With tornado's blowing through our area and with March Madness surrounding us Okies, there seems to never be a dull moment here in Norman. Plus, in the meantime, we still are staying busy at J.R.'s Family BBQ locations in Norman and Moore, Oklahoma. Here are a few random thoughts starting with Monday night's Raw in Kansas City.
I thought Monday Night Raw had a great start and a memorable conclusion that the 15,000 plus fans in K.C. seemed to enjoy. I also know that "12 Rounds" opens in theaters on Friday which I hope to go see with the Mrs. sometime this weekend around the hoops action on TV and depending on me feeling better.
Chris Jericho has done an amazing job in carrying the load for his upcoming WM25 bout apparently now against three legends, WWE HOF'ers Rowdy Roddy Piper and Jimmy "Super Fly" Snuka teaming with 2009 inductee Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. Jericho really turned up the steam on Monday night with a physical beat down of the still ultra popular Ric Flair that even had me squirming in my easy chair. Jericho's TV persona is one of the easiest on WWE TV to dislike which, in the native of Winnipeg's case, is a good thing. Jericho's assault of Flair was uncomfortable and disturbing and will no doubt heighten the interest in Jericho's Wrestlemania bout.
Next Monday night in Dallas on Raw it will apparently be Jericho vs. "the King" Jerry Lawler and I know that the King will make a good accounting of himself as Jerry is still wrestling a great deal these days on the indy circuit. Kingfish told me that he had matches scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week so there will be no ring rust on Lawler come Monday night. Lawler is a master strategist that can accomplish more with less than virtually anyone in WWE and hope the young bucks pay attention to King's presentation Monday night as he has forgotten more about bell to bell than the vast majority of the "kids" on any roster.
From the looks of things it seems that Jerry's life long dream of wrestling at Wrestlemania will have to wait another year which is unfortunate in my biased albeit humble opinion.
The closing segment of Raw certainly piled plenty of angst on Master Randall Orton especially after he initiated physicality on Stephanie McMahon, for the second time, and of which Stephanie's husband HHH was forced to witness while being handcuffed to the ring rope.
This intensely, personal issue was raised a notch or two Monday night and there is nothing better in wrestling than reality based, personal issues.
I thought the HBK promo was intriguing and certainly drove home the point that Michaels is defiant, unafraid, not intimidated and looking forward to breaking the Undertaker's 16-0 winning streak at Wrestlemania. Streaks are made to be broken, without question, and if any one can rise to the occasion and accomplish the seemingly impossible it is Shawn Michaels. I was also somewhat surprised at the stoic Undertaker's reaction after Michaels' cemetery oratory concluded. Normally, the Demon of Death Valley doesn't show that much emotion so perhaps HBK successfully got under Taker's skin. Nonetheless this is the most talked about match at WM25 around J.R.'s BBQ from the guests that I have visited with over the past few weeks.
One has to assume that WM25 will end with a title bout but one can also certainly make an argument for the match surrounding "The Streak" to close the show in Reliant Stadium but I would not wager on such a thing happening.
Speaking of 'Mania, could the Money in the Bank Ladder match kickoff the night? That wouldn't be a bad opening salvo based on past MITB bouts.
There is never a good time to be ill but battling pneumonia during March Madness isn't the worst thing as it could have been during, say, the Dog Show or the U.S. Open Tennis Tourney.
My two Oklahoma teams are still alive and kicking in the tournament as I write this with the OU Women playing again Tuesday night and if they win they get to finish their run in Oklahoma City of which I will undoubtedly catch some of the action up the road in the Ford Center.
The Sooner men, lead by Player of the Year Blake Griffin who is a J.R.'s BBQ fan, play Syracuse from the vaunted Big East on Friday in Memphis. Several Syracuse grads work for WWE including Michael Cole so it might get a little interesting around the "water cooler" over the next few days. I feel the Orange have the advantage after playing in the Big East but hopefully my Sooners will give the Orange a run for their money. If OU's guards play well and Blake doesn't get into foul trouble it could be an interesting game in Memphis.
I have been working on my induction speech for Cowboy Bill Watts entrance into the WWE Hall of Fame and keeping it under three minutes is going to be challenging but doable. Someone once said that yours truly couldn't say "hello" in three minutes and they are probably correct. I just have to keep thinking "sound bytes" and I should be o.k.
