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All The Angle That's Fit To Print, plus
TONS of Other Catch-up News 
September 27, 2006

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Since you folks would probably neither care nor believe if I tried to explain to you the ratio of busy-ness to laziness that has kept me from tending properly to my OO duties, I just won't bother.

But I will briefly regale you with a tale of my CLEVERNESS, which robbed you of a column I had three- quarters written on Friday, but then kiboshed, on the grounds that something started feeling fishy about the odd Angle-to- MMA information campaign and the news of TNA's "big announcement." I'd just gotten done talking to somebody,

and arrived at this 90% certainty that the only way this news seemed to make a lick of sense is if there was a smokescreen being put in place so Angle could be the big TNA surprise.

So to "protect" myself from being one of the (I assume) countless knee-jerk pundits who flew off the handle with the news of Kurt quitting pro wrestling for MMA, I just decided to hold back on that. Boy am I ever glad I did. Maybe that looks like laziness from where you're sitting, but trust me: what it REALLY is is pure genius and outstanding instincts!

"So why no follow-up on Monday, then, Scaia?", I hear you asking... well, that's where the story takes a twist, because as of Sunday morning, I am currently in what could be charitably called "a world of shit." A mild nagging hip injury from two months ago has somehow gone on steroids or formed Voltron with other injuries, or something, and the mere acts of walking or sitting upright are chores of the highest degree, with pains that shoot up my spine and wrap around to my upper left thigh/groinal area, and which all around suck. The numbness in the toes that comes with the pains can't be good, either. And me and my pride/self-consciousness means I refuse to take my new old man shuffle and pusstastic grimacing out in public to restock now that I'm out of Advil. And whiskey. And there's something rather unsavory about trying to make arrangement to have drugs and booze delivered to your doorstep, so....

What I wouldn't give for Kurt's medicine cabinet right about now. Just something to take the edge off and let me interact with society. God I hope this goes away on its own soon. Till it does, OO does fall behind "anything that allows me to recline on a soft, cushiony surface" in terms of my priorities. But in the name of not getting too far behind on news and stuff, I'll tough this one out for you folks today:

  • So. Kurt Angle's in TNA. This has got to be near the top of the list of Wrestling News Stories 2006, and as of this writing, I honestly still haven't decided how I feel about it.
    At the end of the day, Kurt is a grown man, entitled to make whatever decisions he wants with his life. But at the end of the day, we -- both as fans of his and as Decent Human Beings -- are entitled to wish that he makes the best, least-destructive decisions possible.
    And at the end of the day, Kurt's final six months with WWE are very illuminating in terms of Kurt's current decision-making prowess. It leads me to be of a slightly disappointed mindset upon hearing the news. I'm not a "Kurt Will Die in the Ring" doomsayer, mind you... but I do feel WWE's handling of the situation tells us everything we need to know about Angle's present qualifications to be competing inside a wrestling ring.
    Think about it pragmatically: what's the one thing Vince McMahon loves above all else? Making money. But what's the one thing in the world he hates even more than he loves money? Bad press. Vince and Kurt made a lot of money together, so Vince and WWE management's concerns over Kurt's well-being (and thus, his status as a PR Liability) had to be DAMNED mighty to just send him home like they did.
    To me, that's where I have to take my cue from, here.... Vince McMahon, money fetishist whose been known to ride many a pony until said pony had nothing left to give, decided it was best to send Kurt Angle out to pasture than risk.... well, than risk whatever unspeakable risks we've all been all-too-ready to contemplate since Eddie's death a year ago. For WWE to make that decision speaks volumes about what's really going on behind the scenes and behind the Dave Hawk press releases and all that other smoke-screenery.
    That TNA has picked up Angle represents the inverse of WWE's decision-making. Where as WWE made a dubious decision from a purely business/money perspective, albeit a surprisingly morally responsible one, TNA has made a move here that has incredibly positive implications on the business side but which comes with some ethical baggage.
    My inability to arrive at solid feelings on this issue stem from the fact that we don't yet know exactly how TNA intends to use Angle. My immediate reaction when quickly discussing this with Jason on Sunday night was "If TNA asks Angle to wrestle before January, I'll be very put out." And I think I'll stick to that. That's basically the timetable WWE was hoping for with Angle, and based on what they knew about Angle's injuries (without even getting into the issues of his "Personal Demons") there were to be no discussions whatsoever about Angle coming back to a WWE ring before the Royal Rumble.
