J.R.'s Superstars of the Week - Our Fans
Greetings from under the black, 200X Resistol hat from your resident Okie, who is looking forward to traveling to Pittsburgh this Sunday for Armageddon and then on to chilly Buffalo for Monday Night Raw, which will have a hard act to follow after the three-hour, 15th Anniversary Raw Monday evening in lovely Bridgeport, Conn.
It was great seeing so many former WWE Superstars Monday, as it was hard not to see everyone in the relatively small confines of the Arena at Harbor Yard. I am sure I missed visiting with some folks, which I unquestionably regret because one never knows when the next opportunity will arise for a gathering such as this or who of us will still be around the next time there is a special occasion such as a Raw Anniversary show.
The evening started and essentially ended with Mr. McMahon which would be appropriate since it was the Chairman's idea to create the Monday Night Raw concept back in January of 1993. Yours truly first appeared on the flagship broadcast of WWE in 1994, if my memory serves me correctly, when it was a one-hour broadcast and three episodes at a time were taped every three weeks. I do remember calling the play-by-play on one Raw for a Bret Hart vs. 1-2-3 Kid match that was an excellent contest and that I can still visualize more than a decade later.
Not to completely mimic the sentiments of my friend "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, but I totally agree that the true Superstars of Raw are the WWE fans who have stayed loyal to the Monday night tradition through all the years. Some Mondays feature some great wrestling, unique humor and at times, compelling sound bites from the Superstars. Just like any other weekly broadcast or sporting event, some weeks are better than others.
Nonetheless, the Raw Superstar of the Week is all of you, the wonderful fans who watch Raw every week, for being such loyal supporters of our Monday night show which is what has made Raw have such an extraordinary run in prime time. I wish I could provide each and every one of you some delicious products from our online store at www.jrsbarbq.com, but that's not possible. But I would like to invite you to check out our fledging Web site where we respond to your feedback and questions several times a week.
So much for the McMahon Family portrait idea, but it was fun seeing Raw alums, including Oklahoma natives Johnnie Mae Young and Gerald Brisco, Pat Patterson, Bastion Booger ( whose son is a Division One college football recruit as an offensive lineman) and Abe "Knuckleball" Schwartz make rare TV appearances. Certainly Sunny brightened my evening with her appearance on Monday Night Raw after what seems like a decade away from WWE that was dotted with personal tragedies and challenges. Nonetheless, Sunny looked wonderful and was one of the brightest aspects of the evening. Plus, it is always good to see my domino playing friend, The Godfather.
Jeff Hardy and a seemingly re-energized Carlito had a memorable Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title that was arguably the wrestling match of the evening. Jeff's match this Sunday with Triple H at Armageddon will pose a magnificent opportunity for the youngest Hardy with the opportunity to wrestle the WWE Champion at the prestigious Royal Rumble in January at stake. Triple H vs. Hardy is going to be big-time stuff and will be a hard act to follow on the pay-per-view from the sold-out Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh Sunday evening.
Kennedy has a truckload of physical talent, but attempting to decipher what in the hell he is saying on his oratories is a challenge to me. It is obvious that Kennedy likes to hear himself talk and his victory over Marty Jannetty Monday night was impressive, even though the talented former Rocker is not a full-time wrestler anymore. Kennedy vs. HBK is another huge opportunity for the younger of the two competitors, much akin to The Game vs. Hardy, as a victory over HBK would elevate Kennedy to a level he has previously not experienced. Kennedy has never competed in a bigger match in his WWE career than he will this Sunday in the Steel City.
It was a pleasant surprise seeing Rob Van Dam, albeit only for a cup of coffee, versus Santino Marella. Questions will abound about RVD returning to Raw, or WWE in general, full-time, but that seems to be only speculation at this time. However, I would personally enjoy seeing it. RVD looked well-rested, healthy, and reinvigorated from where I was sitting Monday night.
The Evolution Reunion was well-received. And even with all the younger Superstars in the ring with him, Ric Flair, still shines to this day like the sparkling diamond that he is. Edge and Randy Orton, formerly team Rated-RKO, decided to take a walk on Umaga when it seemingly got too hot in the kitchen for the two young lads. Yeah, I know that discretion is the better part of valor, but somewhere in that scenario "running like a scalded dog" comes to mind, too.
Molly Holly was just as lovely as ever and is one of the genuinely nicest individuals that WWE has ever had on the roster. Too bad Raw General Manager William Regal didn't give Molly a chance to get a word in edgewise, but I digress.
