Greetings from under the black, 200X, Resistol hat from your OU Football loving, BBQ fanatic who is looking forward to traveling to Canada this week for what is sure to be an emotionally charged WWE pay per view, Unforgiven in Toronto.
It is always an adventure and a thrill to travel from our home in Norman, Oklahoma to New York City but being in the Big Apple on the 5th Anniversary of 911 this past Monday was really special. The resilient folks of NYC are amazing individuals and the city, for the most part, has seemingly recovered as much as humanly possibly since the cowardly attacks of September 11, 2001.
More...The fans that attended the live Monday Night RAW event and the ECW taping Monday night at Madison Square Garden certainly were not “laid back” and their positive energy should have motivated everyone involved in the process Monday night. If not, as the late Gorilla Monsoon used to say, “Get Out!” There were several talents who had never performed at MSG in their careers and I spoke with many of them. Some were trying to act “cool” as if The Garden was just another arena but any observant person could tell that they were as nervous as a lady of the night in church. I have broadcast many events in Madison Square Garden and I STILL get nervous as hell when I work there. Just knowing all the great stars from so many forms of entertainment and sports that have roamed the halls of the backstage area and used the same dressing rooms we use is surreal in itself. We all prepare for a major broadcast such as RAW in NYC differently. While I poured over my notes, The King toured DC Comics & Victoria’s Secret. Hey, to each his own.
The pageantry of the opening moments of Monday night’s show was remarkable live in the arena. My black hat is off to Lilian Garcia, yes, she’s single gentlemen, for her stirring rendition of America the Beautiful. It was very Aretha Franklin-like from Wrestlemania 3. Lilian is a former Gamecock by the way.
Many of the NYPD and the NYFD were in attendance and I always love visiting with those guys. Those are men’s men and were the true heroes of the evening.I thought the jacked up crowd and the sense of urgency regarding Unforgiven amped the wrestlers up nicely Monday night. I know that future Hall of Famer Ric Flair was pumped and “Naitch” has seen and done it all (literally). When a veteran like Flair gets goose pimples you know the show is going to be a good one.
It was nice to see Mike Rotundo at the Garden on Monday. Mike may become a producer for the WWE. Not only was the former “IRS” an outstanding in ring talent in his day but Mike was a two sport star at Syracuse in football and wrestling. Mike is a classy guy.
Not sure how to predict the Kane-Umaga match this Sunday other than it may resemble a Monster Truck Show as much as a wrestling match. Don’t expect a Brisco-Funk re-make. With the baseball pennant races heating up, let’s just say this match will be more about the long ball than base hits.
It was great to see WWE Hall of Famer Rowdy Roddy Piper at MSG Monday night. If some of the younger talents who aspire to be wrestling antagonists would spend more time watching vintage tapes of bad guys like Piper rather than playing video games or seeking out the wrestling gossip then their careers would be better served. Roddy, like yours truly, is now a grandfather, and that changes a man’s perspective on many things and motivates one to re-prioritize one’s life even if, as in my case, it comes later in life than it should. Even with Piper’s motivation, I will be surprised if the Highlanders can overcome the 5 on 2 advantage the Spirit Squad will have Sunday on PPV.Speaking of the Spirit Squad, I like the upside of these 5 talents. However, I do think the 5 man unit, for my money, is close to running its course.
Speaking of tag teams, the tag team competition on RAW still needs that shot in the arm. Perhaps Sunday will help kick that matter off and certainly Cade and Murdoch elevated their game by being willing accomplices to the assault of DX on Monday night.
Edge is “red hot” and headed “home” to defend the WWE Title in a match Edge has never lost. It sounds like the challenger (Cena) is in a fair amount of jeopardy doesn’t it? John Cena will be booed out of the arena in Toronto which is Edge’s long time home base. Cena must win Sunday or Cena’s goal to become WWE Champion takes at least a 3 year hiatus as Cena has already inked a 3 year Smackdown contract that goes into effect IF Cena loses Sunday. These TLC matches are overtly dangerous. The likelihood of someone getting hurt in this match is obvious. Johnny “Don’t Call Me Monday” Nitro, although blinded by the “love” of an evil woman with multiple agendas, in my opinion, has really impressed me as of late with his in ring abilities. Nitro’s match with Jeff Hardy should be an aerial attraction but sometimes the crash and burn element becomes an issue in these types of matches. This match may resemble some of the ECW Hardcore Rules contests, at times, inasmuch as swinging for the fences and fouling one off occasionally but I am looking forward to it nonetheless.