    So far, we know Kurt's not working the October PPV. He'll merely be a guest "enforcer" referee for the NWA TItle main event. [Out of hope that it doesn't go nearly as badly, I'll refrain from making a snide remark about the last time somebody who might have taken wrestling a little too seriously left the WWF for another company and made his PPV debut in a mind-numbingly illogical Guest Enforcer for a Sting match.] After that? Who knows how fast TNA would move with Kurt... but I'll hope they'll not do anything stupid. I mean, I'll stop short of saying Angle has a Death Wish, and I'll not accuse TNA of facilitating his wish... but when we know one round of doctors has spoken on the issue, any attempt to circumvent the proper recovery -- even if Angle himself is insistent on working -- amounts to TNA tacitly endorsing the tactics Angle used to stay mostly active dating back to last year.
    The same tactics which were behind Angle being sent home by WWE, which as we've discussed, is a telling move. Granted, TNA has no Wellness Policy outside of "If we notice something fishy about your work, we'll confront you and address the issue one way or the other, but otherwise, you're on your own." But that doesn't erase the fact that this is a unique case where there is ample Due Cause for suspicion, and the company would be well-advised to tread lightly.
    Also, I have this to say to folks who've e-mailed in with a viewpoint that seems a bit irrationally cheery and optimistic.... yes, I know that Angle will only have to work 5-6 matches per month for TNA, which will help preserve him. But this does NOT change the fact that the Kurt Angle of today, right now, September 27, 2006, is in condition to wrestle ZERO matches per month. The reduced schedule only becomes a relevant issue once we have a Kurt Angle we are confident is capable of keeping it. Safely.
    There is no solid information about the duration of Angle's TNA contract, though TNA's policy with these higher-ticket stars like Sting and Nash is to only sign them for one year at a time, and leave the 3-year deals to younger/home-grown stars. Kurt's contract, however, is known to not be an exclusive one, which could conceivably allow Angle's camp to keep up the smokescreen of pursuing UFC/MMA matches (where I get the impression everybody thinks Angle would get smoked by anybody but the most carefully selected of pushover competition; although I must tell you that already there is talk that SpikeTV -- in search of UFC/TNA synergy -- would make a push for Angle to get PRECISELY those sort of pattycake opponents in a few shootfights). More likely, this frees Angle up to augment that supposedly "light" TNA schedule with other pro wrestling dates, most likely including what could be some pretty gigantic paydays over in Japan.
    As far as what Angle will do in TNA? Well, let's just say that the company just brought in the first man they've had on their roster with the gravitas necessary to end Samoa Joe's unbeaten streak. To me, that's the money match, albeit one that should be far down the line. Otherwise, if it's the first bullet TNA shoots and it comes in, like, November, or something, I hope the ImpactZone Wankers are sharp enough to chant "Joe won't have to kill you" at Kurt. But later on? A healthy Kurt vs. Joe? Hell, even I might pay to see that. [Coincidence or not? Angle has trademarked "The Machine" for himself, while Joe is the "Samoan Submission Machine." YOU make the call.]
    Angle also gives TNA another rarity on their roster: a VERY versatile personality. With the exception of Christian, TNA is populated mostly by guys who can do just one thing, personality-wise... well, and last month, Monty Brown did briefly flirt with speaking the Actual English Language, which might have given him some other options, but that's about it. And TNA's lucky to have those one-dimensional guys, cuz lord knows that they also have enough (AJ Styles, here's looking at you) who don't do ANYthing well, personality-wise. Angle's versatility, however, will allow him to work with anybody, and in all kinds of different stories.
    In fact, recalling the Glory Days of Team ECK (Edge, Christian, Kurt) and later Team RECK (adding Rhino), I'd be all for the reunification of Angle and Christian as some sort of a MegaTweener Consortium. With the outside possibility of adding Rhino in, depending on how sincere Christian's "I'm kicking your ass, but it's out of LOVE, Rhino" shtick is. You've got goofy, you've got prickish, you've got bad-assness... all the ingredients you need for a Tweener stable that could oppose anybody. Which is what TNA should be about: no matter how strongly you define a character, the core TNA audience seems incapable of purely booing anybody other than Jarrett, so just give up, play it more subtlety, still define the characters, but let the fans decide who they want to cheer and boo, and just focus on delivering the best possible matches.
