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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
Survivor Series 2009 Preview, and a TON of Other Newsbites
November 20, 2009

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com

 

So: the Yankees win the World Series, and *I* foolishly thought that meant that everything was finally right with the world. That nearly a decade of cosmic wrongness had been corrected, and that the space-time continuum was repaired, once and for all.
 
But now, I'm not so sure. In fact, I'm more scared than ever that something is very, very wrong.
 

For it is my belief that at some point during October, a NEW rift in space-time was opened, and we are now living in some messed-up alternate time-line where I'm living exactly one week (seven days) behind everybody else.
 
Let me explain:
 
My worries began a month ago, when a friend of mine announced plans to attend a Halloween party... on OCTOBER 24. Now, I'm fully aware that Halloween is one of those flexible holidays, that is often celebrated/observed on the closest adjacent weekend, and SOMEtimes, if the actual holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, there can be some confusion, and some (most) folks will opt for the prior weekend, and others for the later weekend.
 
But Halloween FELL ON A SATURDAY THIS YEAR. There is no need to relocate it. Zero. If you want to be different or not interfere with some other party, maybe do yours on Friday night, ONE DAY before. Not a whole week before. I heard about that, and I just (rightly) assumed there was something wrong with whoever scheduled that, and nary a damned thing wrong with me.
 
Then, two days later: October 26. The Monday BEFORE Halloween. I see my first TV commercials themed for CHRISTMAS. I'm of the opinion that anybody who starts getting worked up for Christmas before Thanksgiving should be punched in the throat for the betterment of all mankind, but I know I'm alone in this. New SOP for the holidays is that they begin at the start of November, right after Halloween; the marketplace (or at least: the merchants) have spoken.
 
So what's this crap with Christmas commercials the WEEK BEFORE Halloween? But I once again tell myself: *I* don't have the problem, there is nothing wrong with me. Maybe this is just corporate America trying to jumpstart the holidays early what with the sluggish economy, and all. It's a shitty explanation/excuse, but it's one that might fit the facts if you're a mental defective working at an ad agency....
 
But then, this week, my brain was broken for good: the suburb of Dayton wherein I maintain my residence is holding the annual Lighting Of The Christmas Lights tomorrow. TOMORROW. The Saturday BEFORE Thanksgiving.
 
I mean, it *is* before Thanksgiving, right? I haven't massively screwed up and upset my dear mother by spending yesterday watching college basketball (#18 Dayton defeats #21 GA Tech 63-59, FYI; our "reward" for that spanking: a game against #5 Villanova), instead of dining on turkey, have I?
 
I now fear I have fallen out of alignment with the rest of the universe. There is no other explanation. This isn't a case of morons mis-scheduling a party, or greedy marketing executives using chicanery to extend the holiday shopping season... when you go lighting a goddamned Christmas tree the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving for absolutely no discernable reason when there's going to be a perfectly good weekend right AFTER Thanksgiving (same as every year), they only explanation is that I'm precisely one week out of whack with the space-time continuum.
 
I don't know for sure, but even though MY calendar says "November 20," I'm gonna go ahead and hedge my bets and welcome you all to today's OO by hoping you all got to gorge yourself yesterday and that you're in the midst of a relaxing four-day holiday weekend. And Christmas is just 4 weeks from today!
 
My how time flies! Right? Or is anybody else out there stuck in the same bizarro timeline I'm in? Either way, here's your rasslin' news:

  • Here in my timeline, I've got Sunday night down as the annual WWE Survivor Series. At least *that* got detached, temporally, from Thanksgiving about 12-13 years ago, so I think between my calendar and all WWE's hype, we can be confident that Sunday night really *is* the PPV, and not some sort of artifact of my Vonnegut-esque sense of time traveling.
     
    After an incredibly forgettable late summer and autumn run, this is the first WWE PPV with fresh match-ups and pairings since damned near May. Or so it feels to me. The "themed PPV" concept is not without its promise, but only if done right... and WWE didn't do it right. Instead, they used it as a crutch to just churn out rematch after rematch with different stipulations, under the misapprehension that even if Cena/Orton sucked the first 4 times, it MIGHT STILL RULE the fifth, just so long as you add the proper gimmick.
     
