Greetings from under the black, 200X Resistol hat from Oklahoma where Monday night RAW emanates from on Monday September 25 from the Ford Center. Random thoughts.......
I thought this week’s RAW was a better show than some of the “critics”, but what do I know? I TiVo RAW and watch it when I get home on Tuesdays and sometimes I leave the arena thinking we had a better broadcast than we did once I see the show in the comfort of my living room. However, this week’s RAW’s goal was to create some awareness for Unforgiven and I thought that was accomplished. As a matter of fact, the Unforgiven event had me concerned until I heard of the matches planned for it. Now, with a loud and enthusiastic Toronto sold out live audience ready to rock, the atmosphere at the event should be awesome. The crowd can really make a difference in how a show is perceived by the viewers at home and how it motivates the performers. I know it sure does work for me and I have been to a few goat ropings in my time. If the WWE discovered that large crowds did not motivate its wrestlers, then I would suggest those individuals be allowed to immediately seek employment elsewhere and become someone else’s dead weight.
Hopefully, Nature Boy Ric Flair will be back on RAW this Monday after licking his wounds resulting from the I Quit match at Summerslam versus Mick Foley and then the following night on RAW against Randy Orton. Flair STILL adds so much to our broadcasts with his natural energy and a legacy that may never be duplicated. It is amazing to me that Flair, at his age, still has more enthusiasm in the ring than many younger wrestlers I see. That’s a damn shame for some in the younger generation.
I would bet good money that Arn Anderson could come “off the bench” today and still cut a better in ring promo than most guys earning good money to be able to do the same. Maybe I am too old school but that is my story and I am sticking to it.
It looks as if the ECW TV Show that airs LIVE every Tuesday night on Sci Fi will be aiming its promotional barrels at hyping Unforgiven with the massive ECW Champion Big Show rooted in one of the main events at the upcoming PPV on September 17. I think that is smart marketing.
I was really shocked when I heard the news that Kurt Angle was released from the WWE last week. Kurt came to work for the company on my watch and like former Oklahoma head football coach Barry Switzer has told me many times, “you recruit your players for life”. I still have great respect and admiration for Kurt Angle and hope he can take down his personal issues with the focus and passion that he took down wrestlers for the better part of his life. Kurt has been in pain more often than not since winning the Gold Medal in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympic Games and that matter has taken its toll on the Pittsburgh native. Kurt has many years of productivity left in him no matter what he decides to do with his professional life. The main issue now is for Kurt to get healthy, physically and mentally, not sorry about wrestling anyone or anywhere, and to focus on being the best full time Dad he can while his schedule permits such. There is no doubt that the UFC-like entities will dream of Kurt Angle (some, no doubt, against Brock Lesnar) competing in an octagon or similar battle ground but my advice to Kurt would be to stay away from such activities and focus solely on getting healthy. Kurt Angle will always be special to me and he knows without a shadow of a doubt that if I can ever be of any assistance to him that I will be there 24/7.
Monday Night RAW was the # 1 prime time program on TV for the 18th consecutive week in males 12-17. That’s one hell of an accomplishment. This past Monday even airing out of our normal time slot and network Monday Night RAW was the # 3 rated TV program in males 18-34 years of age. That is impressive any way you slice it.
It’s hard to believe that Monday night in Atlantic City that we produced our 692nd episode of Monday Night RAW. With the exceptions of a few “sabbaticals”, yours truly has proudly been a part of most of them. However, as my friend and mentor the late, great Gorilla Monsoon would say, the chances of me doing 692 MORE weeks of RAW are “highly unlikely” as that would equate to over another decade and I don’t think anyone, including myself, wants to see me on TV when I am north of 64.
For the record some one on the ‘net referred to me saying “ring card” as the Highlanders were being ejected from ringside. I don’t have a clue as to what in the hell a “ring card” is but if it matters I said, “Green Card” as in the Highlanders were foreigners who had a right to be in the USA. Perhaps a lame attempt at humor but at least if I fail at it I want to be damned correctly. I was also criticized this week for mentioned Hurricane Katrina. For the record no on told me to say anything about Hurricane Katrina as it came from my own somewhat fried brain. I feel for New Orleans deeply. My early career was centered on Mid South Wrestling events in New Orleans so the Crescent City is a special place to me. I also said that one of our referee’s were as slow as government aide to New Orleans. If I offended anyone’s sensitivities any Katrina remark I apologize as that was not my intent.
ECW is re-built from the inside out and I, for one, like the new approach. I know those that love to chant “E-C-Dub” incessantly and say rude remarks in front of youngsters may not love the new approach but I can assure you the talent will last longer and stay healthier. That’s pretty damn important as most wrestlers I know want to be able to bend over and tie their shoes or play catch with their kids when they turn 40. I regularly watch ECW on Sci Fi and enjoy the fast paced hour and the usual strong build to the show closing, main event. Joey Styles and Tazz both sound more comfortable doing ECW TV than their previous gigs. Styles and Tazz are at their best, in my humble opinion, when they disagree but I do enjoy their work. I am becoming a big C.M. Punk fan and would love to see him on RAW but I know that’s just wishful thinking. Punk has “it” and if he can stay away from injuries Punk may be the lead mule on the ECW wagon train. (Those are all old, TV western metaphors by the way.)
This I can personally relate to. Paul Heyman made a wise choice of “combat attire” Tuesday night on ECW TV. Much like yours truly, Heyman was not blessed with the body one wants to see in wrestling tights.
Another young talent I like to watch in the ring is Smackdown’s Kennedy. For some odd reason, Kennedy reminds me at times of “Stunning” Steve Austin. There is just something about Kennedy’s body English and how he carries himself at times that harkens up memories of the blonde haired version of Austin. IF, and it is a huge IF, Kennedy can apply himself as much as Stone Cold did and think about how to get better and to be the best performer in the business 24/7, then Kennedy will become a HUGE asset for the WWE and a very rich man. I would love to see him accomplish all these things.
How Michael Cole deals with the loud, Texan JBL every Friday night on Smackdown is beyond me. Cole must drink decaf. JBL has an opinion on EVERYTHING. These two are combustible elements and that helps make for an interesting broadcast in my view. JBL has so many diverse interests outside the sports entertainment genre one has to wonder how long he will continue to stir the stew on Smackdown. I actually get along well with JBL off camera except for the second Saturday in October when Oklahoma plays Texas in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. This year that is October 7, not that I am keeping track. JBL may hang his clothes in New York City but he is and always will be a Texan.
There may not be a more fundamentally sound wrestler in the WWE than Finley. The veteran Irishman was taught well and has perfected his craft. If I were a young athlete and was looking for someone today to emulate Finley would be on my short list. I’m not kissing Finley’s Irish ass, even though I have kissed an Irishman’s ass before, but Finley has little wasted motion in the ring making everything he does mean something and truly enjoys making the fans hate him which is becoming a lost art.
I am attempting to watch the Brian Pillman DVD but have discovered I could only handle a little of it at a time. The DVD is quite awesome but it personally hits too close to home. Brian will always be one of my all time favorite people. I am proud that I was in a position to help facilitate his short albeit memorable run in the WWE but I am deeply saddened when I think back about his much too soon death. I assure you that rarely a day goes by that I don’t think of the raspy voiced, spirited athlete who over achieved his entire life and was as much a student of the game of wrestling as any one I ever worked with.
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