THE MIDWEEK NEWS

There’s one reason I love the NFL above all the other professional sports: the regular-season means so much more. In baseball, a team can lose eight in a row and still rebound to make the playoffs, since the season spans 162 games. The same is true in the NBA and the NHL: though the season in shorter, more than half the teams in those leagues advance to the playoffs. Why not just flip a coin in May and save all the trouble? In football, if you lose eight in a row, you’re the Bengals, which means you officially suck the big one. If you lose five in a row, your season is usually finished since it only lasts sixteen games.

Enter the St. Louis Rams.

They started off 0-5, and were officially given up for dead by just about everyone, me included. Suddenly, though, the Rams are 4-5, and only a game and a half out of the final playoff spot in the NFC. They beat San Diego this past Sunday with third-stringer Marc Bulger picking up his fourth straight win. More importantly, Bulger had to engineer a fourth-quarter comeback without the services of the injured Marshall Faulk, and against a tough Chargers defense. All he did was march the team down the field every time they needed a score, throwing for 453 yards in the victory.

Mike Martz insists that the pod person who replaced Kurt Warner is still his guy. Balderdash, says I. In the NFL, you go with the hot hand precisely because of the short season. The Rams dug themselves a huge hole, and they can’t afford to take on a loss or two while Warner’s doppelganger works the kinks out and gets back into form. The way the team is playing demands that Bulger stay at the helm, but Martz insists it’s Warner’s show in two weeks, when he’s ready. Warner should know what it’s like to lose a job due to injury: he ascended to the starting QB job when Trent Green got hurt, and played so well that Green never got back in the lineup. He’s come full circle, IMO.

Hi there, kids. Welcome to the best damn rasslin’ news report on the whole wide internet. As always, I’m your tour guide for this funky ride, Dr. Tom, and this time, I don’t have the spectre of another project sapping my time. Well, it’s still there, but I’ve gotten enough of it done for now that I can dive into this with my usual level of reckless (and occasionally feckless) abandon.

Since you’ve all come to expect it of me, how about a little more non-wrestling material before we dive into all that squared circle news?

I Got Mail! Yay!

A fan from Down Under writes:

Hey man, I'm a HUGE fan of your columns, particularly your Smackdown reviews. I live in Australia, and they've stopped playing Smackdown here, and even though we still get Afterburn, your column is the only thing keeping me sane (Marc Llllllloyd . . . urghhh.) Just to settle a bet, where did the term "NO POBO" come from?

Surprisingly, this is the first time I’ve been asked this. The answer actually comes from our forums. Patrick Spoon, our Tough Enough recapper, took a trip to DC, during which he was looking for a phone book. He wandered into a Chinese restaurant and asked for one, but the woman behind the counter kept shouting, “No pobo!” at him. I decided to turn it into the more dramatic, “NO POBO~!!” (complete with tilde bang) and thought it would be a great thing to describe no-selling. This explains why it made its debut in Undertaker matches. So, whenever you see, “NO POBO~!!” you know that some savage no-selling is going on.

That’s all the preamble stuff I have, so it’s on to the RASSLIN~!

Raw: The Cliff Notes

As always, JHawk has your detailed Raw report available. With the recent improvement in the shows (since abysmal to just bad IS an improvement), I hear that JHawk is down to one bottle of Jack per show now. Maybe if the title changes hands this weekend (HA!), he can kick the whiskey altogether. Pray for his liver if you're so inclined.

-- Tag Titles: Chris-Chris vs. Kane/RVD. Feel the mix-and-match power! I was surprised that the champs got so little offense in before the DQ ending. Still a good match, and a much better opener than the 20-minute promo-uh. 6/10

-- Jeff Hardy vs. Lance Storm: When Veterans Day and Remembrance Day COLLIDE~! I’ve come to dislike Jeff even more now that Matt has done so well with his new gimmick, so you’ll just have to forgive me for not liking what was a pretty lackluster affair. 3/10

-- D-Lo vs. (Dave) Batista. Ditch the “Dave,” NOW. It just doesn’t add anything to his character, and actually detracts from the intimidation factor. It’s like the problem with a Jewish mafia – who would be afraid of the Rosenbergs? Anyway, Batista wins in a 90-second squash because he’s a HOSS BAH GAWD. DUD

