My friend Bruno Lauer's new book, "Wrestling with the Truth", is available now at www.1wrestlinglegends.com and is a book that I certainly would suggest that you check out. I read some of this one while Bruno aka Harvey Whippleman was writing it and it was not only funny as hell but shockingly honest especially for a book written by a wrestler. The last two wrestling books I have read, authored by two Canadians, ironically enough, by Bret Hart and Chris Jericho were both written honestly and no holds barred which I greatly admire. Time will tell but the WWE may have missed the boat on a nice publishing opportunity with Bruno's book. Who's to say some enterprising Hollywood type won't read Lauer's book and discover that it might make for a viable comedy on TV or the big screen. My congratulations to Bruno for his diligence and hard work putting his wrestling experiences on paper and if you want to read about the business from one who has traveled the roads and experienced every level of success and challenge, then this is the book for you. Again, I don't make a habit of recommending every book that comes along but not only do I suggest that you buy this one but I am happy to make this suggestion because everyone doesn't have to be a main event superstar to tell a compelling and true story of their career and provide a unique perspective of the business. Buy the book.
I never inferred that the WWE should make the ROH a developmental territory for you conspiracy theorists who would rather jerk your knees, I'm being family friendly here, and look at your proverbial glasses as half empty. I was simply suggesting that the WWE should consider subsidizing ROH and leaving ROH alone to run their business as they see fit but because ROH is doing such a great job in developing young talent that it makes sense for them to continue to grow. Young wrestlers who master their in ring skills become viable candidates for WWE roster spots which in turn can evolve into big money.
So many titles and so little time. Which title match at the June 29 WWE Night of Champions pay per view will be sucking 'hind teat as the old expression goes as it relates to not having ample time to tell a viable story? Perhaps this event will be more to this old schooler's liking and be heavier on wrestling, physicality, and action than it will be on talking and talking and talking.
Yours truly looks forward to seeing old friend Michael Hayes return to work with the WWE which I understand might be this Monday in Salt Lake City for the live Monday Night Raw. As reported on many websites over the past several weeks, Michael made a mistake and a terrible error in judgment that has cost him severely. Sitting home for 60 days without pay and being demoted and losing current and future income are appropriate and significant punishments. Michael's problem, in my personal opinion, are manifested and enhanced by one evil and that is abuse of alcohol. My paternal Grandfather was two different people, a loving, supportive "Grandad" when he was sober who attended many of my athletic contests and a mean spirited, embarrassing, foul mouthed person I did not care to be around when he was drinking which, unfortunately, was more often than I choose to remember. This particular matter came to a head when he rolled into our front yard one Saturday afternoon with a buddy who was also drunk and obnoxious while my Dad and I were doing lawn duty. The two of them thought they would "show off" when my Grandfather challenged me to a "wrestling match" knowing I was a big wrestling fan. My Dad gave me the nod that I had better defend myself and I reluctantly did and the physicality ensued. This ended up with my Granddad unfortunately sustaining broken ribs by his 15 year old grandson which is obviously not one of my fondest or proudest childhood memories. I have never shared this story with many people before now. My Granddad's friend attempted to do the proverbial "run in" and "save" his drinking buddy until my 6'3"-270 lb. father backhanded him with Dad's massive left hand. It was not a good weekend on the Ross farm but it taught me a great lesson of how destructive the abuse of alcohol can be. It is my understanding that Michael has received counseling for his alcohol issues which I am truly thankful to hear. Whether Michael works for the WWE for one more day or one more decade, I am more concerned that he defeats his demons and lives a long, healthy life. Financially and from a personal perspective, Michael Hayes has been hit deservedly hard but this unfortunate situation can be made into a positive one at the end of the day if Hayes learns from his mistakes and begins his daily battle to restrain from drinking. On a personal level, I am happy that Michael Hayes is being given another chance, Lord knows I have had second chances in life, and now it is up to him to make it work. I sure as hell hope that he does and will be there to help him in any way that I can. This entire, unfortunate experience may have saved the former Freebird's life.
Cauliflower Alley notes...
Ronnie Garvin, who believe it or not I never got to speak with in Vegas, looked like he could step back in the ring today and be the bad-ass that he always was. The licenced pilot was $2 steak tough and his NWA Title Bouts with Ric Flair separated the men from the boys. Few men in the business today compete with that level of intensity. It's called heart and passion, for the record.
J.J. Dillon was the MC for the CAC Banquet and did a super job and told some great jokes especially one about our old pal Terry Funk. J.J. is a corrections officer in Delaware but still makes many wrestling reunions and can tell a great story. Dillon just had one of his knees replaced and seems to be moving around well even though I kidded the shorts wearing, former leader of the Horseman that J.J. needed to "work on his tan".
