J.R.'s Superstar of the Week - Ric Flair
Greetings from under the black, 200X Resistol Hat of WWE’s resident Oklahoman. I am still amazed at what occurred on Raw Monday night, and equally amazed at the snow and ice storm that has rolled into my home state!
Being stuck inside because of really lousy weather, my computer picked a helluva time to contract a virus. Last rites for this computer will be held soon and I will not miss this antiquated piece of crapola…er technology.
We had quite the busy week beginning with Survivor Series in Philadelphia and concluding with the live broadcast of Monday Night Raw in Pittsburgh.
My Sunday began with a 6 a.m. flight out of OKC to Dallas, then to Philly as I attended the annual Bedlam football game in Stillwater. It was Saturday afternoon, pitting OU vs. OSU which, as always, was one helluva game.
It took the King and I over five hours to FLY from Philly to Pittsburgh due to “fog” according to the airline, US “Scare.” Three or four hours in the Philly Airport is not my idea of a great time. In all due respect, and upon further review, we could have driven to Pittsburgh from Philly in a shorter amount of time.
On top of that, the airline lost the King’s bag with his wrestling gear in it. The bag wasn’t retrieved until about 4 o’clock Monday afternoon. Being on the road 51 weeks a year is a recipe for the occasional travel snafu, and that’s what we got this past week. There is no glamour in traveling this frequently, but we broadcasters have it SO much better than the athletes who travel more days and SO many more miles annually than anyone else in the company.
This week I plan to brave the elements and travel to Kansas City on Saturday to attend the Big 12 Championship Football game at Arrowhead Stadium. It's between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Nebraska Cornhuskers. This rivalry harkens back to the Barry Switzer/Tom Osborne days when OU played the Huskers every year on Thanksgiving weekend. From K.C. I will venture to Charleston, S.C. on Sunday to get ready for Monday Night Raw in North Charleston. It should be a hot show based on last Monday’s broadcast.
So much for the travel log portion of this week’s ramblings.
Raw was a really solid show Monday in the Igloo of my bride’s hometown of Pittsburgh. The physical destruction of Ric Flair is a visual that is lingering in my mind. I would not venture to speculate as to when we will see Ric again, but 2007 would not surprise me. Edge and Orton should be ashamed of themselves. Perhaps an extended stay in the old woodshed would bode well for the young lads. Obviously, there has to be a price paid for these overtly destructive actions. One would think that Ric has many friends, including DX, that will take exception to Monday’s massacre.
Obviously, I refuse to anoint Team Rated RKO the Raw Superstar of the Week award, and instead will, out of respect, name Ric Flair the winner of this week’s coveted honor.
Random Raw thoughts:
I can only assume the Spirit Squad made it to their destination, but I would also assume that we have not seen the last of these individuals. Perhaps it could be the last we have seen of the green clad as a five-man unit. Time will tell, but I feel there are some talented young men in the group, formerly known as the Spirit Squad, who have the potential to make their marks individually in WWE. Could some of the Spirit Squad members be trade bait for the Raw upper management people? Nonetheless, if the Michigan State Spartan-like green uniforms of the Spirit Squad turn up on online, we will know we witnessed the end of “an era” last Monday night in the Steel City.
It would seem to me that the women’s division on Raw will be seeing some changes, especially after such stars as Trish Stratus and Lita have left WWE rings. I have confidence that this division will rebound nicely, and that Mickie James will represent Raw well. However, turning back the challenge of the bigger and stronger Victoria will not be easy.
Let’s not be lead to believe that Eugene can’t wrestle as well as some other WWE Superstars because Eugene is “special.” I have seen Eugene wrestle many times, and the Louisville native CAN wrestle with the best of them.
With Ric Flair, Jim Duggan, and Jerry Lawler all wrestling on Raw Monday night it gave the show a nostalgic, legends feel.
The pending showdown with John Cena and Umaga is eagerly anticipated by yours truly. It will be interesting to see if Cena’s ground and pound attack can dent the undefeated armor of the 360 pound Samoan. IF Cena can defeat Umaga, and that is a big IF, Cena will be the first in WWE history to do so. Umaga’s winning streak is impressive, as it is going on eight months now. One thing about Cena, much like Stone Cold Steve Austin, he will not back down or walk away from a challenge or a fight.
The Hardy’s reunion has been a breath of fresh air in my estimation for WWE and especially for Monday Night Raw. (Is this where I am supposed to proclaim Raw the “A” show?)Matt and Jeff have natural timing and know each other’s moves--as they should since they have been perfecting them since before either had a driver’s license. With Matt officially a member of Smackdown, I wonder where The Hardy’s will eventually call “home,” especially considering that Matt and Jeff compete this Sunday on PPV at ECW’s December to Dismember in Augusta, Georgia. (See, I do know where this event is taking place.) Bottom line, The Hardy’s add a freshness and vitality to the tag team scene in WWE no matter where they decide to hang their hats.
Ric Flair is a legend in our business, and is arguably the greatest in-ring performer that I have ever seen in my 30 plus years earning a living in sports/entertainment. Ric is Hall of Fame bound, without fail, and I can only assume in 2007, but no doubt within the next couple of years. What happened to Ric Monday night was unacceptable. It was wrong, and was borderline disgusting. I have great respect for Edge and Orton as athletes and in-ring performers, but these two young men showed little character with their reprehensible acts of Monday night. There will be a price to pay for these sins. DX is the obvious aggressor in this matter as far as retribution is concerned, but HHH and HBK may have company, as “Naitch” has plenty of friends. Team Rated RKO might want to consider enlisting some “back-up” if this fallout goes as I expect it might. However, obtaining any allies may be the ultimate challenge for Edge and Orton. These developments certainly make this Monday night a “must see” night of Raw from where I am sitting.
Finally, yours truly was taken to task by some folks for making a couple of snafus on Monday night’s show. I misidentified the ECW PPV site as Albany, Georgia instead of Augusta, Georgia and, in the heat of battle, I had DX on my mind when I meant to say Team Rated RKO. Both were my mistakes and there are no excuses here. However for some to say I wasn’t paying attention is downright asinine. Nonetheless, I made two allegedly significant mistakes on live, national TV which actually if that was all that was noticed I had a fairly decent night. Point is this, I have never delivered a perfect, live broadcast but I will do my best to have my first one this Monday night in beautiful Charleston, S.C. There is plenty of fuel left in this engine, even with the miles, I can assure you.
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