    Of course, that sort of booking philosophy becomes a sketchy proposition when you consider that Vince Russo is back in charge, but we'll see...
    A few other quick details about Angle's move:
    Contrary to what I gather were VERY widespread reports, Angle was not in Orlando on Sunday, nor was he ever scheduled to be. His earliest appearance in Orlando could be the next round of TV tapings in 2 weeks. Everything till then will be pre-taped.
    The pre-tape shown on Sunday was done mid-week in Nashville, TN (where TNA's offices remain). They finalized Angle's contract and did a late night video shoot. I have heard that. until Sunday night, as few as 7 people inside TNA and SpikeTV knew about the decision.
    Nobody within WWE knew, though I gather they weren't precisely shocked, either, as Angle hadn't been keeping in touch with the office. Which he had been expected to do, as WWE had offered to pay Angle's guaranteed money for a full six months following his release (through the end of February '07, basically) so long as he didn't work elsewhere and kept them apprised of his status and his work towards getting healthy. The hope that this would entice Angle to get well and get back on a new contract in time to be a part of the build to WrestleMania 23 was apparently misplaced. Angle has essentially passed on WWE's offer of free money in order to keep his name and face in the public spotlight (and at a reduced rate of pay).
    Kurt has also tweaked WWE in statements since Sunday's announcement, claiming he'd been "held back" and that only in TNA will fans see the "real" Kurt. Huh. Given the titles won and main events worked by Angle (and given the caliber of matches he had when given adequate dance partners), I can't say I don't find those claims to ring hollow and sound a bit petulant. But I guess we'll all just see, now, won't we.
    Not to bring it all around to the brushing-up-against-doomsaying, but I guess my one main hope here is that we don't get that kick-ass 3-disc WWE DVD retrospective on Angle's career after he suffers some unspeakable fate at a too-soon age. I hope we get it after Angle has gotten healthy (physically and mentally), uses a stretch in TNA to prove it to the necessary people, and patches up the relationships that need to be patched up so that neither he nor us fans are cheated when it comes to remembering Kurt's WWE legacy.
    I know some will think this is more of me being a dick about TNA, but I honestly feel like *that* will be the story when we look back on this in a year or two. It's not gonna be about the impact it had on TNA (which I think, for myriad reasons I've talked about at length before, will be positive-but-negligible)... it's gonna be about the impact it had on Kurt Angle. TNA is simply too infrastructurally grounded to a sort of niche-market mediocrity for one man to have THAT much of an impact. But Kurt Angle is in such a tenuous state right now that the choices he's making will affect him (and to a lesser extent, wrestling fans and the wrestling industry) greatly.
    Let's all just hope that these choices and results are good ones for all involved, and that even if Kurt Angle falls short of turning TNA into a credible competitor to WWE (like Sting and others have before him; there's no shame in it), what we get is a weekly TV dose of a safe and healthy Kurt Angle. I could get used to that. 
  • The signing of Angle comes at the same time that TNA announces a move into prime time on Thursday nights. Starting in mid-November, TNA will run from 9pm-10pm (eastern) in Spike. That first week will be a two-hour special, and depending on performance, the door is open for TNA to get those specials on a monthly basis.
    Although TNA's ratings have been unimpressive, lately -- ranging around 0.7 and 0.8 -- the fact is that the UFC content they'll be moving up to replace has slipped pretty massively in terms of its own ratings this summer (and the shows Spike tried in the interim between UFC seasons did horribly), so Impact's current ratings are certainly a viable prime time alternative.
    For whatever it's worth, my understanding is that the TV deal came first, then Angle. But the TV deal was made with the understanding that TNA was targeting a major free agent acquisition to anchor the new timeslot. Goldberg was pursued, but was never really close to being in the ballpark of being on the same page with TNA. Some folks are insistent that Chris Benoit has less of a "Contract" with WWE, and more of an "Arrangement" that will only be re-formalized into a contract once the details of his TV return are worked out. But ultimately, they landed Angle. And everybody was happy.
