/founder/powerbroker is in no danger, and he took HIMSELF off the road at a key point in Kurt/Karen's custody battle over their kids to sooth tensions, and whatever Angle decides to do will (therefore) be his own decision; there's no party in TNA actively looking to freeze Jarrett out in order to re-sign Angle to another contract (either Kurt comes back knowing he's working for Jarrett's company, or he doesn't; it's up to him).
    I guess I could be wrong on that, but hey: what do you expect from me? We shouldn't go making a mountain out of a molehill, here, is all I'm saying: if it's real, it's a personal situation that (ideally) should have nothing to do with business, and if it's a storyline, it's a craptacular one ripped straight out of 1pm afternoon soap operas that none of wrestling's usual audience is likely to watch.
    The only real substantial thing I could really add to the above Cliffs Notes' version of the story is that there is a small part of me that hopes this results in Angle getting back with WWE, just so we can quit omiting him from DVD sets (like the upcoming "Best 100 Moments on SmackDown") and get him his own kick-ass 6-DVD set of his real career highlights.
    Of course: this will never happen. Angle's delusionality is mighty. He's got Hulk Hogan's sense of Hyperbole AND Bret Hart's tendancy to Believe Everything Is Real, and he's married them into being a batshit insane lunatic who'll say anything in the name of self-promotion. It's not really cool, flattering, or compelling, but it's Kurt Angle... and somehow, I fear that even in a "best case" scenario that involves him leaving TNA, he'd somehow avoid making peace with WWE right away. 
    But who knows, really? Prove me wrong, Kurt. Prove me wrong. Either stop pulling this crazy shit and stay with TNA peaceably, or head back to WWE without acting like a dipstick, OK? Anything in between, and really: we could not care any less.
  • Now. You want something kinda interesting and intellectually stimulating? OK...
    Last time I did a full-length column, it was mostly centered on the fact that WWE banged a ginormous 4.5 rating (the best since January 2006) out of nowhere, after a period that included their least-watched month since 1997 (May's 3.3 average rating was the worst since the pre-Screwjob October 1997 performance by RAW; way to be, Randall!).
    I posited a whole bunch of things, and suggested that gimmickry was the likely culprit of the high rating, and endorsed a few ideas for how WWE could recreate the energy WITHOUT the gimmicks.... none of which has happened since the commercial-free RAW of last month.
    And so: since the huge 4.5 rating, RAW has done a 3.7 (DiBiase as GM), a 3.5 (Seth Green), and another 3.5 (ZZ Top). WWE took NONE of the advice I proffered about recreating "stickiness" and "sustainable episodic TV," and as a result, has seen ratings lunge right back to where they were before the Stunt Booking/No-Commercials Episode.
    Bravo, tards.
    I mean, the Seth Green episode was actually really fun. A celebrity with actual talent and a fondness for the product, interacting compellingly with the roster. Nice. But they'd already shat away the goodwill from the commercial-free episode the week before, with the Ted DiBiase episode (the Million Dollar Man was good, and fans like me had a fun time with it, but it wasn't nearly enough to win back lapsed/fringe fans), and no longer had that "sticky" momentum.
    And then: ZZ Top just sucked. Seriously. Even WWE recognized it, and changed plans in mid-stream to pre-tape all of ZZ Top's bits backstage, rather than ask them to do anything live, in front of the audience. Which I guess is plus 10 to them. But it was still minus several million for Good TV whenever ZZ Top was on.
    As a point of emphasis: through March (basically, through WrestleMania), RAW's year-to-date average rating was a 3.8. Then, crap happened. Orton averaged a 3.3 for May (and half of June), before Stunt Booking came to his rescue (the Batista-title-change swerve, Trump, etc.). But even after that bump up to the high 3's -- and the one rating over 4 -- we're now RIGHT BACK TO WHERE WE WERE. Two straight weeks of 3.5's. And one of those weeks (the Seth Green episode) was about as good as RAW can hope to be in any given week and it still didn't matter in the end result.
