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The Midweek News

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Does anyone else loathe their DMV/MVA? Maybe it's just the retards that pass for bureaucrats here, but I've just about had it with them. Last year, at the end of May, I changed insurance companies. No big deal, right? People do it all the time in the quest for a better rate. Anyway, I got a nice letter from them about six weeks later, claiming I had no insurance, and could I kindly furnish them with proof? Pretty inconvenient, but no big deal, so I sent them the form after confirming that my insurance was an automatic deduction from my account, and thus up to date. Then, a month later, I get a second notice (officially called such, too) asking for the same thing. Now I was pretty irritated. I sent them three copies of the form by mail, and had my insurance agent fax them one to be sure they got it. I figured everything was squared away, since I had insurance this entire time. Of course, a month later, I get a letter saying I failed to provide proof of insurance, and now my registration has been suspended.


Ok, that one got the armies marching at dawn. I made a dozen copies of the proof of insurance form and marched them to the MVA. A mild tirade later, and everything was squared away again. Two months ago, I got a new car, keeping the same insurance company. Yesterday, I got a letter from the MVA, asking me for proof of insurance on the new wheels. And they wonder why people hate them so much . . .


Anyway, my venting at the gross inefficiency of local government is finished. Welcome back, Loyal Readers, to another edition of The Midweek News. If you're thinking this is the third news report I've done in the past week, you're right. Those of you who hate me must be crying into your beers right about now. Ha! Deal with it! I am an unstoppable force in the world of sports entertainment news! Recognize~!


Spot the Classic over the weekend yielded no winners. The line to look for was "This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper." A couple people did get T.S. Eliot right as the author, but it's not from "The Waste Land" as those folks thought. The line is from another of his more famous works, "The Hollow Men." As always, email me with the line you spot from a literary classic, as I continue to bring pretense to the news.


With all of that 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.


Vengeance Is Best Served . . . Tepid


WWE held the Vengeance PPV over the weekend. In my role as peerless prognosticator, I was 5/7 (the Hardy-Regal match was unexpected), missing the table match and the Jericho/Cena match. Overall, I thought Vengeance was a pretty decent show, but it wasn't memorable for anything. It held my interest most of the time, but I thought some of the booking was a little strange, and I get the feeling the whole thing will be forgotten by next week. If I had to give the show an overall rating, I'd go 6/10.


Here's a brief match-by-match breakdown. For a full report, read Dames' Diatribe, posted Monday. Since this is a PPV, and thus a "special" event, I guess I can fall in line enough to toss some snowflakes around instead of my /10 system.


-- Dudleys v2.0 vs. Eddy/Benoit: I didn't care to see the Dudleys get the win, but Benoit moving onto better things on Raw makes it all good. The match was decent, though it's not what I would have opened the show with. * * 1/2


-- Noble vs. Kidman: This would have made a better opener, I think. Pretty good cruiser match, but I didn't like the fact that the arm psychology didn't go anywhere. It's good to see them break it out, but they could at least use it in the finish. * * *


-- Hardy vs. Regal: This struck me as a Raw match, both from the time involved (4:15) to the finish (fluke rollup). Leave the Raw matches on Raw, guys. I think I would have preferred Trish-Molly to this, actually. * 1/4


-- Jericho vs. Cena: Ok, Jericho jobs to a rookie, so what does he really bring to the new Team Canada? Similar to the previous match, this felt like it should have been on Smackdown. Give them a few more minutes and give Jericho the duke, and I like it as a PPV match a lot better. I have no idea what they're doing with Jericho at this point, especially since he just signed a new deal. * * 1/4


-- RVD vs. Brockberg: I called the DQ finish in the weekend news, since it was the only way WWE could get themselves out of the corner they'd myopically booked themselves into. Uncreative finishes to lousy writing just doesn't do anything for me. The match was decent until the screwy, wishy-washy ending. * *


-- Booker vs. Big Slow: A couple of cool spots, but this was still a Big Slow match. It was good to see Booker finally get a PPV win, though. *


-- Hogan/Edge vs. Storm/Christian: The right team one in the right fashion. I like Jericho with the rest of Team Canada, but I don't know how much luster he adds to the group coming off a job to Cena. Hogan looked bad, which he hasn't in a while since he's been doing his part to perfection. * 1/2


-- Undertaker vs. Angle vs. Rock: We'll see if the Rock's month with the title does anything to the ratings of Raw and Smackdown. If it does, I don't know what they'll do until he's back from his latest Hollywood jaunt. This was a very good match, with an excellent middle sequence and a hot finish. * * * *


Is 4.0 The Ratings Mendoza Line?


