Good to be back in the mild weather of Oklahoma after getting caught in a snow storm in Connecticut earlier this week. It was a great trip nonetheless. Please join us for some random thoughts.
The WWE Royal Rumble is this Sunday on PPV from the sold out 'Garden' in Boston. I'll be watching from home on PPV and, no, to address an emailer, I don't get reimbursed for buying the PPV nor do I get a 'good deal' from the cable company. See, folks, what I have to deal with here from time to time. (BTW many of the questions that I delete from our Q&A's might actually make a humorous, eye rolling read but I can't bring myself to printing them because it lends to the unfair, on going stereotype that some have re: wrestling fans.)
The Royal Rumble is a vitally important PPV for WWE in that there is tremendous pressure to deliver a strong show and kick off the promotional road to Wrestlemania in a significant, thought provoking and memorable way.
Because of increasing the Rumble match from 30 to 40 men largely for the ability to promote Sunday's event as 'the biggest Royal Rumble match ever' it obviously spreads the incumbent, established star power thinner. That means that younger talents who seek stardom need to bring their A+ games Sunday and maximize their in ring minutes.
For many, participating in this match this will be the most significant opportunity that they have had to shine, launch themselves, create awareness for their skill set, etc. I'm sure that we will get feedback on this site that it's all about the creative process and the subsequent minutes that the talents are allotted but I am of the belief that great talents or talents who want to be great have the ability use their minutes to maximum effectiveness.
I am very interested to see who 'stands out' during the Rumble match, who turns heads, and who comes out of the marathon bout better than they were when they entered the ring.
The opportunity to surprise and perhaps even shock the fan base is there and I certainly am of the belief that surprises and unpredictable moments will be the order of the day in the Rumble match Sunday.
In many ways, this year's Royal Rumble is more intriguing to me than several others in years past when the talent depth wasn't such a talked about issue. I just have a feeling that multiple talents will have an opportunity to distinguish themselves throughout this 40 man match even though there will likely be only one winner based on historic precedent.
As are most fans who will invest in the Rumble PPV, I'm obviously interested in who wins but I'm equally interested in how numerous other talents find the spotlight.
My two day, snowy trip to Connecticut this week was a great time at the WWE TV facilities. Wednesday afternoon I was interviewed for a Gorgeous George DVD that will likely be released prior to the film of GG's life which is also in the planning stages. Gorgeous George was arguably the most influential wrestler ever. I could see this documentary style release easily airing on cable TV before going to DVD and subsequently building an interest for the film.
I also did an interview for an upcoming DVD release of the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase who really cut his teeth in the biz working for Bill Watts' Mid South Wrestling as did I. This DVD will be released later this year. Hitman, Patterson and Mean Gene also were interviewed for the DiBiase DVD. The Million Dollar Man persona casts a large shadow that Ted's two sons must navigate from as their careers evolve. That won't be easy.
Also, I did a piece for WWE.com focusing on many of the wrestlers who came out of West Texas State University in Canyon, Texas. This feature will air on WWE.com in the next couple of months and http://www.wwe.com will have all the info going forward. www.wwe.com is going to become an even more dynamic site especially for fans of classic, wrestling bouts of the past.
We finished the day with the taping of two Legends Roundtable shows featuring Gene Okerlund as host and the panel of Bret Hart, Michael Hayes, Pat Patterson, and myself.
The first show will air in March as I understand it and will feature memorable wrestling rivalries selected by each panelist. I selected Rock vs. Austin, Hayes..Freebirds vs. Von Erich's, Pat went with Hulk vs. Andre, and Bret talked about HBK-Hitman. Really a superb show. It's one that you need to make a point of seeing on WWE On Demand. I'm not sure of any DVD plans on these programs at this time.
The second show will air around June perhaps earlier and it focuses on Canadian wrestling territories and Canadian Wrestlers. With Pat and Bret both being Canadians they had strong feelings on their homeland's contribution to the business. Another interesting show. Even though WWE has produced two Wrestlemanias in Canada, both in Toronto, my favorite Canadian, WWE event was the Calgary Stampede In Your House PPV event.
