J.R.'s Superstar of the Week - Shane McMahon
Greetings from under the black, 200X Resistol hat from Norman, Okla., the future home of "J.R.'s Family BBQ" restaurant, which opens on June 27. Right now, yours truly is preparing to head to the Sunshine State of Florida for One Night Stand and Raw Monday night.
It was an interesting Monday night in Toronto to say the least. Raw was at the sold-out Air Canada Centre while the New York Yankees were in town playing the Blue Jays at the same time essentially across the street. Some of the fans' chants directed at John Cena were "unique" (to be kind) as the Ontario fans made their feelings, positive and negative, loudly known. I mention this because it was loud and almost surreal hearing these dueling chants as the Toronto fans demonstrated no lack of passion as it relates to the WWE Champion.
Nonetheless, the "You screwed Bret" chants were a little too much for me; perhaps I am wrong, but this controversial event in question only occurred a mere DECADE ago! What the hell, I am still angry at actor Bruce Dern for killing my hero John Wayne in the movie The Cowboys about 30 years ago.
One of the biggest pieces of new news coming out of the Memorial Day edition of Raw was the announcement of the first tri-branded draft, to be held June 11 from the sold-out Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Raw. It will be interesting to see which Superstars change addresses; I speculate that many will, and that this draft will not be without controversy. I can say without equivocation that "The King" and J.R. would strongly prefer to stay on Raw. Are announcers even draft eligible?
Our esteemed panel of experts this week that includes The Bruiser, The Crusher, The Killer, The Executioner, The Assassins and The Ding Dongs has unanimously agreed that this week's Raw Superstar of the Week is the heir apparent to the throne of the vast McMahon empire, Shane McMahon. Shane became the "Great Communicator" Monday night, keeping The Great Khali and Umaga on the same page in addition to doing as he said he would and taking the winning fall for his three-man team.
Raw had one of its more unique starts in quite some time with the Bikini Battle Royal kicking things off. I know "The King" enjoyed it, as he asked for a smoke when the match ended…and the Hall of Famer doesn't even smoke. Women in bikinis who are soaked in cold water always create interesting situations inside a wrestling ring. Hey, this isn't your granddaddy's wrestling show anymore (which shouldn't be a revelation). What's next…Paris Hilton in a Loser Goes to Jail Match? Wait a minute; Paris is already going to jail. Hey Paris, "Big Marge" the jailer is looking forward to making you as comfortable as you deserve. Miss Hilton is another product of the "age of entitlement."
Once again, The Hardys, Cade & Murdoch, Nitro & Dykstra and Haas & Benjamin turned in a really solid effort on Monday night, which I find especially encouraging as all these athletes are young, hungry and looking for opportunity. Any brand would be well served to have young superstars such as these men on their brand, even though I'd hate to see any of these grapplers leave Raw. It seems almost inevitable that some will unfortunately be gone after June 11's draft.
For some reason, Maria reminds me of actress Goldie Hawn from back in the day. If you don't know who Goldie Hawn is, ask an older member of the family. Perhaps I will be called out on this as some pundits did when I referenced NFL legend Conrad Dobler, who was voted several times as the "dirtiest player in the NFL" while playing on the offensive line for the then-St. Louis Cardinals, in comparing Dobler to Ric Flair during Judgment Day in St. Louis. I know I should be ashamed to use such a dated reference and I once again showed my "un-hipness." Poor me.
RVD and Randy Orton had a helluva match Monday night that did not end well, as Van Dam left the arena with a dazed and confused look. The RVD vs. Orton match this Sunday at One Night Stand could easily be one of the best matches of the pay-per-view that emanates from Jacksonville, Fla.
Ric Flair was in an extremely rare Intergender Match Monday night teaming with Torrie Wilson. Call me old school, or call me a cab, but seeing Flair team with a Diva in a wrestling match felt strange. However, Carlito's actions against Torrie Wilson, all legal unfortunately, were nonetheless disgusting. I get asked all the time if I think Ric Flair has ample fuel left in his tank for another title reign in WWE; I always say "absolutely" and I believe it. However, "Naitch" needs to take Carlito and the lefty's bushy hair to the woodshed and then perhaps to the barber shop.
For the record: Khali is massive…Umaga is thick…Shane-O-Mac is cunning. I just got a scary thought, as I wonder how much J.R.'s BBQ Umaga could put away on a good day.
On a topical sports note, I am not a "hater" of Barry Bonds. Major League Baseball can't hide their head in the sand when Bonds breaks Hank Aaron's home run record. The MLB Commissioner needs to be in attendance when Bonds hits his record-setting "dinger." Nonetheless, Bonds can and does ruffle plenty of feathers, as he is a product of the era of entitlement that also includes a fair amount of young wrestlers. Nonetheless, no one can dispute that Barry Bonds is a great baseball player even though he is a lightning rod for controversy. I just wanted to get that off my chest.
And another thing…..what in the Sam Hill is Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick thinking as it relates to the alleged pitbull fighting on his Virginia property? How stupid is the former Hokie? Vick is an amazingly gifted athlete who is blessed with extraordinary God-given abilities, but he is making some real stupid decisions. Michael, "let it go" and focus on perfecting your craft…that also applies to many other folks I could name but won't.
I wonder what the over/under will be on New York crime boss Phil Leotardo getting whacked on one of the final two episodes of The Sopranos. With Phil's bad heart, don't discount his demise via a heart attack.
John Cena and Bobby Lashley make an impressive duo, but the odds caught up with these two Monday Night. I can't say I was overly surprised at Monday's outcome, and would expect that both Superstars will be sternly tested this Sunday at One Night Stand, in addition to having ample surprises thrown their way. Especially Lashley, as his Street Fight with Mr. McMahon could be a defining moment for the former Army sergeant.
Cena, on the other hand, must pin Khali to beat the 7-foot-3 monster. Khali's not just another pretty face, and he fully intends to lift the WWE Championship from Cena, and become the first WWE Champion of Indian descent in WWE history (to the best of my knowledge). Cena's STFU is a non-factor Sunday night.
These tri-branded pay-per-views bring all three WWE announce teams together, which always necessitates plenty of "shop talk" between the broadcast duos. These discussions often times speak to my point that WWE needs to hire a full-time sports psychologist, or simply bring Dr. Phil to the events to observe all of the "quirks" involved when this crew is assembled, including yours truly.
For the record: SmackDown's Michael Cole, if that is his real name, and Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler get the nod to handle the announcing duties for this weekend's Saturday Night's Main Event on NBC. I hope you check it out following your late, local news on NBC. To dispel any unfounded rumors, vertically challenged Bob Costas is NOT teaming with Hornswoggle or Little Boogeyman Saturday night.
I am looking forward to visiting Florida Sunday and Monday and plan on stopping by former OU Sooner and Tampa Bay Buccaneer LeeRoy Selmon's BBQ joint in Tampa on Monday, time permitting. Did I mention to you that I REALLY like good old American BBQ?!
Be well everybody, and I hope to see you back here next Friday. I also hope that you check out our BBQ website, www.jrsbarbq.com. See you at One Night Stand and I suppose I should began the chant now….E-C-Dub! E-C-Dub! So long and drive carefully going home.