Random Bar-B-Qed thoughts while weaning myself off liquids in preparation for a 3 hour Monday Night Raw this week...

The uproar that many wrestling fans have displayed over Mike Adamle replacing Joey Styles as the play by play voice of ECW is one of the more far reaching and passionate displays of opinion in recent memory. I find it to be a really good thing that Joey has so many, and deservedly so, fans of his work that he has cultivated since the days of the original ECW. Two points here...some saying that Joe leaving ECW definitively says that the "ECW as we knew it is finally gone" seems like a day late and a dollar short. The original ECW "passed away" long ago, for better or for worse, and a new televised wrestling vehicle called ECW is now being broadcast. Secondly, others have predicted that the ECW TV rating will drop because of Adamle. That assumption is highly unlikely. Announcers rarely influence the ratings, even though I would love to say that they do as it might mean a little more "cheese on my Whopper" come pay day.

Another case in point regarding the original ECW. Without question, on the original version, Tazz was the baddest dude in the jungle and one of my all time favorite wrestling persona's to watch compete. I enjoyed seeing Tazz beat people's ass on a regular basis. What fan of the original ECW would have ever thought they would see the "Human Suplex Machine" dancing on TV as Tazz did Tuesday night on Sci Fi? The problem with this statement is that Tazz is no longer "The Human Suplex Machine," but a sports entertainment broadcaster. Yes, times have changed and what is left of the "old ECW" is simply the initials.

For the record, I thought Tazz' presentation in the ring Tuesday night was one of the most entertaining aspects of the hour because it was so out of character and unexpected. I am still a wrestling fan who loves to be surprised.

If all goes as planned, I am going to attend the annual Cauliflower Alley Club convention in June in Las Vegas, specifically the Tuesday and Wednesday functions, as I will fly into Vegas after the Oakland Monday Night Raw. This will be my first CAC/Vegas function and I just became a lifetime member of this great organization, I am proud to say. My friends Steve "Dr. Death" Williams, Bret "The Hitman" Hart, and Pat Patterson will all be receiving awards at this year's event.

Speaking of Bret Hart, I cannot encourage any one enough to buy Bret's autobiography. This is not only one of the very best wrestling books I have ever read, but one of the best biographies I have ever read...period. My personally autographed copy of this instant classic is one of my most treasured collectibles from one of my all time favorite wrestlers.

I see where the WWE is looking for more ethnic Divas, specifically Brazilian and Latino Divas. With the company's global expansion into many new territories globally, it should come as no surprise that Divas and wrestlers of varying ethnicities will be targeted. Divas function as excellent spokespersons, particularly when involved in corporate functions. Perhaps some of them will learn how to wrestle or become proficient at "cat fighting," as their persona's evolve.

The Cincinnati Bengals' wide receiver, Chad Johnson, is evolving into a world class "dressing room lawyer" and his request to be traded from the troubled NFL team should be honored. There are few things worse in a locker room, wrestling, football, whatever, than a disgruntled performer, as their negativity tends to be infectious. As I have said many times, the two biggest reasons for talent discontent in the wrestling business are money and creative direction. That has been true since the first day I got in the business. It seems that wrestling doesn't have an exclusive on those particular issues, as Chad Johnson wants much more cash to stay with Cincy. There is nothing wrong with wanting to earn more money, but Johnson's presentation skills are sorely lacking. Chad Johnson is a talented and gifted athlete, but his individual agenda is a cancer that needs to be addressed. With the NFL draft just a week or so away, now would be a good time to shop the troubled, albeit big time receiver.

Over the years I developed a philosophy in managing talent much as Coach Jimmy Johnson did in the NFL, if one can't solve a problem, then one must eliminate it. I always tried to go the extra mile to solve a talent's issue, but if every reasonable avenue was been traveled, then unfortunately there was only one option left which always began with "We wish _____well in their future endeavors."

The atmosphere in Montreal, where the fans have no issue in demonstrating their passion, this Saturday night for UFC 83 should be off the charts. French Canadian, Georges St. Pierre will be an overwhelming favorite, fighting before his "people" and will be reminiscent of the days of wrestling great, Johnny Rougeau or the Montreal Canadien's Rocket Richard, in their heyday. Challenger, Matt Serra, will be the ultimate bad guy in this scenario, which sort of destroys the theory of their always being "shades of gray" personas in sports. In this case, the issue is clearly black and white, which is the case, more often than not. "Tweeners" rarely sell tickets in my perspective.

It is interesting at times reading the feedback some fans provide regarding this blog, especially those that lead their feedback off with "lousy BBQ sauce" or something to that affect and then commence to beating my Oklahoma ass up for my opinion. Obviously, none of the individuals have ever tried our sauces, but I digress. I generally have a good laugh out of these tirades, as I think I have been called most things "in the book" and know that it is usually a vocal minority who express themselves. I have no issues with any wrestling fan's passion, I assure you. Nonetheless, I still stand by my opinion that the upcoming King of the Ring, one night tournament on Monday could well see someone be elevated by winning the competition. I mentioned Lance Cade, who was merely a suggestion, and is on a personal list of several athletes who would be well served to leave Greenville, S.C. as the 2008 King of the Ring. I never expected to be "gut and quartered" for such a seemingly general observation. Youthful defiance can be perceived as a blessing or a curse, one could easily surmise.

Boomer Sooner

J.R.

Share