What a difference a week can make.


Monday night's Raw scored an impressive rating of 4.3, with individual hours of 4.1 and 4.4. This is a big jump from the 3.8 Raw earned last week, and finally gets WWE out of the high-threes doldrums. Perhaps it was putting the belt on the Rock, or the Raw vs. Smackdown angle, but whatever got the ratings up, WWE now need to maintain interest and keep them there. The ratings for the next few weeks will be very interesting.


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


RAW Rewind


For a full, detailed review of Raw, check out JHawk's recap. Here's the Reader's Digest version of what happened last night:


-- RVD vs. Jeff Hardy: This finally eliminated the useless European title. It was a decent ladder match, probably a whisker better than Hardy's ladder funfest with Undertaker, though that one told a much better story. This was spot, spot, spot all the way, but at least it was fun to watch. 5/10


-- Trish/Bubba vs. Molly/Regal: This was "intergender" as opposed to "mixed," so the guys could be in the ring with the girls. Regal won by stretching Trish, which doesn't seem like a terrible way to earn a night's pay. 2/10


-- Dreamer vs. Lesnar: Lesnar beat Dreamer in the Singapore cane match without ever using the cane. That's good; the trick is, to keep getting him over as an ass-kicker. The pop's starting to come in, but it needs to pick up a lot by Summerslam. 1/10


-- Stasiak vs. D'Lo: This was just to set up the Island Boys making their debut, while JR pretended not to know who they were. Brief rant: Give it up, Ross. Even marks whose only internet wrestling experience is with wwe.com know that you're the VP of Talent Relations, mainly because you say so every week. It's insulting to the fans' intelligence when JR does dumb shit like not knowing who new wrestlers are. It was cool during the "Invasion," since they were another company's wrestlers, but it's stupid to do it with your own talent. Rant over. No rating.


-- Booker vs. Benoit: Ok, I don't mind that Benoit lost the Judgment tables match so much now. He gets to face RVD for the IC title next week, and that should be a good one. 6/10


-- Spike vs. Big Slow: If you stepped away to do anything short of play in traffic, consider yourself lucky. -2/10


-- Rock vs. Eddy: Decent main event, though since it was non-title, I don't see why Guerrero doesn't go over and get a rematch for the strap next week. 6/10


-- Other happenings: Raw was very busy Monday night. Eric Bischoff dominated the opening interview, ordering Shawn Michaels to act as HHH's manager, which caused HBK to storm out of the ring. Bischoff does smarmy VERY well; he's much more watchable than "Mr. McMahon," who's basically a self-parody at this point. HHH and Shawn talked things out, and looked to reunite DX at one point. DX might be 1998, but their music is still cool, and the Run DMC version wasn't bad, either. Anyway, HHH turned on Shawn and gave him the Pedigree (a bump HBK took awkwardly, with HHH obviously protecting him), so I guess HHH is a heel again. Yay. D'Lo and Stasiak wrestled to impress and amuse Bischoff, and he gave them three minutes. I guess they didn't do either, as the Island Boys took them out about halfway in. The way they're portraying Bischoff as caring only about the big stars and letting the midcarders go to hell is good. After the main event, Stephanie showed up and stole Brock away from Raw. At least Heyman can finally appear on the show he's been writing. In toto, Raw reminded me a lot of Nitro, but one of the decent, more coherent Nitros before Russo pissed everything away.


Old Age Should Burn And Rave At Close Of Day


Before the injury to Kevin Nash, and the subsequent disbanding of the NWOld, HHH was scheduled to wrestle Nash at Summerslam. The main event trio was slated to be HHH-Nash, Hogan-Vince, and Rock-Brock. Well, at least the last one would be palatable. With Nash being on the shelf until next year, though, HHH is now tentatively scheduled to wrestle Shawn Michaels at Summerslam. Michaels has made several references to a possible ring return since he came back to WWE TV to lead the NWOld.


Those who saw Michaels try to take the Pedigree bump Monday night realize he might not have that one more match in him. I'd love to see him be able to get back into the ring again, but if he's just going to be a shadow of what he was, then he's better off leaving his legacy unblemished.


(Credit: Rajahwwf.com)


The Best TV Is Free TV


Despite its recent financial woes directly related to lackluster weekly PPV sales, NWA: TNA is looking at getting a Saturday morning free TV time slot. Right now, the plan is for "TNA Saturday Morning" to air on Nashville Channel 30. It will be a supplemental program to the weekly PPV shows. There is no word yet on how many new matches would air on the Saturday show. This is strictly a local undertaking at this point, but the obvious hope is that it leads to something national. Jerry Jarrett said he is "sending out feelers" for a national TV deal for his fledgling promotion. And a national TV deal would change NWA: TNA's fortunes rapidly.


