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Thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Houston this week to appear on the 20th Anniversary of Monday Night Raw. Nice easy one hour flight from OKC to Houston Hobby on Southwest Airlines as one has to love the occasional, non stop flight.
Always good to see so many old friends, both in and out of the wrestling biz, including my pals with ZZ Top, character actor @jpshellnut, and radio personality @seanpendergast. Spending some time at the downtown Hilton with these friends and Ric Flair provided some laughs and a walk or two down memory lane. (Naitch said that he was actually wrestling the Great Muta in Japan this month which I hope ends well.)
Upon arriving at the arena with @HeymanHustle and locating catering which always serves as essentially the 'student union' at these events I found out that I was going to call the @JohnCena vs. @HeelZiggler steel cage match which was the main event of the evening. I quickly started doing my homework and felt the adrenaline rush begin to build with the more info that I jotted down....much of which I never used. That, by the way, is not unusual. One mistake many announcers make is to prepare and then feel compelled to use every single iota of information that they have accumulated. The match dictates how much background info one can approiately fit into a presentation so one has to let the match come to them and fill in the blanks with data that helps enhance the story in the ring being told.
I really appreciate @MichaelCole graciously moving aside and allowing me to handle the play by play of the main event as well as @JCLayfield and @JerryLawler for making my job easier. I'm not sure when my next call will be but I certainly enjoyed the Houston experience and look at every assignment that I am provided as a blessing and an opportunity to do what I love.
@JClayfield is a combustible antagonist broadcaster and has added a viable spark to WWE broadcasts and, as a fan, I'd love to hear him verbally engage the King more when the two join Michael Cole at their next PPV outing. Dialog between the talkative Texan and the King of Memphis would add a new spark to the trio's presentation of which I have enjoyed listening to over the past several weeks. Conflict at the announce table is essential as long as the differences of opinion always travel the route of better establishing the talents in the ring and not become distracting or take away from the in ring talents efforts.
I become more and more impressed with @HeelZiggler each time that I see him and he continues to provide me glimpses of @ShawnMichaels, Ric Flair, Mr. Perfect, Rick Rude and even Billy Gunn at times. I don't live and die with win-loss records at this time but the former Kent State Wrestling star is damn sure maximizing his minutes and turning heads which should be his objective. Ziggler is a big star rising.
Someone incorrectly wrote that I said that @steveaustinBSR was going to be in Houston which isn't true. Steve and @ShawnMichaels were both booked months ago for a convention in Las Vegas called the Shot Show and couldn't break these long standing business obligations to attend Monday's RAW. Nor were they or any other of the typical suspects ever advertised. Of course it gave some folks a new opportunity to complain. I got hammered with complaints from the bravest people on Earth...the keyboard warriors of Twitter @JRsBBQ.
Loved seeing many of the old clips from past, RAW years. Brought back some great memories. Hard to believe how many consecutive weeks for multiple years that many of us headed to the airport and caught a plane, or planes, on Sundays to arrive in a specific town for Monday Night Raw. I don't miss those travel days especially in todays dysfunctional, travel world of whacky airlines, service people who can't speak English, and where departure and arrival times are merely estimates.
Enjoyed the physicality of @TheRock and @CMPunk in Houston as Raw drew to a close and as the build to their WWE Title Bout main event at the Royal Rumble in Phoenix continues to simmer.
Had the occasion to have a nice albeit brief chat with Rock who is looking great and genuinely excited to be back in the WWE mix.
I do believe that Punk will push Rock to the brink at the Rumble from a physical standpoint and that their bout will be at a different pace and have more physicality than Rock vs. Cena at WM28. That's simply speculation and to be determined but Punk is the type of individual who has a legitimate point to prove and a defiant mindset and will be more than willing to see how much gas is in Rock's tank come their PPV feature. Punk's use of Muay Thai strikes and a variety of unique submissions on one of Hollywood's brightest stars could prove to be problematic for the challenger for the WWE Title as well. Rock has never faced anyone with Punk's exact skill set which is far from traditional.