    Contrary to reports that must have been circulated somewhere out there, if my in-box is any indication, Chris Jericho was never in play at all. Not only is he unlikely to ever resume a full-time schedule agayn, but Jericho is also smart enough to know that where he is in his career, there's nothing to be gained by being viewed as a part-time guest star for a company like TNA (look what it's done for Sting), and is limiting the possibilities for any return to WWE (with whom he still has a very cordial relationship). In fact, somebody told me he just covered this issue in a blurb on WWE's website, saying that he never originally intended to be away quite this long, but if and when his schedule allows, WWE fans will see him again.
  • Rounding out the triumvirate of TNA newsbites.... Vince Russo is back in charge of the creative side of the company. Well, maybe not quite "in charge," but he'll wield a lot of power, as Scott D'Amore, Mike Tenay, and Jeremy Borash have all been told their contributions won't be necessary any longer. Leaving Russo working pretty much with Jeff Jarrett and Jarrett's own personal Johnny Ace, Dutch Mantell.
    Needless to say, Russo's hiring has resulted in LOTS of mixed reactions. His close association with Jarrett has some worried that this will only intensify Double J's stranglehold on the NWA Title, but others insist Russo only got the job by pitching some very intriguing ideas for a change in direction for TNA. Some are worried that they'll be politically hamstrung due to past incidents with Russo, but on the flip side, there are some who see Russo's hiring as a good thing for them (for instance, Ron Killings is now about 8000% more likely to listen to TNA's offer of a contract extension).
    You'll see Russo's fingerprints starting tomorrow night on Impact, and he may even have gotten some say in the No Surrender PPV, as there were apparently a few finishes that got changed at the last second. Why am I suddenly struck with the ironclad certitude that they were the ones that involved the retarded "Team Jackass" crap?
    Russo has found The Jesus, which means you can forget about his signature Smut.... but last I heard, Jesus H. Christ didn't write anything about outlawing poorly thought-out Crash TV where velocity is more important than where you're going. A big ol' "wait and see" from me on this one....
  • And I'm sure the Russo news will please Jim Ross to no end, given how much he's been stumping for TNA to quit trying to "out-WWE WWE" and focus on their in-ring strengths.
    But it seems TNA isn't the only entity getting under JR's skin. To wit:
    "Although it will pain me to hear JR forced to parrot the Vince-approved "Talking Point" about the mixed reactions.... which don't really acknowledge the boos, but instead attempt to rationalize them by calling Cena "The Most Controversial Athlete in WWE History." Controversial? Really? You mean the guy who is such a watered down poser that he's safe and non-threatening enough that his strongest fan base is among teenage girls is "controversial"? When did I stop understanding what words mean? I guess I missed the memo a few years ago when N'Sync was named the Most Controversial Rockingest Band of Ultimate Cutting Edge Controversy Of All Times, too..." -- Written by The Rick, 9/12/2006
    And then:
    "I want to clarify something to for those that may not “get it”. When I describe John Cena as being “controversial” I mean it because Cena elicits an emotion from virtually everyone in the arena. Some cheer, some boo but everyone has an opinion and likes to express such. For many wrestlers, they either get cheered OR booed whereby Cena more often than not usually gets both sometimes at the same time! That’s my definition of controversy for a positioned fan favorite such as John Cena." -- Written by Jim Ross, 9/18/2006
    I clearly understand the point JR's making, but I'm gonna stick to my guns that there is an underlying (and vital) connotation to the concept of "controversy" that is decidedly lacking in terms of Inherent John Cena. I'd buy "polarizing," but "controversial"? Meh, not unless broccoli is the Most Controversial Vegetable in the history of flora simply because some people like it and some people hate it. Now, throw some e-coli in there, like spinach, and you might have something resembling a "controversy" on your hands, but till then? Onscreen Cena is just too fabricated and phony to possess whatever intangible factor I apparently require to sense "controversy."
    For your edification, JR has just posted the latest of what I'm now sensing is a weekly wrap-up of his wrestling thoughts. Included are a few words about Kurt Angle. And why oh why does that idea about Maria and Eugene seem so damned familiar? Oh well... best not to dwell. I'll just give you this link to JR's latest, and encourage you to click away.
