I escaped from L.A. and am safely back in the friendly confines of my comfort zone of Norman, Oklahoma and J.R.'s Family BBQ with the Mrs. and our cat "The Mick" .... named after Mickey Mantle for you conspiracy theorists.
Changing our TV venues from Colorado to California took a magnificent effort from all the men and women who work behind the scenes at WWE and who often don't get to many "attaboys." For me, I had to tag out of taking my granddaughters to see a performance of "The Lion King" in Oklahoma City on Sunday to fly west but they still enjoyed the show except without "Grandpa." Poor me, ala Tony Soprano, as the people that have to do the real work made the amazing sacrifices and my black hat is tipped to them.
Working the full, two hour Raw with Michael "Oh, My" Cole Monday night was fun. The broadcast was unique, to say the least, but nonetheless I liked teaming with Cole who will get his regular partner, Jerry Lawler, back this Monday in Birmingham, Alabama home to Dreamland BBQ. Their commentary will no doubt be "vintage."
The King, who's giving yours truly a ride from Birmingham to Memphis after Raw on Monday night, wore #48 on his Lakers' jersey Monday night in honor of our pal Travis Hafner, designated hitter for the Cleveland Indians. WWE tapes ECW and Smackdown this Tuesday night in Memphis for the record.
Candice Michelle surprised many with a backstage appearance in L.A. and even worked out in the ring a little in the afternoon. Candice is still recovering from injuries but is hopeful to be able to return to Friday Night Smackdown soon.
Hey, that Mickey Rourke fellow may be a talented, Oscar nominated artist but he is one strange dude or so he seems to me. I know that Rourke starring in "The Wrestler" earned his respect for the genre of sports entertainment of which I appeciate. I also respect that Rourke doesn't hide that he is a quasi fan and doesn't use his national media opportunities negatively to bash the genre. Wish I could say the same for some of the smug, aloof ESPN talking heads. But 'Ol Mick is a bit eccentric not that there is any thing wrong with that.
Hey, E. Stanley, didn't you used to be "Billionaire Ted?" Just curious but I didn't think so.
WWE 24/7 has one of my favorite features on all of WWE produced TV these days entitled "The Film Room with Gordon Solie." I do a read bridging the action/interviews that have been largely documented on film, not video tape, from a golden era of wrestling. The latest feature will be on former 8X NWA Champion Harley Race featuring some classic Race battles. Watching WWE 24/7 is one of my favorite things to do in my spare time.
Friday Night Smackdown is loaded with in ring action this Friday night on MyNetworkTV. Just a head's up.
The John Morrison vs. Umaga bout on Friday Night Smackdown is an interesting one utilizing some old school strategy by both men.
Compelling night for both Rey Mysterio and Jeff Hardy without spoiling the festivities for those of you that like to watch the show without being preconditioned.
Even though the World's Greatest Tag Team, or should I say the team formerly known as WGTT, will be utilized largely in one on one bouts in the extended future. Charlie Haas has physical potential especially when he stays focused, physical and verbally aggressive. Shelton Benjamin is simply so athletically gifted that I still firmly believe that he will be a future World's Champion some day.
I was reminded Monday night of my experience regarding a "Hog Pen" match many years ago in Hershey, Pa pitting HHH vs. Henry Godwin in a legit hog pen filled with actual hogs and their "waste." It was not a pretty sight, it didn't smell like walking into J.R.'s and immersing ones self in the aroma of hickory smoked BBQ. I almost found myself face first in the hog wallow wearing a nifty pair of bib overalls and knee high rubber boots. I'm sure some thought it was "entertaining" which is really all this genre is all about isn't it boys and girls?? Miss Wrestlemania Vickie Guerrero vs. "Santina" Marella will do battle in the most unique setting one can imagine at Extreme Rules.
Read the rest of J.R.'s column at WWE.com »