    Suffice to say that it didn't, and only half the reason is that IronMan was the demonstrably (almost comically) wrong gimmick for those two practitioners of in-ring mediocrity. The other half is that the feud never worked to begin with; and it only got more frustrating and annoying the longer WWE felt justfied forging ahead with it, simply because the name of the next PPV would instantly allow for another do-over with a different stipulation. Whee.
     
    Orton/Cena isn't the only instance of this, merely the most criminal of the various acts of half-assery WWE's committed. It honestly feels like we've done nothing but tread water since SummerSlam, and the last time I genuinely felt like a PPV line-up was enticing and fresh goes back even farther than that. To somewhere in that strong post-Mania run of Backlash/Extreme Rules/Night of Champions.
     
    At least that finally changes on Sunday with Survivor Series. The two top titles are not necessarily on "fresh" champions (both Cena and Undertaker had already held their respective titles this year, prior to their current reigns), but they are finally being paired up with compelling new challengers, and in intrigue-laden 3-way storylines that mirror each other.
     
    That's good.
     
    And even though the "theme PPV" concept means WWE idiotically shot its "RAW vs. SmackDown Team Matches" wad at Bragging Rights (when Survivor Series was just ONE MONTH LATER), we're replacing the obvious and sensible brand-delineated elimination matches with a trio of crossbrand mash-ups featuring stars of all brands interacting with each other in unique ways.
     
    That's good, too. I mean, granted I would have prefered Bragging Rights never happen (or at least: that it happen during another part of the year far, far away from Survivor Series so you don't run into this problem), but as far as random 5-on-5 pairings go, WWE's done a pretty decent job setting us up for promising contests on Sunday.
     
    Coming from me: hey, I happen to think that's saying a lot. I'm a giant poopy-pantsed pessimist, and even I think Survivor Series' card has more going for it than any WWE PPV line-up in a long while. For your edification, here's a quick run-down of what to expect:
     
    John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (WWE Title). OK, so Randy Orton is shut out of any title rematches (per a stipulation at Bragging Rights), and Cena needs a new challenger. That part is awesome. So then, when two dipshit NASCAR nonlebrities are in charge of RAW, and are without a clue as to what to do, they take the advice of a magical leprechaun and decide to book HBK and HHH as CO-CHALLENGERS to Cena at Survivor Series. And yeah: that part is retarded beyond all belief, but it really is how it happened. Two NASCAR guys let a midget book a PPV main event. That said: it's a damned fine main event once you get past the awful and ham-handed deus ex machina... Cena/Michaels have been awesome together before; HHH/Michaels have been awesome before; Cena/HHH have... well, we can at least say they've been together before. The three together should be pretty damned good. The subtext here is that Cena's vascilating between thinking he's the victim of a 2-on-1 handicap match and thinking he can stir up trouble between HBK and HHH to create a pure three-way where he can win. But for their part, Michaels and Hunter made it clear that -- at least for one night -- DX is on vacation, and each of them wants to hold the gold. They've kept all this very low-key and non-confrontational, to the point where it was almost a boring lead-up to the PPV... all the more reason (for me) to think a well-masked heel turn is in the offing on Sunday, which would only add to the drama and excitement, as well as shake-up the title picture that's been Cena/Orton-centric for WAAAAYYYY too long. And HHH *did* just Pedigree a midget. Sayin' is all...
     
