Ross Report for Sept. 21, 2005
Greetings from under the black, 200X Resistol hat while anxiously awaiting to launch Monday Night RAW on the USA Network with a Texas-sized “WWE Homecoming” in Dallas on Monday October 3, at a special time of 8/7 central.
Torrie Wilson, one of the “ladies in pink,” has been spotted traveling to WWE events with her rather small dog in tow. I have a hard time managing a roller bag much less a live animal while traveling. Torrie is doing a tremendous amount of running these days preparing, I am told, to run in a marathon coming up soon. Torrie looks hot in pink or in nothing as we have seen in Playboy.
Matt Hardy had a real pain in the ass Monday when I saw him after executing that unbelievable leg drop off the top of the cage onto Edge at Unforgiven Sunday night. Matt was not complaining and is a gamer, but he was really sore. Obviously, Edge was not in great shape after the cage match either.
Yours truly is taping a segment for the Oklahoma City UPN affiliate, UPN43, Thursday in my backyard for an upcoming special they are producing on the 100th college football game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns coming up on October 8. With OU rebuilding somewhat this season and after beating Texas five straight years in the big game, I am sure the Steers are licking their chops waiting this year’s Red River Shootout. Rivalries such as this one are one of the things that make college football so great.
Our crack staff at WWE.com has pointed out to me that a pundit questioned why I would compare myself to John Daley when asked by the King during Unforgiven what golfer I would be like if I golfed. Not that it matters, but I don’t play golf anymore and, as a matter of fact, I threw my golf shoes in a lake and gave my clubs away to a total stranger after a miserable 18 hole round over 20 years ago. Not that my flippant remark impacted the broadcast, but to address my seemingly strange response, Daley is a country boy from neighboring Arkansas, reportedly likes a cold beverage (me, too), obviously enjoys fried food much like yours truly, and is not the TV’s idea of what a golfer should look or sound like, which I can relate to as well.
Expect to see newly-signed Matt Striker, the school teacher turned wrestler, to be basing out of Atlanta soon to get him more opportunities to improve his game. Striker has potential but needs seasoning.
John Cena and Rey Mysterio had a successful promotional tour of Italy recently. WWE will tour Italy in November.
I love it when WWE.com polls our fans. On the favorite match poll at Unforgiven the Cena-Angle match and the Hardy-Edge match are almost in a dead heat the last I checked.
Another sage-like pundit on the ‘net called me out this week about my “overselling” of the eight-man tag team main event Monday night on RAW, as I called it “one of the biggest main events ever on RAW.” We have not had too many eight-man tags on TV and with the star power involved and the raw numbers alone in the match, it felt that big to me.
It was really wonderful to see two of the three members of the legendary rock band ZZ Top sitting at ringside Sunday for Unforgiven in Oklahoma City. I had dinner with lead singer and song writer Billy Gibbons and his crew Thursday night in OKC at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill. Both Billy and Dusty Hill have been long-time wrestling fans with Billy growing up on Paul Boesch’s Houston Wrestling while Dusty watched wrestling as a youngster out of Dallas. The ZZ Top crew carries literally hundreds of wrestling DVDs that they watch on their buses while on tour.
How great was it for long time fans to enjoy the moment with “Nature Boy” Ric Flair when he won the Intercontinental Championship at Unforgiven? Flair is obviously at the twilight of his long-and-amazing career but this title victory seems to have invigorated the “Naitch” who still firmly believes he could have one last run with the WWE Championship before he hangs it up. Time and Mother Nature may well answer that question but it will never be because of Ric’s lack of desire to perpetuate his well-earned legacy or his passion to perform on the main stage.
I really enjoy seeing Bob Orton, Jr. on Friday Night SmackDown and would love to see other legends involved on either UPN’s Friday Night SmackDown or on Monday Night RAW. By the way, I think Michael Cole and Tazz, if that is his real name, do a helluva job broadcasting Friday Night SmackDown but I’m still jealous of them for being able to do their thing from ringside while we on RAW are broadcasting from right-center field REALLY close to the pyro.
I have mentioned this before, but I suggest you keep your eye on Mr. Kennedy on Friday Night SmackDown. I feel he has a shot at becoming extremely good SOONER than later.
Rene Dupree is out after having umbilical hernia surgery. I had that same surgery years ago and for a wrestler it is about a six-week recovery period.
WWE officials tell me they are impressed with Ashley Massaro’s attitude and desire to learn to wrestle. Getting really good in this business starts with attitude and a strong work ethic and Ashley seems to have both.
Not too sure if Cade and Murdoch are going to be fan favorites, but this young duo winning the World Tag Team Championship Sunday in OKC should certainly provide them some momentum. Murdoch has a unique look and, along with Cade, is providing a breath of fresh air to the RAW tag team scene. Whether the tag champs are booed or cheered doesn’t matter to me as long as there is a rear end every 18 inches in a sold seat to watch them wrestle.
Would you please “pass the torch?” Or the jelly.
Pass the torch. Please stop the insanity. No one is going to “pass the torch.” But the torch can be taken if a wrestler has the goods. Just ask Stone Cold.
