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Solid RAW from Dallas Monday night. As usual, enduring a three hour TV show of any kind is challenging but that's the hand that's dealt and it's getting somewhat tiresome to hear critics continue to lambast the three hour format every week. It simply is what it is even though Monday night's show seem to move quicker than usual for me.
Perhaps that was because of all the bell to bell content that was featured. Multiple segment matches, in my view, helps 3 hour RAWS as the talents have the time to tell a compelling story if their skill level allows such.
Not a big fan of 'coronations' or 'in ring celebrations' as they generally feel to contrived and overly staged. However, I love natural, organic celebrations and the passion that they bring to a presentation.
The highlight of the night was the strong, WWE World Title Bout featuring Orton and Bryan. Excellent story....good pacing...plenty of near falls....the live audience engaged and emotionally invested...a tried and true, villainous conclusion that put all the steam on Orton and not on the referee. Plus, the message was made loud and clear that Daniel Bryan looks to have Orton's 'number.'
This was one of Orton's best matches in a good while as his chemistry with Bryan is noticeable. For the record, I can't recall the last time that I saw Daniel Bryan have a bad match.
Bryan may be the definitive, best wrestler in the business at this point in time.
Enjoyed what WWE is trying to do to create an interest in the tag team scene.
Multiple, solid to good tag team bouts featured on RAW.
Seeing all the tag team action reminded me of back in the day when Jim Crockett Promotions used to feature ample, tag team wrestling highlighted by the Jim Crockett Memorial Tag Team Tourney. I enjoyed being a part of that process and feel, if presented creatively, that a similar tournament would be a nice, TV attraction. Tournaments are naturally episodic in how they are structured so the 'story' of the process is organically in place.
Tag Team wrestling allows multiple talents to get viable, TV exposure. Plus it builds upon their individual personalities and encourages talents to creatively mesh with their partner in some shape, form or fashion. If it's a good presentation, the fans win because the competition is enhanced and the creative directions that a tag team match can take are essentially endless.
Plus, many young fans have never seen truly great tag team wrestling in their lifetime so what's old becomes new again.
My fascination into the world of pro wrestling as a young kid was facilitated by the amazing tag team rivalry in the Oklahoma territory between the masked Assassins vs. the Kentuckians. This program was making the territorial loop for Lee Roy McGuirk around 1963-64 and it ignited the territory to new heights. Tom Renesto and Joe Hamilton were the Assassins and their deliberate and somewhat soft spoken albeit hauntingly evil promos are ones that I can still remember these many years later.
I've often said that the Assassins were arguably the best tag team that I ever saw. Amazing villains who were a well oiled machine and who always wrestled logical matches that suspended one's disbelief regarding the entertainment aspect of the genre.
The Kentuckians were Luke Brown and Grizzly Smith, the father of Rockin' Robin, Sam Houston and, of course, Jake the Snake Roberts. They were sporting those Duck Dynasty beards before they were fashionable.
Pleasantly surprised to see Shawn Michaels unadvertised appearance on RAW and his segment verbalizing with CM Punk was entertaining. It seemed as the two were mostly ad-libbing their dialog which is usually better than when a writer creates copy while role playing as the talent and then the talent being challenged to memorize their lines on show day and accurately interpret someone else's copy/creative direction in one take.
Nice, continued slow burn type build for Roman Reigns who is beginning to look the part more and more each week. This process will likely never please younger fans who don't generally realize that this creative journey takes time to do properly. No, there is no set length of time as in months, etc as this is a 'feel thing' and from my experience it t can take a year or more to arrive at one's desired destination.
I will say that in general, on any wrestling TV show, and I watch plenty, if I never see another clothesline, I won't mourn the loss. O.K., perhaps an occasional clothesline especially if it's snug and physical and used as a finisher OR the move that sets up a finisher but for anything else, I'm tapping until the volume decreases.
That's akin to using a DDT as a 'spot.' That's lazy and illogical in ring strategy.
Interesting article in 'Variety' on the WWE TV situation. The WWE brand is an amazing franchise with loyal fans who will follow their brand to any network much like NASCAR or the NFL, among other franchises. The network in the USA that obtains the TV rights for WWE content will have a proven winner on their hands and that new relationship, if it happens, would start in the all of 2014.
It's essentially impossible to find another sports-entertainment entity WWE's name identity and that has no off season and produces new, original programming weekly. That's a great sales pitch in addition to adding to the loyal, fan base.
Found it interesting that WWE would consider producing Smackdown LIVE. I personally I think that would be great especially if it aired on a Tuesday night while all the TV crew and talents are already out on the road after producing RAW live on Monday night. The talents generally raise their game to another level, as a rule, when they know a broadcast is live and that there's no 'safety net.'
Still get questions daily, and multiple ones after HBK has been on RAW, if HBK will return to the ring. I am unwavering in my answer and that is a definitive "NO." Shawn has told me that he has no interest in returning for the proverbial "one, more match" as that chant will never go away even if he actually had "one more match."
It seems obvious to me as it relates to WM30 that 1. Daniel Bryan will be in a main event level bout and 2. WWE will have ample 'special guests' return for the land mark 30th WrestleMania celebration.
I'd also expect Paul Heyman to return to WWE TV soon as the serious build to WM30 begins in earnest, as usual, after the New Year and leading into the Royal Rumble. That means that one can expect to see Brock Lesnar return as well. I'm still of the belief that Lesnar's TV persona will get significant and much needed exposure in one form or another to make the "Next Big Thing" as valuable an asset as possible for whoever he faces at WM30. I don't expect to see Lesnar at an overabundance of RAW TV's, which has to be strategically addressed, but I do expect his 'presence' to be on every show in some form including spokesman Heyman representing Brock. This is also were the great work done by WWE TV production people really steps to the forefront, too.
WWE doing multiple days of TV this week according to wwe.com including Tuesday night for next week's RAW that will emanate from Austin and then two days of Smackdown tapings Wednesday and Thursday night. Plus, NXT is also being recorded in Orlando this week. This is a daunting work load but it facilitates WWE personnel being able to be at home for the Christmas holiday.
Approximately 3,000 followers away from reaching 1M @JRsBBQ. Goal was to hit 1M by year's end and we're close.
Tickets for my first, USA one man show, RINGSIDE: An Evening with Jim Ross set for the Gramercy Theater in NYC on Saturday March 1 are on sale now at the Gramercy Theater box office and via http://www.ticketmaster.com. I will be doing two shows on March 1 and limited VIP meet and greet tickets are still available.
Hopefully heading to LA after the first of the year to finalize our deal to begin doing a weekly podcast. If we get it done we will start in early 2014. Lots of details to finalize. I'm very excited about this opportunity and am hopeful that our show can be interactive plus I have a long list of guests that I want to speak with on the podcast.
Check out the Q&A's as they have been updated. Lots of new ones to peruse. Someone asked if CM Punk had surpassed anything in the ring that HBK had ever done and even though I am a huge Punk fan my answer was no. I don't think that anyone has surpassed HBK's in ring body of work as of yet. I hope that someone does some day for the good of the business.
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Have a great day. More blogs coming this week. Stay tuned.