    Undertaker vs. Chris Jericho vs. Big Show (World Title). Taker smited CM Punk to solidify his hold on the strap, and Big Show was initially named as the #1 Contender... but then after NASCAR guys and midgets colluded to create a 3-way RAW Title Match at the PPV, Teddy Long decided to imitate them. Chris Jericho won a big match on SmackDown to earn that third spot, which mirrors DX's spot in a match against a dominant champ. Despite having Brand Hopping Rights, Show hasn't been seen much on SD (he's been off filming a movie, and only getting Mondays off to do TV; that'll end effective in December), leaving us with little to say about his motives here, other than the fact that he and Jericho have no lack of Prickly Heat between them, but that (as we saw at Bragging Rights and at times on RAW) they are able to easily set that aside in order to do good business. But here, with the Unified Tag Titles not on the line, "good business" no longer includes staying on the same page long enough to retain those belts and retain the valuable Brand Hopping Status. JeriShow can regroup to retain those titles at a later time (and much to the chagrin of fans just DYING for the break-up, I hope they do successfully retain, over and over again, till at least WrestleMania), but on Sunday, their "every man for himself" philosophy will be even more clear-cut than DX's. My guess: Jericho won't like it that way, however. Jericho/Taker has been more of a one-on-one feud on Friday nights, the start of a potentially very promising long-term feud between two men who'd never actually had a match against each other until just last week.... so when Jericho tries to man up against Taker again on Sunday, he'll look to Show to have his back, and it won't work out that way. Jericho falls into place as a pure heel, Taker as the pure face, and Show a match-long tweener. Just as with the RAW title match, there's the talent here to have a great contest, but even more potential for storytelling and drama given the personalities and credibility of all involved. I'm looking forward to this one.
     
    Team Orton (Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, William Regal) vs. Team Kingston (Kofi Kingston, MVP, Mark Henry, Christian, R-Truth). Easily the lesser of the cross-brand elimination matches in terms of overall talent/depth, this still rates as compelling because of the incredible breakout month Kofi has had feuding against the pleasantly-demoted Midcard Randy Orton. Kofi dropped the phoney accent and displayed a newfound charisma in a breakout promo 3 weeks ago, and then on Monday, showed the kind of intensity and connection-with-the-audience that you simply don't see every day in a breakout moment at MSG. Of the "add-ons" in this 5-on-5, Christian and Regal's ECW feud has been -- by far -- the most satisfying to watch over the past several months; the Punk/R-Truth "feud" is just weak-ass fodder that's allowing Punk to refocus after being trounced by Taker, and DiBiase/Rhodes vs. MVP/Henry is the very definition of channel-flip-inducing. But Orton/Kofi is so strong right now that that'll carry this match through the early stages where MVP/Henry/Truth need to be oustered quickly. [Damn me, always hatin' on the brothas.] Regal should probably not be long for this match, either. Then I see a couple options to best tell the Orton/Kofi story. With the caveat that Orton HAS to win here (he's been decimated by Kofi the past month), and in a way that sets up a one-on-one versus Kofi at the NEXT PPV (where they should seriously consider putting Kofi over), I'd vote for it coming down to Legacy vs. Kofi, 3-on-1. Then, Kofi still manages to rally to eliminate Rhodes/DiBiase (which will frustrate Orton, who stands by like a pussy, expecting others to do his dirty work; could jumpstart the rumored face turn(s) for DiBiase/Rhodes)... but after a long and grueling uphill battle, Kofi's got nothing left in the tank versus Orton in the 1-on-1, and Orton is the Sole Survivor. I'd dig that. Yes, people, I just outlined a way for Randall Orton to win a match and I'd LIKE it. See, I'm not so unreasonable.
     
