Weekend Ramblings from the "Baron of Bar-B-Q"... Ed McMahon and many wrestlers have the same woes... Hot DVDs...

It is a scorching hot time of the year here in Oklahoma and thanks goodness for air conditioning. When I was a kid growing up in Westville, Oklahoma we lived in a 4 room concrete block house that was originally built to function as a "milk barn" for dairy cows. No A/C in those days and many nights the box window fan just blew warm air into a particular room. People can talk about the "good old days" all they want but I will take A/C over the window fans and no indoor toilet any time.

Both our Bar-B-Q restaurants are doing well and ironically the opening of the Moore store has increased business in our Norman store. They are about 7-8 miles apart and both are on I-35 but luckily for us the opening of the new store on July 16 has done nothing but help the original store. The Mrs. and I spent about 4 hours in the Moore store Friday night and had a super time meeting new guests and welcoming several old friends to our new locale. Oklahoma University football offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and his family at dinner at "J.R.'s" where a family of 7, yes Kevin and Angie have 5 lovely children, can eat affordably. It was fun watching the kids faces when they saw 'Ol J.R. on the flat screen TV's while I was sitting at the bar eating a bowl of pinto beans and cornbread. We don[t turn the sound up but we do put the TVs on with closed captioning to assist the viewing experience somewhat.

I feel for Johnny Carson's former sidekick Ed McMahon, the only McMahon that I know that is having financial woes, who, at 85, is going back to work doing commercials to help ease his apparent financial burden. I don't know Ed McMahon's financial story other than he has a life style he apparently can't afford but his story is not totally unlike many, old school, big time wrestlers who made great money in their careers but did little to prepare for their futures. I know many self employed people who have the intellect to organize their own retirement plans and financial portfolios because they realize that, being self employed, if they don't get financially organized for their future that no one is going to do it for them.

The tired "wrestling needs a union" story is just that, tired. I am not anti union whatsoever but simply having a union doesn't automatically solve the problem of wrestlers not preparing for their future. Naturally, a well managed union with cooperation from its membership would help many of these individuals but some wayward souls would still figure a way to get themselves into a financial fiasco. Buying too much unnecessary "bling" and having marital woes are two of the leading issues that cause famous wrestlers to become destitute, desperate, and dependent on others. It is a damn sad state of affairs.

I am not for the "union solves all issues" mentality but each wrestler can seek out affordable, financial planning and they can damn sure find a CPA who can help them pay their quarterly tax estimates, establish a retirement account, and can help them invest in low risk stocks, etc.

There are a handful of individuals who had long, wrestling careers who are presently financially comfortable because of how they handled their money when they were earning it. Real estate, low risk investments, planned retirement accounts, etc among other methods were all utilized to help these individuals prepare for the future.

Saving money is akin to spending money recklessly or not paying one's taxes, it is a personal choice that the individual himself must make. It is easy for critics to blame old time promoters or today's organizations such as the WWE for the problems that many of their wrestlers unfortunately encounter but it still comes back to the individual to make the right decisions whether it be financially, socially, morally, etc.

One suggestion might be to actually have class room studies for the young developmental-type wrestlers on an on going basis to teach these individuals the "basics" of being a self employed person in today's society. Even if many of these individuals were "employees", I honestly feel that many would still live beyond their means, would encounter financial challenges, and would be forced to discover that it isn't what one makes but what one saves that is the "bottom line" statement to this entire filibuster.

The Ric Flair DVD is selling like crazy and is one of the many excellent DVDs available right now in the wrestling marketplace. Stone Cold, Rock, and HHH all have strong products out there and would be excellent additions to any fan's collection. On the HHH DVD, I narrate a match with HHH which was his first match, I think, when he was training with Killer Kowalski at a small event in the northeast. HHH had short hair then and carried himself like an individual with much more experience than his years would dictate. This was a fun match to narrate along side "The Game" and I felt good that HHH wanted me to sit in with him on this unique, one camera video shoot.

Saturday Night's Main Event on NBC that airs next Saturday Night August 2 in prime time should be a hot, one hour show and from what I hear some potentially strong in ring content is going to be featured. This show will be taped this Monday in Washington D.C. prior to Raw going live at 9 eastern. Reuniting with Jerry "The King" Lawler will be like old times and I would suggest we won't miss a beat. I am psyched for this opportunity and feel lucky to have this assignment. Guys with two bouts of Bells palsy don't get many network TV opportunities which is the opposite of what my late Dad used to tell me which was "you are better seen and not heard." Just like the two sons of Ricky Bobby in the film "Talledaga Nights, The Legend of Ricky Bobby" I might get "jacked up" on Diet Mountain Dew and let 'er rip. :)

After Friday Night's Smackdown, did Edge and Vickie really reconcile? That laugh from Vickie after telling Edge that Edge was facing the returning Undertaker in Hell in a Cell at SummerSlam August 17 in Indianapolis was scary. This story will continue.

Speaking of SummerSlam, no matter what else is booked on the PPV next month, the main event will be the Hell in a Cell match make no mistake about it. The franchise of HIAC is arguably as marketable as any title in the WWE and the return of the Undertaker from "exile" is big....really big Jerry.

I make a simple comparison of Brian Kendrick to my late pal Brian Pillman and some pundit and message board geeks rip it to shreds. I didn't mean to infer that Kendrick was, is or should live a "Pillman lifestyle" but that simply Kendrick verbally addresses many of the same issues behind the scenes that Pillman did. Kendrick is a long time student of the game, like Pillman, Kendrick is going to have to over come the ignorant issues some may have with Kendrick's lack of size, just as Pillman did, and Kendrick will seemingly do what ever it takes inside the ring to prove he is a "player" just like Brian Pillman did. Yes, my dear friend Brian Pillman casts a long shadow but if Brian Kendrick wants to make it to the "Promised Land" then raising his game and intensity, inside the ropes a la Pillman, is a necessity. Just for the record, there is rarely a day that goes by that I don't think about the "Loose Cannon" and I often wonder what he would be doing in the WWE if he were still with us. Pillman's passion was as much a curse to him as it was a blessing. I miss you Brian.

Yours truly talked to Steve Austin this week for a few minutes as he was down in south Texas on a fishing trip with family and friends. This is an annual affair that I have been invited to many times but have never been able to make. I plan on doing so, hopefully, next year. Steve is in great spirits and is busy doing the "Hollywood thing" which is a deliberate process entailing many, many "meetings". The last time I saw Steve he looked to be in as good a physical condition as I can remember seeing him. That definitely doesn't mean a return to the ring either sports fans. I do still think that Steve should be the center piece of the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Wrestlemania 25 in Houston. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

My pal and Raw announcer Michael Cole who lives in the McAllen, Texas area got hammered by Hurricane Dolly and when we last emailed Michael had no water, no power (he used his Blackberry for you amateur sleuths out there) and no foyer. I told him if I found his foyer up here in Oklahoma I would ship it back to him. The good news is that Michael's home is still standing and no one was injured when Dolly rolled through and heaved her massive.....nevermind.

I know I have been telling you that we are going to launch a new look for this site at any time and I'm not making that up. It will happen and Lord knows I hope it happens this weekend. Stay tuned.

Boomer Sooner!
J.R.

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