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The Midweek News

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Guest TSMAdmin

I'm in a bit of a quandary here. On the one hand, I'm trying to do this inbetween large cleaning projects, so I'd like to skimp on it a little. There's also the matter of my roommate's PC going belly-up, and me helping him get back on his feet in that respect. On the other hand, I have a WHOLE WEEK of news to cover (hint, hint, you slackers), so skimping isn't really an option with that looking me in the face. Remember, kids, I'm all about quality over quantity, even if I need a backhoe to clear a path to my desk and I have a PC to fix when I get there. So I'm going to try and skimp a little without making it look like I've skimped at all, and I'll leave it to you to tell me if I was successful.


Last week's Spot The Classic was a bit of an easy one, and Steven Dunshee was the first one to correctly spot "Old age should burn and rave at close of day." It's from the Dylan Thomas poem "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight." That's three times in a row the classic has been guessed, which means either more of you are reading the BEST DAMN news report on the net, or I need to make my little game more difficult. Despite my time constraints this week, we're still playing Spot The Classic, so let me know if you find the hidden line.


Anyway, 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.


Maybe We Need To Make Bad TV Shows


Despite what was hailed as a strong Smackdown! last week (even by yours truly), the ratings did not reflect the quality. Smackdown actually lost a tenth of a point this week, falling from 3.4 to 3.3. There was no sign of panic from WWE this time (since last week's Raw jumped a half-point), and it looks like a certainly that Raw's increased success will bleed over to Smackdown!


Unless everyone hates Stephanie more than anyone thought.


(Credit: Wrestlingobserver.com, Nielsen Media Research)


Raw On The Rebound


For a detailed look at Monday's very good episode of Raw, go here for JHawk's report. As usual, I'll provide the Reader's Digest version.


-- Booker vs. Eddy: We went from 3 minutes to 5, and the match got better, too. I'm down with this as a feud. 5/10


-- Trish/Bubba vs. Molly/Slow: There was a lot of heat for this one, especially considering how mediocre it was. Maybe hillbillies and hotties are a good pair to team up? 2/10


-- Bradshaw vs. Jeff Hardy: More silly hardcore shenanigans. It's good to see Dreamer end up with the belt. 1/10


-- RVD vs. Chris Benoit: Heck of a match for free TV, and I'm hoping they'll do it again at Summerslam with twice the allotted time. 8/10


-- Undertaker vs. Chris Harvard. If you sneezed, you missed it, and you didn't miss much. DUD


-- The Rock vs. Ric Flair. Non-title match in Flair Country . . . would it have killed them to let the old guy go over? I liked the match until the kip-up at the end. It means Rock basically no-sells the whole match, and that sucks, especially against Flair. 4/10


Other Developments: The tag titles jumped to Raw, as Lance Storm and Christian (along with Test) defected as the "Unamericans." It's a pretty vanilla name, but I like their work so far, both in the ring and on the mike. Shawn Michaels sought a reckoning with HHH, so they played cat-and-mouse for the majority of the show. The Island Boys enforced Eric Bischoff's curious timekeeping again, this time squashing Moolah and Mae Young for generally being useless old bags who were polluting the ring, as well as TVs across America. The Undertaker got the tar beat out of him by Team Canada. They must need Edge to do a Conchairto properly, though. HHH finally decided to make his presence known by looking for Shawn, only to find someone had inconsiderately smashed his head into a car window. I hate when that happens. You think your buddy's just hiding, or maybe even ignoring you, and then you find him in a parking lot lying amidst broken glass, with blood all over his face. I guess this will be the 2002 equivalent of Who Ran Over Stone Cold? If Rikishi is fingered as the ASS-ailant, though, my armies march at dawn. Ric Flair had an announcement to make, but was interrupted by a chair to the head from the defecting Chris Jericho. Well, that leaves Smackdown a little light in the talent department. I guess we'll see who jumps to that show Thursday.


In toto, a very solid Raw for the second week in a row.


