J.R.'s Superstar of the Week - WWE fans in Chicago

J.R.'s Superstar of the Week - WWE fans in Chicago
Greetings from under the 200X, black Resistol hat from one of the luckiest Okie’s you will ever know and who will be forever grateful for the out pouring of positive response I have received from fans and friends since Monday night’s announcement that yours truly would be inducted into the 2007 Class of the WWE Hall of Fame this Saturday night in Detroit, the home of Wrestlemania 23.
Because of the specialness of this being Wrestlemania week, I thought I would make a slight departure in the normal format of our weekly column and with that said this week’s Raw Superstar of the Week has to be the 15,146 fans who sold out the All State Arena in Chicago Monday night and for their amazing response to the announcement of Ol J.R. heading into the WWE Hall of Fame. I was blown away. I will probably never be able to repay those fans for helping create a moment in time that I will never forget. My sincere thanks go to all of you.
I also was humbled by the remarks made by the WWE Superstars on my behalf during the video package which was produced by the brilliant Adam Pennucci at the WWE TV Facility where the hardest people in show biz work. To those WWE Superstars, your comments touched my heart as you embraced our mutual passion for our business in an eloquent and honest fashion. Plus the fans who have emailed me directly at www.jrsbarbq.com have been awesome and have come from all over the world. 
Wrestlemania is so special. I worked in the business for 20 years before I received the opportunity to be a part of this amazing event. My first live broadcast in the WWE was at Wrestlemania 9 when I wore the infamous toga. (But I didn’t go commando as Bobby Heenan suggested.) I am as excited about this Sunday’s event on pay per view as I was at ‘Mania 9. I know it is the “fan” in me. I will always be a fan. Sports entertainment is in my blood and I would not have changed a thing about the past 33 years that I have spent in my chosen field. Some days were better than others, some days were overwhelmingly challenging, and some days tugged at one’s heart strings but overall I have had a wonderfully rewarding career. I would like to think my best days are still to come and that I can improve as a broadcaster. That’s my goal and what I strive to do 51 weeks a year. I firmly believe that when we stop growing we start dying and I am far from ready to begin that process.
The only match that I know for sure that the King and I will broadcast Sunday is the WWE Title Bout between Champion John Cena and HBK. I know we will do more matches but if by the luck of the draw this is it on this event for us I would still be ecstatic. I think this match will so exceed expectations it won’t even be funny. Cena is a proud young man with an amazing work ethic, a big time will to win no matter the physical toll it may take and, perhaps most importantly, to continue to build his WWE legacy the right way as he has been doing. Cena will go into this match much more nervous and anxious than his challenger and how Cena handles that pressure will have a great deal to say about the outcome of this particular main event.
I first saw Shawn Michaels wrestle when he was 19 years old as a handsome young baby faced kid from San Antonio who was away from home for the first time and learned under the demanding promoter/wrestler Cowboy Bill Watts in Mid South Wrestling. That was over 20 years ago. Shawn Michaels, from my perspective, is one greatest in ring performers I have ever seen in person and would easily be in my top 5 all time competitors. Shawn’s mind is where it needs to be to win as no one plays mind games any better than HBK and Shawn, after Monday night, definitely played his pocket aces at the right time. Michaels went all in, if you will, and won a major hand on Monday night in the mental game of Texas Hold ‘Em against the young, less experience WWE Champion. This Wrestlemania definitely seems to be extraordinarily special for Shawn which means the “Show Stopper” will be at his amazing best. Perhaps the term “Show Stealer” might be more applicable for HBK’s Sunday efforts from Ford Field where 70,000 plus are expected to attend.
I can’t wait for this match to unfold and Sunday can’t get here soon enough for me. We true wrestling fans thrive on raw passion and emotion and this match for the WWE Title will bring a truck load of it.
The Undertaker possibly becoming the World Champion for the first time to go along with his 4 WWE Titles is special. Batista potentially ending the Undertaker’s unrivaled Wrestlemania winning streak at 14-0 is also special. Who will make history? And to think I will be sitting at ringside, the best seat in the house, and be able to watch history being made just like any other fan. Michael Cole and JBL will deliver the goods big time on this historic contest.
Plus, I am excited that ECW has a prominent role at Wrestlemania. Joey Styles and Tazz will no doubt do a helluva job in describing their action. I look forward to hearing them work this event and peeking over at them occasionally to watch having the time of their lives.
“The time of our lives” is how it is for everyone who is a part of Wrestlemania. It is living a dream and creating memories that last a lifetime. I will, in many ways, be a kid again on Sunday living my dream and giving thanks that I have been provided this amazing opportunity to be a part of Wrestlemania 23. Life is good.

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