It's good to be back home in Oklahoma after 5 successful and enjoyable days in Florida. There is much to catch up on including more Q&A's to address than one man deserves.
The Atlanta Raw had some memorable moments in a city that I enjoyed living in the late 80's thru parts of the early 90's. The current arena is near where the legendary Omni used to stand and where some major wrestling events were promoted back in the day. The Atlanta Hawks played hoops in the Omni as well. Ted Turner provided me with 2nd row, courtside season tickets for Hawks NBA games back in the day when Jordan, Magic, Bird, etc would visit Dominique Wilkens' Atlanta Hawks with point guard Doc Rivers who is now the head coach of the Boston Celtics.
Liked the start of Raw with @CMPunk pleading his case in convincing fashion, the social media component being added to the mix with the fan vote and a surprise cameo by Booker T which all contributed to a good start to the broadcast.
I'm a big fan of the in ring work of US Champion @AntonioCesaro who did nice work with @Ryback22.
@RealJackSwagger is seemingly in line for bigger opportunities if his aggressive return is any indication. When D1 athletes are challenged or feel that they are being underutilized, we often see the 'jock' in them take over which amps up the intensity and drive. Swagger is an awesome athlete who is still evolving as it relates to sports entertainment 'sizzle' but I feel that he can be a major contributor to WWE efforts over the long haul. Yep, I'm biased because of Swagger's Oklahoma roots but at least I'm honest about it. He's a legit beast, trust me on that one.
Funny that it seems that Cody Rhodes' mustache seemingly gets more pub than his in ring work which I find to be stellar. Fans chant the damnedest things these days or 'trend' the most unique almost obscure topics in today's sports entertainment world.
I think that I'm liking, as a fan, the fan favorite Alberto Del Rio better than the villain ADR.
A really solid Daniel Bryan vs. Rey Mysterio bout, which could have gone longer for me, but was engulfed by the impactful return to WWE by @TheMarkHenry. Henry's aggression and attitude bleeds through one's TV screen which is another analogy for the evasive term known as charisma or 'it.'
MizTV was interesting. Unique dynamic with @HeymanHustle and @MikeTheMiz verbally jousting until beastly Brock Lesnar arrived on the scene to impose his physical will of which he's very adept. Getting Lesnar signed long term is significant for WWE and how this commodity is utilized is always interesting.
As long as Heyman doesn't lose is voice, Lesnar will seemingly always have a presence on WWE TV.
Thought @CMPunk vs. @IAmJericho was excellent. How about a Best of Seven?
The Bruno Sammartino video package, as I tweeted earlier in the day @JRsBBQ, I expected to be heavy duty and it was. Bruno's career IE body of work will never be replicated in today's marketplace within the genre. An eight YEAR run ON TOP in the #1 territory in the world is unfathomable if one gives that accomplishment any serious, intelligent thought. Students of the game 'get it' while squeaky wheel, attention seeking, Keyboard Warriors simply want to be defiant while refusing to acknowledge the career of a man like Bruno. Instead of celebrating a legit legend getting a WWE HOF nod after years of waiting by his long suffering fans and who, just recently, overcame philosophical differences with WWE, many who follow me on Twitter used Bruno's induction announcement as another vehicle to drive ad nauseam the Macho Man HOF questions of the day.
I realize that there is a generation gap as it relates to many fans between Bruno and Savage, even though their careers actually overlapped, but these are two separate entities with two, separate agendas. Older fans and fans especially those who had family growing up in the Northeast United States revere Bruno who was considered a "Sports God" to his fans. Bruno was just as big a celebrity as any professional athlete in the NE on any team during the Italian strongman's heyday....and still is to an entire generation of fans.
I can simply tell you that when I got in the business in 1974 that the goal of virtually every wrestler that I knew was to get booked in WWWF aka WWE and if said wrestler was a villain the ONLY goal was to get your 'run' with Bruno which guaranteed that one would earn big money. A few months run with Sammartino in WWWF would be more money than most wrestlers would make in a year of territory wrestling.
I recall how happy General Scandar Akbar was to get the WWWF call and leave the Oklahoma territory on occasion to go to the WWWF TV's and destroy some willing souls as Ak prepared for his title challenge against the Living Legend. Unfortunately, Bruno was severely injured against Stan Hansen and the Bruno vs. Akbar rivalry never happened.
Cowboy Bill Watts career as a legit main eventer was validated by Watts tag teaming with Bruno in the WWWF and Watts subsequent turn on his partner which resulted in Cowboy Bill Watts headlining Madison Square Garden vs. Bruno in only Bill's third year in the business. Bruno liked Bill and they sold out MSG three times versus each other in the 60's which was unheard of at the time as usually a talent only got 1-2 shots vs Bruno in the Garden.
It cannot be overstated how big it truly is for Bruno Sammartino to be inducted into the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame which makes this class, even if he was going in solo, the best WWE HOF class ever in my humble opinion and that includes my own class in 2007. I pray for good health so that I can join my Pittsburgh wife and attend the most special of nights, April 6, 2013 when the Steel City's own Bruno Sammartino once again sells out MSG but this time, I'm assuming, he will go on last which is something that the main eventers never did back in the day at MSG.
The potential projects that Bruno can be involved with in the future with WWE are virtually limitless and his mere presence adds massive credibility to what ever project is being marketed. I hope that I get to work with the Living Legend on something in the future. It would be a great honor, I assure you, for this fan who grew up not seeing Bruno wrestle but instead by reading the monthly, pro wrestling magazines which allowed my imagination to carry me from Westville, Oklahoma to far away arenas thanks to the photos that were utilized and the intriguing copy that accompanied the memorable photos. Bruno Sammartino was to pro wrestling what John Wayne was to western movies...the ultimate hero who always overcame the odds by doing things the old school way.
I'm going to venture to address as many Q&A's here on the site as I can today and throughout the week so check back with us for those.
JR's Family brand of products business is good including at WWEShop.com which has a complete inventory of products in stock including some great deals on a variety of packages. Folks in the UK and Europe are getting their JR's from @americansoda website in Manchester, England and we are happy to say that business has really picked up in that part of the world. Thanks to all no matter where you live for supporting our efforts to build our small, family brand of delicious products.