OK, So He's An Injured Wanker


It's been known for a while that X-Pac has heat with WWE management and was taken off TV, ostensibly for that reason. However, X-Pac seems to have some very real health concerns that contributed to his removal from TV. X-Pac has a history of neck problems and has been taking medication for recurring pain in his neck. He his this from WWE officials, who found out about it when X-Pac passed out in an airport. No one knows how serious this condition is right now, but WWE management is concerned about X-Pac's health, so read into that what you will.


(Credit: PWTorch newsletter)


I Hate You All, But I Still Write This Column Every Week


No, I'm not talking about myself. I only mildly disdain my audience.


Kidding, really.


I'm talking about WWE's Guru of Internet Fan Hatred, Jim Ross, who publishes a news column weekly for the speculative fans he claims to despise. Highlight from the most recent version of the Ross Report:


-- Kanyon had a shitty week, suffering a separated shoulder that got infected and caused him to be hospitalized. He was looking to return soon, but there is no word on how long this will set him back. Kanyon has been released from the hospital and is resting at home.


-- Kane should be able to return by the end of July, which is upon us.


-- HHH should be cleared to return early next month.


-- Maven should be back in a couple weeks. Let's make sure we all mark our calendars for that one, friends.


-- In more developmental talent cuts, BJ Payne, Flash, and Sharmell Sullivan have gotten the axe. I wonder if Booker called JR a big sucka for releasing his girlfriend.


(Credit: WWE.com, Ross Report)


The World Keeps Turning


If nothing else, NWA: TNA is certainly newsworthy. From their amorphous buyrates, to their on again-off again financial troubles, TNA has been interesting during its brief existence. The latest news of the strange to come out of Tennessee: TNA has fired their PPV consultant, Jay Hassman, after discovering he was working for Team Services, the same company that promotes WWE PPV events. Allegedly,. Hassman had been misleading Jerry Jarrett about his promotion's buyrates, which certainly could have influenced some of his financial decisions.


A lawsuit has been filed against Hassman and his associates for fraud and breach of contract.


(Credit: RajahWWF.com)


The Game Is Up


HHH has gone back to attending production meetings, after reportedly skipping them for a while. Steve Austin was down on the practice of wrestlers attending the production meetings, but with Austin obviously gone, HHH is following the rest of WWE in slapping his face in absentia. HHH still has heat with the locker room for ripping into them before Raw a couple weeks ago, and his return to the production meetings will do nothing to help him convince anyone he's not "office."


(Credit: PWTorch newsletter)


A Man Of Many Hats


The Rock recently sat down with the folks at WWE.com, who asked him about his dual careers in WWE and in Hollywood. Rock talked about balancing the two, and here are some of the more memorable excerpts:


-- Rock said there is no truth to the rumor that Hollywood bigwigs have approached him about giving up his wrestling career.


-- Said that "The Scorpion King" opening as big as it did showed people in Hollywood he can act. Since then, he's gotten a ton more offers, and mentioned a possible project with Billy Crystal, the upcoming "Spy Hunter" role which has apparently been handed to him, and that Christopher Walken has been cast as the antagonist in "Helldorado."


-- Said that "limited schedule" means he'll be working TV shows and PPVs around his movie schedule, and that it's impossible for him to do a house show. Rock also added that he misses doing house shows.


-- Rock said he will balance his wrestling and movie careers as best he can: "We have to take one project at a time, and I've always said that I'll balance both as long as I possibly can, short of killing myself."


Go here for the full interview.


(Credit: WWE.com)


Four-for-Two Trades: Not Just For Baseball Anymore


It seems likely that Chris Benoit and Eddy Guerrero will be the Raw wrestlers who defect to Smackdown this week. (For the curious among you, no, I don't read the spoilers, since I like to recap the show without an impression of it already in mind. I type the bulk of this column on Tuesday evening, before spoilers have come out for the shows taped that night. This could be proved or disproved by spoiler reports.) With Storm and Christian going to Raw, Smackdown only has the Cruiserweight title to call its own, so adding Benoit's newly-won IC strap would be good.