    Team Morrison (John Morrison, Evan Bourne, Matt Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, Finlay) vs. Team Miz (Miz, Jack Swagger, Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler). This lacks the sizzle of the other 5-on-5, but does feature a crapload of more flat-out in-ring talent. Could make for a perfect opener with tons of action and fast pace, which would warm up the fans before they have a chance to get annoyed that they're once again being subjected to Ziggler on a PPV. [Or, alternately: a bunch may have no idea who Drew McIntyre is, given SD's weekly ratings.] What's pretty nice here is that you have basically three separate issues holding these 10 together. One is that Miz and Morrison are the US and IC Champs, respectively, just 6 months removed from their run as perhaps the best tag team of the past 3 years; their little rivalry -- if done right -- is the sort of thing that'll have legs as its (SLOOOOWWWWWWLLY) portioned out over time in these cross-brand settings. Then: you have the standalone US Title picture, which includes Miz butting heads with Swagger (his teammate here) and sometimes with Evan Bourne involved. Interesting. And third, you have the IC Title picture, where Morrison's spent the better part of the past 2 months dealing with Ziggler. Some more interweaving to give us depth and layers beyond just Miz vs. Morrison. I like that; in the right hands, it's a license to print drama, what with all these warring agendas.  Then on top of all that, you add in Shelton (because he rules, and if you want a spotfest, you do NOT exclude Mr. Benjamin), Sheamus and McIntyre (because both are very promising newcomers, each being given the super-badass intro treament on RAW and SD, respectively), and Matt and Finlay (uhhhh, just because their veterans who deserve the PPV payday? actually, both are quite solid and will fit in well, here). After Morrison bested Miz last month, I think (especially with both Sheamus and McIntyre backing him) Miz is due the Team Win here... you could even do a thing where Miz himself doesn't Survive (I'd make it part of a thing where Swagger mutinies, causes Miz to get eliminated, and then wins the match for himself), but later CLAIMS victory, because it WAS called "Team MIZ." Maybe even a semi-Owen-Hart-Homage to Survivor Series '93, where Miz is the ONLY guy on his team to get eliminated, but since it was "his" team, he still claims victory and gets mega-pissy at his partners (in this case: Swagger) for claiming a victory that's really his....
     
    Rey Mysterio vs. Batista. Finally. The Batista heel turn we've been begging for for almost 4 years. They didn't do it when it'd have made sense, either because Batista couldn't stay healthy long enough to set it up or because they honestly thought everything was fine with Batista's character, but it's finally here. The premise is that Rey and Batista were both in a 4-way World Title match last month, and Batista thinks Rey got in the way of Batista winning... and Batista's had just about enough of that happy crappy. Since the initial turn, I've been finding Batista to actually be the more compelling character, as Rey is all "What happened to you, bro?" and whiny and stuff. They've overplayed it a bit, too, with dramatic sit-down interviews and stuff (and a few overtones of Eddie Guerrero); oddly, that's a slice of "real" (Rey and Batista were both great friends with Eddie who became great friends with each other as a result) that somehow comes off as stilted and melodramatic now that we see it playing out in these segments. Through all that, though, the "new" Batista is still pretty fun. Because he's the OLD Batista, in a way. The Evolution Batista who effortlessly out-shone Randy Orton and forced WWE to change the WM21 main event as a result. The Batista I dubbed "The Logical Monster." He observes. He decides. He tells you exactly what's gonna happen. Then it happens. Nothing loud and shouty. Just well-executed ultraviolence after careful consideration. I fully expect a Batista win here, which sets him up to go after Taker; that way, Taker can be relieved of the World Title by somebody WWE "trusts" (unlike Punk, apparently), and move onto his next big thing to set up WrestleMania and The Streak (most believe it'll either be versus Cena or versus Jericho).
     
    Team McCool (Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix, Jillian Hall, Layla, Alicia Fox) vs. Team Mickie (Mickie James, Melina, Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres). Unlike the guy's matches, there isn't so much in the way of interwoven feuding going on here. The basic story is that Michelle is the Women's Champ on SD, but newly-assigned-to-SD Mickie James believes that'll be temporary until SHE gets a shot. So their two teams here are basically an outgrowth of their power struggle, and were assembled according to strict face/heel lines without much other consideration. The interesting thing here: McCool is the Womens Champ on SD and kvetching with Mickie, but it's BETH who is currently the most dominant woman on that brand. Meantime, Mickie is the team captain, but the Diva Champ (from RAW) is Melina. Melina and Beth as over-looked "lackeys" could be an interesting subtext here. As if WWE would ever care about even NORMAL text in a women's match, much less subtext.... but I'm trying to put a happy face on this one, people.
     
    Because both triple threats should go at least 25-30 minutes, and the three elimination 5-on-5s will take a while (not just to eliminate everyone, but just doing all them ring intros will be a lengthy matter), it's only a six match card, without a whole lot of room for much else.
     
