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The Weekend News

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Guest TSMAdmin

It's a PPV weekend, and since Dames will be among the 500 or so fans who actually shell out $35 to watch Vengeance, that means I get to do double duty with the news this week. I plan on watching the PPV, but I'm not going to be paying to see it, so it'll at least be a victimless crime.


There was a legitimate winner in Spot the Classic from Wednesday. Loose Cannon from the forums nailed it on the head when he said that "Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall" was from Shakespeare's Measure For Measure. Someone also emailed me and said the idea of Spot the Classic was pretentious in a column like this. My answer was that it is pretentious, but it is my hope that the people who read this site are pretty smart, and I want to destroy the stereotype that wrestling fans are brain-dead redneck Neanderthals who pound their chests and grunt when prompted. Grog read much books!


I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but if you haven't seen Road To Perdition, go out and see it. I'll be writing a review of it soon enough, but it's definitely the best film I've seen since The Fellowship of the Ring, and I've seen several very good films since that came out. Hanks and Newman are excellent, especially when they're on-screen together. It definitely won't be a waste of your $8.50 (or $500 Canadian).


With all of my useless blathering out of the way, here's all the news that's fit to steal, all the dirt that's fit to deal, and all the mud that's fit to sling.


And My Ties I've Severed Clean


WWE ended its developmental deal with Les Thatcher's Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA) earlier this week. OVW will, for now at least, be WWE's only territory for developing talents. This has understandably caused the developmental roster to be consolidated, meaning Steve Bradley, Jason Sugarman, Race Steele, Kim Neilsen, EZ Money and Mike Sanders have all been shown the door. The latter two are probably the biggest surprises, but it would be hard to envision either making an impact in WWE anytime soon.


Now that WWE and Dusty Rhodes are close, I'm wondering if Rhodes' Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling will be added as a developmental territory soon. Rhodes could talk to Jerry Lawler about the fickle nature of WWE's developmental direction.


(Credit: Wrestlingobserver.com)


This Is The Way The World Ends, Not With A Bang But A Whimper


Coming as a surprise to few, Jerry Jarrett announced there really aren't 50,000 fans willing to pay $10 a week to watch a second-rate roster put on a weekly PPV. His conclusion is that they either need to attract some WWE fans or just pack it all in. Jarrett thinks the older fans have moved on, and that NWA: TNA needs to broaden its appeal. And here I thought that wide demographic of rednecks who love country music, NASCAR drivers, and Vince Russo would carry NWA: TNA right to the top . . .


Jarrett is learning the hard lesson that you really can't grow a promotion without a real TV contract, not just weekly PPV shows. In some other cost-cutting moves, NWA: TNA is moving its shows to the smaller Nashville Fairgrounds. The rent's cheaper, and it's non-union, so the costs will be less, and the smaller capacity will allow them to show a fuller arena. Ticket prices are being raised $2 to offset the smaller capacity, and there will be some changes made to the stage because of the size of the building. Say goodbye to the pyro, too, as the ceiling is too low.


I really do wish Jerry Jarrett luck in building some competition for WWE, but this sounds like the opening notes of the death dirge for NWA: TNA.


(Credit: Wrestlingobserver.com)


4.0 By September Or Bust!


Smackdown improved slightly in the ratings this week, pulling a 3.4 to eke ahead of last week's 3.3. This week's show was a pretty solid one overall, and you can read my review of it right here. As long as they keep the wrestling good and minimize the silliness, the ratings will be there.


BTW, I'm rather neutral on Stephanie, despite the hatred most of the 'net seems to have for her. I don't know how long she'll remain a face (it's conceivable she could turn as early as Vengeance), but I'll give her role as GM the benefit of the doubt, for now.


(Credit: Wrestlingobserver.com, Nielsen Media Research)


The Prophet Stared Into His Crystal Ball


Since this will be up before Vengeance airs, I'm going to step into the role of PPV Prognosticator. Just picture Johnny Carson as Carnac, except I'm a lot younger and wouldn't hang out with a goober like Ed McMahon.


Jaime Noble vs. Billy Kidman, Cruiserweight Title: If they let these guys wrestle an actual cruiser match, this could be a good one. This should open the show to get the crowd into it right away, and be given about 10 minutes. Noble's going to lose the belt to Misterio, not Kidman, so look for the redneck to retain. Dr. Tom's pick: Jamie Noble


Booker T vs. The Big Slow: Now that the NWOld has been disbanded, Booker doesn't get as much out of a win here. House reports indicate he's been bodyslamming Slow (!), which should certainly help get him over. So would a clean win here, which I think he'll get, as clean as win in a no-DQ match can be, at least. Dr. Tom's pick: The Book


The Dudley Boyz v2.0 vs. Eddy Guerrero and Chris Benoit: It's a tables match, which should favor the Duds, but how often do people win their "specialty" matches these days? Spike's no D'Von, though. This one is easy to call: The heels win, then Bubba gets his heat back immediately by putting at least one of them thru a table. Can't have the fans thinking Bubba isn't strong, after all. Dr. Tom's pick: Benoit/Guerrero


Hulk Hogan and Edge vs. Lance Storm and Christian, Tag Title Match: A lot of people are looking for Edge to turn on Hogan and join the new Team Canada. He could, but Edge is pretty over right now, and looks to be having the time of his life wrestling with Hogan. I'm going to go against the grain and say he doesn't turn on Hogan here, but interference (maybe from Jericho) causes thr champs to lose. Dr. Tom's pick: Storm/Christian


