I am thankful for many things…
My health. I never asked for three bouts of Bells palsy in my life but that’s the hand that was dealt. It will never define me but it created career challenges that I’d have rather not had. Lesson learned is that we CAN persevere if we want to badly enough and I’m pleased to say that I’m healthier now than I’ve been in years.
My family. Grateful that my family is healthy, supportive and tolerant of my often times crazy travel schedule, odd work hours, quirky personality and my egocentrically driven business. My wife Jan is a Saint to have put up with me over the years, especially with all the ups and downs, as she has. Every one needs to marry their best friend.
The fans. I am humbled by the support that I have received over the years from wrestling fans from around the world. For a country boy and life long wrestling fan from Westville, Oklahoma, any notoriety that I’ve earned is a blessing that I never saw coming.
WWE. The best professional move that I ever made was coming to WWE in 1993. In approximately two months, I will be a 20 year guy in WWE while celebrating 39 years in the business in 2013. The McMahon family has facilitated all my wrestling dreams coming true and a quality of life that I never foresaw.
WCW. I’m thankful that I left there in 1993. Had some fun years despite the corporate dysfunction and the run away egos that were in positions of power. Nonetheless, Atlanta was my second favorite city in which to live.
Jerry Lawler. I’m grateful that my friend is still alive. I’m hopeful that he wakes up every day realizing how lucky and blessed that he is to still be above ground.
Michael Cole. Pleased that our controversial storyline issues are behind us and that we’ve been able to collaborate in a productive manner. I sincerely enjoyed working with Michael while the King was on the mend and have the utmost respect for @MichaelCole. Hopefully we can do it again some day under better circumstances.
Attitude Era. It was great being a part of the sound track for what likely will be the most glorious, point in time ever in the business and that will likely never be replicated. Fans clamoring for Attitude Era content are largely misguided. The key to the that era was the TALENT and to assemble a roster that, from top to bottom, resembles that of the Attitude Era isn’t too likely. The talents made the Attitude Era what it was and it wasn’t the coarse language or TV14 antics. “Michael Jordan’s” don’t grow on trees. The Attitude Era had multiple “Jordan’s.”
NXT. What a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to be involved in the talent development process and to work on the NXT tapings. NXT is the highlight of my present TV experience and that includes today’s RAW, etc and PPV’s…excluding WrestleMania, of course. The future of the WWE lies within their developmental program and subsequently how those talents are trained and prepared and subsequently introduced to the primary roster. I appreciate the opportunity to help contribute to this all important area and I’m excited about where it’s going. You won’t recognize WWE Talent Development this time next year.
WrestleMania. I worked in the biz 19 years with he goal of getting to WWE and to call a match at WrestleMania. If I only broadcast one major event in 2013, I hope it’s something at WM29 under the stars at MetLife Stadium. If not, I can take pride in saying that I had a little part in building the legacy of the event.
Legends Roundables. One of the most enjoyable broadcast assignments one could ask for and I jump at every opportunity to participate. I wish we were doing more of them as in monthly. @WWEClassics and WWE Home Video do awesome work.
JR’s customers. Yes, I likely ‘shill’ to much to suit some folks but we’re trying to build a small, family business using our JR’s family recipes as the foundation. It’s all a homage to my late, Mom who could cook up a storm in our four room, concrete block home that I grew up in in eastern Oklahoma.
@JCLayfield. Despite obligatory Okie jokes from the native Texan, as a fan, I am grateful that WWE brought John back to the announce table on Smackdown and PPV’s. JBL has helped the product. Our signing of John back in the day was a bigger hire than anyone perceived at the time. HOF talent.
Oklahoma Sooners. My favorite non wrestling passion is supporting the football program at the University of Oklahoma. Traveling to games is a true blessing for me as I get to meet great fans from around the country notwithstanding spending quality time with my”Sooner Family.”
Cowboy Bill Watts. We spent countless Thanksgiving days together in New Orleans while promoting the annual, Mid South Wrestling events in the Super Dome. My first mentor is happily living in the panhandle of Florida and is still a large part of my life. However, I’m still not a fan of Oyster Dressing/Stuffing, a New Orleans specialty. I’m a cornbread dressing guy. (Was that a veiled , Paul Heyman guy reference? @HeymanHustle)
Tribute to the Troops. How can anyone thank our Armed Forces enough for all that they do for us? WWE certainly tries with the annual, Tribute to the Troops which is the most significant event WWE produces in my opinion. Please think of our fighting men and women on Thanksgiving and how they will spend their Turkey Day so that we can spend ours freely, safely and with our families.
Jerry Brisco and Danny Hodge. Two of my oldest, Oklahoma wrestling friends who have and still do mean so much to me in my life. Jerry is healthy after many battles and Dan is alive and well at 80 and will always be the greatest, pure wrestler that our country has ever produced. @FGBrisco is on twitter even though he can’t spell. Hodge should be in the WWE HOF. I’d trade my ring for one for Danny.
Steve Austin. We’ve remained our friendship through so much that has occurred in our personal and professional lives. In the wrestling business, long term friendships are challenging to maintain but we have. Hopefully, I will live to see Stone Cold wrestle one, last, big time match in his career and, if I’m lucky, I’ll be there to call it. Hey, a guy can dream, right? Steve Austin will always be known as WWE’s Greatest Superstar for a variety of reasons.
@ShawnMichaels. To see the man/husband/father that Shawn’s become warms my heart. Being there to call some of his works of mat art was a privilege. HBK arguably the best ever… right with ‘The Naitch.’
Twitter. I was resistant at first when @WWE wanted me to participate but it has turned out to be one of the most fun things that I’ve done. @JRsBBQ has grown to over 600,000 followers and we add over 5,000 new followers each week.
WWE buying the Mid South Wrestling library. I championed that cause for years and am ecstatic that others at WWE finally got done what I could not. Over the years, fans will see just how special this company was thanks to Bill Watts’ vision and a crew of legit, tough athletes with an amazing work ethic and skill sets.
Monsoon and Heenan. I will always look back with gratitude and appreciation that I had to opportunity to work with both these WWE HOFers as they taught me so much and treated me like family. I will never be able to repay them for their kindness and support. I think of them every day with a smile. (O.K., sort of a smile.)
Thanks for stopping by and for supporting my family athttp://www.wweshop.com and in Manchester, England @americansoda. I hope that you will consider JR’s products as holiday gifts and take advantage of the special deals especially at WWEShop.com.
My Thanksgiving will be spent eating, sleeping, and watching football…three things that I egocentrically think that I’m a pretty fair hand.
Count your many blessings.