    Something's broken. I tried to outline what it was an how to fix it last column. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with Randy Orton; I mean, it has to do with him if Math counts for anything. But I ain't gonna sprain my brain repeating myself or re-solving the Riddle Of The Suck here today.
    You people know my stance(s). You should know most of my biases. If you read my last column, you know I've already summarized most of the solutions. And if you have an IQ over 40, you know what numbers are bigger than other numbers, and realize that RAW regressing back to a 3.5 the past two weeks is really, really bad mojo, and that The Rick is probably right.
    Which is cool. Except: sometimes, i'd prefer to be wrong. So really, WWE: c'mon, get with the program, already. Make me look stupid. I've even explained in graphic detail how you can do so. So just do it, assholes. You'd make me so very, very happy if you did.
  • While "quality of Guest Host" is clearly NOT driving ratings at this point (since Grade-A Green got the same viewership as Grade-F ZZ Top), it's also an interesting concept and one WWE is not giving up on anytime soon.
    We already know that this coming Monday's RAW will be hosted by Shaquille O'Neal. Shaq has a new show on ABC this fall in which he challenges various stars to their own expertise to see how he compares. It's currently thought that Shaq will be taping his performance on Monday, and will use it for his show as an episode where he challenges a wrestler to a wrestling match.
    I don't know which one, but I feel sorry for either Santino or Miz at this point. Or Chavo. Yeah, probably Chavo. He can't beat a midget, so what chance would he have against a 7'2" freak of nature?
    But it'll still probably be fun. I mean: moreso than ZZ Top, at least.
    The week after that, we also know that WWE has gotten Jeremy Piven signed up to guest host. Meh. I have no reason to suspect it'll be bad, but people who like "Entourage" piss me the fuck off. Everybody thinks I "should" like it. Friends, even my own brother, have told me it's "right up my alley." And it's not. Just because I like PRETENDING to be a shallow and pompous prick doesn't mean I'm instantly fascinated by OTHER GUYS living out the same fantasy, even if they get to do it on HBO. I have enough of the shallow/cocky asshole fantasy in my daily life; I don't see what's so interesting about watching other guys do the same exact thing I do on a TV show. I trust that (like me) the cast of "Entourage" are secretly all intelligent and multi-faceted individuals who are actually pleasant to be around, but that still doesn't make me give a shit about their 30 minutes a week of role playing.
    My rule of thumb for TV is that if you want me to watch, you have to be more interesting to me than my real life. The times I've watched, "Entourage" kinda WAS my real life. And I don't have that high an opinion of my real life, so... yeah.... screw "Entourage." But I still kinda think Piven and his character (if he opts to play into that) could be a fun match for RAW's guest GM, I guess. Still doesn't equal ratings, but hey: in a world where the option is more TV time for Orton, I'll take this Guest Celebrity crap any day of the week.
    For whatever it's worth, I've also heard that Vince is pretty hot for the idea of getting Regis to guest-host RAW at some point in the next month or two. That wouldn't suck. I mean, if you're gonna be bringing in 70-year-old dudes, I PROMISE you Regis will be way more fun than ZZ Top was, at least. That man can hold his own in promos/skits against anybody on WWE's roster, and if the footage Letterman busts out to taunt Regis is any indication, the old man is in phenomenal shape for a senior citizen should he be pushed into physical confrontations.
    Beyond that? The only other idea I have for this Guest Host thing is that WWE had better be doing it with the sole goal of scoring this Dwayne Johnson guy as a guest host sometime soon. Maybe early next year, on the Road to WrestleMania (or even AT WrestleMania). I mean: he's just a weenish Disney movie-star which doesn't seem like a good idea, I know. But if you pair a Disney movie star with the now-G-rated WWE? I think that equals BIG MONEY~! If this isn't the End Game of this whole Guest Host thing, I'll actually be massively disappointed. I mean: coming up with an excuse for Real Hollywood Celebrity Types to be on a wrestling show without looking lame? There's only one reason to do that. Do you smell what the Dwayne is cooking?
