Thanks for stopping by our site and paying us a quick visit, as I write this, on the last day of 2012. Here's hoping that each of you have a healthy, happy and productive 2013. Here are a few random thoughts for you to ponder......
I'm optimistic that 2013 will be a banner year for WWE. There are several outstanding young talents training in NXT along with the newer performers, among others, who have just begun their WWE, main roster journey that offer me great hope for the future.
There's also several more established names in WWE who have, seemingly, been percolating on the back burner for a good while that have been on a steady, upward climb to main event relevancy throughout most of 2012.
I've been impressed with TheShield and how they have been presented by WWE in addition to the effort displayed by each member of the faction. All three men offer something special. None are overtly head and shoulders above the other and each has the opportunity to become special in their own, individual careers. These men are hungry and seem to be willing to outperform many of their peers within the WWE locker room to earn lucrative spots at the top of the card. More established talents who enjoy their own, self created comfort zones would be well served to look over their shoulders.
Newcomer Big E Langston has been introduced in a meaningful way by WWE. I have been a supporter of Big E's for quite some time. Having spent a great deal of time in WWE Talent Development and watching 'E' train and getting to know him, he's a bright, athletic young man who will hopefully continue to grind and study his craft. His physical gifts are obvious.
With all that said, I am a firm believer that talents largely make their own breaks especially today with no territories with which to pluck established, main eventers. How much one is willing to invest DAILY in one's career is the difference in getting to the Promised Land OR choosing to use their lack of effort and initiative to blame the business, the establishment, creative, etc for one's failure. Some who read this will disagree with my assessment which is fine. Unlike many keyboard warriors on Twitter or those who become tough guys on internet message boards, success, no matter what field it may be, is largely dependent on the person who one sees daily in the mirror. That's simply my opinion.
Life isn't always necessarily fair in case you haven't noticed.
It's Cliche but one truly does reap what one sows. When I was earning $25 a day, all in, putting up the ring and refereeing, I sure as hell didn't want to make that role my career. I had many opportunities to do other things outside the wrestling business for significantly more money and benefits but I wanted to live my dream and was willing to make sacrifices, some personally painful, to make those dreams happen. I worked every day learning from some of the old timers who took the time to mentor me and to teach me. Some of the best learning experiences was being the 'wheel man' with 2-3 of 'the boys' on long car trips. It was listening to them pontificate. Being a sponge and soaking in every piece of information and knowledge that I could. It certainly wasn't about checking one's cell phone for text messages, tweeting or looking for a satellite radio station that every one could agree. I knew that I would never be a star wrestler, not that I ever wanted to be because I didn't, and if I was going to make a career out of the biz it was going to be in management or broadcasting.
At times when I read that a particular wrestler needs a "push" it's often an eye roller. The rosters of any wrestling entity are thin....dangerously thin. There's been no better time in my lifetime to make it as a star in sports entertainment as there is today.
Those that persevere and continue to spend ample time studying the works of their predecessors, spending quality and regular time in the gym , and practice living a clean lifestyle increase their chances greatly. Essentially having the same basic traits many of you must have in your jobs...being on time, being reliable, loyal, skilled, and willing to go the extra mile to insure the success of the "Goose that lays the Golden Eggs" IE the company that pays you.
As a former 'executive' the simply theory of how I look at any talent is that together we will do all we can to solve their individual problems IE motivation issues, unprofessional behavior etc OR we eliminate the problem. Solve or eliminate...end of story.
I see too many talents today who are in a comfort zone and are resolved to the fact that they are in an unwanted role that they will never escape. Firstly, ask any successful manager, especially in sales, and they will tell you that a sales staff loaded with personnel who are nestled in their own comfort zone is extremely dangerous. Comfort zones destroy the entrepreneurial spirit of a sports entertainer, a sales person, etc. In the wresting biz, breaking free from comfort zones and becoming a part of the process, whether one is asked to participate in the process or not, is imperative.
I can name some of the biggest names ever in the business, over multiple generations, who forced their way into 'the process' so that their voice could be heard. Some were better communicators than others but none of these main event, hall of fame level talents would have been as successful if they had not "spoken up."
Were some of them really GIANT pains in the buttocks? Hell, yes. Trust me, as I know of what I speak on this topic. But they contributed. They were hungry. Many were selfish to some degree and were damn sure competitive.
