Random thoughts on a busy weekend headlined by the nationally hyped Oklahoma-Texas Tech game here in Norman on Saturday night and then on to Boston EARLY Sunday morning for the Survivor Series. so here's what's on my mind today....
I have been trying to write as many fresh blogs as possible the past few weeks which has seen me write at all hours of the day and night. Being at one time a member of WWE corporate one learns to multi task as a means of self survival which is most Likely the same with all big corporations. I read on another website where someone responded to me writing "another blog" but asking the profoundly stupid question, "Doesn't J.R. work?" Pardon me while I roll my eyes.
A fan wrote me and asked if I thought that there would be more talent cuts within the WWE soon and my honest and direct answer is that I don't know. However, if forced to make a prediction I would think yes and that unfortunately, but honestly, it isn't a bad thing to change the bottom and then the middle of the lineup at least annually. Roster "upgrades" was always my goal when I worked in talent relations as it is today. However, the more cooks in the kitchen regarding who goes and who stays makes it more difficult in my opinion.
The hardest part of the talent relations job for me was giving an individual the bad news that they were being released. I disliked that aspect of the job immensely. Years ago when former or active wrestlers had the responsibility of saying adiós to talents some of those individuals seemed to actually enjoy their power trips and providing bad news. Looking at it in hindsight, most of these men who were in positions of power were bullies at heart with low self esteem.
My friend Travis Hafner and his wife Amy are traveling down to Norman this weekend to see the Sooners play Texas Tech. Travis is the DH for the Cleveland Indians and his wife surprised him with OU tickets for the "big game" as an anniversary gift.
Another notable heading to Norman this weekend is Jimmy Johnson of NASCAR fame whose wife is an OU graduate plus Jimmy is friends with OU head coach Bob Stoops. There is a good chance that Jimmy will enjoy some J.R.'s BBQ at some point this weekend.
Rowdy Roddy Piper was featured on my wife's favorite show TMZ this week apparently smoking some pot. Roddy's reason was essentially medical in nature as in treating his cancer but nonetheless it reminded me of the territory days in the 70's when many wrestlers would smoke pot recreationally on virtually a daily basis which seemed to act as a sedative for some of the higher strung alpha males. As the legend has it, "Hippie" Mike Boyette, who allegedly liked to smoke a joint occasionally, even had marijuana scented air freshener in his vehicle just in case he was pulled over by the police and if they smelled pot Mike would laugh and demonstrate the pot scented, air freshener. I can remember WAY back in the day when JYD's adoring fans in southern Louisiana would bring Dog grocery sacks full of pot as a show of their admiration. Ernie Ladd used to talk to JYD all the time about what the Big Cat referred to as "demon week."
One can expect a fierce effort from Chris Jericho this Sunday at the Survivor Series in Boston when he defends his World's Title against the returning John Cena. So much as been made of John's return, and rightfully so, that it seems as if Jericho is almost the "forgotten man" in this promotional equation. Jericho is a gamer and will be physical and challenging for Cena come Sunday. This will be an intense match and may surprise some fans with its level of physicality. I'm never right with my predictions (announcers never are, are they?) but I would consider taking Jericho and the points Sunday even though the reigning champ is seemingly the underdog going into the match.
I read where Abdullah the Butcher is retiring and a big event in his honor will be held soon in Puerto Rico for him. If one throughly examines Abby's "run", it is actually pretty damn amazing for a performer who was somewhat athletically limited but made up for it with a unique look and amazing crowd psychology. Abby was a fearless antagonist who perfected a very straight forward and physical style that, over the years, endured racism, the ever changing and fickle territory system, and in ring styles that seemingly morphed on a regular basis to survive for decades, most of the time as a main event star in a wide variety of areas and especially in Japan. I have great respect for Abby's business acumen and his longevity. Years ago when I was a member of one of the volatile WCW "booking committees", Abby gave me a heads up that some on the committee were out to "get me" for their own political gain and to have me replaced on the committee. I appreciated the heads up but in hindsight I wish I had helped my detractors facilitate my booking committee demise as being in that asylum was a bigger pain in the ass than it was worth and all for not one extra dollar. The late Gary Hart always called Abby "Butch" which sticks to me this very day. Congrats Abby on a wonderful career and best of luck with the continued success of your Atlanta area restaurant.
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No announcer assignments have been made yet for the Survivor Series that I am aware of and all I know that Tazz, the World's Angriest Announcer, and I are doing in Boston is the WWE Title Bout and the Casket Match. I assume that there will be more but that's pure speculation.
It is my understanding that we are taping two episodes of Friday Night Smackdown in Albany, New York on Tuesday night which might become something that occurs on a more regular basis as a means of being a cost cutting measure. That sure works for me as it means one less week on the road. It is not easy voicing over a pair of shows that total 22 segments of TV but I will trade the extra work for a week at home any time. FYI, I worked until almost 3 a.m. Wednesday night/Thursday morning putting the finishing touches on the commentary for Friday Night Smackdown that airs this Friday night on MyNetworkTV.
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