    [And seriously: if they hooked that up, how cool would it be for Dwayne to show up and spend the first hour pretending to be all Hollywood and fakey and awful, like he now during his talk-show appearances.... totally heel shit.... and then, after tormenting the audience by being "Dwayne," he finally remembers his roots, and in the blow-off segment of the night, reverts back to "The Rock" -- complete with all catchphrases and strudel-nonsense -- to make us all smile. C'mon: you know that would rule. Now, let's just make this happen soon. Before Lilian leaves to go get married in the fall. Lord knows that woman likes her strudel. Or so the Rock has led me to believe, and should lead me to believe again one last time.]
  • Obviously, the other big story in the two weeks since I last spoke at you all is that Edge got injured, got surgery, and is out until early 2010. Go ahead and check the Newsflash and the Update, if you need the full story.
    Otherwise, the rest of us are fully aware of what's going on, and know that Edge ruptured his achilles' tendon and in a best case scenario could be back by the Royal Rumble. WWE even seems to be banking on this basic timeline, as Edge clearly turned babyface last week on SmackDown in a pre-taped interview that his jerkface ex-partner, Chris Jericho, interrupted. Now, when Edge comes back, he's got a custom-made feud with Jericho waiting. One that could semi-main-event WrestleMania, one that could be for the World Title, and one that could certainly be eleventy billion kinds of awesome.
    But that's for 2010. For now, the injury sucks for Edge, but the way WWE's played it has actually been pretty savvy. Jericho is now a bigger dickface than ever; maybe we don't get the pay-off of him versus Edge till 7 months from now, but it's still fun to use the interim to make Jericho into an even more hate-able assmonkey. I mean: hate-able to YOU. I, frankly, love the guy. He's my hero. He calls all the people who show up to watch him do what he does awful names, and they STILL keep coming back for more because he's awesome. You know: just like all of you muscilaginous parasitic philistines keep coming back to OO. ZING~!
    In the shorter term, however, what's most fascinating about Jericho is the Unified Tag Title situation. Heading into Sunday's PPV, Jericho is the lone Unified Tag Champ (essentially, he could come out wearing four belts if he wanted)... but at Sunday's PPV, he will unveil a Mystery Partner and defend the titles against Junior DiBiase and Cody Rhodes.
    Jericho's mystery partner is only interesting if one assumes that WWE is going to book him (and not freaking Legacy) to win.... but I'm willing to make that leap of faith. Once Edge/Jericho won the tag titles, we've discovered how cool and awesome the "brand hopping tag champ" gimmick can be. If Jericho loses and Legacy wins, the "brand-hopping" aspect goes back to being precisely as interesting as it was when the Colons were the Unified Tag Champs. Which is to say: Not Very.
    On top of that, Jericho has talked his way into a corner. He's explicitly promised a "difference maker" of partner. An Impact Player, if you will. [Note: if you read that line and thought I was making a Lance Storm reference, please report to Wanker Rehab, immediately.] Jericho's not coming to this fight with Brian Kendrick or Dolph Ziggler or even Christian. I don't think, anyway. He's talked it up to the point where he needs either an equal or at least some one who can hold his own, gravitas-wise, while joining Jericho in the brand-hopping goodness.
    There are a ton of fun theories out there, and Jericho even threw a bone to us regarding one of the more intriguing ones in a throw-away skit on Monday (when he told Cody/Teddy that Orton might be his partner; and hey, if we've learned nothing the past 5 years, we HAVE learned that Orton is 200% more tolerable as a lacky/side-kick than as a Leader of Men, so I kinda dig the idea). But more realistically, I'm putting my money on Jack Swagger as Jericho's partner.
    In WWE's counter-productive "scratch-off lotto ticket" mentality, Swagger's the rare one who I promise will actually pay off. They've booked him strong in his rookie year, and fans would totally buy into him in an increased role as Jericho's partner. As a bonus, Jericho's newfound fetish for morality and virtue meshes nicely with the "All-American American" (who just got done smiting MVP after outing MVP as a convict and dirtbag).
    I know some fans out there are convinced that Jericho has to pick somebody who is NOT on the Night of Champions PPV... but I don't buy that. For one: Jericho WON those damned tag titles in HIS SECOND MATCH OF THE NIGHT last month (he also won a World Title last fall after getting his ass kicked by Shawn Michaels in an earlier match). Jericho has no bias when it comes to "having already worked a match." His bluster clearly indicates he wants the BEST partner. Not the freshest.