Sorry to see @evemarietorres depart WWE but she's happily married to a Gracie of the legendary MMA Gracie family and will be entering into the family business as an instructor while building her own body of work in that field. Eve is a lovely young lady who is extremely athletic. She was raised right and was never an issue while in WWE as best that I know. I wish her well.
Fans need to understand, and this is coming from someone who has recruited, scouted, and evaluated talent for years, that signing Divas who actually make it while perfecting the total package of skills required to be considered a top level WWE Diva is much more challenging than recruiting male athletes. The Divas are an important and necessary entity within WWE but will likely always be significant, support role players in the big picture. Was that a knock? Hell, no but it's my opinion. That doesn't mean that Divas can't or won't contribute to WWE and earn an excellent living in the process but I never see Divas supplanting the males in the pecking order of a sports entertainment presentation. I do see WWE expanding their efforts to find and sign beautiful, charismatic, athletic young women in the future.
Clayton Jack, Oregon State Wrestling All American heavyweight, has signed with WWE after being scouted by Jerry Brisco and then being evaluated by many of us at a camp in Tampa several months ago. He;s a big kid with a wonderful,l outgoing, positive personality who has the chance to be a top hand if he is willing to put in the time and work to make it happen of which I think that he will. AS a rule, hard work doesn't scare off amateur wrestlers especially those with collegiate experience. Clayton returned to the Beavers to finish his college degree which I personably feel is imperative to have for any one wanting to join WWE's Developmental Program. Because more prospects are going to not make it than are, having something to fall back on lessens the pressure somewhat on some of the youngsters in my view.
Seems like Alberto Del Rio is perfectly positioned to become a huge star within the Hispanic community on a global basis with him becoming the new, World Heavyweight Champion. Del Rio has a great look, heritage, skills, and legit toughness to work through bumps and bruises to the huge, Hispanic following that WWE currently has and is continuing to expand. Congrats @VivaDelRio
I've always thought that Ricardo Rodriguez @RRWWE was one of WWE's more underrated performers, as well.
Obviously, I'm very happy that @RealMickFoley is going to be inducted into the WWE HOF but feel bad that, thanks to Twitter that Mick is getting so much help as to who he should have induct him. My suggestion is Terry Funk or one or more of Mick's children. Who ever does it needs to be succinct and allow Mick more time to enjoy his moment and to share his feelings with the audience in Madison Square Garden.
Our partners in the distribution of JR's products in the UK and Europe @americansoda has restocked their shelves and business has picked up for the Manchester, England company. They have JR's products in some of their American Candy locations too, I'm told.
Because so many have asked, yes WWE is going to do more Legends Roundtables but I'm not certain of when or the topics.
Oprah can't be happy with the Manti Te'o situation because 1. She didn't get the scoop and 2. it seems to have blown the Lance Armstrong business off the front page before OWN airs the interview Thursday night.
I'm leaning toward 49ers and Pats this Sunday in the NFL playoffs but need more time to study the point spread. By all rights the Falcons should win at home and if the football Gods are real, Ray Lewis would make it to the Super Bowl before his storied and controversial career ends.
I've met Chip Kelly a couple of times socially and I've never been around a more bright, football mind so I think that Philly fans can exhale that they have been provided a solid prospect for their #Eagles. For those that expect Kelly to replicate his Oregon Ducks offense in Philly is ludicrous.
WWEShop.com @WWEShop has reduced the price of their JR Super Fan package almost $20 which includes several JR's products and an authentically signed, oversized card.
Can some one help...how do I accurately and conclusively name my favorite match of all time to call? I'm saying it isn't possible. What's your thoughts? Tweet me at @JRsBBQ.
Been doing a little more thinking about writing a book but man, what an undertaking. Getting 40 years worth of experiences in one book is way out of my comfort zone. I'm still strategizing on the matter. Good news is that I'm thinking more about it as I've wanted to write a book for years now.
Suggestion: download the Layfield Report App to your IPad or IPhone, etc. Great place to get all your news and tons of features, including some interesting wrestling info, in one stop at one location. Even though JBL takes the occasional verbal shot at me on the air, I forgive him because he's a Texan and, unfortunately, just doesn't know better. He'll like me again once his Longhorns finally beat my Sooners in an October football game.