Carlito and Randy Orton have the opportunity to steal the show with a pure wrestling match come Unforgiven. Now, will they do it? That’s entirely up to the two men in the ring. They each have the ability to be off the charts. Physically, neither lacks a thing, so it comes down to mental preparation and the “will” to be better than any one else on the show. These two men could be two of the future building blocks for RAW for years to come and this Sunday will go along way in determining just how far along these two are in that journey.
What’s next for Chris Masters? Hopefully, for his sake, no more matches on worldwide TV with Super Crazy. The leaner, should be quicker, Masters is 0-2 against the former ECW and Smackdown grappler.
Speaking of Smackdown, how many “kings” are there now days in the WWE? There’s the original King, Jerry Lawler, Smackdown’s Champ, King Booker, the King of Kings, HHH, and let’s not forget the King of the Ring. Notwithstanding the King of B.S., ECW’s Paul Heyman and one of our best sponsors, Burger King!
Will Trish end her storybook career with a 7th Championship victory this Sunday in her final match that also happens to be in her home town? I don’t have, here comes an Eagles reference, a “Peaceful, Easy Feeling” about this matter. Bad things happen to WWE stars/personnel when they appear in their hometowns. King loses in his home town of Memphis in a 2-3 minute match while I’ve spend more time on the canvas than Rembrandt in OKC (Oh Hell, we’re back at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City on Monday night September 25!). I sincerely hope Trish wins but quite honestly I would not bet a bottle of BBQ Sauce on it. I hope I am wrong.
At 7 feet tall and a dozen biscuits or so over 500 pounds, The Big Show is simply a “freak of nature”. I sometimes wonder if he actually realizes how dominate he could be. I can remember back in the day when my wife cooked dinner for Show and he put a huge strain on the dining room furniture and the flooring. Plus, he ate all my damn apple butter! In all seriousness, the Big Show has the physical attributes to be THE biggest attraction in this business. Period. End of Story. Case closed. The McMahons have the right man on their side come Hell in a Cell this Sunday. The advantage for DX is that HHH and HBK know exactly what the Cell holds in store for them while this will be the first visit by the McMahon men folk and their giant sized asset inside Satan’s playground. I expect a total blood bath come Sunday on pay per view at Unforgiven.
Hey for 61 years of age, or any age, for that matter, Mr. McMahon’s physique was awesome Monday night. I know for a fact that all the Chairman does when he is not with family is work and workout. There is no golf, no boating, no polo, no Texas Hold ‘Em, no football, nothing that interests the Boss as much as the business and working out. I probably will never be on the Chairman’s Christmas card list again especially after Mr. McMahon has replaced yours truly on RAW on numerous occasions. I could bitch, moan, and woe is me it but what good does that do anyone? The bottom line is, Mr. McMahon is richer than eight feet up a bull’s ass and he doesn’t need to step into the ring but McMahon does it because he wants to do it. perhaps even NEEDS to do it. Mr. McMahon indeed does have a HUGE ego but I have never met anyone in his position who didn’t. I applaud the Boss’ passion and his work ethic in, and out, of the gym which no one, not even his biggest detractor’s, can deny. I also realize that any given Monday could be my last broadcast because of the volatile nature of Mr. McMahon but that just goes with the territory, for better or for worse. However, I do know that the paychecks always cash and are always on time.
After watching ECW Tuesday night on Sci Fi, it strikes me that the ECW boys may be having a few too many Hardcore Rules matches on their TV shows. If you have one every week, they cease being special. If one table isn’t enough what is? 5, 10? I vividly recall at Summerslam fans yelling “We Want Fire” during the” I Quit” match between Flair and Foley. What in the hell is up with that?! What’s next……organ donation??I like what I am seeing from C.M. Punk on ECW. He has a tremendous upside. Let’s hope Punk avoids the injury bug and the mental strains of potential stardom. My advice to him would be to remain diligent and professional, work harder than anyone in the building, and be prepared to carry the ball when your play is called.
What, wrestlers taking lie detector tests on TV? Stop it now, please, I am begging you! Wrestling shows that try and “out WWE” the WWE is like flatulence in the wind, it just blows away. A wrestling show that focuses primarily on the in ring product might be a novel concept for a budding WWE wannabe. No one is going to out “WWE” the WWE. I went through the exact same issue while I was at WCW in the late 80’s-early 90’s.
The Midnight Express’ Bobby Eaton seems to be doing o.k. and did not have a heart attack as was erroneously reported on the ‘net.