It amazes me that some emailers take me to task over the WWE HOF and I assume it's only because I have created a forum for their rants. I hope that those that use our site to raise hell will also make their way to our store and pillage that as well in the form of making an order. Nonetheless I am being indicted by some who are passionate about why their favorite isn't in the WWE HOF as if I have a modicum of influence in the process.
Randy Savage backers are always vocal. Arn Anderson has his share of supporters. So do the Freebirds. The late Brian Pillman's name has come up a fair amount lately, too.
Are all of these men deserving? Hell, yeah. Can I 'get them in?" Nope. But those of you that like to vent can continue to express your feelings as long as we keep it clean. and you will consider to part with a buck or two from time to time and buy some BBQ Sauce, Chipotle Ketchup, Main Event Mustard and Beef Jerky. Deal?
Those that support Chris Benoit going into the WWE HOF will likely be 'campaigning' for this controversial cause for years to come. Sadly, for many reasons, I do not ever see Chris Benoit being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. That's just a personal opinion. The last few hours of Benoit's life would seem to override any thing Chris ever accomplished in his long, stellar wrestling career where he was one of the best in ring performers in the world.
Another emailer told me that Daniel Bryan would be angry at me for declaring that Percy Watson was one of the best pure athletes that WWE had signed in years. Firstly, being a natural athlete doesn't always equate to success as a wrestler but it can obviously help. I've seen some very athletic guys, who attained main stream sports success, never become big stars in the ring. Watson is amazingly gifted athletically but will his God given talent equate to wrestling success? That's a question that only Watson can answer and it largely depends on his natural aptitude for the biz and how much Percy applies himself to him learning his vocation. What all this has to do with Daniel Bryan is still a head scratcher to me. Yes, Bryan is a super athlete but is he a better natural athlete that Percy Watson? Very arguable. Is Daniel Bryan an excellent wrestler? He certainly is in my eyes and I see Daniel Bryan being able to carry his share of the load as a main eventer for years to come in WWE.
Bottom line is that great athletes don't always become great pro wrestlers and all great pro wrestlers aren't always world class athletes. With that said, I'll take my chances any day on world class athletes who, preferably, are wrestling fans and have the aptitude and drive to become stars in the ring.
Plus, Daniel Bryan is too respectful a young man to 'get mad' over something so innocuous as what I said. However, I will say that if Percy Watson can become as proficient as Daniel Bryan is in the ring then WWE should do back flips.
I'll be on the radio today at 4:30 pm central time on Norman, Oklahoma's Sports Talk 1400 with James Hale. Tonight I will be on with Todd Wright on Sporting News Radio talking about the Rumble and the Super Bowl.
You're invited to follow us on Twitter @JRsBBQ and we now have over 85,000 Twitter followers which still amazes me.
Received a Tweet that thought I was not a fan of tag team wrestling. That's not true or even close to being accurate. I am not a fan of bastardized teams being formed under the guise of being a unit. A team needs to have continuity and a team-like feel or look to some degree. They also need to be seen in the ring as a team and not get equal exposure as singles wrestlers. Teams are teams and two guys simply thrown together to resemble a team doesn't work for me. This are some of the reasons that viable, marketable, main event level tag teams are a rarity in the business today.
Tag team wrestling has always interested me but the days of tag teams headlining major events doesn't appear to be returning however if they did it would be a new, fresh idea for many younger fans to enjoy.
For those that have asked, I am going to be the guest ring announcer for the main event at the WWE live event in OKC on Sunday afternoon March 13 at the OKC Arena. The event starts at 3 pm and tickets are on sale now.
We're working on the details to have our products as a part of WWE Fan AXXESS during WM27 in Atlanta. More to follow.
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We're doing more voice overs next week for the final touches on the THQ produced WWE All Stars video game that's going to be released on Tuesday March 29.
The Q&A's on this site were updated as of Friday morning.
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