Weather update...it was 80 degrees today in Norman...now the news...
Great crowd in Austin, Texas Monday night for Monday Night Raw (MNR). The crowd was energized throughout the evening which helped make the show sound and feel special. I Tweeted (@JRsBBQ) that Longhorns coach Mack Brown must have given the fans a pep talk prior to going on the air at 8 central which also, & I'm being serious, doesn't hurt. 8 pm vs 9 pm is fan friendly especially for a PG rated TV program.
MNR certainly had its share of moments the night after the TLC PPV. It speaks to the WWE's commitment to come off a solid PPV on Sunday with a stellar Monday night show. It also speaks volumes regarding the athletes/performers mindset and work ethic to forge ahead after a challenging 'night at the office' in Houston where many of their bodies were introduced to tables, ladders and chairs.
The issue that started tonight between John Cena and C.M. Punk has my curiosity. I think that these two will have some stellar bouts when they finally wrestle. Punk is very hungry to re-establish himself as a dominate, singles performer. Punk and Cena can also carry the verbal load of this main event level issue.
Cena felt like a bigger star than I can recall him feeling in a long time on MNR from Austin as he had a memorable night while figuratively putting Nexus on a milk carton. Cena, love him or not, connects with the ticket buying public better than any one in the biz. End of story.
Loved the short albeit competitive and well wrestled Daniel Bryan vs. William Regal match. I'm likely too 'old school' but I would have no issues watching these two men compete in a multiple segment match any time. Broadcasters that have the opportunity to call a match such as this should seize the moment because they don't come along as often as they once did.
The evolution of John Morrison continues. As many have pointed out over time and of which I agree, John has some young HBK tendencies/mannerisms but his biggest step, in this fan's eye, is recently demonstrating more physical toughness in the ring. It reminds of when HBK added another layer to his body of work many years ago on PPV against Mick Foley aka Mankind in what was essentially a physical war. Some 'experts' on Twitter feel that Morrison's verbal skills are an issue but I don't.
Morrison should simply be himself and grow into his main event skin and never allow himself to be perceived as disingenuous.
Bottom line is that it takes time and patience for one to move to and subsequently stay at the elite level of any company.
Dolph Ziggler, competing against John Cena, had a Morrison-like night on MNR as well. Reminded me of some bouts that I was a part of on Smackdown a little over a year ago when Ziggler faced Rey Mysterio in a series of contests. The current IC Champion elevated his game then and also distinguished himself tonight against Cena. Ziggler has some Mr. Perfect in ring traits which are a good thing.
For the record, Vickie Guerrero was instrumental in helping make the entire Cena/Dolph scenario work. I'm personally very proud of Vickie and am pleasantly surprised at how viable her TV persona has become in WWE. I know that her late husband Eddie would have been very proud of her.
As a matter of fact, IMO, it seems as if Vickie and Michael Cole have more fan angst than the majority of WWE Superstars. It will be interesting to follow the development of both these two, controversial individuals to see how their ever growing TV persona's are monetized by WWE.
Some folks who have emailed and Tweeted us were upset that WWE HOF'er Jerry Lawler pinned the WWE Champion in a 6 man tag match. Wow. Really?
Nonetheless, it was RANDY ORTON who facilitated the pin and it was RANDY ORTON who got a small taste of retribution against the elusive, WWE Champion not to mention setting up a main event Tuesday night on a special, LIVE Smackdown broadcast on the USA Network between RANDY ORTON and the Miz.
As former New York Jets and Kansas City Chief coach Herm Edwards once said, "Hello!! That's Why We Play The Game."
Smackdown on USA is going to be a loaded broadcast and will/should earn a solid TV rating on USA for the special Tuesday night airing as opposed to airing this week only on Syfy. Plus, Friday night is Christmas Eve which is obviously not a great night for TV viewership.
BTW I made an innocuous joke on Twitter Monday night regarding a tongue in cheek "Did You Know?" mentioning that I had sold more BBQ sauce than any other WWE Hall of Fame broadcaster ever. Some folks actually took that attempt at humor seriously. I kid you not. I also asked if that 'fact' made me a Diva after seeing about 50 Snickers commercials during MNR featuring Aretha Franklin...Snickers Diva....BBQ Diva...never mind.
Come on man and lighten up Francis.
BTW #2 it seemed to me that Booker T was in excellent shape when we spoke on Sunday afternoon in Houston. That statement will likely fuel ample speculation and I'm not saying that Booker wants to or ever will step back in the ring but, as always, one never says never in this biz. With two beautiful twin children just coming into this world, I don't ever see Booker T going back on the road full time. Nonetheless it was great seeing him and his lovely wife Sharmell. Ol Book did quite well in the wife department, much like yours truly, as he 'out punted his coverage.'
Felt bad for Vikings fans Monday night on the 50th Anniversary Celebration of their franchise in their loss to the Bears. The game had an old school feel to it being played at night, outdoors in the dead of winter in Minneapolis. Bret Favre looked old and worn out after being knocked out of the game early. How good might Bret do in the NFL broadcast booth? Favre will be money if he chooses that route just to have something to do while wearing his Wrangler jeans because he sure as heck doesn't need the cash.
It's interesting how the national sports media is subtlety doing their best to make UConn the potential Cinderella story of the year if they can knock off powerful Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl ala Boise State and West Virginia in previous Fiesta Bowls. I got a feeling (Thanks, to the Blacked Eyed Peas) that the Sooners will have a good night on Saturday January 1. All I want for my next B-day is a Sooner, BCS Bowl victory.
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Be well and Happy Holidays.