Wrestling News, Analysis and Commentary

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You don't have to wait until the M/W/F editions of Online Onslaught to get the latest news...  
here, stripped down to the bare essentials, you'll find breaking news reported in near-real-time.  


February 18, 2003 / 2:00pm
Quick RAW Recap

In lieu of one of OO's usual RAW recaps, here are the highlights from last night's show for anyone who missed out... straight results in black, brief opinions in red italics:

  • Rob Van Dam defeated Lance Storm in a singles match to open the show.  Both Kane and William Regal were also at ringside, and ran interference for their respective partners.  The finish came when Kane intercepted Regal's attempt at interference, giving RVD enough time to hit the Five Star Frog Splash for the pinfall win.  [A decent 7-8 minute opener, really, and a good way to build expectations for Sunday's PPV tag title match between these two teams.]
  • Backstage: Shawn Michaels was chatting with Jeff Hardy, complaining about an airline losing his luggage and not having any of his usual gear with him.  Bischoff walks by, and Michaels smugly wishes him good luck Sunday against Austin, because he's gonna need it.  Bischoff does not like this.
  • Bischoff hit the ring for a promo.  First, he reinstated Chief Morley.  Then, to get back at Michaels, he booked Michaels/Hardy vs. Chris Jericho/Christian in a No-DQ Match for later in the night.  Then he announced that he had indefinitely suspended Bubba and D-Von Dudley, and also that he had booked Spike Dudley vs. Three Minute Warning for later tonight.  Then, he talked about his 20 years of Karate Fighting domination and how he's not afraid of Steve Austin; he also promised to showcase his skills tonight in a match... against Jim Ross.  [A throwback to the old "clipboard" RAWs, where a McMahon would come out and basically give reasons for booking every match on the show... I like that.  Good delivery from Bischoff, too.]
  • Backstage: Steven Richards tries to get Victoria to make peace with her makeshift tag partner, Jazz.  Instead, Victoria alienates Jazz, and Jazz alludes to her desire to be women's champion.
  • Jazz and Victoria beat Jacqueline and Molly Holly.  Story here had Jazz tagging herself in so that she could get the win in the end (pinning Jackie).  After the match, Jazz also punked out Molly, and got into a staring contest with Victoria. [A nothing match, really, but I guess it sets up Victoria as a bit of a tweener, and opens up more possibilities for a women's title feud beyond just Trish.]
  • Backstage: Booker T is interviewed and says that Goldust is physically getting better, but is not right in the head.  Then he promises revenge on "Evolution" in his tag match later tonight.  A quick cut to the Evolution dressing room sees Triple H implore his troops to put Booker in the hospital next to Goldust, and to do even worse things to prevent Scott Steiner from making it to the No Way Out PPV.
  • Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler briefly eulogized "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, and then introduced a really classy tribute video set to Hennig's old WWF music.
  • Clips from last Monday's RAW (which were actually bumped to last night's Heat) were shown:  Teddy Long was pissed that D'Lo lost to Booker T, and so he went to Plan B... which was Rodney "Redd Dogg" Mack attacking D'Lo.
  • Rodney Mack (w/ Teddy Long and new catchphrase "Back the Mack") beat Al Snow with a modified Tiger Bomb that looked like it almost broke Snow's neck (but Snow was OK).  [It was what it was: an introduction to Rodney Mack.  Pardon me if I'm already missing D'Lo Brown.]
  • Backstage, Chris Jericho and Christian briefly talked about how they were going to punk out Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy.  On his way out of the dressing room, Jericho did a Mr. Perfect Gum Swat.  Nice touch.
  • Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy beat Chris Jericho and Christian in a No-DQ tag match.  Story here had Michaels and Hardy getting off to a fast start, only to be derailed when Jericho hand-cuffed Michaels to the lower ring rope.  A non-stop assault on Hardy commenced, with Jericho periodically stopping to taunt Michaels with the key to the cuffs.  Of course, one of those times, he got too close, and got a superkick for his troubles.  He dropped the key within reach of Michaels, who escaped the cuffs, and got up on the apron just in  time to get the hot tag from Jeff.  Michaels was a house afire, eventually superkicking a chair into Jericho's face, allowing Jeff Hardy to land a Swanton Bomb for the pinfall win.  [A good 7-8 minute match, a tad better than the opener, with Michaels minimal work nicely masked by the handcuffing thing.  But I wish they'd find a route for Jeff's character and stick with it; and I admit I preferred whiny diva-ish heel to HBK Protégé.]
  • Backstage: Jericho starts throwing props around, shouting about how he can't believe Jeff Hardy broke his losing streak against the King of the World.  He promises revenge on Jeff Hardy.  
  • Hurricane beat Chris Nowinski with the Eye of the Hurricane. [Pointless match with no heat, but still well-worked enough, I guess.]
  • Backstage: Eric Bischoff is spied sparring with Chief Morley (who has pasted JR's face onto some kick pads). 
  • Rico, Jamal, and Rosie positivley squashed Spike Dudley in a 3-on-1 handicap match.  Rico was allowed to make the pin after Jamal and Rosie did most of the damage.  [It was meant as the counter-point to last week's three-on-one squash of Morley by the Duds, but it doesn't play as well when it's the babyface who has absolutely no chance to win in the eyes of the audience.]
  • Backstage: Scott Steiner is interviewed, and his focus is on the World Title match on Sunday, which he vows to win.  Enter Booker T, who stares down Steiner and tells him it's time to take care of some revenge in tonight's tag match.  They finally agree and split to take care of business.
  • Booker T and Scott Steiner beat Triple H and Batista.  HHH started the match, and worked a good portion of it despite coming back from an injured thigh.  That said, there wasn't a whole lot of high risk work done in the match, which even included the dreaded "Main Event Sleeper" by HHH.  The end came when Steiner got tied up with Batista after trying to evade interference from Ric Flair and Randy Orton.  That left Booker alone in the ring with Triple H.  Booker hit the axe kick, and got the surprise pinfall win.  [Another decent match in the 7-8 minute range, but mostly, I probably just liked it because the pinfall-over-the-champ by Booker enhances the possibilities for Booker's break-out WM19 match against HHH.]
  • Eric Bischoff beat Jim Ross in a segment that could not, by even the most generous standards, be called a "match."  Prior to the contest, Bischoff did some karate bits, breaking a couple boards and kicking clean through a watermelon.  He was about to go for a cinderblack when JR's entrance interrupted him.  Bischoff declared the match was No Holds Barred at that point, which made Chief Morley's interference perfectly legal.  As soon as JR gained a slight advantage, Morley was in to beat him down.  At that point, Bischoff kicked a cinderblock into JR's head, drawing Jerry Lawler from the announce desk.  Morley took care of Lawler, and Bischoff dealt with JR, who had gotten back up (bloody, mind you).  Bischoff knocked JR back down with a kick, and pinned him.  After the "match," Bischoff closed the show by celebrating, Stone Cold Style, with a few beers.  [Not much good here, as this was a segment that did NOT put people -- not even a gimmicked cinder block -- in position to look strong.  Luckily, the massive Austin Tease is now over, and we won't be subjected to any more of this marking time.]