RVD vs. Brock Lesnar, IC Title Match: What to do, what to do? RVD is very over, and doesn’t need to lose to Brockberg. Brock is "the next big thing," and won't help his meager reputation as a monster by losing to RVD. And you know what WWE does when they book themselves into a corner like this, right? You got it, it's the DQ finish~! Heyman interferes and RVD hangs onto the belt. Dr. Tom's pick: RVD by DQ


Undertaker vs. The Rock vs. Kurt Angle, Undisputed Title Match: I'm sure you've all heard the spoiler by now, which clearly requires Rock to win the belt. Given how desperate WWE is to pop the ratings, they'll do that on the presumption that Rock as champ will draw more viewers than Undertaker as champ. I'm unconvinced. I'm also unconvinced that spoiler isn't a swerve, and if it is, then look for UT to retain and keep the belt until Summerslam. Dr. Tom's pick: The Rock (UT on the swerve)


There are two other matches that could possibly happen, though the above six are the only official ones on WWE's Vengeance site. Chris Jericho and John Cena could continue their mini-feud with a PPV match, which Jericho would have to win to avoid being made into a total laughingstock. The other possible match is Molly Holly vs. Torrie Wilson (instead of Trish, for some reason) for the Womens' Title. Despite the improvement Torrie showed in the ring recently, Molly keeps the belt if this match happens.


Also, HHH has to make The Big Choice between Raw and Smackdown. It's amazing how hyped this segment is, considering that HHH isn't actually wrestling on the show, and would have done nothing to help save WCW, despite Bischoff's sycophantic claim to the contrary. I think he has to choose Raw here, which means Smackdown should get a recognizable babyface (Flair, maybe?) to take his place.


I think this has the potential to be a good PPV, but considering the creative nadir WWE is in right now, I'm not holding out a lot of hope. If you order it, drop me an email and let me know if you think it was worth your $35.


(Credit: WWEVengeance.com, my own psych(ot)ic powers)


Hang On A Minute


I guess someone at WWE woke up and realized they're charging $35 for six matches, plus the sure-to-be-exciting HHH decision segment. There are a few matches that could be added to the card, with Jericho-Cena being the most likely. A quick angle on Heat could set that one up. Other possibilities include Test vs. Rikishi, Bradshaw vs. Christopher Nowinksi, and Molly Holly vs. Trish Stratus. This apparently supercedes the earlier possibility of Molly vs. Torrie, and should certainly be a better match. My predictions, in case those matches happen: Jericho, Test, Bradshaw, Molly.


(Credit: Wrestlingobserver.com)


What The Hell Is A Resistol Hat, Anyway?


Friday. Jim Ross posted this week's "Ross Report" on WWE.com. Some highlights:


-- Mentioned WWE ending its relationship with HWA, and added Jon Heidenreich to the list of the casualties. JR also gave mad props (and deservedly so) to HWA honcho Les Thatcher, made famous by MTV's "Real Life: I'm A Pro Wrestler" of two years ago.


-- The Island Boys, Shannon Moore, Victoria, Bull Buchanan, Johnny "The Bull" Stamboli, and Shelton Benjamin are all being called up, and will appear on Raw or Smackdown soon. Maybe this means perennial deadwood like Godfather, Big Slow, and others will get the axe. Also, Chris Kanyon and Mike Awesome will get back on the road soon, as a tag team to work on their timing and conditioning. Ross says there are no long-range plans to team the two, but I think they could do a lot worse for tag teams right now.


-- John Cena, Batista, Molly Holly, Nidia, Linda Miles, Maven, and Jackie Gayda have agreed to new contracts. Considering that Miles and Gayda just recently won Tough Enough 2, why are they getting new deals already, unless those deals involve them getting sent to OVW? Mike Sanders gets released while Jackie Fricking Gayda gets a new contract, and WWE wonders why the ratings are down.


-- Dispelled the rumor that we evil internet folks had been talking about, that WWE had an official meeting with Dusty Rhodes. Ross mentioned that they had a nice visit with the Dream, but that was it. We'll see.


-- Kane and HHH should be ready to return to action in about two weeks.


-- Put over Monday's Dreamer/Richards Singapore cane match, and gave props to Richards for his hard work and conditioning.


-- Rhyno is on target for an early November return. He has also been working with a speaking coach in Detroit to work on his promo skills. I liked Rhyno's ring work before he got injured, and if he comes back better on the mic, he's only helping himself. Considering he had serious neck surgery, though, I wonder if the GORE GORE GORE~! will still be his finisher.


-- Mentioned his Confidental interview about Eric Bischoff, and said he told the truth as opposed to giving them the storyline version at their own request. JR was critical of the WCW front office, and mentioned that the company going out of business and being sold for a pittance has to fall in Bischoff's lap. I think it's more the fault of Brad Siegel and the AOL/Time Warner suits who didn't give two pins about WCW, but I guess blaming Bischoff is the easier thing to do. Sure, he made a lot of mistakes, but he was ousted from power in September of 1999, if memory serves, and it wasn't until about 18 months later that WCW finally died and was bought out by the then-WWF.


(Credit: WWE.com's Ross Report)


That's all for the news this time around. Dames will be here later tonight or early tomorrow with the Diatribe on Vengeance, and JHawk will handle all your Raw recapping needs tomorrow night. I'll be back Wednesday with more news, and Thursday for Smackdown. Over and out.


Dr. Tom

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