  • A little ratings catch-up....
    Last week, RAW did a 3.7, up a nominal 0.1 from the week before, but continuing the new trend of sub-par ratings that started with Labor Day. If you read a website that credits the decline to "Record Cable Ratings for ESPN's Monday Night Football," be warned that you are reading the ravings of a moron. ESPN's MNF ratings are exceptional by cable standards, but still about 20-30% lower than what ABC was expecting in recent years. And in recent years, the correlation between RAW and MNF ratings declined drastically.
    Distressingly, last week's ECW did a 1.6 rating, despite being a pretty strong show, headlined by a guest appearance by Booker T (who set aside much of the heelish King Booker gimmick, and upheld the spirit of ECW by busting his ass and wrestling probably his second best match of 2006 to date; just superb). Could it be that ECW's audience is more the hardcore audience who knew ECW was taped last week, and who were less likely to watch once they'd read spoilers? Maybe...
    TNA did another 0.8. But with the UFC lead-in doing a 1.2, nobody's too upset about it.
     And finally, SmackDown's debut on the CW Network did a 2.4 rating. Which doubles up what they had been drawing as UPN became half-a-network over the summer.... but it's still well below what SD! was delivering on good weeks even after the move to Friday night's last fall and winter. I think SD! may be more broken than WWE's willing to admit, at least from a brand-credibility perspective. And they've got nobody to blame but themselves. But don't let that stop Vince McMahon from blaming Viacom and UPN!
  • I don't have numbers yet for this week's RAW or ECW. I wouldn't expect RAW to deviate too much from it's mid-to-upper-3 range, but would hope ECW got a bit of a bounceback since the show was live again.
    And I also don't have much desire to really dwell on RAW. Hell, it's been easy the past two weeks, making the decision (for two different reasons) to not bother with a big-ass RAW Recap. It's just been pointless meandering both weeks: nothing fresh, nothing exciting, and unlike the handful of strong shows before the Unforgiven PPV, nothing of real value in terms of in-ring action, either. Instead, it was the return of the Baffling Time Management, where this week, fricking VISCERA was involved in the longest match of the night. Ugh.
    And two weeks in a row where Chris F. Masters and Randy Orton are together in the same place, at the same time, forming the tag team entity that can only be labeled as the Vortex of Suck? Trust me on this one people: there are two ways I could go on this one. One is cathartic, but would take you 30 minutes to read and would end with you feeling so filthy that you'd want to scrub the profanity out of your brains with a steel brush. And the other way is for me to just zip it, and hope that it goes away soon.
    Two weeks of RAW, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that I'm at a loss to supply you with even one significantly positive memory of either show. Bleh. You know what I've decided to blame for that? The fact that the Allegedly Interactive Cyber Sunday PPV is next for RAW, which means that the Writer Monkeys can't really close out any storylines or issues, nor can they strongly establish or push any new ones. They have to keep this sort of nebulous water-treading in place so that we have 5 or 6 main stories, each of which actually has 3-4 prongs among which fans can choose. A more clever writing team would see this as a chance to Multi-Task and show off their ability to tell parallel stories without any of the threads getting lost. And a more industrious company would see this as a chance to put different guys into different spots and see how the fans react to it in their voting. [Note: I am not speaking of putting Cade/Murdoch into main events, nor am I speaking of Shelton Benjamin spending a month calling Coach an Uncle Tom.]
    Last night's ECW was a different story, and was actually a really pleasant surprise. Not only did we end up with a Bob Holly match I genuinely enjoyed (even if it took Bob getting filleted like a pork chop; here's hoping his recent health scare have Bob fully aware of the importance of antibiotics). But it also seems somebody took my advice on the issue of blurring the line between "Extreme Rules" and "Regular Rules," because adding in Sandman's cane to the main event made it about 1000 times more compelling than if they hadn't. And that's exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about when I stump for the elimination of the "Extreme Rules" label, and turn all ECW matches into the same kind of free-form canvas upon which the participants can brush the proper level of extremity, without telegraphing to fans which matches they can care about and which they don't have to bother with.
    Bravo for that.
