Hot crowd in Roanoke Tuesday night for the Friday Night Smackdown taping and the live to tape broadcast of ECW. It had been years since I had been in former Jim Crockett Promotions Promoter Sandy Scott's "town" which is also the home town of Tony Atlas known knowing up there as Tony White. No, not Tony Joe White who sang "Polk Salad Annie." Atlas color photo adorned the front page of the local Roanoke paper Wednesday morning along with a significant story. Nonetheless let's get this BBQ'ed blog rolling with an update on my close friend Gerald Brisco.
First of all Gerald did not have a stroke. He fell ill on Sunday morning as his face became swollen and he was having difficulty talking. At first some thought he might have had an allergic reaction to either medication or food. It was also thought for a short while that he might have even had an attack of Bells palsy. After cat scans and MRI's, it was discovered that Gerry had a very small hole in his heart that is being repaired on Wednesday utilizing a more non evasive type of surgery via going though his groin. This type of surgery is not unusual. Gerry also had a blockage in an artery in his neck that will be addressed via medication. It is not known how long GB will be out but knowing him as I do he will be back at work in a few weeks. Gerald is an asset in so many phases within WWE that he has been utilized but in my opinion Brisco's greatest assets are scouting and recruiting talent. Gerald has an eye for finding athletic individuals who are also good human beings. The last thing WWE needs to do is to hire a locker room full of talented jocks or "bodies" who lack character much like the perception of Terrell Owens. I have been communicating regularly with Gerry for the past few days and he is a fighter and will be just fine, I am confident, SOONER then later. (Sorry for that Sooner reference GB as we all know you are a loyal Oklahoma State Alum. Gerald Brisco is a true credit to this business and one of my best friends who helped me immensely while I was head of talent relations for WWE. The most accurate updates on Brisco will be found right here.
SmackDown features three really solid bouts Friday night including Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho, John Morison vs. Edge, and Rey Mysterio vs. C.M. Punk. Plus, an altercation with Michelle McCool and WWE Women's Champion Melina ended up being very physical. I think that once you watch this Friday night's show that you will agree that it's a damn solid show again this week.
It seemed like Todd Grisham and I had one of our better outings in Roanoke and we hope that our commentary is adding something positive to the Friday night festivities. We feel that we haven't even scratched the surface as to where we want to go as a broadcast team. Developing chemistry takes time and I am attempting to improve at a new role and some old habits are hard to break after all these years.
Shocking to hear how Misawa actually died in the ring which was eerily similar to the injury sustained by the late Christopher Reeve. Japanese medicine is unique to say the least and obviously utilizing Japanese medical treatment and Misawa delaying having his injured neck surgically repaired proved to apparently be his down fall. Damn shame. It is amazing that Japanese medicine is apparently far behind Japanese Technology.
Nice seeing WWE Hall of Famer Handsome Jimmy Valiant Tuesday after in Roanoke. Handsome is low key, laid back, and tri-athlete lean. I remember years ago when Ivan Putski was driving Jimmy and himself to OKC from New Orleans for a live event and arrived in OKC very late, as I recall, which raised the ire of Cowboy Bill Watts and both big stars got their "walking papers." However, because there were so many territories back then neither talent had any problem immediately finding work.
Thinking back on my conversation last week with Stan "The Lariat" Hansen I forgot to ask him about his memories of the last pro wrestling event in St. Kiel Auditorium when he faced Lex Luger in a bull rope match as I recall. Luger won bu the paid a heavy, physical price for the honor of beating the rugged Hansen. I think Jim Cornette and I did commentary on that PPV and were up close to see the legal assault. Luger could have used a "stand in" that night. I helped hire both Stan and Big Van Vader after seeing their spud fest in Japan that damaged Vader's eye. It was one of the most physical bouts that I had ever seen on TV and was exactly what WCW needed at the time instead of trying to "out skit" WWE.
Several WWE Superstars are preparing to order cases of our Original BBQ Sauce and plan on sharing it with their friends, family and neighbors. Some are giving it as gifts.
It was nice being back on Raw Monday night but I have to admit that the longer I'm away from Raw the less I miss the routine that I established throughout the 600 plus episodes on which I appeared. I truly believe that my style of broadcasting wrestling fits the Friday night program better than the Monday night format.
I'm still getting letters from kids wanting to go straight into pro wrestling right out of high school with which I totally disagree. Education is essential and I can see the day that WWE won't sign any prospects unless they have significant, college hours. Or at least that's my thought on the matter.
Another often asked Q&A question is "when is WWE coming to my area?" I don't know the answers to these questions and plan on continuing to delete them. Simply call your local arena and ask them if they are holding any WWE dates. One local phone call should handle your question.
I do know that the OKC Raw in September has been postponed due to the renovation of the Ford Center to better accommodate the OKC Thunder of the NBA. However, there will be a SD/ECW taping in the new, BOK Center in Tulsa on September 22. I'd like to think that I will still be in my ringside chair come September as the new season of Friday Night Smackdown debuts the following week from Boston, as I understand it, and sometimes with new seasons comes a variety of changes.
Eve vs. Layla are wrestling Thursday night on WGN America and while it is not a Flair-Steamboat classic one can easily tell that these young women have been putting in the extra mat time to improve their skills. They are definitely getting better as is Alicia Fox.
Gail Kim is one of the best kept secrets on Friday Night Smackdown and I hope that we begin to see more of Gail in the near future. With skilled Melina, McCool, and Gail, Friday Night Smackdown has the nucleus of a competitive Diva's division. These ladies just need the ring time to display their skills.
Yours truly, as of now will not be in Green Bay Monday night for the commercial free, Donald Trump laden Monday Night Raw which suites me to a tee. Getting to Milwaukee on Monday and watching Raw and then attacking our work on Tuesday works best at this stage of my game and adding Mondays back into the equation is doubling my work load and my travel schedule.
One would assume that Donald Trump will eventually name a Raw General Manager and I'm guessing it will be someone that Mr. McMahon isn't too fond of which covers ample territory. Will that announcement be made this Monday in Green Bay. I think we can rule out Bret Favre.
Favre would be booed out of the arena in the city #4 used to own. Any one who thinks that Favre isn't playing in the NFL this season for Minnesota is smoking too much herb. Unless, medically, Bret's arm simply can't function, Bret starts for the Vikes game one.
Why did Sammy Sosa and company apparently lie to Congress a few years ago about being enhanced with illegal substances? Why couldn't they simply have told the truth in that they wanted to gain a competitive edge, that they made a mistake, and then said, "I'm sorry."
All pro sports and entities like WWE should simply have a zero tolerance drug policy. If guys or gals don't want to play by the rules then tell them adiós. This means that the best, most deserving prospects would be signed and not only men of a particular, larger size. I have enjoyed MMA fights featuring guys in smaller weights many more times than I have the heavyweights. Kids like Uriah Faber never fail to entertain the customers. Signing college educated, athletic, extroverted, individuals who have been scholarship athletes and who have achieved their goal of earning a degree should raise the overall character of any locker room and perhaps would eliminate more "issues" down the road. Just one guy's opinion.
One thing that astute fans see is that WWE is moving along, advancing, several younger talents. Because of the overall lack of depth, these young talents who have been designated as having "star potential" aren't going to win every match but if all involved in the process does their job then even when a young talent loses, if they lose fighting their ass off, these young talents can still elevate and succeed.
The Bash PPV seems to be some what lost in the shuffle but from a Smackdown perspective I feel the Sacramento PPV will feature some really good wrestling. It looks as if SD will have three bouts on the PPV as it now stands.
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