The Ross Report – Is JR Leaving?, Cryptic Messages

Ryan Clark


From WWE.com:

Greetings from under the black, 200X Resistol hat while preparing to head back to Dallas to take in the OU-Texas Red River Rivalry this Saturday in the Cotton Bowl. This will be the second positive (it sounds like I am talking about former Longhorn and current Miami Dolphin Ricky Williams) trip down I-35 South for yours truly after being in “Big D” Monday for the successful WWE Homecoming re-launch on the USA Network.

Random thoughts regarding Homecoming:

The jam-packed arena was loud and lively. That’s an often overlooked aspect of a successful RAW. There were great signs and plenty of emotion.

The American Airlines Center would be a great site for another major WWE pay-per-view event. It’s a great arena in a super city.

I would have loved to have listened to more of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Mick Foley prior to the Ortons sauntering down to the ring to jump into Piper and Foley’s spotlight.

I spoke to Mick about his new book “Scooter.” He laughed when I asked him if there was really a dark, evil side of Mrs. Foley’s little boy because “Scooter” is HEAVY – Stephen King-like heavy. This is not a book about baseball and it is not a book you might want younger kids to read, but I loved it.

Harley Race, one of the legit toughest men EVER in this business, is having a tough time with his back and hips. He has to stand leaning next to something to be able to relax. That’s the result of a few boat crashes and thousands of big-time bumps in wrestling rings all over the world. Race has a really good wrestling school, and I suspect he will be adding some more kids (Trevor Murdoch) to the WWE mix SOONER than later.

Johnny Mae Young and the Fabulous Moolah came wearing pants, so they were thinking “physicality” when they left South Carolina for Dallas. If you simply stop to think of the age of these two ladies, their story is nothing short of amazing.

Roddy Piper is still developing his “one-man show” for the stage. I am anxious to see this performance. It could be a train wreck, in all due respect to my friend the Rowdy One, or it could be some awesome stuff. Roddy has great stories to tell and he is honest when telling them … even when it makes himself look bad.

Dusty Rhodes is losing weight. Don’t you know the American Dream would like one more shot at in-ring greatness before it is all said and done? I am sure I will hear it from Longhorn fan and Austin (son of a plumber, remember), Texas native IF the ‘Horns beat my Sooners for the first time in six years this week. Dusty’s youngest son Cody, a former two-time Georgia state wrestling champ, is thinking of being trained by Harley Race and then seeing if he can hook on with WWE. I like this kid’s chances.

Nikolai Volkoff has been wearing the same hat for at least 25 years. One of the business’ best-hearted men will turn 55 this week.

It was nice seeing Hulk Hogan and Harley Race having such a respectful conversation Monday afternoon in the parking garage of the AA Center. Hogan told me that Harley was one of the Hulkster’s very best opponents, whom Hogan learned a great deal from back in the day.

Monday Night RAW was once again the No. 1 program on basic cable this past Monday, as well as the most-watched RAW broadcast of the past three years. I am eager to see how this powerhouse lineup will be followed this Monday down in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The Austin-McMahon material was the highest-rated segment on the show – just as I had internally predicted prior to the broadcast. Monday Night RAW had higher ratings in the key 12-17 year-old male demographic than Monday Night Football.

Jimmy Hart didn’t seem to me to be his same jubilant self Monday at Homecoming. Jimmy is always the “Energizer Bunny,” and he seemed down in the dumps somewhat on Monday. Perhaps he was concerned about his son Jimmy Hart, Jr., who has been in combat in Iraq.

Apparently big plans lie ahead for WWE.com as it relates to Monday Night RAW. There was a great deal of material produced during the TV commercial breaks that many seemed to enjoy. I know I enjoyed having fun with the Texas fans in attendance who were not real high on my picking the Sooners to beat them for the sixth time in a row. What did they expect? I am loyal to most things to a fault, including OU football. Sorry, but that’s my only hobby and I follow it 365 days a year.

Why did our neighbors to the north in Canada edit off the Bra & Panties Match from their RAW replay on Tuesday? It seems to be a double standard, especially if you read some of the Canadian newspapers who feature lovely ladies in bras and panties or swimsuits all the time, it seems. I’m probably not the biggest Bra & Panties Match fan, but I don’t hate them, nor do I think they are too racy for basic cable.

Ashley may have broken her nose either in training or perhaps Monday night, I am not 100 percent certain, but she is hanging tough. In a perfect world WWE would have the most beautiful and athletic women found on TV anywhere in the world and that seems to be the goal, observing from the outside looking in.

