Great to be back in Norman, Oklahoma after a busy week that included stops in St. Louis and Orlando. Let’s grill….Memorable week especially kicking it off with RAW1000 in St Louis. No guarantees that any of us will be around for RAW2000 so I particularly enjoyed my experiences Monday night.
Too many Twitter followers @JRsBBQ had issues with my succinct assignment on Monday night but I had none. Some apparently don’t know what it means to be a team guy and do what is asked. In football vernacular, I got a uniform and ran the plays that were called and was pleased to do so. It’s an easy mindset to maintain but many in this generation would rather do what is convenient for them or do what they perceive is more individually enhancing.
One is either a team player or they aren’t. Simple. End of story. I preached it when I was EVP of talent relations and I still believe in that philosophy today.
The reality of the matter is this…it is highly unlikely, thanks Gorilla, that exact collection of performers will EVER be under the same roof again. I look back upon my attendance at RAW1000 as a privilege and am grateful to have had the opportunity to see so many old friends that have meant a great deal to me over my long career.
I’d equate complaining about the amount of air time one received on a three hour, loaded show with the same illogical and selfish reasoning some have when they have major issues regarding their individual win/loss records within the genre. This just in…sports entertainment isn’t the Olympics.
Really enjoyed the NXT tapings in Orlando Thursday night. We return to Full Sail University on Thursday August 9 to tape three more one hour broadcasts.
The atmosphere at NXT as it relates to the talents is relaxed, fun, and motivating. I’ve seen many wrestlers have their best matches in WWE, no matter the broadcast, on NXT. When one is able to exhale and simply go out and let their talents flow the results are often times much improved. Some people thrive on pressure, IE Steve Austin for example, while other talents, especially many young ones, develop better in an atmosphere like NXT where teaching, coaching, and positive motivation are prominent.
Several talents are distinguishing themselves on NXT and in Orlando. Some of the more experienced younger guys such as McGillicutty, Riley, Kidd, Mahal, Usos, Gabriel, and Curtis are maximizing their minutes. They simply need to keep taking positive steps. Demand of themselves to excel.
I’ve been impressed with the young ladies in ring skills on NXT including Paige, who’s from England, Puerto Rico’s Sophia, Texas Audrey Marie and Raquel Diaz, the daughter of the late Eddy Guerrero and Vickie Guerrero. Racquel has a big personality and her verbal skills are marketable. Paige and Sophia are particularly physical in the ring. NXT has a really nice group of Divas.
Seth Rollins has a bona fide upside and a bright future. Rollins is arguably the top hand in NXT at this time but the Iowan will be challenged to hold on to that distinction.
Kassius Ohno has started an issue with Richie Steamboat and both worthy of keeping an eye on. I’d like to think that both Ohno and Steamboat can be very valuable in time for WWE.
Don’t sleep on Big E Langston who is a powerhouse of a man at 285 pounds and was a former Florida State Heavyweight Champion in high school and played defensive tackle at Iowa. Big E is an intelligent, intimidating athlete who could go far.
The tag team of Ascension, Kenneth Cameron and Conor O’Brien, are an intriguing duo. They have an interesting presentation and I think that they can contribute in the future. Are they the team to light a fire in the WWE tag team scene? Perhaps.
Leo Kruger, of South Africa, has a new persona that looks to have potential and Kruger is a skilled in ring talent who can also speak well.
I am a fan of the in ring efforts of Antonio Cesaro who has an obvious upside and is a talent that should excel in WWE in the near future. Pairing Cesaro with Aksana could well be a main event success story. Cesaro is a mature professional with a unique skill set that I enjoy watching.
Another youngster that has an obvious upside is Bo Dallas, a 3rd generation athlete and son of Mike Rotundo and the Grandson of Blackjack Mulligan. Yes, Barry Windham is Bo’s uncle. Nice bloodline.
Many fans on Twitter @JRsBBQ ask about Dean Ambrose who does have something special and obviously many have high expectations for the Cincinnati native. I feel Ambrose is unique and perhaps just ‘quirky’ or unique enough to become a standout.
