Challenging Road Trip Ends...On Line Store Has Great Deals...Random Thoughts

It's good to be home after a challenging road trip smack dab in the middle of a helluva heat wave in California while producing LOTS of TV. There were plenty of weary folks on the tour by the time WWE arrived in Bakersfield on Wednesday night. We finished there by around 10:30 p.m. Pacific time and headed to LAX for my much anticipated flight to OKC on Thursday. Now here's some BBQ'ed Random Thoughts smoked low and slow...

The Smackdown/ECW locker room dynamic seems to have changed significantly over the past few weeks and especially after the big "trade" of earlier in the week. The vets are doing a good job delivering the steak while the young talents are still searching to find their personas and what it is going to take to make themselves successful.  

Success in wrestling comes through wrestling aggressively and by using logic in the ring. It also, more importantly and especially in the technological age where there is seemingly an abundance of "experts," doesn't come quickly. Patience is a virtue but also is a fleeting thing in our impatient, instant gratification oriented society.

It's funny when the "vets" in today's Smackdown locker room are guys like Jericho, Edge, Punk, Jeff Hardy and Mysterio. All those guys still seem young to me but there is a distinct gap between these talents and the next wave. 

As it relates to Friday Night Smackdown, it seems as if Dolph Ziggler and John Morrison are lining up to be the next talents to move up the ladder. Both are getting more opportunities to shine and are doing a nice job of producing positive results.

There is plenty of room for others to join these two, aforementioned young men and I hope that's the case. 

Certainly the new talents will need time to establish their in ring personas and to overall refine their game. The announcers, especially on ECW, will have to provide the viewers will new bits of info on the rookies weekly so that the audience can get to know these talents better and hopefully make the all important some emotional investment in these newcomers. This certainly isn't a mountain that can't  be climbed and is something that was done with regularity in the territory era of wrestling.

But it does take some time and it is my opinion that fans back in the day were generally more forgiving and more patient.   

I can't remember a era within the business that there has been more of a need to add to the main event mix and to create new top level bouts especially on PPV. This goes along with creating new stars which one would think is logically every wrestling organization's top priority. 

Wrestling is a star driven, attraction friendly entity that thrives on personal issues between people in which fans have a vested interest. This sounds like a simple equation but it isn't.

My friend Bret Hart had a birthday this week and my best wishes go out to the "Hitman."  It sure seems as if one wanted to guarantee a huge turn out in markets like Calgary and Edmonton that a "Hitman" appearance would be in order if all the arrangements could be worked out. Bret is one of the all time greats and I have flash backs to many of his great bouts in WWE every time I see the "Hart Dynasty" appear on SD dressed in their pink and black attire. I look forward to seeing these three young people evolve on Friday night's and become the stars that they want to become and that WWE needs for them to become. Happy Birthday Bret and here's hoping you have many more. When we next visit, the first cold beverage will be on me.

 I'm not condoning that anyone drink and drive but it sure seems as if some are making a federal case about Roddy Piper's recent arrest for an apparent DUI. Again, don't get me wrong, DUI's are serious business, but luckily there was no accident associated with this incident and no one was injured. I'm sure that Roddy feels as badly as one could feel about this embarrassing matter but everyone makes mistakes in life. I text Roddy this weekend, before the arrest for the record, and he was in amazingly, positive spirits and we largely discussed family and our health. I have great respect for Roddy Piper and I hope this issue can be resolved quickly and that history won't be repeating itself. I, too, traveled down this road many years ago and learned a valuable lesson in the process.        

 It's almost inevitable that UFC 100 on July 11 will produce some upsets. None of the favorites in the main events are lay-ups by any means. Many insiders feel that GSP will be challenged as never before. Lesnar is a beast and will be at his usual 280 pounds by match time and that will be a lean, cardio friendly 280 at that, but Brock certainly isn't a lock to waltz past Frank Mir. I am pulling for Lesnar and GSP but if both lose it likely won't shock those that are really joined at the hip to MMA. I am certainly not a MMA insider but merely a big fan of the genre.         