    But it's a good one. Even *I* say so. The top four matches are ALL fresh and interesting, and stuff we've not seen before or would expect to see on a random Monday/Friday. Batista/Rey ain't exactly a world beater (it's kinda a foregone conclusion thing, a least to me), but just seeing Rey fly around and play the scrappy underdog to perfection should be OK. And the women? I.... ummmmm..... uhhhhh.... hmmmmm... well, I can safely say I likes the wimmins. So that's something.
     
    Check it out, if you like, on Sunday night. And if not? Hey, that's what OO is here for, kids. We'll have full results posted sometime before midnight if you care enough to find out what happens, but NOT enough to pay $45 for the honor. That's just how we roll.
     
    Well: that, and then we also roll by immediately reminding you that it'd be polite of you to take some of that $45 you just DIDN'T pay, and Donate It To OO to help us keep this place up and running. If you think about us as saving you about $700 per year on PPV bills, then it's just plain good manners to drop some coin on us! Thanks in advance to all who lend a hand.
     
  • Catching up on some news since last we spoke....
     
    It's been three weeks since Hulk Hogan "took over" TNA, and there's still precious little known about the exact arrangements. You can go back and read my original NewsFlash from the day it happened, and that still pretty much covers it.
     
    Anything beyond that is still just speculation and rumor.
     
    The deal went down, and though TNA has been happy to play up the move in video packages (including making Hogan seemingly the #1 selling point of the recent Turning Point PPV), Hogan has yet to appear on TNA TV in any substantive fashion, nor begin wielding any "backstage power" (since he's not even shown up backstage, yet).
     
    So far, the only real known interaction between Hogan's side and TNA has been a series of meetings this week in Nashville, with Eric Bischoff talking to the usual higher-ups (Carters/Jarrett with some SpikeTV involvement). Hogan himself mentioned TNA in a couple talk show appearances, and is presenting things very much as him being "in charge" of things going forward, but apparently won't actually TAKE that charge until perhaps the new year.
     
    Right now, the Hulkster is over in Australia, on a 10-day, 4-event tour of major cities, where he is headlining against Ric Flair. Apparently, that is the immediate priority, and TNA will wait.
     
  • For whatever it's worth: if TNA really is in for some kind of major Hogan make-over, their Turning Point PPV last weekend was a fitting send-off for what the company did best during its first 6 years... the final hour was pure in-ring gOOdness that would moisten the man-panties of even the pickiest workrate wanker.
     
    More to the point: *I* liked it, too.
     
    Kurt Angle got a bug up his ass to "make" Desmond Wolfe (more on him in a second), and did so in style. The two had a tremendous contest that'll build to a rematch next month.
     
    And AJ/Joe/Daniels didn't try to recreate 2005, but instead USED 2005 to lay the foundation for a different type of match every bit as satisfying.
     
    Those two matches may be just about the best contiguous hour TNA has put together all year. And if it's one of the LAST PPV hours before Hogan/Bischoff take over, well... you couldn't do much better.
     
    And if it's even REMOTELY true that the "takeover" is going to involve Sid ("Psycho" Sid/"Squeegee" Sid/Sid Vicious), THIS is the TNA you're gonna want to remember, kids. Then again: I think those rumors may be BS... I think TNA heard the "Screw Hulk Hogan" chants at the PPV, and is toying with you wankers. Which would be funny to me. Then again: so would seeing Sid try to "wrestle" in the Year of Our Lord 2010. I'm so torn....
     
  • As big as Hogan taking over TNA is, a lot of folks seemed even MORE surprised by the news that Shane McMahon resigned from The Family Business. His final day of work for WWE will be in early January, and then he's a free man.
     
    The guys who've blogged about this (JR and the usual suspects) put it over as a complete blindside move, given that the Shane they know loves the business so much. For his part, Shane has only issued statements through a PR person, which confirm that he loves wrestling AND loves his family and all that... but that he just felt the need to go off on his own, because if he didn't try it now, it's likely he'd never bother trying later in life.
     