  • Hulk Hogan met with Vince McMahon late last week, and judging from interviews he gave subsequently, it appears as though things are in place for Hogan's Farewell Run with WWE to come next year leading up to a retirement match at WrestleMania 23. Already, the leading candidate for Hogan's opponent is Big Show, who is a Friend of Hogan, and who broke into the business doing a gimmick as Andre the Giant's son.
    With it being the 20th anniversary of Hogan's WM3 match with Andre in Detroit, a lot of folks figure it's a no brainer way to "pay homage." Myself, I think it feels kinda lazy and tacky, unless they actually bother to come up with a compelling storyline reason for it. And if we're gonna be all about paying homage to WM3, somebody needs to make sure My First Favorite Wrestler Ever, Ricky Steamboat, gets some WM23 love.
  • Gone from WWE? The Boogeyman. And nary a tear was shed.
    WWE had started vignettes hyping his return, under the impression the guy was rehabbing aggressively to return in peak form (HA!). Boogey, however, was reportedly more into enjoying his cheeseburgers and paid vacation. So buh-bye to him. WHO ON SMACKDOWN WILL MAKE ME FURIOUSLY ANGRY WITH HIS COMPLETE LACK OF REDEEMING QUALITIES NOW???!!!?!??!!??!!?!
    Oh, right: Miz.
  • Into WWE? Too Cold Scorpio, who has earned another full time run with the company after his try-out match last month. He joins the new Crafty Veteran Retention Program, too, as Marty Jannetty, Brad Armstrong, Rodney Mack, and Henry O. Godwinn have all been brought back to be help with the Seasoning Process of WWE's younger performers.
    Nothing against Scorp (who has been keeping himself sharp with regular tours of Japan), but the more this happens, the more I'm gonna want to start a "Rehire D'Lo Brown" campaign. Because I almost think it might work.
  • People are wondering what's up with Scott Steiner and Kevin Nash... well, Steiner's been stumping for a pay raise (basically the same thing that happened to Joe last year is happening to Steiner, now, as he feels he's proven himself as a top level player and wants to be paid accordingly and given a long-term contract). With Steiner featured prominently in PPV advertising for next month, my guess is the company intends to pony up with a one-year contract.
    And Nash's obligations to the company expired, and if TNA wants him, they'll have to negotiate a new contract. Nash was backstage at the PPV this weekend, but no idea if anything came of it.
  • One noteworthy item from RAW is that they've announced an 8-woman tournament to crown a new Women's Champion. Where are they getting the 8 women, you ask? Well: Mickie James, Victoria, Lita, and Melina are all fairly well qualified. Maria, you might be surprised, trains regularly in OVW and doesn't want to suck, so I guess she's #5. Candice and Torrie are both in the "No OVW for me, thank you, I'll just show up to the arena early on Monday and run a few spots" camp, and Candice was already eliminated on Monday. That's only one open spot... and I gather Beth Phoenix is ready to return, so the spot should be hers.
    The fact that I eventually did figure out how to get up to 8 didn't stop my first instinct (OK, my first fantastical wish) being that Ivory and Molly MUST have agreed to add an extra stop on their cross-country road trip to Trish's wedding, and both would be coming in for the night to contribute some Actual Legitimacy to the first round matches. Of course it's silly, and it doesn't address the real problem (which is that Molly should be on my TV every week, not just once every 18 months), but it's a bona fide notion that I had on Monday...
    I guess what I'd REALLY have to vote for is a Diva Reshuffling... Candice and Torrie can go eye-candy it up on SD!. Give me Kristal and Jillian Hall (the former working out hard in DSW, the latter in OVW) in return. [About Kristal on SD! last week, I'd just like to report that -- as one of the world's leading aficionados of girls in cut-off jean shorts -- "I told you so." Damn.] I'd love to take Michelle McCool (also training well in Deep South), too, but she's the only interesting thing about the James/Stevens tag team right now, and SD! can't afford to lose her/them. We could also think about Maria-to-SD! to make it a 3-for-3 trade, but I'm getting the impression Maria might be about ready to hit ECW as part of this CM Punk/Kelly Kelly angle.