The  WWE Superstars have a brutal travel schedule especially those on the Raw brand as they will be flying to all their events in Australia which is challenging to say the least. Because of curfews at the airports these flights will be EARLY morning flights and generally not short hauls. The good news is that it looks as if all the Australian events will be sold out or near capacity. For those Aussie fans reading this, please don't ask if WWE is going to schedule a TV shoot or a "major" PPV in the land down under son as I don't have a clue but if forced to guess I would likely say "it's unlikely." However, I hope that I'm wrong as I have never traveled to Australia and would enjoy doing so. 

The Smackdown crew gets to spend a few hours in Hawaii on the 4th of July weekend before heading to Tokyo. Sounds better on paper than it actually is as they arrive late the night before their live event which essentially gives them a few hours of possible beach time before going to work. As I reminded one competitor recently who was bemoaning the schedule, "it is the life that you chose." ( I got that line from Tony Soprano BTW.) Ironically the younger talents, in general, are looking forward to the trips abroad.  Youth is a wonderful thing.   

 Will the next major trend in the biz be an elaborate and through scouting department that looks high and low for the next wave of prospects? The potential to earn big bucks in sports entertainment is a nice selling/recruiting point for an extroverted, skilled athlete with drive, character and a sense of entrepreneurship.    

I think that you will like Friday Night Smackdown this week but, honestly,  what would you expect me to say? (If it weren't as good as I hoped I likely would not mention it for the record.) I actually can't remember all the nuances of the broadcast but when we finished it I felt like we had a good night. The Punk-Hardy story in particular is really coming along nicely and at a pace that I can absorb and emotionally invest.

Talk about talent, Todd Grisham can read his GPS and text simultaneously while driving. I've seen it. Todd and I are traveling partners and he does the driving while I provide the "entertainment" via stories. We have already started talking about this year's college football season. TG is an Alabama fan and most know that my allegiance is with the Oklahoma Sooners. Duh.

I hope that before my "run" ends that I can help Todd continue to improve as I feel he has the ability to be a top flight WWE "story teller" in the years to come. We have had some great discussions regarding our profession while we are driving which I feel end up helping me as much as I hope it helps Todd. 

Hopefully you will have the time and inclination to visit our store here on the site and do some ordering. If you are in the Norman area this weekend, you might consider dropping by JR'S Family BBQ at exit 109 off I35 in Norman as I plan on hanging our there before I have to head north to Connecticut on Wednesday. 

Boomer Sooner!

J.R.      

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JR,

It was a pleasure and a great experience to visit JR's FAMILY BBQ last night for the first time. You have assembled an excellent, hard working team of employees that serve the customers well! I'm from OHIO and sadly, I won't be able to spend this holiday weekend with my family back home because of my work but hopefully I can return to NORMAN and visit again, I certianly would love the opportunity to meet you while you're home. Love the JR'S JERKEY and HALF CHICKEN DINNER! Honestly, the longnecks pricing is THE BEST in town! I look forward to possibly having one with you.

I'll be around and hopefully we can say hello. Thanks for stopping by. I had dinner there last night after arriving back from California.

well, as hectic as the schedule is, i hope the wrestlers are ready to perform in hawaii.  much money was spent on these tickets.

do you know if any wrestlers were reluctant to come to hawaii because of the north korean threats?

Not a one as not even a narrow minded Texas Longhorn fan, and they complain about many things, would complain about traveling/performing in Hawaii. WWE fans always get their money's worth as best I can tell.

I had a slew of comments going through my mind about the quality of the new talent that appeared on ECW this week and the state of pro wrestling today as opposed to the old days, but I'm going to leave those in my head.  If I had written them down the commentary would've been as long as yours and I woulda come across sounding preachy and way too much like the kids thinking because they picked up a few details on the Net they know everything about everything.  I will say that ECW could've been better in my opinion, it was probably the quietest episode I've ever watched.  Personally it looked like too many of the Florida guys were just rushed in without any build-up or thought by the Creative staff on how they were to be used.  But I am willing to give them some wiggle-room and see what they do next week (though Abraham Washington and the Bellas were really painful to watch, feuding siblings again?)

I am wondering though, could the rushed talent be in some way connected to the wellness evaluations I heard about the other week?  I don't know, I do whole-heartedly agree with the policy, and with the WWEs determination to stand by it regardless of the stars place on the pecking order, but the backbreaking schedule, the gigantic need to stand out in a very small spotlight.  I wonder if this is punishing the effect yet doing nothing about the cause.