    This is -- to me, given what I've been lucky enough to know over the years -- probably bad news for wrestling fans like us. Though he's been relegated to almost exclusively the business-y side of things for years, Shane's still got the last name "McMahon," and if he campaigns for something, it stands a decent chance of getting done. For a long time, my perception has been that Shane is (was) the toppest dog and biggest cheese in that entire company who was a wrestling fan LIKE US. He liked the same parts of it as us, and he pushed to do as much of that kind of stuff as possible. My perception was only strengthened by the caliber of work Shane would do when called to become an in-ring performer. But it was more than that: it was stories about Shane being the "sensible one" who'd put out petty fires, and who went to bat for guys like Rob Van Dam and Carlito, who aren't exactly corporate darlings, but who ARE a billion times more watchable than cookie-cutter roid-feuled metro-douches pumped out by Johnny Ace.
     
    Now, that'll be gone. Losers: us.
     
    I hope I'm wrong on that, but I got a sinking feeling that some under-appreciated, under-recognized counter-balance in the current WWE clockwork is going away, and the result will be an acceleration in suck if nobody steps in to fill that void.
     
    It should be noted that no matter what awaits Shane, *he* is not a loser in this. I heard that he cashed in about two-thirds of his WWE stock (the GOOD stock, the prefered kind, not the crap you can actually buy on the NYSE), and walked away with a cool $50 million or so to help him in whatever his new life might bring. He still retains about 3% ownership in WWE even after this move; his sister/brother-in-law and parents are still the only folks with greater stake in the company, and because of the "prefered" nature of their stock, actually retain almost 90% of all voting rights (they get something like 10 votes for each share of their stock versus 1 vote for each share of common stock).
     
    As to what awaits Shane? The worst kept secret in the universe is that Shane met with UFC officials two weeks ago. Nobody knows what the meeting was about, but it happened. More intriguing: Carl DeMarco, the former head of WWE's Canadian operations, met with UFC at roughly the same time, raising more than a few eyebrows. [Jilted WWE alumns looking to stick it to the company? I mean: DeMarco was ousted for reasons unclear, possibly just on the whim of Vince who thought he was getting too big for his britches. And the assumption was Shane and Steph would always be halvsies, but in reality, Steph (and HHH) have been amassing FAR more influence in the company the last 3-4 years. Or is it something else entirely?]
     
    Some also think that this will -- in the short term -- free Shane up to work for his mom's Senate campaign in the state of Connecticut. Linda -- as we already discussed -- stepped down from her job (while retaining all stock/ownership) in September to pursue the US Senate seat. So from 4 McMahons down to 2 in just a few short months....
     
    Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the ENTIRELY PLAUSIBLE and MOST LIKELY scenario... once Hulk Hogan completes his takeover of TNA, Shane McMahon will appear out of nowhere with his $50 million and buy the company, leading to an inVasion of WWE that will, of course, fail, allowing Vince to buy out TNA and get their video library for pennies on the dollar. This theory is proven by the fact that Hogan is "in charge" of TNA even as WWE hypes the hell out of Hogan's new WWE DVD. PROVEN~!

    Or not.
     
    Still: Shane leaving is big, no matter where he ends up. And I'm kinda sad about it.
     
  • WWE did a fresh round of quarterly financial data a few weeks ago, and on the surface, it was some pretty damned good news.
     
    For the first time in... well, in pretty much forever since I've been trying to Cliffs' Notes this data for you, it looked like WWE core business was genuinely in an upswing. TV money is up, house show money is up, and only PPVs were down. Combined with serious cost-cutting since a year ago at this time (when the recession really kicked in), and with pretty level performance in non-core businesses (videogames, merchandise, DVDs), the overall story was one of greatly increased profits.
     
    But then, I realized: TV ratings are only modestly up (and modestly up versus a decade-low run last year), and the MONEY is up only because WWE is now cashing WGN checks for "Superstars" (which they weren't cashing a year ago). And PPVs being down is never a good thing, and this seems to be a trend that's only gonna continue. House show attendence, however, was just place up; even with reduced ticket prices versus last year, the net revenue is up big time, and that's a promising development.
     
