RAW Thoughts..Strikeforce Needs Bautista..BROCKTOBER..Retire 'What?'..Happy Birthday Dream..Football Worriers..Sauce it!

Thanks for stopping by on our 17th wedding anniversary. As usual, I out punted my coverage when I married my lovely wife.

It seemed to me that Monday Night Raw was represented with a somewhat stronger in ring presentation in Seattle. I can see where many fans are seemingly becoming numb to the volume of rapid fire PPV events with so many coming over a short length of time.

Thought Punk vs. Bourne might have been the best in ring presentation of the show. That or the Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan bout. Both matches stood out to me and all four participants are guys that I could see being much more viable.

The Nexus storyline has been one of the better ones in the WWE in a long while. Now as it maturates and moves forward guys like Justin Gabriel, who had a nice bout with Orton Monday Night, needs to become known for more than his dynamic 450 Splash. Same for Otunga and Slater. What are their lasting claims to fame going to be? Now is a pivotal time for these members of NXT to begin to erase the prominent 'side kick' logo that's figuratively stamped on their foreheads and either take a more impactful role with NXT leader Wade Barrett or begin to subtly move away from Barrett's reign. 

Why is it exactly that MNR and SDown have such a fierce rivalry? What's at stake other than 'Bragging Rights?' Has SD been bragging about their tag team victory since last year's PPV?  Would it be more viable if something tangible was at stake to the winning team in the Raw vs. Smackdown Tag Bout on the October 24 PPV that emanates from Minneapolis? 

In addition to today being our 17th wedding anniversary it is also WWE HOF'er Dusty Rhodes 65th birthday. Virgil Riley Runnels, a proud alum from Austin Johnson High School in Austin, Texas, was arguably one of the most charismatic and colorful characters ever in the wrestling biz. Based on today's seemingly rigid, physical standards, one has to wonder if the American Dream would have ever been given a cup of coffee in today's marketplace.

Dream's Texas Outlaw days with the late Dick Murdoch were some of my favorites and the two, rowdy Texans were an amazing tag team and should be talked about when experts discuss the best tag teams ever. They were too good as singles stars to stay together as a unit much like Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen. 

Big star bound talents have to be single stars which should start the usual tag team bitching and moaning from long time fans. Hey, I miss great tag team wrestling too but it isn't happening right now any place. No promotion of any viability is allowing a tag team storyline to headline cards, TV shows, or PPV's. Perhaps that will change but don't hold your breath. Bottom line is that the big money in wrestling is and always has been as single stars who are embroiled in a long standing, well told, patient story that is personal in nature. 

The "What?" chants have run their course. Now when I hear them it reminds me of a different period in the business long ago plus the fact that many fans are a few years behind the times but still feel that they need to be involved in audience participation in some form.

Damn I'm bored with the plethora of handicap matches that have seemingly dotted our TV sets over the past several months. 1 person vs. many works when utilized on a timely basis but its something that gets old in a hurry. The 'danger element' or 'man in jeopardy' scenario has been watered down. Just my two cents. 

Wade Barrett had a nice night on the mic Monday night and if he can string several of those together before retribution is attempted on the rugged Brit then Barrett can likely become a very disliked TV character w/ main event 'legs.' The key here is 'stringing several together' and allowing the Cena/Barrett storyline to really simmer.

As I have written before, Dave Bautista is serious about his MMA career and is realistic in that Dave knows that by getting such a late start int he game that he will have to accelerate his training and then maximize the time that he has to be physically productive in a MMA environment. UFC would not be a good place to seek employment for Dave but his negotiations with Strikeforce do make sense. If the two sides can strike a win/win financial deal and Showtime finally figures out how to promote a fight and make it be perceived as special while at the same time build a star on all the platforms that are available to them, then a Bautista-Strikeforce arrangement could help all involved.

Bautista isn't professionally one dimensional and I get the feeling that he's not going to give his services away cheaply as he knows that, at least for the first fight, that Bautista is a special attraction that could bring new sets of eyes to Showtime's presentation of Strikeforce. Do you think that Showtime thinks that way?

Strikeforce is still struggling with perception/image issues so it's important for Strikeforce honcho Scott Coker's group to sign a Bautista type guy and for Showtime to do a better job in presenting and promoting their handful of fights per year. Coker is a good man who is totally dedicated to his brand but he doesn't control the TV presentation of his brand.