To Mr. Grisham I say this, be very careful of that texting and driving.  I saw a news article last week, one I thoroughly agree with, showing the increasing number of accidents by people who text and drive at the same time.  Trying to type messages in an itty bitty BlackBerry while driving down the highway is ten times deadlier than driving drunk.  Most states are now concidering legislation to ban it and I hope to God they make them laws.  The last thing I want to see in the news are yours and Todds obituaries.

Last but not least, if and when WWE comes back to Portland, Oregon stop by Reo's Ribs in Beaverton.  THE best BBQ place in the State!

Hindsight is 20/20...it seems as if WWE is going to throw these young kids in the mix and see who survives which is certainly one way to do it. ECW might become one of the more unpredictable TV shows WWE produces as these youngsters will either sink or swim right before our very eyes.

Hey JR, hope all's well, its always great reading your blogs. I registered to say this but I swear I saw you after a WWE Raw show in Sydney back in 2003. I, along with many fans was standing around the parking lot awaiting the wrestlers to aboard their buses, and at some point I saw you getting into one. As you were about to step into the bus someone shouted at you 'You screwed Bret!', at which point you turned around and asked 'Who said that?'. The guy who said it raised his hand and said it was him and you yelled at him to kiss your ass and cursed him some more under your breath before making your way up the bus steps. I thought it was funny as hell and I'm pretty sure it was you but I was surprised to read that you've never been to Australia. So does this event ring a bell?   

I have never been to Australia period. I would have remembered the flight and the trip in general. Plus I don't make it a habit of telling fans to kiss my ass although that has occurred on a rare occasion but never in Australia. Sorry. You've mistaken me with another handsome American. :) 

sorry but to make a correction,

WWE Raw HOUSE show that is...

Mr. Ross,

I have been watching wrestling for 24 years and I have always been a huge fan of your work both with WCW and the WWE.

Normally I do not comment to things like this,but this is something I  feel should be said. You tell everyone not to be too hard on Roddy Piper because of his DUI because no one was hurt, but I am afraid that as much as I respect you I am inclined to disagree.

You see, years ago I had a friend that was hit and killed by a drunk driver. It was her birthday and she was 18 years old at the time. The fool who hit and killed her ended up with a few scrapes and bruises and ended up spending less then two years in Jail for killing my friend. Just because he could not make the simple decision to take a cab or have a friend drive him home.

If people wish to drink that is fine, but they need to do it in the comfort of their own home. At the very least have the good sense to have a DD on stand by so that nothing happens that they will regret.

While I will say that I respect Piper I have to tell you  that this somewhat tarnishes his name for me. People make mistakes that is true, but when you get behind the wheel of a car drunk you are not just taking your own life into your hands.

I hope that Piper learns a valuable lession from this and makes better choices in the future.

Some might say that is too harsh, but  had I been around  to say a few harsh words or take the keys from that man that night I would have. He might have been angry but my friend would still be alive today. 

I mean no disrepect to anyone but I felt it needed to be said.  

I agree with your points and am certainly sorry about the loss of your friend. My Dad's only brother lost his life in a drunk driving accident so I understand the hurt. I knew in addressing this matter that some might think that I look at DUI's lightly which is not the case. I was simply encouraging a friend to learn from his mistake and to not allow history to repeat itself. I appreciate your point of view.

 As an avid Australian fan, I can only say that I hope we will eventually see a taped show or even a PPV down here. :)

Speaking of which, what happened with the broadcast of Raw this week? The results say Raw was broadcast out of San Jose, but there was a live event in Melbourne at the same time. 

I also have a question about one of my favourite match types: the Money in the Bank. Do you prefer the 6-man or 8-man format? Also, which one has been your favourite so far?

Happy birthday to Bret heart he is my all time favorite there is nothing like him in the history of WWE .he is really the hit man .i am waiting see him coming back to the ring he always was the best wrestler WWE produced and even in his old age he can still beat the hell out of any douche bag out there in the arena...i sincerely wish his return and end once and for all his feud with Ric flair .ow what a match will it be ... i wish
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