Who’s ready to move up? That’s anyone’s guess. So many factors determine who will or who won’t be successful on the next level including but not limited to:
How hard will the talents push themselves to improve to earn their opportunities? That includes physical development, gym time, and DVD study.
How will said talents be introduced on WWE TV and how will those presentations be executed by all involved?
How will young talents blend into the system both professionally and socially?
The good news regarding WWE’s young talent pool is that there are several performers that CAN be assets and future main eventers. The WWE cupboards aren’t bare. But for any one to attempt to quantify that a talent is ‘can’t miss’ or ‘deserves to be called up now’ with so many unanswered questions that have to be addressed is nice for conversation but isn’t realistic.
NXT is an exciting new brand for WWE. The evolution of NXT is just getting started but the future is bright from my perspective. The TV shows are improving each taping session and will continue to do so if we all do our respective jobs.
At this time, NXT doesn’t air on TV in the USA but I’m sure that some day that it will. Fans in Canada and the UK, for example, have provided ample, positive feedback on the weekly, NXT broadcasts that air in their areas. So the program is beginning to build a following.
The overall recruiting efforts within WWE Talent Development are encouraging the say the least. Several, world class athletes are in conversations to perhaps pursue a career in WWE in the future. The screening/recruiting process is extensive. BTW, WWE will hold a closed, invitation only tryout camp in the Los Angeles area after Summerslam of which I’m looking.
My work in talent development is enjoyable albeit challenging and it allows me to contribute to the future growth of WWE which is important to me. I’m especially proud of the teaching and development being done at FCW in Tampa by a hard working, dedicated crew.
Excited about rejoining @Jerry Lawler on the Attitude Era portion of the new, WWE13 video game out this fall. Pre orders are reportedly going really well and more info on pre-ordering can be had at many sites including THQ.com. King and I had a lot of fun recreating our commentary from the Attitude Era of which you will readily hear.
@RealMickFoley when asked who would induct him if/when Mick goes into the WWE HOF mentioned Terry Funk and yours truly. While I would love to honor Mick on that special occasion, there is no way that I would ever put myself in the same category with Terry Funk. Terry mentored Mick and treated Mick like a son. While I’d love to induct Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy into the WWE HOF, I think that Terry Funk is the best choice. However, I stand ready if called upon.
A follower on @JRsBBQ on Twitter asked if I thought @CMPunk would reform the nWo. I have no idea if this topic is any thing more than speculation based on my friend Kevin Nash having some fun with the subject on Twitter. Bottom line is that I don’t know but I would be surprised if Punk headed up a faction at this time because he seems to be such a solitary man. The only way that I see that ever happening at this stage of Punk’s career is if he had complete control on who comprised the group.
The newly designed WWEShop.com is slick and clean. Check out our page there at this link to order JR’s products or just to browse, http://www.wweshop.com/Category/JimRoss. It’s SO much easier to shop and order now on the new WWEShop.com. Business has Picked Up!
If you see me wandering around LA Summerslam weekend, I’m there for a major, THQ function at the Grammy Museum the night before the PPV. Among those scheduled to attend the private affair are @steveaustinBSR and @miketyson, among many others.
I tweeted Friday night that being a country who got introduced to the live crowd at the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony during a TV commercial break in the USA was the equivalent to working a ‘dark match’ at a WWE TV taping. True.
So @TheRock is going to attempt to win the WWE Title at the 2013 Summerslam, right? Firstly, don’t bet against that occurring although there are no guarantees in this genre. Secondly, I’d love to see Rock vs. CM Punk as I feel that Punk’s style and aggression would push The Rock and take the ‘Great One’ out of his comfort zone. World class athletes like @TheRock are at their best when they are pushed to the next level much like Austin and Rock did each other back in the day.
The Q&A section of our site is updated. I spend more time on the Q&A’s than likely I should and have considered dropping that feature of the site. At this time, I’m keeping it but would appreciate your thoughts. Does any one read the damn things?
I’m grilling this weekend. Anyone else? Therapeutic and healthy eating.
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