More thoughts/fall-out in Wednesday's regular OO column. 

February 10, 2003 / 5:00pm
Curt Hennig, Dead at Age 43

Curt Hennig, perhaps best known for his WWF run as "Mr. Perfect" in the late 80s and early 90s, was found dead in a Tampa, FL, hotel room about three hours ago.  He was in Florida to do interviews and help promote a Jimmy Hart-organized event later this week.
At the present time, no foul play is suspected.  Suspicions have already turned to Hennig's love of the party-it-up-on-the-road lifestyle combined with the possibility of recreational drug use motivated by back pain that kept him out of the ring for over a year in the early 90s as possible scapegoats for yet another too-young wrestling death.

Hennig, who came up through the AWA and also had a brief WWF run a little over 20 years ago, really came to national prominence when given the "Mr. Perfect" gimmick in the WWF.  There, he feuded with World Champ Hulk Hogan, and enjoyed lengthy reigns as the InterContinental champ.  As an "executive consultant" he was also key to Ric Flair's lone WWF Title run, before returning to active in-ring duty in 1993 following 18 months off due to a bad back.

In WCW, he was a member of both the nWo and the "West Texas Rednecks," and he also got to make a brief return to the WWF early in 2002.  That run ended as a result of Hennig's poor behavior (rumored to have included a tussle with Brock Lesnar) on the return flight from an overseas tour.
Additional details from PWTorch.com reveal that Hennig was fine at 9:30 this morning, and made a lunch date with referee Mickey Jay at that time.  When Hennig did not show up on time, a check of his hotel room found him dead.

I'll have any additional details that come up regarding the circumstances of Hennig's death -- and certainly a much more fitting career retrospective -- in Wednesday's OO.

January 3, 2003 / 2:30pm
WWE Back Live, and Other NewsBites

Starting today, WWE is back on a normal schedule following the holidays.  With both Royal Rumble and the RAW 10th Anniversary happening this month -- and WrestleMania looming on the horizon -- things should get pretty busy pretty fast.  Here's a quick batch of news to get you ready for an eventful 2003:

  • SmackDown! is live tonight, with three major elements already in place for the show.
    First, let's get the not-so-promising out of the way:  Dawn Marie and Al Wilson will be getting married.  But of course, wrestling weddings never go as planned, so zaniness will come into play here.  The obvious swerves are Dawn Marie outright stopping the ceremony, telling Al that she played him for a fool; or you could have Al slowly realize what's really going on and have him give us a happy ending by leaving Dawn at the altar and making peace with his daughter, Torrie.  Either way, expect Cole and Tazz to have to mock the whole skit to make it even remotely watchable.
    Second:  although Kurt Angle can't work a match, he'll be present as the Captain of Team Angle.  And they'll be doing everything in their power to make sure Chris Benoit has no momentum heading into his title shot versus Angle at the Royal Rumble.  Lingering issue: can Big Show resign himself to being a second-rate member of Paul Heyman's stable?  I mean, I don't foresee Heyman placating him with Team Show anytime soon...
    And third:  Brock Lesnar vs. Matt Hardy should be a featured match.  Matt issued a challenge to Lesnar last week, and -- though I hear Vegas has Lesnar as a heavy favorite with a match-length over/under of 2 minutes, 10 seconds -- so I'd say this is looking like a centerpiece for a show that otherwise has storylines to tell, but no actual in-ring contests lined up.
    Check out SmackDown! tonight on UPN, or come on back for The Cubs Fan's recap here on OO...
  • Triple H is expected back in the ring at this weekend's house shows, including departures from the continental US for shows in Hawaii.  The thigh injury that limited HHH at the Armageddon PPV and that has kept him out of the ring for the past 3 weeks is still not at 100%, but the plan is for HHH to get back in the ring as soon as possible.
    Not only is there the issue of trying to make sure fans get their money's worth, but the Fed also wants to get HHH and Steiner in the ring with each other a few times before they have to do their act for a PPV crowd at the Rumble.
  • While the RAW brand travels to Hawaii for a pair of house shows this weekend, the SmackDown! brand gets to fly up to Alaska for shows in Anchorage and Fairbanks.  Mmmmm... a weekend in Alaska during the dead of winter.  Pure paradise!
  • Shawn Stasiak has told the NoHoldsBarredWrestling.com audio show that he will be returning to WWE in January.  Stasiak, plagued by injury and a lack of a really marketable gimmick, was released by the Fed in that latter part of 2002.
    Who knows?  This might only be a one-night mini-return for Stasiak on the 10th Anniversary RAW...  but just in case, you might want to brace yourselves for another rocket trip to Planet Stasiak.
  • Bret Hart's has publicly denied any interest in ever returning to WWE, but it does appear that his first major post-stroke wrestling appearances have been booked.  
    Hart is expected to be a part of WWA's February tour of Europe, likely reprising a commissioner-type role for the group.  Bret will also be brining some up-and-coming Canadian indie wrestlers along to get exposure during the tour. 