One night in the mid 80's after the Wednesday night TV tapings at the Irish McNeil Boys Club in Shreveport a large man hung around after the taping and convinced Grizzly Smith that he wanted a tryout and said he could beat any of Watts' Mid South wrestlers. Watts decided to try the guy on for size after the building had cleared out but wisely told the stout looking fellow that the stranger had to warm up with another wrestler before the big Cowboy would step in the ring with him and see what the guy had. The warm up wrestler was Steve "Dr. Death" Williams who was a 4 time All American wrestler at Oklahoma University and who had other, "social" plans for the evening after work. So while most of the other boys hit their favorite watering hole Doc had to stay behind and get sweaty all over again. Nonetheless, as you can imagine, Doc was not in a hospitable frame of mind. So Doc goes in and takes the guy down about a dozen times and had the poor soul screaming from a variety of maneuvers before Watts decided that the newcomer was "warmed up" enough for Watts to take over for Doc. From my ring side seat, I could see that Watts was going to want to end this workout quickly because Bill was in need of groceries and a hungry Cowboy could be a gnarly Cowboy, trust me on which I say. Watts still had the slacks on from commentating the TV shows and as soon as Bill bent over the whole ass end of his pants ripped exposing Watts' large, white Hanes. Several of us laughed until we got "the look" from Cowboy and then Bill took his anger out on the poor young man who thought he wanted to be a "rassler." In a matter of moments Watts had rendered the young man unconscious with the individual seemingly going into a coma or so he wanted every one to think. The guy did get choked out and he did legit lose consciousness for a few moments but he was reluctant to open his eyes until Bill told Griz to call an ambulance and to tell them that the guy would need a catheter inserted into his penis, don't ask because I didn't get it either, but as soon as the "unconscious" fellow heard those words he "miraculously" was healed as if Louisiana's own Jimmy Swaggart himself had walked in and laid his healing hands on the man. Of course, the ambulance never was called and the fellow was helped out of the arena and the last I saw of him he was walking off into the darkness with one helluva story to tell his buddies.
Watts was a tough man who loved confrontation and physicality but when he tore the ass out of his new slacks I think his intensity increased out of embarrassment and the fact that he wanted to get to our favorite, post TV restaurant before it closed. A man has to eat!
Sometimes Watts would want to ease by one of those watering holes I mentioned earlier to do an unannounced check to make sure that none of the fan favorite wrestlers were in the same bar as the villains. That was a cardinal sin and was a fineable offense or a reason for Bill to fire someone if Cowboy was ready to let them go any way. No matter if one was a hero or not, if a Mid South Wrestler lost a bar fight to a civilian and Watts heard about it then there was a problem. Mid South Wrestlers were not allowed to lose bar fights and I can honestly say in all my years working for Bill that I do not recall any one losing a fight which would have gotten them verbally abused by Cowboy and/ or fined. If a civilian got close or earned some bragging rights the wrestlers were required to return to the scene of the crime and would take some backup IE a Dr. Death, Jim Duggan, or the Steiners for starters with them and then when the dust cleared there would be no questions asked as to who the alpha males were....they were the Mid South Wrestlers.
I would love to see WWE make a concerted effort to develop their Hall of Fame brand with signed merchandise including limited edition numbered and signed collectibles just like the Heisman Trophy winners do. I have a black, football helmet with every living Heisman trophy winner signature on in in a gold Sharpie. I know that as a fan and a collector that items such as this would be a hit in my house.
Want to clear something up I wrote recently about Victoria that I think got misinterpreted. I made the comment that with Victoria getting into Women's MMA at this stage of her game/age is going to be challenging. I never once said that Victoria would not be successful in her new venture. I hired Victoria to her first WWE contract and was her boss until I left talent relations a few years ago. Will mastering the fine art of MMA be easy for Victoria? Hell, no but that doesn't mean she can't be successful. Bottom line is that I would never bet against this woman because once she sets her mind on something she will do all she can to get it done. I know Victoria is tough, focused, and a strong athlete who will not be intimidated by any one. My point was that she might have had a better chance for success if she had started in MMA in her 20's instead of her 30's but I will be one of her biggest fans when she starts her journey in MMA. I always loved being around Victoria and she never once caused WWE any trouble that I can recall and was always a credit to the company. On a side note, I also thought that her sexuality was underrated in WWE but that's just one, old school guys opinion. Hey, just because I'm on a diet doesn't mean that I can't look at the menu does it? Plus, she will do great with her verbal skills as Victoria is a very intelligent lady.
Are some States in American just stupid or what? The economy sucks and some states are giving MMA grieve about promoting fights in some states. New money is new money and these states that are trying to out think the situation are embarrassingly stupid, ill informed and near sighted. UFC is a great organization as are other MMA entities and they run classy events that draw money, sell tickets and merchandise, rent hotel rooms, rental cars, they eat, they drink, and they spend lots of money, bottom line. Any citizen who lives in a state where that state is dragging their feet to get UFC in their area needs to take a close look at the people that they have elected. Most of these people are making decisions based on old information and outdated opinions of a genre that is growing and can deposit thousands upon thousands of dollars into a community for a major PPV event. This April Wrestlemania is expected to dump somewhere north of $40M in new money in the Houston area even though some Houstonians aren't acting as if they don't give a damn. Amazing.
Do you remember when Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk) went over the Monday Night Raw stage a few years ago. I could listen to Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie do promos all night . The best promos are those that are organic, guttural, and full of raw passion. That's what we fans got when we got to hear Terry Funk get in a groove and deliver one of his memorable vintage promos. As "middle aged and crazy" as Terry made himself look, few people actually knew how smart he was concerning the business. Terry Funk, yes that wild man, had one of the best minds for the wrestling business as any one I may have ever been around.
The delete list of Q&A's was longer than time then normal but we still got some dandies on there and they are all updated. If you want a few laughs, check out the Q&A's before you head on over to the store and spend a couple of bucks on some great J.R.'s Products. Strangely enough we have started selling LOTS of NUTS. Who would have ever thought that J.R.'s NUTS would have been in demand.