(Credit: Rajahwwf.com)


A Pound Of Flesh Would Be Better


Despite virtually guaranteeing his fans that he would return to the ring sometime this year, Bill Goldberg's asking price is said to be "ridiculously high." It has been speculated that Goldberg is holding out as long as he can, banking on the fact that a desperate WWE will open up their checkbook and pay him what he wants. Goldberg had best hope the ratings spike of Monday's Raw is temporary, if that is indeed his strategy.


(Credit: 1wrestling.com)


The Bermuda Triangle Choke


While we're on the subject of Goldberg, there is a story spreading about a major charity match in Bermuda later this year. Sting is involved heavily with the charity promoting the show, and it is possible he could wrestle at it, also. There is significant speculation that Goldberg could also appear at the show, as he is known for his charity work. While it wouldn't be on the scale many of us were expecting, this could be the "return to wrestling" that Goldberg was talking about for this year. The most recent reports indicate that he is not close to a deal with WWE yet.


(Credit: 1wrestling.com)


My Pain Is Self-Chosen


Jack Lanza, the road agent for Steve Austin during Austin’s heydey with WWE, has been the only member of the company’s office to have any contact with Austin since he left. Lanza worked with Austin on the majority of his important matches. According to Lanza, Austin has been working out since he walked out, and is reportedly in very good shape. He is also getting “antsy” sitting at home and is eager to return to the spotlight.


I have no sympathy for Austin here. IF he’s going stir crazy, it’s his own damn fault for being a baby and walking out on the company instead of trying to work thru his problems. People whose misery is entirely of their own creation will get no pity from me. Austin had a job, and all the fame and fortune he would need, and he pissed it all away because he was unhappy. I guess he’ll just have to be unhappy. As much as I liked Austin in the ring and on the mic, I don’t really care if he ever comes back at this point.


Austin, of course, still has major heat with Vince McMahon and Jim Ross for walking out like he did. Both men have said it would be difficult to imagine Austin ever working for WWE again, and those are the roadblocks he’ll have to get past if he wants back in. There would also be huge resentment toward him in the locker room, where his childish actions won him no admirers and doubtless cost him several friends. On top of all that, there is still the issue that WWE isn’t exactly at its creative peak right now, and how much different would Austin’s booking be now than when he left?


Despite these obstacles, many believe it is a foregone conclusion that Austin will return to WWE, probably sooner rather than later.


(Credit: Wrestling Observer newsletter)


There’s No Way An Iceberg Could Sink This Ship


Over the past week, Jerry Jarrett has made numerous comments about the financial health of his NWA: TNA promotion. Not all of them have been positive. However, he reversed himself on those less than glowing comments recently, having this to say to Thestranglehold.com:


"I've been very misunderstood--because I didn't dare make public my forecast. I really thought we'd do 150,000 buys. We needed a little under 50,000 to be successful. So, according to when we got our preliminary figures in, I knew that I didn't reach the150. We are very viable. Very successful. And the company is not at all in jeopardy.


"We've gone out and signed talent, we wouldn't be doing this then. We've moved to the new building. As ancillary to the move, we're enjoying some cost-savings which go directly to the bottom line. And in all of our businesses we try everyday to improve the profit picture.


"People have, and what their reason is I don't know, have taken all this to mean that we're in trouble. We're not in trouble."


We’ll see. The company’s long-term financial health is still up in the air, but if they’re able to persevere and get some national free TV exposure, things could certainly get interesting.


(Credit: Thestranglehold.com, 411wrestling.com)


The Push Is Dead, Long Live . . . The Announcing Career?


WWE.com conducted and interview with Tazz, wherein he discussed his role as an announcer as opposed to being a wrestler. Tazz said wrestling just wasn't in him anymore, that he had lost the butterflies in his stomach that he used to feel before every match. He said he appreciates the fans asking him when he's going to wrestle again, and though he has a few more matches in him physically, he's finished mentally and emotionally. As always, Tazz was forthright in what he said.


So, can that segment of 'net fans finally stop clamoring for Tazz to get a real push?


Go to WWE.com if you want to read more of the interview.


(Credit: wwe.com)

That does it for another edition of the Midweek News. I'll be back tomorrow to review Smackdown. If you need a news fix later in the week, look for Byron Vester and The Dames to sandwich the weekend with their own news updates. A bientot.


Dr. Tom

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