    So put away your crazy theories about Shawn Michaels and/or the Undertaker, people. And wankers: just shut up about Brian Kendrick or William Regal or how stupid Jericho would be for not picking a "fresh" partner. I think there are plenty of options out there for Mystery Partners that are cool in both "WWE Think" and in "Actual Fan Think." Swagger's one I wouldn't have a problem with, at all.
    And if you want "crazy think"? I have two words for you: Ricky Steamboat. Steamboat worked that whole Pacific Rim tour earlier this month (including big matches against Jericho in Hawaii and Japan), and if I were gonna get zany, I'd want to figure out some way for my first favorite wrestler and one of my current favorite wrestlers to form a grudging tag team (maybe even one in which Jericho purposely brought out a "chump" in order to screw over the fans who he tricked into expecting a HUGE SURPRISE partner, and to show people that he could be tag champions BY HIMSELF, only to require his partner's help to win matches, even if he doesn't acknowledge it, leading to the eventual break-up). As a bonus, this would be a way for Steamboat to get some ACTUAL WINS on TV as his outro, rather than going out a double-loser, as he did back at Mania and Backlash. You all know the guy looked awesome in those losses, too, so it's not like fans wouldn't be way into this. And if WWE booked Animal as a tag wrestler for 8 months longer than he had any business having a job, just because he's Johnny Ace's brother, then surely we can give The Dragon some love, can't we?
    But wait... I'm against the Crazy Think. Even if my Crazy Think is better than yours. Which it is. Way better. But for the sake of internal consistancy, I'll ditch it now, while I can...
  • Jericho's Mystery Partner is actually looking to be one of the few real reasons to give a shit about Sunday's Night of Champions PPV.
    It's the one issue that is both compelling AND has an uncertain outcome, at least.
    Everything else on the show is either utter garbage, or a foregone conclusion.
    In the "utter garbage" file: the RAW main event of Orton/HHH/Cena. Jesus H. Christ. These three have been at it for the better part of 2 years, and when they work together, ratings tank, people get disinterested, and if you get any reaction out of fans it ends up being the reverse of the one you want. How I'm the only one who realizes this and thinks it's dumb to reprise that which has already failed and expect a different result is beyond me. But that's what WWE's doing.
    The only real bright spot of that feud/match is that I'm guessing it HAS to mean we're setting up for a heel turn for either HHH or Cena (and let's be honest: it's gotta be HHH, right? even if fans cheer him more than Cena, HHH will be the one who starts acting evil). Orton has -- to borrow an unfunny and massively abused intarweb cliche -- EPICALLY FAILED as champ, and RAW needs another lead bad-guy. Pronto. Unless they like sucking. Which maybe they do. I dunno. Continuing to push Orton as a headliner after four failures IS beginning to border on masochism, I guess, so who knows?
    I'm still banking on HHH or Cena winning and HHH/Cena being the Money feud going forward. Then, after that plays out, Batista should be back, and he'll give WWE yet another option as a heel (if they do the smart thing and turn him after his first 3-4 weeks of goodwill babyface heat die away and he gets boring again).
    In the "foregone conclusions" file: the SD main event of CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy. Hardy's current WWE contract is up shortly after the NoC PPV, and it's now taken as granted that AT BEST he'd only extend through SummerSlam before taking the vacation he wants (and then, the thought is he'll still return to WWE by the end of the year, or in time for the Rumble-to-Mania corridor). In either case: Punk/Hardy will no doubt be an awesome match, but Hardy ain't winning. So: sizzle is lacking.
    That kinda blows, but I'll at least TRY to be positive by pointing out how sweet this could be for Punk and his character and his heel turn. Given the way things have played out teh past few weeks, imagine if he beats Jeff on Sunday (which he will). And then: Jeff is going away for a while (for legitimate, contract-related reasons). Why not do this up as a storyline where Punk wins, and Jeff resorts once again to sweet, sweet, crystal meth to sooth his pain? Third strike! Jeff's OUT! It's ALL PUNK'S FAULT~!~!~!
