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War 2.0: Tale of the Tapening, 03/22/10
March 22, 2010

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com


On one hand, it turns out I am exactly as smart as the President of the United States. Who'da thunk it?
But on the other hand, it turns out our shared smartness level is "Not Very." D'oh. Fie on you Kansas! First you ruin last year's feel-good Cinderella story (the universally beloved University of Dayton Flyers) in the second round. And this year, you ruin my bracket by bowing out in the second round. Jerks. 


Obama can at least use the excuse that he does, technically, have other, more important shit he should be paying attention to. Me, on the other hand? I can dick around filling out brackets and pretending to know hoops. I should kick Obama's ass at March Madness, frankly.
Maybe next year. For now, it's the New Weekly Tradition of trying to be excited about this new Monday Night Rasslin' War! We'll quickly review last week's results, then preview this week's shows...

RATINGS/POST MORTEM (for 03/15/10)
RAW: 3.7 overall rating (on hours of 3.6 and 3.7, with an over-run of 4.3)
Impact: 0.8 overall rating (on hours of 0.9 and 0.8, with an over-run of 0.7)
Analysis: RAW did almost exactly as expected, perhaps not coming out of the gates as strong as hoped, but keeping folks tuned in and attracting more eyeballs until the closing Austin/Hart segment (which is the most-watched WWE segment in a good long while). Impact came in maybe a notch or so below expectations, raising questions about whether TNA will be doomed to fall short in all pre-taped weeks, or if this is simple an issue with the specific show they offered up on this specific pre-taped week. If it's the latter, it speaks volumes that a so-called "Dream Match" between home-grown AJ Styles and high-price former WWE Champ free agent Jeff Hardy just did not equate into ratings... if I were a TNA fan, and I knew Hulk Hogan was in charge and obsessing over minor fluctuations in ratings, I'd be worried about the sorts of changes Hogan might make when faced with the fact that a "Wanker Dream Match" didn't sell...
Additional note: TNA is still running an Impact replay in its old Thursday night slot. It did an identical 0.8 rating, and presumably didn't have an entire audience of fans who already watched the show once... so the total viewership for TNA last week was more than the 0.8 indicates... but the fact that a good chunk of people relied on the Thursday replay tells us how casual fans are prioritizing their Monday wrestling. So far, TNA doesn't seem to have dented WWE's audience, and fans are perfectly content to keep up with RAW and -- if the mood moves them -- check out TNA later in the week.


