Just a few random thoughts before I leave to catch my American Airlines flight to London via DFW. I am keeping my fingers crossed that AA doesn't cancel my OKC-DFW flight and I end up driving to Dallas and then flying to London. Nonetheless, Raw should have a great atmosphere at the O2 Arena Monday night.
I got to thinking a few days ago about the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame class that will be inducted in Houston in early April 2009. By the way, I am hoping the induction ceremony is held on Friday night and not Saturday of WM25 week, but that's just me. Just glancing at the list of many, many viable and worthwhile candidates one preliminary list might include, in no particular order, Steve Austin, The FabulousFreebirds, The Von Erich Family, The Funks, the late, Houston Promoter Paul Boesch, The Million Dollar Man and Ricky Steamboat. How's that for starters? Personally, I would add Danny Hodge, Scandar Akbar, and Bill Watts but I am not overly objective when it comes to those that I have admired since I was a kid or those that have helped me throughout my career.
Concussions. Serious business on any field of endeavor and with medical advances as they are today, so much info can be determined by properly checking for concussions and the residual damage that they have done to athletes and, for the record MSNBC and Fox News, wrestlers are athletes. I have not officially heard if the WWE is making these examinations a part of the wrestler's annual physicals, but it would not surprise me in the least. The safety and well fare of the athletes cannot be stressed enough whether it is the WWE, the NFL,MLB , etc. My wife, an ex-flight attendant, had multiple concussions while working in the airline industry and with my background in the wrestling biz this one hits especially close to home. This one goes right along with aggressive drug testing and tightening any loopholes that a performer or a physician can create. Performers who try to cheat the system need to be allowed to earn a living elsewhere. Immediately. Simple deal. End of story.
Fox News morning show had some fun with the promotion of the proposed "Hillary vs. Barack settle-your-issues-business" slated for next week's Raw. That was the general idea, I would assume by the WWE, to create a publicity stunt that creates....gasp...publicity. That's what promoters do, they create topics that get folks talking. It's marketing 101. Of course, Fox News had to make sure that their audience knew that none of them were wrestling fans because as we all know we wrestling fans need to be avoided like the plague and that being a fan of wrestling to any degree indicates that we are obviously impaired and in need of serious help. Ironically, Fox News coverage on their morning show covered such newsworthy items of the day including Britney not wearing under garments, Paris Hilton goes to jail, etc will no doubt continue, but for goodness sakes Fox must make sure we distance ourselves from those crazy, wrestling people. The bottom line is that Fox Morning News is trying to be an infotainment show and their making fun of wrestling fans and the wrestling business in general feels predictably arrogant. Perhaps they should studyRaw's TV ratings over the past 15 years or so on cable, but that most likely wouldn't change their attitude that has existed in the media since before you and I were ever an after thought in our folk's minds. And it is not likely to ever change. At least Keith Olbermann and his writers got their wrestling info right when they were addressing the Clinton/Obama publicity stunt. Olbermann strikes me as the kind of guy who has had a beer and watched 'rasslin in his lifetime at some point, which I applaud.
There have been some mild rumblings lately that that WWE is thinking about doing away with their brand separation. I have it on good authority that is not going to happen.
I have been enjoying WWE 24/7, especially this week as I watched the WCW WrestleWar pay per view from 1990, that I broadcast with Terry Funk. Terry did a super job and I honestly had forgotten how good a color commentator that he was. It was great seeing Cactus Jack "Manson" at a svelte 270 on the show plus a classic, tag team bout featuring the Rock 'n Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express, which was a video text book on tag team wrestling. Plus, there was a great sequence between manager JimCornette and referee Nick Patrick during the tag bout that was priceless. Oh yeah, this guy named Flair closed the show.
Speaking of "Naitch", he is enjoying his new, non wrestling life and has plenty of appearances on tap for the WWE in a variety of corporate and media functions. Ric will keep plenty busy, but not so busy that he can't enjoy his family and friends and his own personal, business interests.
Hooray for HBO who are now re-airing "Deadwood" episodes. Al Swearingen was the Mr. McMahon of his era.
The WWE is doing huge business, as we wrote about here the last time, as Liverpool sold out at over $750,000 in tickets sold, whileTorrevieja , Spain sold out and grossed over $500,000 in tickets sold. One can only imagine how well the merchandise is selling at the venues. Of all the changes in the business that I have witnessed since I started earning a living in wrestling in 1974, the international growth of the product including merchandising, licensing, and global television exposure, perhaps, is the most amazing.
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