    Let Jeff take his little vacation. He works things out with WWE and has a new contract in place by November. In the meantime, Punk douches it up with his straightedge/better-than-you bit, and the WWE fans launch a weekly "WE WANT HARDY" chant-campaign that'll make the demand for Matt's return in 2005 look lame by comparison. THIS "We Want Hardy" would be more akin to 1993's "We Want Flair" fan mutiny in WCW. And it'd set up Jeff's heroic return (he'd so TOTALLY be clean and NOT methed-up) in time for Punk/Hardy to do a super-highspot mega-blowoff at WM26 next year.
    That'd rule. But it also doesn't really do a whole lot to make this coming Sunday in July of '09 any more interesting.
    Night of Champions is -- despite the mammoth FOUR WEEK break since the last PPV -- just not a really compelling show. One of the top two matches is pre-proven box office poison, and the other has an obvious outcome. Bleh. Which is why I said that Jericho and his Mystery Partner (versus Legacy) just might be the highlight of the show.
    That might be a bit of hyperbole, but if it is, it's not by much.
    In addition to those top three matches, the rest of the show will feature:
    Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler (IC Title) -- Yes, THAT Dolph Ziggler. And NO, don't ask me why. I have no answer. I'm at least willing to admit when Johnny Morrison starts proving me wrong (and yes, he's in line to face Punk after Punk beats Hardy on Sunday)... but I can't fathom why Ziggler is this high on the depth chart at this point.
    Kofi Kingston vs. Big Show vs. Evan Bourne vs. Jack Swagger vs. Carlito vs. MVP (US Title) -- RAW is just making shit up as they go along, so they're putting their entire mid-card into one match. Whee? If they'd even half-tried, they COULD have had a more intriguing Kofi/Bourne/Show 3-way that existed for the sole purpose of Show destroying the midgets before being upset, but instead: we got this. Oh well.
    Tommy Dreamer vs. Christian (ECW Title) -- Nobody's happier for Dreamer than I am, but his strength is as a super-likeable/sympathetic babyface... and instead: they pair him with fellow babyface Christian (with Christian trying to work a semi-heel tweener vibe)? Not quite working. Tommy'd be better served doing gimmick/stip matches (heavy on the brawling and weapons) against monsters like Kozlov, if he's to stick around. But I guess if he's NOT to stick around? Well, there ain't much better than Christian when it comes to options, so maybe that's where we're going. Who knows? But also (looking at ratings): who cares?
    Maryse vs. Mickie James (Purple Vagina Title) -- Since coming to RAW, Maryse has continued her basic gimmick of getting pinned all the time in tag/non-title matches, but still scoring the big win when it matters. So that's the story here, as Mickie looks to continue her "dominance" over Maryse in an actual title match. Difference: Maryse "blinded" Mickie with hairspray on RAW, and now seems to have decided that Miz ain't such a bad guy afterall. So I figure some combination of blindness and Miz results in Maryse winning easily. At least we got Gail Kim in waiting as her next feud.
    And though nothing is announced officially, the Women's Title should also be on the line, since this is Night Of Champions and all the titles are supposed to be defended. McCool/Melina would be the obvious choice (oh, to once again see the Triple Octopus Cloverleaf Dragonlock again!), but who the hell knows?
    In any case, OO is nothing if not a loyal, lemming-like glutton for punishment, and will have YOUR full report from Night of Champions late on Sunday night (or possibly early Monday morning), so that you can both (1) avoid subjecting yourself to the pain and (2) enjoy my immediate spur-of-the-moment thoughts/analysis of the show. I'll have the recap up shortly after the PPV concludes, so come on back for that, folks.
  • The PPV once called Cyber Sunday, and which was renamed Annihilation last month, has been renamed yet again. That October PPV will now be called "Bragging Rights." I wasn't clear on the specifics, but I was told this had to do with a copyright/trademark issue, which is why they're going from one generic/lame name to another.