I did not instantly recognize Bob Roop but the former AAU Champion who graduated from college....important point for any "wrestler to be"....from Southern Illinois is now teaching special education in a school near Lansing, Michigan. I really enjoyed catching up with Roop who I met MANY years ago when he worked for Bill Watts.
Terry Funk is still one of the most charismatic and insightful individuals in the wrestling business. I would love for Terry to be a "guest lecturer" in the WWE Developmental Program. We will have an autographed photo of Terry on our restaurant wall when we open our newest J.R.'s Family BBQ in Moore, Oklahoma. If there has been a better all around in ring talent in this business as far as being a good guy, bad guy, talker, wrestler, brawler, etc than Terry Funk I have yet to meet the gentleman. We had a long talk about the state of the business and even reminisced about the famous "I Quit" match Terry had with Ric Flair that featured manager Gary Hart and my broadcasting partner Gordon Solie that aired on TBS in 1989 and has been featured on WWE 24/7. That match was one of my most memorable moments in the business.
It was also nice seeing veterans like former Gulf Coast Wrestling star Cowboy Bob Kelly, the King of the Redneck Riviera, Al Friend and Omar Atlas who both worked a great deal in Kansas City back in the day among other areas. Bruce Swayze looked great and lives in Tennessee on a farm near "Hillbilly" Jim, not yours truly but the former WWE Superstar, and the entertaining Paul "Butcher" Vachon whose speech was unfortunately cut short as the time clock got him but not before he updated us all that his brother Maddog Vachon had just successfully undergone knee replacement surgery that day.
The refereeing, Atlanta based McGowan family was present including patriarch Charlie, son Scrappy and Scrappy's son who is a ref as well.
Funny note.... some folks from Oklahoma drove to Vegas from eastern Oklahoma, Tahlequah to be exact, and I saw them at the CAC, talked a little about their wrestling aspirations, and then saw them again in our Norman restaurant on Friday on their drive back from Vegas home.
Someone at the CAC Reunion told me that Larry Zybszko was spending his time between the occasion in ring appearance living in Florida playing golf, on line poker, tanning and working out. Now that's a life that appeals to 'Ol J.R. I assure you. Paul Heyman by the way does an awesome Larry Z impersonation. Larry has a book out that is a short read as I understand it and I am anxious to give it a go. When I do I will let you know my thoughts as if it matters. Larry is a funny son of a gun with a natural gift of gab. I enjoyed working with Larry who was one of the most entertaining guys I have encountered in the business.
Since I have had a few days to sit and reflect on my extensive visit with two of wrestling's greatest stars ever, Bret "The Hitman" Hart and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, I feel so blessed that I was able to listen to their take on today's wrestling biz and their evaluations of certain talents, etc. Both these men will always have wrestling in their blood but their post wrestling careers are just as exciting as their days on the mat and both seem to approach their "after life" with the same work ethic and attention to detail as they did their matches. Bret said Steve was one of his all time favorite opponents and Austin has said the same thing about Hart. What I wouldn't give for these two to headline just one more Wrestlemania but I guess I will have to wait until the Legend's Video Game to book that match. I know this, I would love to produce a DVD featuring these two greats speaking about their careers, their wrestling influences, their battles with each other and their favorite bouts including matches that they were NOT a part of in their memorable careers.
I sincerely hope that many of you will consider joining the CAC and attending next year's 44th Annual Reunion. I promise you that it is a wrestling fan's dream.
It looks as if Salt Lake City will be a sold out event this Monday night for Raw. I think we will see a faster paced show with more wrestling even though watching Mr. McMahon attempt to dial a phone had its moments much akin to yours truly trying to learn how to use the iPod I got for Christmas from my oldest daughter and her husband which I still haven't learned to use. :) Please feel free to make all the jokes you want about this subject especially for those who like to respond to this blog on other websites by using phony names and making wise-ass remarks about yours truly. I may deserve to verbally get my ass kicked occasionally but if this blog provides that much consternation to some why in the hell do they read it?
It looks as if the WWE Draft show on June 23 in San Antonio will be a sell out for the 3 hour live broadcast on the USA Network that starts at 8/7 central as I understand it. I know all three announce teams are required to be there which is interesting. Do you actually think any broadcasters will switch brands? I know at least two "talking heads" that hope they don't change addresses.
My thanks to those of you that have visited our online store recently as business has been really consistent and continues to grow. We are looking into the possibility of distributing our sauces in plastic bottles which would reduce current, ridiculous, shipping charges. We also have received some interest from Circle K stores about stocking our Championship Original Beef Jerky which, if it happens, would be a huge deal for us.
Remember....it's o.k. to get on "the sauce"....J.R.'s Bar-B-Q Sauce...as it promotes "wellness" and flavor. :)