December 20, 2002 / 3:30pm
Quick Weekend Newsbites

With a ton of other cool stuff posted today for you to read, and with not a whole lot else going on, I'm just resurrecting the Ticker for today's brief update:

  • I saw most of SmackDown! last night while erecting the creed-non-specific Holiday Tree at my mom's house, and all I can say is, "Whoo Hoo!".
    They're working Angle/Lesnar in a way that it'll be a huge, must-see type of match for just about every fan... not just for the smarts who could get fired up about the amateur champ vs. amateur champ aspect of it.  Adding Heyman into the mix means Big Show stays involved in this, too, and keeps having interesting storylines about him, which helps compensate for his matches being not as well worked.
    Also: Edge over Albert cleanly is probably the finish they should have just gone with at the PPV, because it was ever so much more satisfying...  not sure I agree with having Nunzio squashed in his first match, but ol' Bill DeMott benefited from how that segment went down; by the time he pasted his own tag partner, the crowd was actually paying attention...  "big ups," as the kids on the street say, to John Cena and his Rhyme Developmental Team; now if only they didn't feel this need to put Rikishi over him at every turn, he might get somewhere with this gimmick...
    On the downside: why, oh why, waste so much time with more Torrie/Dawn Marie nonsense?  It flopped at the PPV, and it's not like it's gonna age well.  Let's just try to keep everything as short and un-stupid as possible for the next week or two until we do the inevitable Al-leaves-Dawn-at-the-altar angle, OK?
  • You can get the full results from SmackDown! right here
  • The overnight rating for SD! was a 4.2, which is down 0.2 from the previous week's overnight rating, and identical to the ON from 2 weeks ago.  As per custom, we'll have a final rating on Monday.
  • As discussed in Wednesday's OO, there is no plan to hold a RAW taping for the show to air on 12/30, and it now sounds like WWE will just be putting together a Year in Review sort of thing for that night.  I hope they've already got ILM on retainer to take care of making four months worth of "F's" disappear!
  • Nothing new on the Goldberg front, but for those who questioned whether all that talk I did in the last few weeks about Bret Hart's travel plans was for real or not, well, here's something...
    Hart dropped the ceremonial puck at the Florida Panthers game on Wednesday night in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
    While it doesn't confirm any sort of meeting with WWE officials, it does make me a lot more likely to believe the super-top-secret source within the airline industry who tipped me off to Hart flying to Florida, supposedly on WWE's dime.  Actually, the way the deal worked out, Bret was in Atlanta last week when WWE was there, and then flew to Florida a couple days before the Armageddon PPV.  Shadowing WWE, if you enjoy building up conspiracy theories.
    I'm not one for the grand theories and rumor mongering... because the truth is, Hart considered himself retired for health reasons even BEFORE his stroke this summer.  There's nothing much to get excited for.  But that said, it would a thousand kinds of cool if the parties involved could let bygones be bygones so that Bret could get in front of a live audience, in a non-wrestling capacity, just to get some kind of fitting, affectionate send-off from fans.  And maybe, just for the hell of it, a free shot on Vince McMahon.  
    As I've said once or twice in recent weeks, it could be that the RAW 10th Anniversary would provide the perfect opportunity.
  • That is all.  Enjoy the weekend.  Get your holiday shopping done.  See you Monday.

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