What a great game by former Road Warrior Animal’s son James Laurinaitis, # 33 and middle linebacker for Ohio State, against Texas. Man, James’ Mom must have been one helluva athlete. (Only kidding, or am I and this is the covert message of the week sponsored by Oliver Stone??)
One of the Longhorn’s biggest fans, literally and figuratively, The American Dream Dusty Rhodes, was dreading running into me at MSG on Monday after the Buckeyes trounced Dream’s Longhorns. I was gentle with the son of a plumber from Austin much unlike what he will be to me if Texas beats Oklahoma this season. Hell, OU has more than their hands full at Oregon Saturday afternoon. That’s the only game this season I will miss due to my travel to Toronto but I plan on watching the game in the DFW airport and then catching my early evening non stop flight to Toronto for Unforgiven.
Here’s a word of advice to all aspiring, wannabe WWE Divas. It will/should take more than a breast enhancement and a fake tan to get a job in the WWE. I would suggest one familiarize one’s self with the product, and understand the physical demands this job requires. Being an athlete would be a good thing as well. If you worry about a broken, fake finger nail you may have problems. This is a special business and one should study its history. Rent or buy some WWE DVD’s and educate yourself on the heritage of the business. Plus, being able to talk in complete sentences is a good thing, too.
It was great to see my Oklahoma pal and country music superstar Toby Keith at Raw Monday night. Check out his movie “Broken Bridges” which is in selected theaters now. Toby and I have spend many hours together on the sideline at OU Football games and he is still a regular guy in spite of being almost as rich as Mr. McMahon. Toby and yours truly both live in Norman, Oklahoma and I am partners in his “Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill” restaurant in Bricktown in OKC. Many of RAW’s biggest stars will be dining there the night before RAW in OKC.
I hear that the DVD regarding the History of the WWE Championship is a good one. I am going to watch it this week. The Brian Pillman DVD was awesome. I think I can watch Brian’s again without having to get up and walk outside as I did the first time.
It looks as if more changes are a float in the WWE Developmental System. This entity is close to my heart and I truly believe within it lies the future of the WWE. There is nothing more important than the development of new superstars within the WWE Developmental System. If one thoroughly reviews the talent rosters under the WWE umbrella, in addition to Mother Nature’s issues, a key injury here or there could do serious damage to the product. Now is the greatest time that I can remember in the past 30 plus years for a young man or woman to want to make sports entertainment their life’s work. I am looking forward to the continued development of Cody Runnels, son of Dusty Rhodes, and Teddy and Mike DiBiase, son of the Million Dollar Man, as all three of these young men may have what it takes to break through and successfully follow in their talented father’s footsteps. Much like Harry Smith and Dallas Hart, I am hoping these second and third generation athletes can be the building blocks for the WWE in the future.
My friend Kurt Angle, my wife is a Pittsburgher, too, is doing well with his time away from the travel and the physical demands of the road. Kurt Angle is a winner and Kurt Angle is the only person who can win this particular “match” he is in. No one else can tag themselves in. This is Kurt’s fight to win or lose and I feel strongly that much like everything else Kurt has done in his life that Kurt will get his hand raised. That certainly doesn’t mean that Kurt’s lovely wife Karen is not there to support her husband and the soon to be father of two beautiful children. She is. Kurt is a lucky man in that regard. I hope Kurt is not tempted to accept what I am sure is a ton of offers to step back into battle before it is time with everyone wanting to make a quick buck off of him. The mixed martial arts business is hot again, for the moment, and there is no doubt that ambitious promoters would love to have the 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist step into an octagon or whatever to help maintain their PPV momentum. MMA has long had challenges building an abundance of marketable stars and Kurt is a “made man”, if you will in all due respect to one of my all time favorite shows, “The Sopranos”. Kurt’s focus right now is on his family and his health. I fully expect, and yes this may be considered wishful thinking by some, but I fully expect to see Kurt Angle back in the WWE in the future and would love for it to happen in time for Wrestlemania 23 at Ford Field in Detroit on April 1, 2007. Kurt is one of my guys and as Coach Barry Switzer, the former Oklahoma Hall of Famer, has told me many times when you recruit a player you recruit him for life and that’s how I feel about Kurt.
Thanks for checking out this week’s blog and please tell your friends about our site. Our store is allegedly going to be up and running soon, or so I am told, and when it opens I hope you will do a little shopping as we will be selling our delicious sauces and some “J.R.’s BBQ” and “Slobber-Knocker” merchandise. I also do a football blog each week as well. Thanks for all the emails and I am answering as many as time allows and reading them all. Please make them as succinct as you possibly can. Take care!