-- Dudleys v2.0 vs. Your Three Minutes Are Up: Lame match used to set up a three-way table match at the PPV. Yawn on both counts. 1/10

-- Chris Harvard vs. Al Snow: Nowinski wins by begging off the fight and then bringing it anyway. It’s a good heel tactic, but who cares in a 90-second match? DUD

-- Test/Steven Richards vs. HurriDust: Holy sexually ambiguous sidekicks, Batman! Unfortunately, the superheroes can’t overcome the awesome power of the Test Drive, which has to be one of the STUPIDEST names I’ve heard for a finisher in a while. Not to mention that the move itself is hella dumb, but it’s enough to overcome our heroes just the same. 1/10

-- Booker T vs. HHH. It’s non-title, so Booker goes over, right? That builds him up going into the PPV and makes it seem like HHH’s title is in jeopardy, right? Right? Well, not if you’re a WWE writer. If you are, you write, “Kick, Wham, Pedigree at 5:15” on your booking sheet, and watch Booker’s heat go down the drain in the process. This was a yawner of the first division, and even the PPV setup afterwards didn’t help it. 1.5/10

-- Other Developments: Chris Jericho whacked everyone in sight with a chair, apparently on the hopes that they’d still be suffering its effects after SIX DAYS in the “Elimination Chamber.” And we learned a little more about that, too: Two men start, with the other four locked in cages. Every five minutes, another man is released to join the fray. When you’re pinned, you’re eliminated, and the ring is oversized. The end-of-show brawl saw Shawn Michaels give HHH the Pedigree, further reinforcing the fact that the Elimination Chamber match is all about them. I can see either of them walking out with the belt at this point (yes, even HBK, since I’m sure Vince thinks it would pop the ratings), and since neither of them deserve it, who cares? I hope the match is good, but I don’t have a lot of faith in the ending at this point. This was a better Raw than the tepid dog shit they were serving up a few weeks ago, but it really sputtered after a good first few segments. Smackdown continues to be the better show.

Wasn’t That An Old Version of Windows?

The Raw rating hit a pretty severe low. Raw earned just a 3.1 rating Monday night, off hours of 3.2 and 3.1. Adding to the misery of the low number is the fact that the show lost viewers at it went along, a trend that certainly can’t be looked at positively. This is the lowest Raw rating since 1997, when Nitro was winning the Monday night war, and is doubly bad considering that this was the final Raw before a major PPV.

(Credit: 1wrestling.com,. Nielsen Media Research)

How Do You Say “Concussion” In Japanese?

Keji Mutoh announced Tuesday that Bill Goldberg will be in attendance at the Wrestle-1 Japanese PPV on November 17th. Mutoh basically said Goldberg will wrestle on the card. I’m guessing they’ve already found a washed-up grappler for him to superkick into the retirement home. I hope WWE has nothing to do with this guy, though his signing is probably inevitable.

(Credit; 1wrestling.com)

Someone Else Who Speaks The Truth

Since it seems the braintrust at WWE will never listen to the internet fans, maybe they’ll listen to someone with major media penetration who echoes a lot of our sentiments. He’s also had a lot of wrestling personalities on his show before, and certainly knows a thing or two about the entertainment business.

Ladies and germs, Howard Stern.

Stern said on Tuesday morning’s show that refuses to call it “WWE,” saying the company should have gone for WWX instead. (I think they should have appealed the hell out of the WWF ruling). He also said ratings are declining because storylines are dreary and generally suck. His major point, one that will resonate with the IWC, is that guys like HHH are “old news,” and with people like Steve Austin and the Rock in absentia, WWE needs to develop a new breakout star.

Think Howard will have better luck than we’ve had trying to get them listen? We can only hope, friends.

(Credit: Rajahwwf.com)

Which Way Did He Go?

These are both from 1bob, so take them as you will.

First, rumors are circulating that, with the ratings decline and general crappiness of Raw, Stone Cold Steve Austin might be returning sooner than later. Why Austin would want to return to a product that’s worse than it was when he walked out on it beyond me, but the Popup Gang says his return could happen in a couple months, which would make it in time for the Royal Rumble. I’ve said he’d be back by WrestleMania, so while we differ on the timetable, I think they got this one right.