In essence, Showtime controls Strikeforce's TV image which is totally unlike UFC, the NFL of MMA, who controls their own image and how they are presented in all TV formats. That's much like WWE and is smart, business positioning.   

The Brocktober showdown on October 23 in Anaheim for the UFC Heavyweight Title pitting Brock Lesnar defending against Cain Velásquez is drawing near. Lots of my friends are talking about this one and I have a feeling that when UFC turns up the jets on their promotion of this fight as the date draws closer that they will end up with a very nice hit on their hands. Disposable income is the biggest challenge facing PPV providers, not competing PPV's in my view, so to pop a big number one must have that singular attraction that has been built over time where the potential consumers have had the opportunity to build enough of an emotional investment to shell out the cash for the show. 

I'm going to be in Columbia, Missouri the day of Brocktober attending Oklahoma vs. Missouri but if any one knows a sports bar near KCI Airport that is carrying the UFC event, please let me know either at the Q&A section of the site or Contact Us on the home page of the site.

There are lots of ways to analyze the Lesnar-Velásquez title fight but suffice it to say it is going to be a huge attraction and, arguably, Lesnar's stand up, striking defense may be the key to the fight. I know that Cain is a cardio freak but great amateur wrestlers like Brock know a thing or two about cardio as well plus Lesnar isn't training at 280+ any longer.

The recent UFC TV features on Lesnar and Velásquez have been excellent. Nothing over the top and every thing realistic and classy. Very big league sports feeling. Smart marketing for two men who don't have to talk trash to get noticed plus they both represent the UFC brand in a professional manner as presented on Spike. 

UFC fighters on cards headlined by ballyhooed main events really have a golden opportunity to impress the fan base and turn the right heads. Any fighter that a promoter thinks can sell a PPV puts himself in a position to earn himself big money. When fans argue that it's the fighters job to fight and the promoters job to promote and that's it are showing their nearsightedness. Fighters who get PPV points or can earn various bonuses based on how well a fight does, need to learn to organically sell themselves and their fights so that the consumer has yet another reason to buy. I'm not advocating pro wrestling like hyperbole but simply being able to honestly and naturally express one's self. Dana White and Joe Rogan are both superb salesmen for UFC but no one can sell a fight and what it means to them, their camp, their family and all that's important in the fighter's life better than the athlete themselves.

Another key to this equation of fighter communication is how well the TV producers can communicate with said fighters to get them comfortable enough to speak from the heart and with conviction.  

Foreign fighters who speak little or no English either need to learn to say a few key sound bytes in English or have a great mouth piece ala the old school wrestling manager, again w/o going  over the top, who can speak for his fighter. 

College and NFL fans alike who are declaring that their seasons are over after a single loss or more might be jerking the old knee. Alabama fans decrying that Nick Saban can no longer coach is laughable. Texas fans saying that their season is history are in need of Dr. Phil-like couch time. If/when my Sooners finally lose a game this season many of the OU fanatics will want to bury 'Big Game Bob.' Even Dallas Cowboy fans should realize that they still have a chance to back into the playoffs if they can string some wins together as others in the NFL East will lose, without fail. That's the NFL way....parity. Plus, in the NFL, once a team makes it into the playoffs every thing starts from scratch in their single elimination format. 

I don't expect my Sooners to run the table this year but I HOPE that they do and if we do drop a game I'm don't bailing on them nor will I decry the year to be a failure. 

The new Legends Roundtable is getting superb reviews. The next one will be out in mid December and the subject is 'Overachievers and Underachievers.' These products and programs air on WWE On Demand which is a helluva value for what one receives. It's only a few bucks per month, cents per day to have this service on your cable system.

Keep us in mind for your holiday gift giving needs. Our on line store is open 24/7 and we will always do our best to treat your individual needs as best as we possibly can. If every one, or even half the folks, that have read our blogs over the years in the USA would place an order for the holidays we would be in great shape. As it is, like many businesses, generating consistent sales is challenging but something that we are fully invested in to make better and better. Thanks so much to those of you that are customers.

The Q&A section is updated as I write this and I've also answered several Tweets this morning. Follow us on Twitter @JRsBBQ.

Boomer Sooner!


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Congratulations to you and your wife on your Wedding Anniversary, JR, though this wish might be a day late - if so, I hope you have a 2nd special day.