  • WWE has set its PPV schedule for next year, and will once again reduce the number of shows. We'll go from 14 (in 2009) to 13 next year. The show that gets the axe will be one from the June/July region where things just went to hell this past year (after a strong post-Mania run) with shitty shows spaced 3 weeks apart.
     
    I don't know which one, but either Judgment Day or The Bash will be gone; Extreme Rules and Night of Champions are safe.
     
    WWE will also raise the price of PPVs by $5 next year (so $45 for standard-def and $55 for hi-def, I think), hoping that the PPV cannot possibly erode any more, and they can just milk the extra fiver out of the remaining loyal fanbase.
     
    TNA actually just raised their PPV price tag by $5 (to $35), too, effectively last weekend. They DEFINITELY know they are done to just the very core audience of super-loyal fans, since they do about 10% as many buys as WWE (despite having roughly one-third of WWE's audience). TNA is also still considering cutting back PPVs from 12 down to 8 or so per year.
     
  • UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar's recent hospitalization and health woes have been pretty big news (all over ESPN and everything), and if you haven't kept up: he's already postponed his next fight twice, and is presently unsure if he will even be able to fight again following surgery to repair a ruptured intestine (a problem that Dana White now claims has festered for at least a year before becoming potentially fatal in the last couple weeks).
     
    Unlike other self-styled "wrestling journalists," I know MMA is not the same as pro wrestling, and it is not my "beat." But I mention Lesnar's situation here because there are more than a few whispers that should Brock be unable to safely return to the Octagon, there would be a very good chance he could safely return to pro wrestling (even if in a limited/special attraction capacity) where opponents would be able to protect Brock in a way that is not possible in UFC.
     
    So -- even though it'll be weeks or months before anybody knows for sure where Brock stands -- just file that away in your databanks for safe keeping. It might become a story again sometime next year.
     
  • More specific to us rasslin' fans, Jim Ross was also hospitalized a few weeks ago, with a flare-up of his old nemesis, Bells' Palsy. The episode didn't seem to affect him in the "paralysis" way that others did in the past, and originally he'd wanted to still tough it out and do the Bragging Rights PPV that week...
     
    But then, other troubling symptoms appeared and it was deemed necessary to forget about announcing and focus on health and well-being. Differing opinions after a battery of tests just muddied the waters, but as it stands, JR has been able to discount full-blown MS as the source of his latest problems, and is dealing with things at home in Oklahoma.
     
    He is not expected to be well enough to return to duty in the short term, and his WWE contract is due to expire quite soon... but around the horn, the consensus is that JR and WWE will stay in business together, with Jerry Lawler even tipping his hand recently by saying it sounds like JR will be better again in about 3 months, and could/should be back for WrestleMania.
     
    In the meantime, WWE has re-united the one-time ECW duo (and Slammy Award Winning Announce Team of the Year) Matt Striker and Todd Grisham on Smackdown, while calling up a developmental announcer from FCW to take Striker's place on ECW (alongside Josh Mathews). If you believe what you read, Vince is also having another one of his batshit insane breakdowns and now thinks Michael Cole is a shitty announcer and the source of all WWE's problems, so SOME are saying it's possible that if/when JR comes back, it'll be to RAW to reunite with Lawler.
     
    Truly, after all these years, we can say that such a move would be Vintage McMahon~!
     
  • If you've been paying attention, WWE debuted the former Lance Hoyt (of TNA) on ECW, under the name Vance Trampstamp. Errr, Lance Mantramp.... no.... Vance Archer.
     
    Yeah, that one.
     
    I feel so guilty.
     
    In the long-ago, when trying to underscore some of the difference between the TNA roster and the WWE roster, and how just because you love Workrate McGee in TNA doesn't mean they'd instantly get over in WWE, I named some of the guys I could ACTUALLY SEE WWE plucking from TNA. Hoyt/Archer was one. We can only hope he quickly goes the way of Chris Harris/Whatever-His-ECW-Name-Was. And then assume WWE is hot after Bobby Roode to complete the holy trinity of Suck That WWE Foolishly Hires.
     