For an idea about how to fix the title imbalance, and the title situation in general, read my rant about it right here.


(Credit: PWTorch.com)


Maybe We Need To Make Bad TV Shows, Part Deux


The Raw ratings are in, and they ain't pretty.


Raw did a 3.7 rating Monday night, on individual hours of 3.4 and 4.0. This is down significantly from last week's 4.3. However, the Raw immediately following a PPV tends to draw better ratings, so that could have been the cause of last week's jump. A more significant comparison is to the Raw right before Vengeance, which earned a 3.8 rating.


Again, I maintain that this is no time for WWE to panic over the ratings. If they keep churning out quality TV week after week – and they're on a three-week streak of that right now – then word of mouth will draw the fans who've found something else to watch back into the fold. It happened to me in 1998, so I know it can happen to others. I'd basically stopped watching wrestling, only occasionally catching pieces of a show. But enough people where I worked were talking about it in '98 that I dialed up Raw one night to see what they were talking about. And I was hooked, all over again. I barely knew any of the characters, but I caught on quickly enough, and I read up on what happened while I was away from the business.


The viewers can and will come back, but WWE has to commit to a long-term plan of quality TV that will get people talking.


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


I Wanna Be In Pictures


Variety magazine has reported that WWE has opened a new division in Los Angeles called, unsurprisingly, WWE Films. I guess they figured using Know Your Role Studios as a complement to Smackdown Records might be a bit over the top, even for Hollywood. The new division will be in charge of finding movie and TV projects for current WWE stars. It is being headed up by Hollywood producer Joel Simon.


Ok, let me weigh in on this now: BAD idea. WWE should not let the Rock's success with "The Scorpion King" go to their heads. A few guest roles by people like Lita and Hardcore Holly doesn't translate into success, either. Steve Austin was good in his role on "Nash Bridges," but in Austin and Rock, you're looking at two of the most charismatic, camera-ready stars WWE has ever had. Exactly what would Chris Benoit do in a movie? What about Jeff Hardy on TV? Will HHH get some INTENSE~! guest roles? WWE does have some marketable people with good charisma on the camera (Booker and Big Slow jump to mind immediately), but do they really need a separate company to handle this? Considering that wrestling's not exactly the most popular form of entertainment out there right now, how many people are beating down WWE's doors, looking to book wrestlers in movie and TV roles? The Rock is an aberration, folks – his charisma is just about inhuman, he's very natural on camera, and he has the movie-star looks to make it in Hollywood. The rest of the roster isn't so lucky.


Besides, why would they possibly want Joel Simon heading this up? This is the man whose recent work includes "X-Men" and "Wild Wild West," which are significant for being two of the most creatively bankrupt movies of the past five years. The only good thing I can see on his resume is "Married To The Mob," and that was a dozen or more years ago. Though considering WWE's creative problems of late, maybe Simon is the perfect man for the job. Either way, I think this is a bad idea.


WWE issued a press release about this today.


(Credit: 411wrestling.com)


What Would You Do If I Sang Out Of Tune?


For those of you who jones for WWE-related music, I submit the following:


-- Chris Jericho's band Fozzy released their second CD, titled Happenstance on July 30th.


-- WWE is releasing a two-disc set called Anthology, with previously unreleased theme songs, as well as other tracks. The initial press run will also contain a third bonus disc. The price of the set is $24.99. Release was originally scheduled for October 22nd, but has been moved up to September 10th.


(Credit: 1wrestling.com)

That's all I have for this week. I'm hoping this didn't look as rushed as it was. Send your feedback to my new, spiffy TSM email address. Yes, they finally like me enough to grace me with an email address that doesn't cost them anything. It's the little rewards that keep me going sometimes, friends.


Check back tomorrow, when I'll have the Smackdown report posted. Over and out.


Dr. Tom

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