Ross Report for Oct. 7, 2005
Greetings from under the black, 200X Resistol hat while preparing to head back to Dallas to take in the OU-Texas Red River Rivalry this Saturday in the Cotton Bowl. This will be the second positive (it sounds like I am talking about former Longhorn and current Miami Dolphin Ricky Williams) trip down I-35 South for yours truly after being in “Big D” Monday for the successful WWE Homecoming re-launch on the USA Network.
Random thoughts regarding Homecoming:
The jam-packed arena was loud and lively. That’s an often overlooked aspect of a successful RAW. There were great signs and plenty of emotion.
The American Airlines Center would be a great site for another major WWE
pay-per-view event. It’s a great arena in a super city.
I would have loved to have listened to more of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Mick Foley prior to the Ortons sauntering down to the ring to jump into Piper and Foley’s spotlight.
I spoke to Mick about his new book “Scooter.” He laughed when I asked him if there was really a dark, evil side of Mrs. Foley’s little boy because “Scooter” is HEAVY — Stephen King-like heavy. This is not a book about baseball and it is not a book you might want younger kids to read, but I loved it.
Harley Race, one of the legit toughest men EVER in this business, is having a tough time with his back and hips. He has to stand leaning next to something to be able to relax. That’s the result of a few boat crashes and thousands of big-time bumps in wrestling rings all over the world. Race has a really good wrestling school, and I suspect he will be adding some more kids (Trevor Murdoch) to the WWE mix SOONER than later.
Johnny Mae Young and the Fabulous Moolah came wearing pants, so they were thinking “physicality” when they left South Carolina for Dallas. If you simply stop to think of the age of these two ladies, their story is nothing short of amazing.
Roddy Piper is still developing his “one-man show” for the stage. I am anxious to see this performance. It could be a train wreck, in all due respect to my friend the Rowdy One, or it could be some awesome stuff. Roddy has great stories to tell and he is honest when telling them … even when it makes himself look bad.
Dusty Rhodes is losing weight. Don’t you know the American Dream
would like one more shot at in-ring greatness before it is all said and
done? I am sure I will hear it from Longhorn fan and Austin (son of a
plumber, remember), Texas native IF the ’Horns beat my Sooners for
the first time in six years this week. Dusty’s youngest son
Cody, a former two-time Georgia state wrestling champ, is thinking of being
trained by Harley Race and then seeing if he can hook on with WWE. I like
this kid’s chances.
Nikolai Volkoff has been wearing the same hat for at least 25 years. One of the business’ best-hearted men will turn 55 this week.
It was nice seeing Hulk Hogan and Harley Race having such a respectful conversation Monday afternoon in the parking garage of the AA Center. Hogan told me that Harley was one of the Hulkster’s very best opponents, whom Hogan learned a great deal from back in the day.
Monday Night RAW was once again the No. 1 program on basic cable this past Monday, as well as the most-watched RAW broadcast of the past three years. I am eager to see how this powerhouse lineup will be followed this Monday down in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The Austin-McMahon material was the highest-rated segment on the show — just as I had internally predicted prior to the broadcast. Monday Night RAW had higher ratings in the key 12-17 year-old male demographic than Monday Night Football.
Jimmy Hart didn’t seem to me to be his same jubilant self Monday at Homecoming. Jimmy is always the “Energizer Bunny,” and he seemed down in the dumps somewhat on Monday. Perhaps he was concerned about his son Jimmy Hart, Jr., who has been in combat in Iraq.
Apparently big plans lie ahead for WWE.com as it relates to Monday Night RAW. There was a great deal of material produced during the TV commercial breaks that many seemed to enjoy. I know I enjoyed having fun with the Texas fans in attendance who were not real high on my picking the Sooners to beat them for the sixth time in a row. What did they expect? I am loyal to most things to a fault, including OU football. Sorry, but that’s my only hobby and I follow it 365 days a year.
Why did our neighbors to the north in Canada edit off the Bra & Panties Match from their RAW replay on Tuesday? It seems to be a double standard, especially if you read some of the Canadian newspapers who feature lovely ladies in bras and panties or swimsuits all the time, it seems. I’m probably not the biggest Bra & Panties Match fan, but I don’t hate them, nor do I think they are too racy for basic cable.
I actually saw Sam Houston at Homecoming with his 18-year-old son, who actually looked about the same age as his dad. I assume that Sam’s legal troubles are either being addressed or have been addressed.
My dear old friend Skandor Akbar was backstage at the event and I did not even see him. He should have been introduced to the live crowd as a “Legend.” Shame on us for failing to acknowledge this timeless and tireless individual who was my first road partner 30 some years ago. Some day, this business will learn that it will become increasingly harder to successfully move into the future without knowing where we have been. Wrestling heritage is big in my eyes and should be better acknowledged across the board in the business. Vince McMahon understands this, but I am not so sure how many others truly do.
