J.R.'s Superstar of the Week - Ric Flair
Greetings friends and neighbors from under the 200X, black Resistol hat from your barbeque-lovin' Okie, who is happy to be home from an exciting trip to the Pacific time zone that resulted in more surprises than I ever expected at No Way Out and on Monday Night Raw.
The winner of this week's coveted Raw Superstar of the Week award is an easy choice. No, it's not the lovely and talented actress Lindsay Lohan, who spent the afternoon at Raw in Anaheim, Calif. and who certainly would have gotten Jerry "The King" Lawler's vote (King loved Ms. Lohan's freckles.), but another individual with a "party reputation" of sorts and who just happens to be the greatest wrestler of all time -- the first announced inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2008, Ric Flair.
Ric's going into the WWE Hall of Fame is a no-brainer as the 16-time World Heavyweight Champion long ago earned the distinction of being the best in-ring performer ever in wrestling. Some of my most cherished and memorable moments involve the "Nature Boy" who is just as much fun to be around outside the ring as he is to watch do what he was put on Earth to do -- and that is wrestle. Ric's influence on generations of wrestlers is far-reaching, much like many basketball players of today were motivated as youngsters to play in the NBA by watching Michael Jordan.
Ric Flair is a Rembrandt in tights, and as I said long ago, is painting with oils on his canvas while others are utilizing water colors. There have been many memorable moments at WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies over the years, but none may approach the emotion many of us will feel when Ric takes the stage in the Amway Arena in Orlando, Fla. the night before WrestleMania XXIV.
Ric, who gave yours truly a signed pair of red, patent leather, game-worn wrestling boots that are framed and hanging in J.R.'s Family Bar-B-Q Restaurant in Norman, Okla., will receive a box of products from www.jrsbarbq.com, where we are getting plenty of your e-mails about "Naitch" going into the Hall.
There isn't a day that passes by that I don't count my many blessings that WWE and the wrestling business in general have provided my family and me. Now with Ric Flair joining "the HOF club," inclusion in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007 has taken on a whole new significance.
Congratulations Ric. No one has ever done it better.
It is great for all WWE fans to finally see the WrestleMania XXIV card start to take definitive shape as the Raw main event will now be a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Title. WWE Champion Randy Orton, Triple H and John Cena will compete in a veritable sudden death type match for, arguably, the most prestigious title in WWE. It's sudden death inasmuch as the first man to score a pin or submission wins and that's the only way the match can end. Triple Threat bouts also have no disqualification stipulations, so there will be no easy way out for anyone -- like the way Orton used a coward's tactics to retain his championship in his title defense at No Way Out against Cena.
Jeff Hardy and Kennedy both qualified for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania XXIV, so there are four slots left if WWE sticks with the traditional six- competitor format in this high-stakes, highly dangerous bout. As the late Jimi Hendrix once said, "Excuse me while I kiss the sky," and that is exactly what I expect Hardy to do come WrestleMania. The reigning Intercontinental Champion came "thisclose" to winning the Elimination Chamber Match at No Way Out and even kicked out of Triple H's vaunted Pedigree before eventually falling victim to the same maneuver on a chair.
Paul Burchill remains undefeated on Raw, which must make his sister Katie Lea happy. Burchill's finishing maneuver is nasty and will likely have a name sooner than later.
How about those fireworks involving Floyd "Money" Mayweather and Big Show Sunday night in Vegas?! I attended the Kelly Pavlik-Jermaine Taylor fight at the MGM with Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops and friends Saturday night in Vegas and saw the Youngstown, Ohio native Pavlik win a unanimous decision. But the flurry that "Money" laid on Show rivaled any flurry I saw all weekend. Now we learn that the 400-pound Big Show who suffered a broken nose Sunday night thanks to a Mayweather right (or was it a left?) will have "a match" with the greatest fighter in the world. But the question is what kind of fight will it be? And does it matter? How many millions of dollars is Mayweather risking by accepting this challenge? Mayweather is the undisputed king of boxing pay-per-views and an injury to "Money" would be disastrous. I can assure you that if I was Mayweather's manager, there is no way in hell I would allow this match to happen.
I will refrain from editorializing or expressing my personal feelings regarding the Steel Cage Match involving Mr. McMahon and his illegitimate son, Hornswoggle, on Monday night except to say that it was one of the more disturbing things I have ever experienced on Raw. I wish I could forget that I ever saw the incident that may spawn a WWE Film entitled Daddy Dearest.
Oh, and one more thing, and this is to JBL: I truly hope that your Mamajuana Energy Drink is a global hit because if Finlay ever gets you in the right situation, your wrestling career may be as finished as basketball coach Kelvin Sampson's career is at Indiana University.
I am pleased -- and The King is giddy -- about Maria posing for Playboy for the issue that, I assume, comes out around WrestleMania time. Santino Marella, who should be angry with his barber, isn't happy with Maria, but the future Playboy cover girl seemingly has a much bigger issue to deal with in the Glamazon. Ouch.
Don't forget to check out WWE Shop and our online store for J.R.'s products, including our sauces, beef jerky, autographed cookbooks, and our red hot, "I've Got Big Nuts" T-shirts that we have used to launch our new peanut business.
See you Monday night from lovely Phoenix on HD on Monday Night Raw! The Road to WrestleMania has begun!
Be sure to check out J.R.'s Family Bar-B-Q Restaurant at www.jrsbarbq.com.