    Why did I have to point them in this direction? I wrote that blurb trying to be semi-ironic, dammit.
     
  • NOT debuting in WWE anytime soon: Nigel McGuiness. You'll remember we talked about WWE raiding ROH to get McGuiness and Bryan Danielson, and how I was actually pretty high on McGuiness (again, unlike other Wanker Favs, he actually has "Vince Size" and Look to go with his skill level) while more guarded about the diminutive Danielson's chances.
     
    Well, McGuiness took a physical for WWE, and WWE decided not to pursue the deal any further. Though healthy at present, the story is there were warning signs that McGuiness would be prone to future injury, something WWE can't afford if they're asking guys to work 200 days a year. McGuiness counters by saying his doctors say he's perfectly healthy (which is true), but which doesn't acknowledge the core reason of why WWE decided not to continue negotiating with him.
     
    So anyway: now McGuiness is in TNA, working as Desmond Wolfe, and tearing it up with Kurt Angle. Not a bad gig. And if it's true that he's potentially fragile, the lesser TNA schedule won't hurt, either.
     
    Danielson still expects to be a part of WWE soon, bypassing FCW.
     
  • We know the next month or so of Guest Hosts for RAW...
     
    On Monday's three-hour "RAW Thanksgiving," Jesse Ventura will be on-hand to oversee things. That could/should be fun, and given that a Lawler/Sheamus match seems likely, maybe Jess'll even step behind the announce table one more time?
     
    The week after that will be "Mini-Me" Verne Troyer, so brace yourself for horrifying leprechaun-related awfulness.
     
    The next week, RAW is in Dallas, and it's expected that Mark Cuban will host (he's the Dallas Mavs' owner who has done mini-angles with WWE before).
     
    Then the week after that is December 14, and another three-hour show. This time, it's three-hours for the Slammys, and it'll be hosted by Dennis Miller. Which could be great, or could suck, depending on which Miller shows up: the one who did perhaps the single funniest "Century in Review" back 10 years ago (yes, even funnier than the Onion's), or the one who quit worrying about getting laughs and started worrying about getting applause after 9/11.
     
    Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson is also all but a lock for a show in January, where he'll plug his new movie (which comes out the 2nd or 3rd week of 2010). That'll probably rule a little bit.
     
  • And just to wrap up, we'll do some quick TV ratings for the only show where ratings matter a lick. [I STILL can't believe anybody actually "reports" numbers out to the second decimal place or cares when ratings fluctuate 0.2 points. I also can't believe that Vince McMahon went around beaming for a whole day after being told that Hulk Hogan's segment on Impact was the lowest-rated quarter hour, a full 0.13 lower than the highest quarter hour. It's almost like these people never took a math class after junior year of high school or bothered to learn about the concept of statistical sampling.]
     
    So....
     
    RAW continues to perform largely below its year-to-date average. They did a trio of 3.3 ratings to kick off October (Rothlisberger, Access Hollywood ladies, Snoop Dogg), then bumped up to a 3.7 for the post-Bragging Rights show (the NASCAR diptards, so it HAD to be for the post-PPV check-in after Cena won the belt, not for the hosts).
     
    And then: Ozzy. He pulled a 3.5, showing he's definitely an above average draw. Ricky Hatton did a 3.1, showing he's not. And just this past Monday, Roddy Piper did a 3.5 for a healthy bounceback heading into a PPV.
     
    Somebody on the OO Forums suggested a Group Project to track RAW ratings plotted against Guest Hosts to see if there's a correlation. I'm beginning to think there is, to some extent. I'm also beginning to wonder if that isn't a bad thing, if even WRESTLING FANS are basing their Watch Decision on a guest celebrity, rather than on the wrestling.
     
    But what do I know...
     
  • That's it for today, kids. Come on back for Survivor Series Coverage on Sunday night, and I'll see you again soon. GooooOOoooo Dayton Flyers!


  
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E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

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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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