TNA IMPACT (SpikeTV, 9pm)
What's Been Promised: TNA is hyping a major announcement by Hulk Hogan regarding the main event of next month's PPV... considering the wonky finish to last night's PPV ("wonky" being my diplomatic way of saying "it was the dumbest thing I've seen in a while, and the capper to the lamest PPV main event in an even longer while"), this will no doubt have to do with the status of the TNA Title after a no-contest that saw AJ Styles buried under the ring with half the TNA heel roster, while Abyss and Hogan had physical possession of the belt.
The in-ring drawing card for tonight appears to be Matt Morgan and Hernandez facing off after their partnership dissolved at the PPV last night. Could be interesting... more and more, one can't deny that Morgan is "the one that got away" when it comes to WWE's more ass-hatted personnel decisions of the past 5-6 years, while Hernandez was probably one ill-timed injury away from being a current TNA headliner. Also: 8-woman tag match with Tara (formerly Victoria), Sarita, Taylor Wilde, and Angelina Love taking on the Beautiful People and Daffney.
What Could Surprise: Obviously, with TNA playing up the import of Hogan's Mystery Announcement, they could deliver something interesting on that front... but the more optimistic part of me hopes that where TNA really delivers the goods tonight is in terms of getting their roster and storylines set, and posititioning all their new acquisitions properly. We're coming off a PPV where Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, and Sting were all non-existent, and yet, the ol' Wolfpac had a match (a SHOCKING SWERVE~! that saw the band get back together) and Big Rob Terry and Brutus Magnus stunk up the joint in a match that wouldn't even make the cut on Impact and should be stuck on TNA's crap-ass webcast and stuff like that.
That needs to change, and we need to get the right guys into the right spotlights so that us fans have a top-to-bottom compelling product to enjoy, instead of the current one that's riddled with holes. Hardy and RVD are the no-brainers on this front, as RVD's storyline with Sting is set, and Jeff already owns a non-title win over Styles. Let's focus on the good, dammit.
Same thing applies for undercard guys. The Destination X PPV last night was at its best when focusing on the X Division; the rest was either a glorified Impact (at its peak for the tag title and Angle/Anderson matches) or outright stinky (again: that main event)... the X Division is something that actually differentiates TNA from WWE, and after having that point underscored on last night's PPV, it'd be a pleasant surprise to have TNA keep on emphasizing that aspect of the product.
What Could Disappoint: I'll list the Hogan announcement again here, just because... well, it's Hogan, it's Bischoff, it's two idiots promising a Big Surprise, and it could just as easily suck balls as be a cool deal. Other than that: it's the same thing I said last week, the issue I alluded to above, and the comment I'll probably make again and with regularity until TNA fixes it... and that's the fact that almost ANYthing can disappoint when you've just got so many holes that need plugging, and keep on carting out segments that just have no earthly reason to exist and appeal to almost no one. As long as the Nasty Boyz and Bubba the Sperm Receptacle are employed, and as long as the Wolfpac are under the impression that it's 1996, there will always be plenty of opportunities for fans to end up rolling their eyeballs at Impact.
The Verdict: TNA gets the built-in benefit of a post-PPV show, which means tightening up loose ends from the night before, but more importantly: shifting gears to get ready for the next big show. If they shift properly, tonight could be a newsworthy show that finally makes us feel like TNA's getting their act together and building towards bigger and better things... to me, keep tabs on Impact tonight to see how they do on that front is the major appeal tonight. If I likes what I sees, I'll keep on checking back; if I don't, well not only is there RAW, but I'll be more than a little distracted by what's on ESPN at 9pm (yeah, I know it's only the NIT, but any chance to see the Flyers stick it to those turdlickers from Cincinnati is a good one in my book)... it's an uphill battle for TNA tonight, but I'll be pulling for them to steal my attention.
WWE Monday Night RAW (USA, 9pm)
What's Been Promised: As I pre-saged (and pre-feared) last week, we get a lame-tacular tag team pairing of Triple H and Randy Orton in tonight's main event.... OMG FORMER MENTOR/STUDENT TURNED HATED RIVALS TURNED PARTNERS OF CONVENIENCE FOR TONIGHT~! If only I gave a shit. They're taking on the threesome of Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, and Sheamus in a handicap match.
And we also know that Pete Rose will be our Guest GM for the evening. That's cool because not only is it a reminder that baseball season is just around the corner... it's an almost surefire guarantee that Kane will stick to tradition and once again remind ol' Charlie Hustle who the REAL Big Red Machine is. Ahhhh, Pete Rose in a San Diego Chicken outfit getting tombstoned at WrestleMania... good times. Good times...
What Could Surprise: With ust 6 days to go before WrestleMania, this really isn't the time for true "surprises." The foundations have been laid, and all WWE has to do is give us the most entertaining final touches to existing stories that the can. The icing on the cake is never a "surprise," since it's not a cake without icing... but maybe we can hope to be surprised by how tasting this particular frosting is.
A last dose of promo-y/video-package-y goodness from HBK/Shawn here... some kind of tease to make us believe Bret/Vince will be anything other than a trainwreck (I'd settle for Bret holding up his end in a brawl rather than bumbling around jobbing to speaker cabinets like he did the last time; maybe have a big ol' schmozzy schmozz at some point where Bret winds up backing his buddy Cena in a CONFRONTATION? against Batista?)... maybe one last MitB Qualifier (thee's currently 9 guys in, 5 from SD and 4 from RAW, and that last spot really should have Kofi's name on it)... same deal goes for teh Hall of Fame, which needs one more inductee for 2010; conveniently enough, it's gonna be Bob Eucker being announced on a night where Pete Rose is Guest Hosting... figure out some excuse, ANY excuse to get me some Jericho and/or Edge crossing over for the night... just some simple/straight-forward stuff like that would be pretty nice, if you ask me; nothing too shocking, either, just pleasantly appetite-whetting.
If WWE does have one ace up its sleeve, it would be the possible announcement of Jim Ross returning to the announce desk at WM... the plan is now for him to call the entire show with King from RAW and Striker from SD, if I heard correctly, possibly making that the full time PPV team, while the individual shows would stay the same, unless JR decides he really does want to be out on the road 52 weeks a year.
What Could Disappoint: That main event handicap match is a glaring Vortex of Apathy waiting to happen, if you ask me... although Sheamus blew my mind with a killer promo last week, him vs. HHH and Orton vs. Legacy are still the two weakest matches on the WM line-up this year. Simply combining them into one big preview-y Voltron of Suck for tonight's show doesn't make either one any more compelling, nor do I care about the almost-certain-to-be-over-hyped "OMG HHH and Orton are partners~!" aspect of it. Other than that, however? I'm liking this WM line-up, I'm liking RAW's chances of just keeping things crusing along nicely, and I'm doubting that they fumble the balls this late in the game. For tonight to really stink, WWE'd have to go out of it's way to try.
The Verdict: Normally, the last show before a PPV fills me with dread that WWE will go all heavy-handed with the hype, and forget to serve me up some steak with that sizzle. But hell: this is WRESTLEMANIA SEASON, dammit, not one of countless off-month forgettable Armaunforjudgmalash PPVs. And this really is shaping up like one of the most "WrestleMania-y" Manias in a long time; maybe since #20. So I'll take some of that sizzle, and I'll sell out to some hype. If you're in the casual/lapsed fan category, this would be a good chance to re-introduce yourself to the product, too, and see if WWE can't sell you on their biggest show of the year. Like I said: it's hard to imagine them fumbling it too badly at this juncture, so tonight oughta be the best foot forward from the wrestling show that is already the go-to show every Monday night.

There you have it, kids... hopefully enough data to inform your channel flipping finger tonight. And no matter how your Viewing Decisions play out, remember that you can just come on back here to OO tomorrow for full coverage of both shows, courtesy of Danny and Pyro.
Go Impact! Go RAW! Go me-having-to-wait-till-tomorrow-to-torrent "24" because DVR has its limitations! And of course: GO FLYERS! I want this horrible disappointment of a season to be over as soon as humanly possible so that you bastards can stop causing me pain (that will now be the Reds' job!), but you WILL NOT lose to UC, goddammit. Anybody but them.

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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