J.R.'s Superstar of the Week - Hulk Hogan
It was a little bit of a challenge this week naming our prestigious and highly desirable RAW Superstar of the Week because several members of the RAW roster had solid and entertaining nights from "The Q" in Cleveland.
However, this week we go "old school", and the RAW Superstar of the Week goes to WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan. More on the big, blonde guy after these messages…
Firstly, back in the real world of being a mom and dad, which is life's greatest honor, our congrats go out to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon Levesque for the birth of their first child, daughter Aurora Rose. The important news is that the 8 pound, 7 ounce bundle of joy and Mom are both healthy. Having two beautiful granddaughters myself, I am sure the grandparents are ecstatic with the birth of the first McMahon granddaughter, as they should be.
I thought Monday Night RAW from Cleveland was a fun show with a great live crowd. I have said it many times, but it is so true that a lively and loud crowd makes average shows good and good shows excellent. A crowd's enthusiasm raises everyone who has a pulse's game. If it doesn't, then I might suggest there are WWE Superstars who are in the wrong line of work. The "another day at the office" mentality that some wrestlers have had over the years is the first step out the door, or at least it should be. Thanks Cleveland for raising enough hell to get everyone rocking Monday night.
Next Monday we are in the "sold out for weeks" Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., and I hope the fans in Jersey are ready to represent and get rowdy. I have a feeling that will be no issue.
DX's HBK had a significant night on RAW Monday not only on the mic, but also wrestling. Umaga changed everyone's demeanor Monday night with his assault on Michaels which leads us to next Monday night's main event on RAW featuring HBK vs. Umaga. I like it. I like it a lot. I hope this is not a "wham, bam, thank you ma'am" sort of match, and we get to see these two really get it on in perhaps a match that lasts a while.
I wonder how Mr. McMahon will grade Jonathan Coachman's running of the show Monday night. Sometimes Mr. McMahon can be, oh shall we say, somewhat caustic when reviewing business issues with the help. Take my word for it on that one. I would suggest that the McMahons will be front and center Monday in the Continental Airlines Arena full of P & V as only the McMahons can bring to the table.
Was it too much, too soon for the Highlanders? Or is the Spirit Squad better than some think? Perhaps it was a little of both. Kenny and Mikey make a nice duo, and even though many talk of Kenny as being the "breakout star" of the Spirit Squad, I think all five members have a viable chance to make their mark in WWE. Once one gets past the male cheerleader personas and their uniforms, one starts to realize that all five Squad members are excellent athletes.
I thought Mick Foley had another provocative interview Monday night. It should be most interesting in Jersey next Monday when Foley will be live, or so he says, to confront Ric Flair. These two legends need to get back in the ring and have a wrestling match, which I think will happen. Both men are highly motivated individuals and proud of their careers, PLUS there is BIG money in a Flair-Foley re-match.
Carlito showed some new offense Monday night in a losing effort to Shelton Benjamin. However, Carlito seemed to be mentally pre-occupied with "hanging out with Trish", which apparently occurred after RAW. I'm not persecuting Carlito here but one has to climb one mountain, so to speak, at a time.
I don't think Shelton Benjamin has fully realized just how good he can be. Can you say "freak"?
My surprise in-ring performance of the night came from an unlikely source…. Candice Michelle. Even though the former Playboy cover girl lost to Mickie James, the Women's Champion, Candice did attempt some interesting maneuvers and did not phone in her effort. Mickie is an intriguing person. What is going to happen if and when Mickie ever doesn't see eye to eye with Melina, Mick Foley's friend? Ah, the plot thickens.
Hey Miz, I have two words for ya……herbal tea.
There was lots of emotion in the main event Monday night featuring John Cena and Ric Flair vs. Edge and Johnny Nitro. Adding Lita and Melina to the mix did not hurt my feelings, but they did stand in front of the announce table most of the night which was somewhat distracting. The Cleveland fans really got into this match, and I thought it was one of the better RAW main events in quite some time. It was sure fun to broadcast.
We still have some fans that boo Cena, but I don't quite know exactly why. It's certainly the fans' right to boo whomever they choose, but I still don't fully understand the logic. Perhaps some fans feel it's the "in" thing to do, or maybe they just don't like John or what they perceive John represents. I do know this; Cena doesn't lose sleep over this issue. Obviously, a young guy like Cena would rather have the fan support, but he knows it will come in time and it must be earned. With today's defiant fan, respect is earned and there are no free passes.
Speaking of respect, it appears master Randy Orton has little or none for Hulk Hogan, our RAW Superstar of the Week. Orton had every chance to show the world what he was made of Monday night and chose not to. It was Limbertail City for the youngest World Champion ever in WWE. Perhaps Randy is picking his spots, but you can bet your last slice of brisket that Orton will set out on a legend-destroying mission between now and Summerslam in Boston where Orton is slated to face The Hulkster. As a matter of fact, Orton and The King had words after the show Monday night which made all that heard it uncomfortable.
I may have gotten just a little carried away when I got caught up in the emotion that was resonating throughout "The Q" Monday night when Hogan came to the ring, but it moments like that that make this business so special. When one can sit at ringside and observe fans, young and old alike, having a great time, making noise, expressing themselves and showing respect for those who have contributed to our amazing business, it can be a little overwhelming. After all these years I still love coming to work on Monday nights, and this past Monday in Cleveland was a special night for so many reasons. I am a firm believer that young wrestlers need to understand the businesses' past to be able to participate in the businesses' future. The heritage of wrestling is significant and should be remembered. Maybe Randy Orton should watch a few hours of WWE 24/7 to be reminded that if it weren't for the past contributions of people like his late grandfather and Randy's dad, that Randy probably would not be a WWE Superstar. Arguably Hulk may never be known as the greatest in-ring competitor of all time, but an argument can be made that he is the most famous Superstar ever and the most prominent attraction we have ever seen in sports-entertainment. Monday night was special. Thanks, Hulkster.
My first internet column on OUInsider.com will be on their site later this week. I have penned my first column for Sooners Illustrated magazine's football preview, which will be available in a week or so. These are fun projects that I enjoy doing. I find writing to be somewhat cathartic, especially when I can write about WWE, OU Football and BBQ, three of my greatest passions. Our bbq website address is jrsbarbq.com, and it is "this close" to being up and running. It should be full speed within a week, maybe two. A lot of exciting things are going on in my life, and I am blessed to be in the position I am in.