I actually saw Sam Houston at Homecoming with his 18-year-old son, who actually looked about the same age as his dad. I assume that Sam’s legal troubles are either being addressed or have been addressed.

My dear old friend Skandor Akbar was backstage at the event and I did not even see him. He should have been introduced to the live crowd as a “Legend.” Shame on us for failing to acknowledge this timeless and tireless individual who was my first road partner 30 some years ago. Some day, this business will learn that it will become increasingly harder to successfully move into the future without knowing where we have been. Wrestling heritage is big in my eyes and should be better acknowledged across the board in the business. Vince McMahon understands this, but I am not so sure how many others truly do.

Catering was a big hit Monday in Dallas – but not just for the food; it seemed like the “meeting place” for all the Legends that were there. Chief Jay Strongbow, who will soon be 74, seemed to have aged the most since the last time I saw the man who started his career as Joe Scarpa. I assure you that the Chief has 50 cents of the first dollar he ever made in this business, which is a sincere compliment to him. Too many guys nowadays think the “run” never ends and continue to buy the bling, bling to keep up with the “Jonses” all the while, when some don’t even pay their taxes on time. Go figure.

I loved the Angle-HBK match. I still like to watch men wrestle who know what they are doing … rather than observing a high-wire act between two guys who seemingly feel no pain or have the skills to actually correctly apply a wrestling hold.

It’s amazing how good a RAW can be with the elongated talent roster made available for this past Monday. Wrestler depth is an issue that is being addressed and hopefully the developmental areas will really start operating on all cylinders soon to continue the pipeline of top young prospects headed to WWE. I think we should work the amateur wrestling world and the NFL much more aggressively in WWE’s search for prospects.

I am eager to hear what Ric Flair has to say about his ass-whipping Monday night at the hands of his “best friend” Triple H. At this stage of the game, it may take a miracle for Ric to physically hang with The Game over the long haul, but something tells me that Ric has not played all his cards. This issue should be really interesting to keep an eye on as it moves forward. I would love to hear what Arn Anderson has to say about Flair’s bloodletting.

So Stacy Keibler and Jennifer Aniston are allegedly fighting over the same guy. (A) Does this tabloid rumor hold any truth? (B) Who is this lucky bastard?

It looks as if RVD will not be able to return to the WWE until January as a result of major knee surgery. This could be a nice boost to the January tradition known as the Royal Rumble if Rob is medically cleared by that time. Here’s hoping that RVD comes back better than ever and that he’s given the chance to carry the ball. It was once thought that Van Dam would be back this fall but that’s not what Rob’s knee and Dr. Jim Andrews are saying.

Will SmackDown be smart enough to grab Matt Hardy immediately and give him the ball? General Manager Theodore Long needs to make hay while the sun shines and get this done. Quality hands like Matt Hardy don’t come along daily.

I really enjoy talking old times with Kevin Von Erich. His son, Ross Adkisson, is a spitting image of his late uncle Kerry and plays running back and linebacker for Lake Dallas high school. I’ve been told that Ross plays in an ESPN high school game in two weeks against South Lake Carroll H.S., which is one of the top teams in America.

How in the name of common sense can anyone “vote” the worst match on RAW being a specialty match featuring five women including two wrestlers in a “contest” without pins, etc., and with the object being to see who gets stripped to their bra and panties? I understand it technically is a “match,” but come on! It’s not even the same category as the other bouts on Monday’s show. I mean, it’s not Flair-Steamboat, Flair-Funk, Austin-Rock, HBK-Triple H, etc…

It was a nice outing for Carlito and Chris Masters in a losing effort Monday night. These two are improving rapidly in many ways – some that the fans do not see – and have the chance and potential to be very good. However, “potential” won’t buy groceries over the long haul.

I thought Chris Benoit was a great champion on RAW and I would love to see him in the current RAW mix. Just watching how he carries himself backstage and how he interacted with the Legends was pure class. I hope Teddy Long realizes what he has with the United States Champion.

Rob Conway looked awestruck being in the ring with the Legends. Why wouldn’t he be? And what an ovation when Kevin Von Erich applied the family claw! That one maneuver took me immediately back to another time when the biggest thing that happened on a given wrestling program happened in the ring enriched with physicality.