Second, Scott Steiner is apparently going to be backstage at both Survivor Series and Raw. He might not appear on camera at either show, but he’s supposed to be there for both of them. It’s still unclear which brand Steiner will call home. He was a cinch for Raw, but Brock Lesnar’s face turn has apparently clouded that issue. That would certainly be a better feud for Brock than the Big Slow, and it would allow Steiner to play the heel, as opposed to a face if he feuded with HHH.

(Credit: 1wrestling.com)

More Ratings News

Super Tuesday last night earned a 2.3 rating and a 3.0 share.

The weekend shows: Velocity and Confidential continued burning up the Nielsen boxes, each garnering a 0.6 rating. Heat led the weekend with a 0.8.

(Credit: Nielsen Media Research)

This Is What Happens When You Make Shitty Video Games

WWE has filed suit against Acclaim, former maker of its video games. The suit contests “tens of millions of dollars” in sales of video games, and also charges Acclaim with unauthorized use of trademarks belonging to the former WWF. Also, WWE claims Acclaim is still distributing unauthorized copies of older games like War Zone and Attitude.

To read the full story about the case, go here.

But Which One Did The Race Car Drivers Support?

The saga of Vince Russo and NWA: TNA grows more interesting.

While Jerry Jarrett was finalizing the sale of TNA to Panda, Russo was boasting about his supposedly impressive resume. Jarrett was shocked by this, and Panda execs were apparently taken with Russo’s bluster (and failed to do even the most basic checking on his disastrous run with the WCW book), and had to convince the Panda crew he was still the man for the job. Several wrestlers who had worked under Russo in the past, notably Scott Hall, BG “Road Dogg” James, and Sean “X-Pac” Waltman, threatened to quit the promotion if the Unibrowed One were given the book.

Russo was apparently shocked to hear that Panda had supported Jerry Jarrett. His status with the company is very much in doubt at this point. Jarrett offered Russo a writing position, scripting backstage interviews and vignettes, but he has yet to accept it. Speculation is that he’s just riding out his contract at this point, and waiting in the wings in case Jarrett fails as head booker.

(Credit: PWTorch.com Newsletter)

More Proof That Bill Gates Is Evil

Damnit, he’s trying to take Jesse Ventura away from us.

Ventura is in talks with MSNBC to host a show on that network, and the rumor is that a seven-figure sum has been mentioned. Since Phil Donahue’s show has been a bust (I could have told them that – he’s a socialist who was past his prime as a TV host ten years ago), MSNBC is possibly looking for Ventura’s show to replace it, and maybe even compete with Bill O’Reilly’s popular “O’Reilly Factor” show on Fox News.

This would pretty much rule Ventura out of returning to WWE as a commentator. Sadly, that means we’ll have to hear Jerry Lawler’s way-past-tired overgrown adolescent act until the next time somebody comes to their senses and fires him.

(Credit: E!)

Quick Hits, Notes, and Sundry Asides

-- Scott Steiner’s contract with WWE calls for him to work 14 dates per month. That leaves room for nine house shows, though wrestlers getting a push often exceed their contracted number of shows.

-- Justin Credible was injured during the International Heat taping. A spinebuster went wrong during his match with Tommy Dreamer, and Credible was forced to stop the match right away. The injury is not believed to be serious.

-- Jerry Jarrett was planning to fold his TNA promotion if the sale to Panda Energy didn’t happen. In fact, after the pause in production for 9/11, Jarrett intended not to restart the promotion unless talks were in motion to find a buyer.

-- WWE has canceled some upcoming house shows due to poor ticket sales. House show attendance continues to decline nationwide.

-- WWE has trimmed some older websites in a cost-cutting measure. In case you’re wondering what happened to stonecold.com, there you go.

(Credit: Observer, Torch, Rajah)

That’s all for this week’s edition of the Midweek News. I’ll be back tomorrow with Smackdown, and Byron will give the news junkies among you your weekend fix . . . uh, this weekend. For the TNA fans among you, Dames will have your TNA report up in a few hours. I’m also planning to go to the Smackdown house show in Baltimore this Saturday (along with fellow TSM staffer OR Polk), so look for a report on that unless something unforeseen keeps us away. Ave atque vale.

Dr. Tom
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