    Which is odd. The PPV name changes have all been towards the idea of giving each show its own identity (Extreme Rules, Night of Champions, and this fall's new shows which include the all-cage/cell matches show -- "Hell in the Cell" -- and the all-submissions show -- "Breaking Point"), and instead of KEEPING the Cyber Sunday/fan-voting show (which is one everybody could immeidately remember/identify), they're just going with another show name that nobody will remember. Huh.
    Even if "Cyber Sunday" is a lame-ish name, I like the idea of a show identifiable as a "fan's choice" show, where we get to vote (in rigged elections) for what we want to see. Given WWE's absolutely pitiable and fucktarded fetish for made-up phrases/words in which "fans" no longer exist, but in which "the universe" takes their place, why not pick a name like "Infinite Universe" or "Universal Expansion" or something like that, and retain the fan-vote concept?
    Or am I just outing myself as a giant dork for knowing phrases including the word "universe" that involve actual science, instead of limiting myself to WWE's demonstrably awful co-option of the word done at the behest of even awfuller marketing department buttmonkeys?
  • Matt Hardy did, in fact, need surgery for an abdominal tear. In fact, the very day I wrote my last recap (where I suggested that Hardy's odd intarweb silence was because he'd found out bad news about an injury which he'd originally written off as "no big deal"), he ended up having the surgery and ruining his Fourth of July weekend. Poor guy.
    Best case scenario would have him back in a ring in October-ish. More likely, it'll be a little longer than that, which would actually bring him in line with what people are thinking is the timeline for his brother's return/contract-renewal, too. Could open up an interesting option for Matt returning to join CM Punk's "Jeff's a drug-loving flake who got fired" campaign just in time for Jeff to "get clean" and make his return.... first going through Matt (hopefully doing better than they have so far in their matches against each other) before finally getting to throttle that prick, Punk.
    Seriously. First, Punk doesn't like whiskey. And now, as of last Friday, he's constantly referring to some guy named "Johnny Morrison." Is there any man alive that I could possibly hate more than this dickface? Send me my royalty check, jerko! And some Evan Williams! And spare me the lecture, PepsiBoy. I mix mine with Coke! 
  • "Eugene" (real name: Nick Dinsmore) has been re-hired by WWE... he turned out to be one of those guys I'd categorize as "crowd pleasing niche players" as part of my "Goldust Effect," but was let go for very good reasons in WWE's first real Wellness Binge after Eddie Guerrero's death.
    Now, Eugene has passed a gigantor battery of tests to prove his newfound wellness (and good for him), and is being brought back PRIMARILY to assist in training down in the FCW developmental territory.
    You know my stance: ever since Al Snow was (for no good reason) pushed out by WWE as the fall guy for their failing developmental program, WWE's been counting on the likes of Jody Hamilton (who has since been dismissed, and is now waging a frivilous legal war against WWE) and Steve "Skinner" Keirn to train their next generation of stars. Oy. Only under Johnny Ace could this happen. So Eugene/Dinsmore actually does represent a substantial step up and in the right direction. Yay for that, I guess.
    Also, this opens the door for Eugene to return in some kind of capacity to WWE TV, which sure wouldn't upset me too mcuh. If nothing else, tell me the Lovable Idiot Savant With Encyclopedic Knowlege Of Jack Tunney's Collected Rulings wouldn't make a kick-ass Guest GM for one night on RAW.
    You can't tell me that. Unless you want to be wrong.
  • I think that's all the big stuff that bears discussing today, folks. I'll gladly leave those minor tidbits and off-topic (mostly UFC-related) items to other weinerboys who fashion themselves as "fight journalists." I'll stick to covering the big picture, and presenting it to you (the well-adjusted and disciminating public who don't care about minutiae) in a well-written, insightful, and painfully charismatic fashion.
    So I'm done. Don't know how it is where you are, but where I am, it's fricking JULY and it hasn't been over 80 degrees in a week. So I'm loving that. Life is good. May yours be the same, and remember: get yer asses back here on Sunday night for my Night of Champions PPV coverage.
    Till then: be well and enjoy your weekends, kids.

SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
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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