J.R.'s Superstar of the Week - No. 1 Contender, Bobby Lashley
Greetings from Oklahoma from under the black, 200X Resistol hat while thinking back to the early days of The Great American Bash and the many great matches this summertime extravaganza produced.
This week's guest panel of experts, including Ripper Collins, Rip Torn, Rip Rogers, Rip Morgan, and Rip the Wonder Pony, have cast their ballots but because yours truly is the only vote that counts in this column.
This week's Raw Superstar of the week is Sgt. Robert Franklin "Bobby" Lashley who almost "ripped" John Cena in two as Raw Monday night was about to leave the air from the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Lashley is now the No. 1 contender for Cena's coveted WWE Championship, which it seems many anti-Cena fans would like to see Lashley win at the Bash.
The "Beat the Clock" challenge to determine a new No. 1 contender was an interesting concept that produced some provocative match ups down in "Big D." They may not be as provocative as the photos circulating of the reigning Miss New Jersey, but that's neither here nor there. Gotta watch those darned Polaroids.
Here are some things I observed Monday night:
Mr. Kennedy likes his chewing gum, loves to hear himself talk, and became Super Crazy's foil in el grande fashion on the WWE's flagship broadcast. Kennedy is a blue-chipper without fail, but the Green Bay native looked pretty foolish at the hands of the "wacky Luchador." Can you say retribution, kids?
Randy Orton was lucky to beat Jeff Hardy Monday night, but handsome, young master Orton got the task handled but not quickly enough to earn Orton a trip to the promised land in the main event at The Great American Bash.
Hardy is arguably as popular as any Superstar on Raw, but no one can deny Orton's abilities or his love of mirrors. Orton might be the Paris Hilton of WWE, however, Randall's disrespect to Dusty Rhodes Monday night was inexcusable.
It's obvious a Candice-Melina showdown is on its way, like more rain in Oklahoma and Texas where I have been busy building an ark. The King only hopes he's in the middle of it. (The Divas….not the rain.) The two Divas will never exchange holiday greetings if you are keeping score at home. I would like to see celebrity attorney Debra Opri referee the angry Divas' next encounter.
Santino Marella had one of those nights one likes to forget when he crossed paths with the wide bodied and athletic Umaga, who is now the Intercontinental Champion. Santino was served medium rare to the Samoan Bulldozer, who gobbled up the fiery Italian much easier than I anticipated.
Why is Booker T now a King? I guess winning the King of the Ring will do that for a man. The talented Houston native sounds more like Lennox Lewis than a former member of Harlem Heat, but his highness did marry royally well.
Sandman managed to take Carlito to a much deserved trip to the Caribbean woodshed Monday night, as the coolest man in the WWE got caned like a government mule. Sandman did not seem too emotionally torn up when he was disqualified, especially when he discovered another cold beverage awaiting him.
With Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. both opting out of the home run derby at the MLB All-Star Game, perhaps Sandman could step in and do some swinging with a Louisville Slugger. What's up with Bonds and Griffey Jr. anyway? Cleveland's Travis Hafner would step up to the plate in a heartbeat. Plus, Travis is a big time Raw fan.
Again, for the record and to clear up this nagging rumor, former Freebird and WWE 24/7 regular Michael "P.S." Hayes and Dog The Bounty Hunter do NOT go to the same hair stylist. By the way, I have a classic Freebird album from back in the day that will find a place in our J.R.'s Family BBQ Restaurant which opens this Wednesday, July 11 in Norman, Okla.,(Cheap plug).
Shelton Benjamin might well be a better pure athlete than Bobby Lashley. The fact is arguable. But Monday night, Lashley had to win in under 4:30, and the former member of the United States Army did just that against the former Minnesota Golden Gopher.
Benjamin reminds me of the "I hope we make the playoffs as a wild card New York Yankees" A-Rod, in that some nights he is the most amazing athlete one could ever want to see and then some nights, the South Carolina native goes o'fer.
I believe Benjamin will hit it big and it will happen much sooner than later. I have been around awhile, no smart remarks please, and I firmly believe Shelton Benjamin is going to be very special on a regular basis before all is said and done.
By the way, William Regal not only has one of those high dollar-looking Senator John Edwards' haircuts, but he is a competent administrator as he proved in Jonathan Coachman's absence last week. Coachman may need a "Scooter Libby-like" save if Regal is allowed to continue to call the shots on Monday nights.
Just wondering, but what does Larry Birkhead do for a living? Does the lovely Greta Van Susteren pay Mr. Birkhead to appear on her "infotainment" show? Just curious. Actually it was The King who wanted to know.
This week Raw heads south to Louisiana to the Lafayette Cajundome which is in the heart of the former Mid South Wrestling territory where yours truly got my start with Cowboy Bill Watts, Dick Murdoch, JYD, Ernie Ladd, Killer Karl Kox, Ted DiBiase, Dr. Death Steve Williams, Magnum T.A., The Rock ‘n Roll Express, The Midnight Express w/ James E. Cornette and so many more great wrestlers who pounded the pavement throughout the Mid South area.
Those were the days folks ... the sea was angry that day, my friends ... as working for the big Cowboy was like getting one's Ph.D in "Wrestling 101" and in life in general. Watts may have invented the term "tough love" or "get the hell out of my office," but I digress.
I look forward to returning to Lafayette Monday night and will sadly miss my dear friend and domino-playing pal, the late, Big Cat Ernie Ladd, who died from colon cancer several months ago, and who would usually drop by the WWE events when we were in his neighborhood.
I mentioned a few days ago on my Web site, www.jrsbarbq.com, that Ernie was probably playing dominoes in Heaven with fellow WWE Hall of Famer Junkyard Dog….and winning.