    What's really depressing about the current state of the women's division/title is that, right now, my favorite RAW babe is easily Lilian Garcia. The hotness, the outfits, and frankly she might not be asked to do a whole lot complicated, but unlike some of the other chicks who are over-reaching, Lilian always does it well and with enthusiasm. That counts for a lot of points, too. But it's still sad that I'm reduced to having my most crippling mancrush on a freaking ring announcer.
  • Causing all this? Trish Stratus and her departure. Which she managed to make sound a lot more permanent during an interview on TSN last week than she'd made it sound in other interviews.
    Or so said a bunch of Canucks who saw it, and wanted to gently let me know that maybe my whole big conspiracy theory about Trish trying to avoid saying she was 100% retired was off-base.
    On the upside, in the same interview, she was asked "Which WWE Diva spends the most time in front of the mirror?". And Trish replied, "Randy Orton." Dammit, vile woman, you're retired and getting married; you should quit giving me such raging erections of the brain!
  • In two weeks, WWE is doing a big 3-hour special on Monday Night. It's basically a deal that's in place for them to celebrate the anniversary of their return to USA Network once a year (not some willful counter-programming of UFC, as some have suggested). And to be honest, it sounds like it'll just be a slapped-together 3-brand show, getting both ECW and SD! some exposure in WWE's highest rated timeslot.
    So far, no special guests (Hogan, Austin, etc.) have been announced, so look for it to be more an excuse to jumpstart a little cross-brand hostility as we near Survivor Series.

  • There's also been some folks asking "what was the big surprise supposed to be on RAW"? And I had no idea what they were talking about at first... but I asked some probing follow up questions, and it turns out that over the weekend, USA Network was running an ad that said "Don't miss the first 10  minutes of RAW," and everybody assumed some big surprise was in store.
    And instead? The power went out, and the first segment of RAW was held mostly in the dark. [The pyro accidentally tripped a fire alarm, cutting off much of the arena's power.] And guess what? Even if it hadn't, the first 10 minutes of RAW weren't gonna be much different. My understanding is that Edge just went to the "finish" in the Lita/Candice match faster than he was planned to, then they cut to a commercial earlier than intended, so that when they came back, they could pick up the opening segment with the house lights and mics working. The lack of an ad break between the Cena/Edge confrontation and the first match in that second segment bears this out, if you ask me.
    So more likely than not? What you saw was a generic "Watch RAW" commercial produced by USA, and not something specifically designed by WWE to denote a major surprise was coming.
  • The Rock's "Gridiron Gang" held strong at the box office over the weekend, drawing about $10 million, which is a respectable drop-off of only about 30% from opening weekend. That usually indicates positive word of mouth and a film that'll have decent staying power.
    Meantime, watch as "Jackass 2" drops something on the order of 65% next weekend. Just a guess.
  • Anybody who is on pins and needles awaiting the "major announcement" on WWE.com this afternoon: just stop. It's just the announcement that Montragious Vontrelmon Porter (or NAMBLA for short) has signed a SD! contract. Wow. That's huge. My understanding is the skit was taped last night, and will be posted to WWE.com within the hour.
    And WWE? I'd just like to state that I hope you know that it's shit like this that allows TNA to actually score HUGE points with fans for pulling off a "major announcement" that's actually major. All while you piss them off by duping them into clicking a video that they're just gonna shut off 35 seconds in as soon as they realize that all this build up was for fricking MVP.
  • Remember, everybody: watch "Jericho" tonight (and every Wednesday on CBS, at 8pm, eastern)! And you'll be supporting the burgeoning Scaia Boyz Entertainment Empire. We just ask your patience with the first 4-5 episodes, since that's how long it took for the CBS Executive Monkeys to stop trying to ruin the show and let the writers unkill Major Dad so he'd be around for the full season, and stuff like that. But I've been assured that it gets good by November Sweeps, so we just need to get it there.
    Good start last week, as the fourth-watched show of the night, and 2nd place in its timeslot.... so if you, OO Nation, want to help keep the ball rolling, please tune in. Better yet, become a Nielsen family, and THEN tune in. Yeah.
    Anyway, I'll see you kids again... well, I don't know for sure when, so I won't make any promises. But I'll be sure to keep everybody elses columns/recaps current whether I'm writing or not. Later on....

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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