It is becoming quite obvious that Mr. McMahon doesn't expect his illegitimate son, Hornswoggle, to be around to share in the McMahon Family inheritance does it? It was good seeing the Hulkster intervene Monday night, even though the gigantic Great Khali did not seem too thrilled, sort of like when JBL has to interact with Joey Styles in WWE catering. Hulk will star in the return of American Gladiators on NBC in January. Even though the bandana-wearing Hall of Famer has a ton on his plate, Hogan seemed to have fun Monday night and had the occasion to visit with many of his former contemporaries. Hulk's casual "Macho Man" reference was a head-scratcher, but it seemed to be Hogan simply having fun and creating some "talk."
The Raw 15th Anniversary Battle Royal was one of the most entertaining and fun, albeit non-athletic, battle royals I can remember seeing in years and reminded me of the "Gimmick Battle Royal" won by the Iron Sheik at WrestleMania X-Seven in the Houston Astrodome. Mr. Backlund in gym shorts; Gillberg's quick departure; the original, evil Doink the Clown (who looked to be in great shape); the ever-tough Bart Gunn, who looked to be around 275 pounds; the entertaining Repo Man, who invited me to go ice fishing up in Minnesota; The Goon, who was a member of a great tag team with his late brother, Scott Irwin, known as the Super Destroyers; the master of The Worm, Scotty 2 Hotty; Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, who is still as strong as a bull; IRS, who still looks like he can still outwrestle many younger athletes on the WWE roster; and of course, the incomparable "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, who never fails to make an impact. His signature laugh should be, in my opinion, be heard sooner than later in the WWE Hall of Fame. I liked the Battle Royal a bunch, and I am not a fan of Battle Royals as a rule. Every man in the Battle Royal was a sight for sore eyes.
Eric Bischoff is doing well in Hollywood and was the executive producer of Scott Baio is 45 … and Single, among other TV projects, and had that Phil Donahue look going on. But as usual, Bischoff never fails to stir things up when he is a part of Raw.
Chris Jericho and WWE Champion Randy Orton must both be counting down the hours until they meet for the WWE Title at Armageddon this Sunday. And Y2J must feel really good about his chances as on two occasions Chris has declared that he will win the WWE Championship in Pittsburgh on pay-per-view. Jericho is a "gamer" and has not been in a pay-per-view main event level match in more than two years, so it will be intriguing to see how well Y2J is able to step up against the talented WWE Champion. My instincts say these two will have a chance to steal the show at Armageddon. The thing I love about WWE pay-per-views is that there is so much more in ring wrestling than we seem to feature more often than not on Monday Night Raw. So, if you are a fan of the in-ring action, this Sunday should be right down your alley.
Congratulations to new World Tag Team Champions Hardcore Holly & Cody Rhodes. Their ability to capitalize on a Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch miscue led them to the tag team gold last Monday. It was also good having Dusty Rhodes sit in with Jerry "The King" Lawler and me on commentary, even though I am sure that the person who does the closed-captioning for TV must have been challenged to decipher what the three of us were saying at times.
Two of the WWE's all-time most popular Divas, Trish and Lita, made it back for the big celebration, and it was great to see them as both are two of my all-time favorite people. And yes kids, Jillian Hall really does have a Christmas album available on iTunes. Seriously. No, I am not lying. Check it out. One has to wonder what Jillian did to impress the Chairman to convince him to bless this "musical" project. Hey, I think it would make a helluva stocking stuffer for those that like to give "gag gifts," and I mean that in the nicest of ways.
Yes, Ron Simmons got to say "Damn!" Monday night, which seemed to be appropriate and timely. What a helluva way to earn a living, huh?
The King and I both had a great deal of fun Monday night, and we both enjoyed being recognized by Stone Cold at the end of the evening. Even though we had "significant" on-camera time -- that would be once in the three-hour program, but who's counting other than my family? Seriously, this broadcast was more about the wonderful fans who have followed Raw on its amazing journey over the years and the many men and women who have worked so hard in making Monday Night Raw the extraordinary success that it has become than anything else. Thanks for taking the trip with us down memory lane, and here's hoping you enjoy Armageddon this Sunday and Monday's Raw from what I understand will be a snowy Buffalo.
My thanks to all of you that are visiting WWE Shop for all the J.R.'s BBQ products and for those that stop by our Web site, www.jrsbarbq.com, from time to time, as well. Also, my thanks for those of you that have commented about the story regarding yours truly that was in this past Sunday's Daily Oklahoman newspaper, which is archived at www.newsok.com.
Be well everyone and continue to count your blessings. We have endured the worst ice storm in Oklahoma history and I plan on helping some kids who lost all their Christmas gifts during this ordeal at a local Wal-Mart (I love Wal-Mart) Friday afternoon because that is simply what the holiday season is about, helping others. Perhaps that sort of activity is something we all can think more during the holidays.
Be sure to check out J.R.'s Family Bar-B-Q Restaurant at www.jrsbarbq.com.