A complacent locker room isn't one with which I want to invest. That doesn't mean that there can't be professionalism and friendships but when the competitive edge isn't prevalent then productivity lessens.
I'm somewhat certain that this filibuster will likely have some readers disagreeing with me but I can only speak from my heart and past experiences whether you agree with my take or not.
Moving on....I'm thankful for many things as we usher in a new year..some include:
My wife Jan who puts up with my 'restless' behavior and obsession with the wrestling business and building JR's Family brand of products. We married in 1992 so in wrestling years that 's like being hitched a half a century. Being the wife of the head of talent relations wasn't easy but she was perfect in her role because she genuinely cared about the performers and their families.
That the King is alive and well. @JerryLawler is the beneficiary of a miracle.
I'm thankful that I start my 20th year in WWE in 24 hours. I started in 1993. Wouldn't have changed a thing along the way either. Were their challenges? Yep and I tried to meet each of them head on but not without some battle scars along the way. I can't imagine working anywhere in the genre but in WWE.
In a strange way, I'm somewhat thankful that I've had three bouts of Bells palsy as I honestly feel that it's made me better appreciate good health and has made me a stronger person.
@CMPunk never taking no for an answer and grinding it out to become, arguably, WWE's MVP in 2012.
Guys like @WWEDanielBryan getting his shot and taking advantage of it. He's one of my favorite wrestlers. When was the last time Daniel Bryan had a 'bad' match? Plus, Bryan knew he that had to learn to verbally communicate better to get to the next level and he has.
Long time indy wrestlers like @AntonioCesaro who paid their dues many times over before finally getting to perform at the highest level within his profession. Cesaro is a beast with whom I have great respect.
@HeelZiggler who is so athletically gifted and is beginning to put it all together especially on the mic. I fully expect Ziggler to have a banner 2013 if he stays healthy as Dolph competes at a very physical level.
@WadeBarrett finally being healthy. He's a keeper and is a smart athlete who will do what it takes to elbow his way to the top and to do what is professionally necessary to stay there.
@WWESheamus is a beloved throwback in our business. Completely professional, a role model for the younger talents and a tough athlete who has not even scratched the surface as to how good he can be. If WWE had a locker room full of talents like Sheamus, they would be ecstatic.
@JohnCena for continuing to do what he believes and for pulling the WWE wagon. John's Make A Wish work alone will get him to heaven.
@CodyRhodesWWE for turning the corner. Love his upside and hope that he pushes himself to achieve the greatness for which he seems destined.
@TheDamienSandow for never quitting on his dreams.
@JCLayfield for taking some friendly fire at me on @WWE TV and for taking JR's Beef Jerky along with him on his mountain climbing adventures. John has made WWE TV better since his return. But he's still a Texan.
@RealKingRegal for spending so much time with me and helping me to keep learning about the business that we both love. Mr. Regal is a wonderful teacher, mentor and historian of the mat game. He's a valuable asset to the future growth of WWE Talent Development.
@Fgbrisco aka Jerry Brisco for battling his way to good health and for having amazing relationships in the amateur wrestling world that benefits WWE every day and for many years to come. Jerry is a part of my Okie family.
@steveaustinBSR simply for being a great friend and for always keeping in touch no matter how busy he is or where he is.
@shawnMichaels for the man he has become. Shawn is an inspiration to many for the way he lives his life and for what he's overcome. HBK looked into the mirror and with God's help changed his life to one that inspires many of us.
There are so many others that I could mention but I've kept you long enough.
Thanks for supporting our efforts of building our JR's Family brand of products at WWEShjop.com, http://www.wweshop.com and in the UK @americansoda. My pals at the Norman, Oklahoma Homeland stores have been supporting our efforts for years of which we are grateful. We just recently put our JR's Beef Jerky into the J. Botie convenience store in Norman at 36th and Main. We're tying to get in more grocery stores in 2013 but it's tough for a small outfit like ours to do. That doesn't mean that we won't stop trying.
I'm heading to Dallas this week for the Cotton Bowl and am hopeful that my #Sooners can notch their 11th win of the season with a victory over my friend Kevin Sumlin's Texas A&M Aggies. OU is the underdog which I hope helps motivate Stoops Troops. Look for the black hat on the OU sideline.
I've updated all the Q&A's here at the site and I think that you will enjoy them as they are a quick read from fans around the world. It's always interesting to see what's on your mind.
You're invited to follow me on Twitter @JRsBBQ as we are approaching 650,000 followers.