The countdown until tonight's Monday Night Raw from Pittsburgh is on and I fully expect tonight's broadcast to raise the stakes on the Road to WrestleMania. Those thoughts and others coming up....
The three top WM29 bouts are set, or so it would appear, as I fully expect HHH to accept Brock Lesnar's challenge tonight no matter the price to be paid with the Lesnar/Heyman concocted stipulation that they will add AFTER the deal is done.
Now...what's next for the showcase event of the year? Lots of intriguing options and one could assume that some, if not most, of those bouts will be established by week's end between Raw, the Main Event on Wednesday and Friday Night Smackdown.
Some fans on Twitter @JRsBBQ are lamenting that they need to know the entire under card NOW for some reason. I would assume that these are young, impatient fans who will convince Mom and Dad to allow them to buy WM29 on PPV no matter who's booked.
I have no issue whatsoever in devoting more time and doing it earlier on the primary main events that will drive the PPV aspect of the event. The live event in Met Life Stadium is virtually sold out with only select seats still remaining for those who may be interested in attending the event live of which I encourage.
The under card is very important to the entire presentation without question. But will those important albeit non main event level bouts adversely affect the number of buys that WM29 gets on PPV? My guess is no.
What really is the main event of WM29? From a marketing standpoint the answer is obvious, @TheRock defending the WWE Title against @JohnCena...without question and hands down.
However, that doesn't mean that particular bout, which has the heavy responsibility of likely closing the near, four hour show, is dancing alone.
Many fans are just as interested to see if 'The Streak' survives another year. Obviously, @CMPunk and @HeymanHustle feel that it won't and that Father Time and Punk's unique skill set can derail the most impressive accomplishment ever earned on the grandest stage of them all.
Just curious, is being the man who finally beats the Undertaker at WrestleMania more of a lasting memory specifically to Punk's legacy than is his long, 400+ day WWE title reign?
Others are intrigued to see if #TripleH can derail the PPV performing juggernaut Brock Lesnar in a match driven by an intense, personal issue. Will Lesnar's MMA skills be too much for the Cerebral Assassin to handle? I am very anxious to see the strategies utilized by both men which obviously are going to be dictated by the stipulations of the match.
There's lots of star power still uncommitted officially to the WrestleMania lineup so the issue of "Where is the under card?" is a non issue to me. It's there and I feel it will be significant.
So, in a nutshell, tonight's Pittsburgh RAW should be a revealing and telling broadcast as WM29 gets ever so close. As usual, don't miss the start of the broadcast as it usually sets the tone for the evening.
I lost a friend and former High School football opponent last night when former Oklahoma Sooner QB Steve Davis died in a private plane crash in South Bend, Indiana. I played HS football at Westville, Oklahoma while Steve played at Sallisaw. He played QB for the Black Diamonds while I was a nose guard on defense so our paths crossed occasionally during that one evening down in Sallisaw. He was a year younger than me and died much too young at the age of 60. Steve was 32-1-1 as the starting QB for Barry Switzer's Sooners and actually won more National Titles (2) than games he lost (1). Steve was an ordained Baptist minister and a former network TV football analyst who was living in Tulsa. RIP Steve Davis.
Steve Austin @steveaustinBSR is going to start a new, weekly podcast and you can get more info by following Steve on Twitter. Straight talk for 30 minutes with the Texas Rattlesnake.This ought to be good.
I've learned to realize that anytime someone like me from a sports entertainment background makes observations on MMA, especially #UFC, that one sets himself up for a backlash of varying degrees from MMA fans who detest our genre. To be perfectly clear, I am a big fan of MMA particularly the @UFC organization. I admire what they have built and accomplished in such a short time. However, I do have an opinion and on my own website or on Twitter I feel that I have a right to express constructive criticism on issues that I feel that I'm qualified in making. Lord knows that I get plenty of the same, at times not so constructive, criticisms daily.
Still think that @JohnyHendricks poses a matchup challenge for GSP but that certainly isn't an insult against a man with the character of George St. Pierre. Hendricks is a native Okie who starred at Oklahoma State where he was a legit, four time, wrestling All American and who also happens to possess a lethal left hook. Will Hendricks beat GSP when they meet? I have no idea but I'm pulling for my fellow Okie. Hopefully, for Hendrick's sake, the fight will NOT be in Montreal. I've already been scolded by GSP fans for my take on that upcoming bout.
Regarding the Nick Diaz situation, I've dealt with so many unique personalities within the wrestling biz that I don't dare give a chapter and verse rendition of what is or isn't wrong with Diaz. He's obviously complex but that isn't' an indictment. Bottom line is that some have responded that Diaz isn't a 'role model.' Can't disagree with that but what public figure should anyone declare a true 'role model?' My answer to that question is...none. Look for role models closer to home and in other, much more important walks of life. Just saying.
For those asking, I am not filling out a March Madness bracket of which I find to be a massive waste of my time. It's sort of like playing bingo...one waits for the numbers to drop and the presence of luck is paramount. Will I watch the games? Sure but only as a fan and hoping the Oklahoma teams can win and advance. If you are filling out brackets, good luck.
How anyone can compare how WWE treated the untimely death of our good friend Paul Bearer last Monday to how WCW creative booked their 'Oklahoma' character is WAY beyond my ability to process that particular information. I've actually been posed that question. "How can you condone what WWE did when WCW did the same thing to you?" Seriously? WWE did a wonderful tribute to Paul Bearer and allowed his memory to be used, just as Bill Moody would have wanted, to further a key, storyline element to Percy's favorite event, WrestleMania. End of story.
I'm excited to be heading to Orlando this week to help produce NXT with a great team of men and women @FullSail University where Chris Jericho, @IAmJericho, will be a special guest. We expect another full house at one of my favorite events and venues. I love helping the young talents take another step in hopefully fulfilling their professional dreams. I'm equally anxious to see who has marketably improved since I last saw them in the same environment. 2013 is going to be the biggest year for Talent Development in WWE history and that's saying something.
Got my travel booked to attend the WM29 festivities and I don't know who's more excited, me or my wife Jan. Attending WrestleMania, this will be our 20th, is like attending a family or class reunion. The opportunity to reconnect with many that one only sees once or twice a year is so rewarding. I will be appearing at the WWE Super Store at the Stadium on Friday April 5 from 1-3 pm and doing an appearance at AXXESS Saturday morning at 8-10. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is always a highlight for us especially this year with this class of deserving performers and especially with it emulating from Madison Square Garden.
Very proud of the support of so many fans who are helping Scott Hall put his body, his mind and his life back together. DDP and others, including Sean Waltman, are to be commended to helping Scott get his life and health in order just as DDP has been doing with Jake 'the Snake' Roberts. Let's pray for success for both these men who have been richly blessed with the ability to entertain fans for years. Both Jake and Scott have so much to offer others, especially in the wrestling business, and well beyond.
The Q&A's here are updated elsewhere on the site. Check them out. Quick reads...all.
Hit WWEShop.com and stock up on JR's products in time for WM29 tailgating, grilling season and all around daily use. We only ask that you give our family brand a try and allow it to stand on it's own taste. The packages from WWEShop.com also make great gifts for any occasion for anyone.
Amazing how much good feedback we receive from customers of @americansoda in Manchester for their customer service. American Soda ships throughout the UK and Europe adn they carry JR's BBQ Sauces, our Chipotle Ketchup, and Main Event Mustard. They also have some signed item packages available.
I will be live Tweeting tonight during RAW and hope that you will follow along @JRsBBQ.