I expect several surprises for all of us when Monday Night RAW hits Dallas on October 3. Lots of legends and Hall of Famers to be on hand as many of you already know. Three hours might not be enough time to get all this show in which is a good problem to have.
Let’s get to your emails…
There are a lot of Internet reports circulating that HBK has been blowing up backstage about the direction of his career. Is this true?
No, that is not true. Many Internet reports are often times based on second or third hand information from “sources.” HBK is VERY competitive and often times that is misunderstood as Shawn “blowing up backstage.” Shawn Michaels is arguably the very best in-ring performer in the business today. In the past, as HBK explains in his upcoming biography, Michaels did have attitude issues and had very little patience for others especially if they did not live up to Shawn’s expectations inside the ring. Shawn still makes his feelings known when necessary, but I see him in person on a weekly basis and I can tell you without any uncertainty that Shawn Michaels has been a changed man for the better since he has returned from his extended hiatus. I think more veterans need to adopt HBK’s mindset of demanding the best out of every opponent they face. This will make the younger wrestlers better or it will be discovered that some of the younger guys don’t have what it takes to hang with the top hands.
Name: Frank D.
I love the women of WWE. Gimme some dirt on the WWE Divas. There must be some catfights or backstabbing you could tell me about, I mean they are females after all.
Wow, Frank do you think I am going to touch this one? Firstly, do you have issues with females? If so, let it go. I fully agree with the former Governor of the great state of Louisiana Edwin Edwards who once told me that “women were God’s greatest creation”. Amen, Governor. The Divas in general hang mostly in their own world backstage and in general are all pretty low key and low maintenance. It has not always been that way, however, as some stars handle success better than others. I do think that we have and are assembling an impressive roster of Divas and if they can all learn to get it done in the ring, this old schooler will be very pleased. I expect that a handful of new female talents will be signed and trained imminently.
I saw Mick Foley will be at RAW Oct. 3. How do you expect Foley and Flair to co-exist backstage? I’ve read on numerous occasions that they can’t stand each other.
Neither may have the other on their respective holiday card list, but I expect both to be just fine regarding how they conduct themselves with each other. Ric and Mick have both contributed greatly to this business but sometimes personal feathers get ruffled and issues have to be addressed to bring closure to them. I think the issues you have referred to have been addressed long ago and everyone has moved on. Who knows, stranger things have happened and we might one day see Foley and Flair as tag team partners. Never say never in this unique business.
I, for one, am extremely excited for the “Raw” Homecoming on October 3 (and, no, I wasn’t paid to say that). However, I haven’t heard anyone address the state of “HEAT” and “Velocity” after the move to USA. What can you tell us, J.R.?
The only thing I can tell you at this time, Jeff, is to stay tuned to WWE.com. I’ve been told that there will be a major announcement concerning the future of both HEAT and Velocity this week on WWE.com
Name: Dustin Wallace
I have a question regarding the move to USA. There is no mention on RAW’s broadcast of WWE moving to USA. Is this because of people at Spike TV or by choice? Second, why has Kurt suddenly been wearing a mouth guard when he wrestles?
I don’t think Spike would have been thrilled if we mentioned one of their competitors on air Monday night. Kurt had a tooth knocked out by John Cena and is wearing the mouth guard while his dental procedure is being addressed. Who knows, he might keep wearing the mouth guard. It seems to work for him.
Name: David P. Redmond
My wish has come true, RAW is finally coming back to the USA Network. We don’t get Spike TV on my campus. Monday nights my freshman year of college just weren’t the same without RAW. Which special guest are you most looking forward to seeing appear on RAW Oct. 3rd?
Tough call. I am close to Stone Cold, by the way he just sent me one of his Austin 3:16 black, ring worn vests for my “trophy room,” and he is pumped up about returning to RAW and it will be a miracle if he doesn’t open a can of whip ass on someone. Triple H has been away a long time and he will be anxious to get back into the ring, which I am especially looking forward to seeing. Love him or hate him, “The Cerebral Assassin” is a vital part of the fabric of Monday Night RAW and will no doubt make an impact upon his return.
I wanted to tell you I am glad to see the Ross Report is back, it has been missed greatly! I remember when you were announcing for WCW. What is the biggest difference between that and announcing for WWE?
There were lots of differences Michael. The money is better in WWE and the company takes care of its people better. There was less travel for me in my days with WCW than I do 51 weeks a year here in WWE. The revolving door of head honchos in WCW was unsettling while there is one man, Vincent K. McMahon, who runs WWE and he’s not going anywhere, so there is more stability in that regard in WWE. I did personally enjoy living in Atlanta, broadcasting for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, doing a talk show on radio station WSB, and hosting the Saturday night wrestling show on TBS. My departure from WCW was my decision contrary to what has been reported over the years as I had over two years left on my contract even though Eric Bischoff took me off the air, which legally violated TBS’ own agreement. I was never fired from WCW even though my services have been terminated twice in WWE. I was angry with the hierarchy in Atlanta at the time but looking back on it, coming to WWE from WCW at the time I did was the best thing for my career. Things have a way of working out if we just hang in and don’t give up.