Happy birthday Bruno Sammartino! The legend is in great health, but I sure wish he would get over his issues with WWE and take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame. I am not dying on this hill, but Bruno owes it to his legion of fans while many are still alive to address them during a much-deserved acceptance speech. Bitterness is a terrible emotion to carry with oneself – one I will never bring with me on my journey, no matter how short … or long it may be.

It was great seeing “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and my pal “Dr. Death” Steve Williams Monday. It was almost like a Mid South or UWF reunion. Mid South was ECW long before ECW was even a concept with its physicality and personal rivalries. Duggan weighs about 270 (down 30 from his wrestling days), while Doc is back up to 260 (after his year-long battle with throat cancer). These two are two of the legit toughest guys I have ever been around in my 30-plus years in this business. We all laughed about how stupid I was many, many years ago to step into the middle of an about-to-be-nasty fist fight between Doc and the late Hawk of L.O.D. Thinking back on it, it was not very bright on my end, but those two did not need to be fighting in the locker room. But what a beaut of a fight it would have been!

Just curious, but why aren’t time limits used on all matches any more? Does that not make sense, or has the business truly “passed me by?”

Two-out-of-three-falls matches are perfect TV matches on broadcasts that include commercial breaks.

Will someone who is simply dying to be in the next Midnight Express, Rock ‘N’ Roll Express, The Fabs, L.O.D., The Horsemen, the Andersons, etc., please raise their hands? The tag-team scene in this business continues to be a lost art. What’s the deal?

Let’s get to your questions …

Name: Carl

Rumors on the Internet have been saying that you are going to be replaced on the RAW broadcast. WWE wants to have a younger broadcast team. Is this true?

I am not sure of the exact reasons you mention, but the rumor is prominently making its rounds. Usually where there is smoke there is fire. Time will tell and I am sure we will all survive no matter the outcome and RAW will remain, by far, the No. 1 TV property in WWE. This matter may be best addressed at another time. I expect there to be more on this specific matter coming soon. I plan on kicking ass this Monday in Corpus Christi come hell or high water.

Name: Nick

With Hulk Hogan making only a few appearances on RAW and pay-per-views, are any WWE Superstars upset that he doesn’t work full-time, gets the spotlight and ultimately takes money from their pockets?

Not really. Hogan has been “coming in and out” for years without any major issues. With Hulk’s ongoing knee problems, he cannot work a full-time schedule even if he wanted to (and I don’t think that he does). Why should he? He’s done it all – except beat Stone Cold – and he has more money than he will ever spend.

Name: Ed

We know Ric Flair and Mick Foley have had issues with each other in the past. At WWE Homecoming, were their any problems with these two Superstars backstage?

I never saw them hug or do the loose wrestler handshake, nor did not hear of any incidents whatsoever. As I said last week, that personal issue is history and each man has bigger fish to fry than deal with sophomoric B.S.

Name: Paul

I have two questions I would like to ask you: First, do you think Hogan and Austin will headline WrestleMania 22 based on what Hogan said on the Homecoming episode of RAW? Second, have you ever thought about writing an autobiography? I think it would be an interesting read.

Obviously that match has been many fans’ dream match for years. If, and that is a big IF, it is going to happen there is only one stage I would put it on – and that is WrestleMania next year in Chicago. Austin has dropped some unneeded pounds to ready himself for acting, while the Hulkster was telling Harley Race and me Monday in Dallas about Hogan’s knee problem, which would have to be addressed before he stepped into any ring with Stone Cold. Needless to say, this match would pit the two biggest money makers ever in WWE one on one. Although they’ve been two HUGE fan favorites sometimes, not always, these big bouts without an antagonist can be strange, to say the least. I would pay money to see it whenever and wherever it might happen.

As far as a book goes, I have thought of writing an autobiography for years and probably will some day as it seems like I get new material for a book of this nature every day – especially in the past couple of weeks. I have kept thorough notes over the past three decades, so I will be ready when the time comes. With all I could write about, it might be best if I wrote my story when I am retired, and who knows when that will be?

Name: Joel

I was just wondering about Ric Flair’s son David Flair. I was just wondering, do you think that we will see a second generation in David Flair in WWE?

I think it is doubtful to marginal, but I hope I am wrong. Ric Flair casts a long shadow, and David could seemingly never escape from it in his early days. David is a prime example of how the business more often than not rushes young wrestlers into the fire much too early. This happens all the time and is a system built for ultimate failure. I know David is still wrestling some, but I am not sure that competing in the old squared circle will be David’s final vocation. Ric’s son Reid might have the most aptitude of Flair’s two sons for this business. I fully expect to see Reid wrestle for WWE someday if he chooses that route to follow. I strongly believe Reid will.

