FRIDAY Blog, JR at @CACReunion, WWE Performance Center, Who Killed the Territories?, Order JR's Products for Grill & Kitchen!
Greetings from the bipolar weather capitol of the world...Norman, Oklahoma. Let's of random thoughts and opinion to grill here today so let's light the fire...Great time at the 48th Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion this week in Las Vegas. It wasn't a money making trip as my lovely wife attended and did her part to contribute to the economy of Vegas by doing two days worth of shopping. Seriously, we both had a wonderful time seeing so many old friends and fans that we have gotten to know over the years. CAC is a great non profit organization that does many amazing, charitable things for those in need from within the wrestling biz. CAC doesn't look for publicity as many of their benevolent acts would bring embarrassment to many of the recipients. But, take it from me, CAC helps lots of people that you know or have heard of over the years and I'm of the mindset that more people, fans and wrestlers alike, should join the organization. For more info check out the CAC website at http://www.caulifloweralleyclub.org.I wish the event would be moved to June as I feel that following WrestleMania so closely and while many WWE talents are in Europe and can't attend doesn't serve the attendance at CAC well. Two trips in one month are too much for many to endure both physically and financially. Hopefully the CAC Board of Directors will take this into consideration. If they want to grow, get younger, etc then why not have their only, annual fundraiser when fans can bring their children who are in school during the month of April but are available to travel to Vegas in June?I had the pleasure of presenting Adam Copeland AKA Edge the Male Wrestler Award from CAC in a surprise presentation. Only three people knew of this matter as it was a total surprise to Edge. I followed such powerful and serious presentations as the DDP/Jake the Snake Roberts duo and the late, Paul Bearer/Percy Pringle presentation so I attempted to ad lib my way into a more light hearted mood in what felt like a somber room and rightfully so at that particular time of the evening.Reading Adam's resume is really amazing as he's accomplished and earned an amazing body of work winning over 30 titles in WWE. However, Adam is a much better human being with a kind soul and unwavering character which even surpasses his professional accomplishments inside the ring. The 2012 WWE Hall of Famer is one of my all time favorite signees as we signed him, and Christian, in 1997.We loved spending time with Adam and his best pal Beth Phoenix in Vegas as Adam prepares for a five month stint of filming the new season of SyFy's Haven in Nova Scotia, if I'm not mistaken. Adam's character on Haven has expanded to appear on every episode at this time. The amazing work that DDP is doing with Jake Roberts is awe inspiring. I met 3 of Jake's 8 children at CAC and it was a wonderful reunion for the previously estranged family. Obviously, it was a very emotional weekend for the family as the creator of the DDT is well on is way to recovery from drug and alcohol abuse and let's all pray that he steers the course and reaches his destination. Jake's speech at CAC was damn amazing as was DDP's. It was great seeing Ivan Koloff who has issues getting around and walks with a cane. Ivan is still barrel chested but like many older veterans is 'shrinking' or so it seemed. Uncle Ivan was a great hand with amazing endurance and strength back in the day and is now an ordained minister and spends most of his time helping others including speaking with inmates in prison. The former WWWF Champion, who defeated his hero Bruno Sammartino, always treated me wonderfully when I went to work for Jim Crockett Promotions back in the 80's.Nora Greenwald aka Molly Holly also received an award, presented by Lisa Moretti aka Ivory, that was well deserved and beautifully received. If more people, men and women alike, had Molly's character and integrity, the business would be infinitely better off. I hired her on the recommendation of Dean Malenko and even though she did not fit the stereotypical mold of a WWE Diva, Nora was one of the most successful and productive women that ever worked in WWE. She's now working in a drug treatment facility in Minnesota and is happily married. The announcement earlier this week of the construction and soon to be opened for business WWE Performance Center in Orlando is HUGE news for the long term future and success of WWE and is a personal dream come true for me. Back in the mid 90's when we started the developmental system in such markets as Louisville, Memphis, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles, I always wanted to someday have a NFL-like facility where athletes could be trained in all facets of the business. To successfully recruit world class, Division 1 like college athletes, we needed to have a facility that would fit every need and compete with the