Catering was a big hit Monday in Dallas — but not just for the food; it seemed like the “meeting place” for all the Legends that were there. Chief Jay Strongbow, who will soon be 74, seemed to have aged the most since the last time I saw the man who started his career as Joe Scarpa. I assure you that the Chief has 50 cents of the first dollar he ever made in this business, which is a sincere compliment to him. Too many guys nowadays think the “run” never ends and continue to buy the bling, bling to keep up with the “Jonses” all the while, when some don’t even pay their taxes on time. Go figure.
I loved the Angle-HBK match. I still like to watch men wrestle who know what they are doing … rather than observing a high-wire act between two guys who seemingly feel no pain or have the skills to actually correctly apply a wrestling hold.
It’s amazing how good a RAW can be with the elongated talent roster made available for this past Monday. Wrestler depth is an issue that is being addressed and hopefully the developmental areas will really start operating on all cylinders soon to continue the pipeline of top young prospects headed to WWE. I think we should work the amateur wrestling world and the NFL much more aggressively in WWE’s search for prospects.
I am eager to hear what Ric Flair has to say about his ass-whipping Monday night at the hands of his “best friend” Triple H. At this stage of the game, it may take a miracle for Ric to physically hang with The Game over the long haul, but something tells me that Ric has not played all his cards. This issue should be really interesting to keep an eye on as it moves forward. I would love to hear what Arn Anderson has to say about Flair’s bloodletting.
So Stacy Keibler and Jennifer Aniston are allegedly fighting over the same guy. (A) Does this tabloid rumor hold any truth? (B) Who is this lucky bastard?
Will SmackDown be smart enough to grab Matt Hardy immediately and give him the ball? General Manager Theodore Long needs to make hay while the sun shines and get this done. Quality hands like Matt Hardy don’t come along daily.
I really enjoy talking old times with Kevin Von Erich. His son, Ross Adkisson, is a spitting image of his late uncle Kerry and plays running back and linebacker for Lake Dallas high school. I’ve been told that Ross plays in an ESPN high school game in two weeks against South Lake Carroll H.S., which is one of the top teams in America.
How in the name of common sense can anyone “vote” the worst match on RAW being a specialty match featuring five women including two wrestlers in a “contest” without pins, etc., and with the object being to see who gets stripped to their bra and panties? I understand it technically is a “match,” but come on! It’s not even the same category as the other bouts on Monday’s show. I mean, it’s not Flair-Steamboat, Flair-Funk, Austin-Rock, HBK-Triple H, etc...
It was a nice outing for Carlito and Chris Masters in a losing effort Monday night. These two are improving rapidly in many ways — some that the fans do not see — and have the chance and potential to be very good. However, “potential” won’t buy groceries over the long haul.
I thought Chris Benoit was a great champion on RAW and I would love to see him in the current RAW mix. Just watching how he carries himself backstage and how he interacted with the Legends was pure class. I hope Teddy Long realizes what he has with the United States Champion.
Rob Conway looked awestruck being in the ring with the Legends. Why wouldn’t he be? And what an ovation when Kevin Von Erich applied the family claw! That one maneuver took me immediately back to another time when the biggest thing that happened on a given wrestling program happened in the ring enriched with physicality.
Happy birthday Bruno Sammartino! The legend is in great health, but I sure wish he would get over his issues with WWE and take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame. I am not dying on this hill, but Bruno owes it to his legion of fans while many are still alive to address them during a much-deserved acceptance speech. Bitterness is a terrible emotion to carry with oneself — one I will never bring with me on my journey, no matter how short … or long it may be.
It was great seeing “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and my pal “Dr. Death” Steve Williams Monday. It was almost like a Mid South or UWF reunion. Mid South was ECW long before ECW was even a concept with its physicality and personal rivalries. Duggan weighs about 270 (down 30 from his wrestling days), while Doc is back up to 260 (after his year-long battle with throat cancer). These two are two of the legit toughest guys I have ever been around in my 30-plus years in this business. We all laughed about how stupid I was many, many years ago to step into the middle of an about-to-be-nasty fist fight between Doc and the late Hawk of L.O.D. Thinking back on it, it was not very bright on my end, but those two did not need to be fighting in the locker room. But what a beaut of a fight it would have been!
Just curious, but why aren’t time limits used on all matches any more? Does that not make sense, or has the business truly “passed me by?”
Two-out-of-three-falls matches are perfect TV matches on broadcasts that include commercial breaks.
Will someone who is simply dying to be in the next Midnight Express, Rock ‘N’ Roll Express, The Fabs, L.O.D., The Horsemen, the Andersons, etc., please raise their hands? The tag-team scene in this business continues to be a lost art. What’s the deal?
Let’s get to your questions …