Name: Rickie

WWE Homecoming was the best RAW I’ve ever seen, and it was my first live event. My question is did WWE purchase the Von Erich library and will Kevin Von Erich be in the WWE Hall of Fame this year or sometime down the road?

Okay, everyone listen closely. WWE HAS NOT purchased the Von Erich library. WWE is keenly interested in it and would love to buy it and feature it on 24/7; DVDs and perhaps even a book. I started working on this project a long time ago and know of what I speak. I even spoke to Kevin and his attorney in Dallas Monday afternoon before “Homecoming.” Everyone involved is on the same page with this project but monetary negotiations have yet to begin with WWE decision-makers and the Von Erich legal folks. I believe the Von Erich Family should be in the WWE Hall of Fame … but I don’t have a vote.

Name: Martel

We saw what happened on RAW Monday night when the SmackDown Superstars battled the RAW Superstars. Will this lead to a RAW vs. SmackDown match? Say maybe in War Games?

It’s called getting the SmackDown Superstars some much-needed exposure prior to the SmackDown pay-per-view this Sunday in Houston called “No Mercy.” The “rub” was mostly positive, even though I would have preferred for our fans to be able to see the six-man tag from SmackDown than the way Bischoff ended it so prematurely. Premature endings have been the plague of man for centuries, but I digress. I have heard no serious “War Games” talk as you have suggested, but it’s not a bad idea at all.

Name: Jay

I wanted to know what happened to former WWE Diva Sunny? I know she had appeared on some ECW shows in the past. Do you know what she has been doing lately? I hear of Sunny making the occasional appearance at wrestling reunions, etc…

I know Sunny has encountered some tough times, which is truly sad. I hope she can get re-directed in her life and give her life a chance to have a happy ending and not a tragic one. She was prominently and deservedly featured on the RAW TV special last weekend, which brought back some interesting memories. I have not seen her in years, but hope she is doing well and moving on in a positive way in her life. We are all faced with challenges in life and it’s how we handle them that count at the end of the day. I am still walking in those shoes and what does not kill you will only make one stronger.

Name: Pejman

Homecoming was a great night to be a wrestling fan. I was wondering where The Iron Sheik was, as it had been advertised that he would be in attendance.

There have been various reports that Sheik has had some personal problems that have been publicly manifested and that Sheik needs to address. With that said, “Homecoming” was about good memories and lasting relationships (rare in this business), and I don’t think anyone wanted Sheik to attend and potentially detract from the event. Sheik is a man I have known for more than 30 years, back to when he had hair and weighed about 190 pounds, so I have a soft spot in my heart for him. But for any of us to be helped with any problem, we first have to want the help. It’s sadly that simple.

Name: Chris Stansell

I was watching the RAW Top 10 and saw that the Owen Hart tribute show was high in the countdown, which I was very glad to see. Then I started to wonder why WWE has never come out with a DVD on his career. I actually know that some of the newer fans don’t even know who Owen was, and I really do not want to see that happen. Owen Hart was an incredible wrestler and I do not want to see his memory forgotten. Do you think the possibility of an Owen Hart Tribute DVD is truly possible for the future?

If WWE had come out with an Owen Hart DVD too early I am sure some pundits would have raked WWE over the coals because it would have been perceived that the WWE was only trying to make a buck or two off Owen’s tragedy. I certainly feel enough time has passed to now do an Owen Hart DVD, which would be well-deserved. I can assure you that Owen’s memory will never die in WWE. He was one of a kind and a special, special man. Hearing what I had to say the night after Owen died about him was the first time I had heard those remarks. I had many strong emotions after the Owen segment aired on the RAW special over the weekend. Sitting only a few feet away from seeing one of your best friends die is an experience I do not want to endure again. Owen may have been, arguably, the very best of all the Hart sons in overall ring techniques.

Name: Carlos Edwards

I have been a fan of WWE for a long time. One of my favorite Superstars was “Macho Man” Randy Savage. I was wondering are there any plans for a Macho Man return or DVD.

I have heard no plans of bringing back Macho Man, but those types of things could change with a phone call or two and the right dollars being bounced around. I would love to have the opportunity to interview Randy for a career retrospective DVD but would want ample security on hand with the types of questions I would want to ask. Randy has a significant legacy in WWE that should be documented for his fans and new fans of the business. Savage was controversial, but that sells tickets seemingly more often than not.

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