facilities that many of these high level athletes were accustomed to frequenting. WWE will now have that facility in Orlando just minutes away from Full Sail University where NXT will continue to be taped approximately every three weeks. WWE's relationship with Full Sail University is a long term one that will see the two entities develop not only in ring talent but other roles including technical jobs, too. Too bad some cynics are critical of this positive move saying, what we all know is true, that nothing will ever replace a well run, wrestling territory that produces its own weekly TV show, has a roster full of positive, veteran talents who want to share their knowledge and skills while teaching the next generation of stars in weekly regular events in front of different, live audiences on a regular basis. Unfortunately that scenario is not going to happen. Wrestling territories are dead and aren't being resurrected. One of the most ludicrous theories from some of the disgruntled collection of negative individuals is that WWE "killed the territories." This inane theory is laughable. Inept promoting and behind the times, near sighted promoters killed their own territories by not using updated promotional skills and techniques, by not continuing to maintain a great relationship with their TV stations via sound, media relations, and, arguably most importantly, by not developing their own, homegrown, new wrestling stars. Plus, the advent of cable and satellite TV made many of the low budget, locally produced TV shows look obsolete and minor league. Old school promoters found themselves in a comfort zone of "this is how we've always done it" and that philosophy killed their business but the popular theory of displacing blame is to accuse the WWE of doing the dirty deed. I was there...I saw it with my own eyes...I worked in a territory or two for the record during the time that these beloved territories were dying. In the UWF, the economy killed our region of the country due to the oil market crash which drove unemployment numbers to all time highs and lessened disposable income significantly. However, the other cold, hard fact is that we weren't developing any hot, new stars with which the fans could emotionally invest. WE failed in that aspect of the promotion of which I was a part. The good old boy system of promoting passed away, unfortunately, just as many mom and pop retail stores did when mass marketers like Wal Mart came to town with new products that were promoted in up to date, aggressive methods. In some cases the Ma and Pa stores refused to invest to compete and were hell bent on sticking with the "this is the way that we've always done it" theory. People who are resistant to change are likely bound to fail. The future of the genre is to develop new stars who now have to be trained in a different manner than in the territory days. The new, WWE Performance Center will enable WWE to do just that while attracting a high level athlete from many structured environments and athletic programs.If one is a true student of the game, one knows that promoters have been signing main stream athletes to perform in a pro wrestling ring for decades and the list of stars from this process is a who's who. We are recruiting highly skilled, motivated, intelligent athletes who have marketable personalities and who have an aptitude for the biz. For any one to think that we are signing individuals who have zero knowledge or passion for our product is just silly. Plus, merely having a muscular physique isn't the only criteria as being a well conditioned, natural athlete with a great motor and a marketable personality is more important that having a marketable physique. The list of talents that we signed over the years displayed a variety of body types and I feel that we are returning to that theory. Plus, WWE will continue to recruit the best of the independent scene however every time someone's friend or favorite isn't immediately signed the indictment will be distributed that WWE isn't looking in the indy scene which, if you look at the current WWE roster, contradicts that theory immediately.Of course these indy stars will have new, WWE names so that WWE can own and manage the intellectual property of the individual which is the smart and responsible thing for WWE to do. Anyone who doesn't understand that simply doesn't understand the entertainment business. We have tons of Q&A's to update so check that out here on the site too.Please visit and order JR's products from http://www.wweshop.com which ships quickly and efficiently throughout the USA, Canada, UK, and Australia among many other locales and http://www.americansoda.co.uk as American Soda ships throughout UK, Ireland and Europe from their location in Manchester. Follow them both on Twitter @americansoda and @WWEShop.I'll be adding more content to the site frequently over the next few days as I'm home with no planned travel for the next few days. I invite you to follow me on Twitter @JRsBBQ.BoomerSooner!J.R.