It is always good to visit Texas for yours truly as it's one of the closer road trips I have to take living here in Norman, Oklahoma. San Antonio is an awesome city and the WWE HQ hotel there was the Hyatt on the River Walk which was a superb locale. Plus, the Hyatt wasn't under renovation, which broke a recent string of several hotels we have stayed in that were "under construction to better serve you".
Of course, the Annual WWE Draft spawned several sensational, Internet stories and conspiracy theories about why people were drafted to particular brands, etc.
I have read that I knew that I was leaving Monday Night Raw prior to the draft. Wrong. I had no clue as to the move....had no travel booked to go to Houston, including no hotel room there booked prior to Tuesday nor did I take an extra suit to wear Tuesday night as I thought I was coming home, as usual. Thanks to Southwest Airlines I made it to Houston by the middle of the afternoon and then had to go purchase a new suit. After seeing about a zillion TV commercials where GeorgeZimmer touts his Men's Warehouse Stores and how they can help a man out who is in need of emergency apparel, I gave them a try. Men's Warehouse came through just as they say they will on their ads, which was greatly appreciated.
However, at the end of the day people are going to believe what they choose and why should they let the truth in the way of a good story?
There has also been some amazing stories that "J.R." is in some way a part of the Mr. McMahon business that occurred on Monday Night Raw at the end of the evening in San Antonio. Unless these amateur Oliver Stone's have "inside sources" that are feeding them info that I have not heard this one is also another lame theory.
My "angry blog" earlier this week was admittedly ill advised, but it was honest on my end, even though I broke one of my own cardinal rules of writing, never write when angry. That's not advisable for anyone who writes for public consumption. I tend to look at thingsun-objectively when I'm P.O.'ed and the result is usually a "poor me" piece of business. I hear that some folks within the WWE were all over this particular "angry blog" and wanted to make sure that the heavy hitters in the company were aware of my "ire". Of course, many of these sycophants acquit themselves by saying, "I'm just doing my job." Right.
The second blog was written while I was sitting in the San Antonio Airport during a flight delay to Houston and had calmed down and took a more objective look at the opportunity that was presented to me by moving to Smackdown. I have a chance to contribute to the essential re-branding of the network program that could lead to bigger and better things for the company that pays the Ross' "light bill". Because this piece was largely positive, I would assume that the WWE suits were not made aware of this bit of journalism but that's only one man's take on a matter that really, at the end of the day, isn't that big an issue.
I have also read where I have "changed my tune" which is essentially true, I suppose, but this "change of tune" wasn't a result of being reprimanded as some have suggested but simply a matter of cooler heads (mine) prevailing. However, the reprimand theory does make for a better story.
As a football fan, moving to Tuesday's is going to really be nice as I will be able to hang at one of our restaurants and enjoy the NFL on Sundays not to mention enjoy the Oklahoma Sooner fans who are in town on home game weekends. Plus, travel to the UK, for example, will not mean I have to juggle OU Football and flights and arrive on Monday morning as I have in the past and then broadcast Raw on Monday evening there. I can leave Sunday night or Monday morning and still get my work done.
But still at the end of the day, this is simply a wrestling announcer moving from one show to the other and really nothing else. Much like theNBA's Allen Iverson once said about "practice," the same analogy can be made about this issue. It's a "wrestling announcer" changing addresses. The vast majority of TV viewers, in all candor, do not tune in to hear a particular announcer broadcast a show anyway. Some "might" but if the product sucks and is lacking in wrestling then the channel changer is in full force....favorite announcer or not.
My first Smackdown experience with Mick Foley was well received internally and I thought it showed that we have the potential to be an entertaining team. We will work diligently to get better each week. Much like The King and I, Mick and I are great friends with a great deal of mutual respect which is not in long supply in this business. With that foundation to build upon, there is no reason that we can't evolve along with the Smackdown brand itself which as anyone can see has a viable, new roster with many fresh faces and a much higher corporate priority than it ever has. Be sure and check out www.wwe.com for all the roster changes.
I hope that you will check out Smackdown Friday night and chime in with your thoughts on the announcing on the show. There was more in ring wrestling to call than I have been used to on Raw which was nice.
Texas has been good to the WWE for a long time, not to mention all the great Texas bred talent that the WWE and the biz in general as featured over the years, but at the box office also. Over the past few days, Amarillo, San Antonio, and Houston were all sold out or near capacity. Those 3 markets alone grossed just under $1M Sunday-Tuesday. LasCruces and Albuquerque also did well over the weekend selling almost 20,000 tickets for the two events. Dallas has sold out the American Airlines Center Sunday for the "Night of Champions" and let's hope that the in ring wrestling product delivers to these great WWE fans. It will also be interesting to see what announcers call what matches. That will likely be decided Sunday.
I have many friends attending the event Sunday in Dallas including basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman along with her son T.J. and some of his pals. Plus the former MVP of the Orange Bowl and former OU Sooner DB "Dr." Bud Hebert who really should take the Mrs. and me to Del Frisco's on Saturday night for one a great steak. I also expect to see long time friend and former business associate Dennis Brent, and his wife Lynn, at the event. Dennis is hooking up with Mick Foley over the weekend as Dennis has an awesome collection of wrestling memorabilia and is getting ready to launch a website featuring much of his collectibles and swag.
Monday night I absolutely plan on attending the OKC Raw as how could it be an OKC Raw without me getting my ass kicked in some shape form or fashion? :) Seriously, this is a major event for my home market and one that I am supporting as tirelessly as possible especially considering that the ticket header says "The WWE and J.R.'s Family BBQ present Monday Night Raw". I have a ticket but please don't ask me for any comps as I am fresh out....wow I did not realize I had so many friends. As a matter of fact the Monday Night Raw Superstars and crew will enjoy catering from J.R.'s Family BBQ on Monday and many Smackdown folks are planning on stopping by our original store Monday which is at exit 109 at I-35 and Main in Norman.
OKC's Ford Center, which will be the home for Seattle's NBA team at some point in the future, is a great facility and I expect more fans to attend this Raw based on advance ticket sales than any event ever promoted by the WWE in OKC including the Unforgiven PPV of a couple of years ago. I will be doing a ton of media for this event on Friday in OKC with "TheGlamazon" who will join me for lunch at J.R.'s Family Bar-B-Q in Norman around 1 p.m. Friday.
With Smackdown heading to Tulsa next Tuesday, it will give me the opportunity to broadcast a wrestling show from the Tulsa Convention Center which was the home base of Bill Watts'UWF Wrestling TV show and the site of some great nights of in ring physicality. I don't think that I have personally broadcast a wrestling match in Tulsa in over 20 years. Perhaps the "Big Cowboy" will show up and do a "walk in" and let some poor soul run into Cowboy's rather large fist. Just like old times.
Thanks for checking out our site and for all the support that I have received this week. It has been an eventful week, including receiving emails that said I was going to "burn in hell" for working for the WWE, calling me Vince McMahon's bit*h, that I am a "sell out" and on and on. Classy and courageous stuff, eh? However, I have received much more support than the negative, wise ass remarks and feedback that I have see on some websites. Let me simply say that all is good in Norman, I assure you. My health is good, my family is great, our new, bigger restaurant in Moore, Oklahoma will be open soon and business in our original store in Norman is awesome. Plus, the Sooners are having hellacious summer workouts. And last but not least I am still involved in wrestling which has made up a large part of my life over the past 34 years and with a new challenge a head of me. Nice way to recharge the batteries and see where the next phase of my career takes me.