The Ross Report: Crypic Messages, HBK, Hardy, & More

Ryan Clark


The following is this week’s “Ross Report” from Jim Ross of WWE.com:

Greetings from under the 200X black, Resistol hat from an Oklahoma Sooner who is counting the minutes until this Sunday’s Unforgiven pay per view event, the first, from my home state of Oklahoma ! Let’s get this Sooner Schooner rolling…

I have been busier than ever this week doing RAW of course on Monday and spending a tremendous amount of time helping promote Sunday’s Unforgiven from the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. Between radio and TV appearances along with newspaper interviews, I have had just about more than I can say grace over the past few weeks.

Needless to say, no one ever said this business was going to be easy or without challenges but the results of Sunday’s Unforgiven event is the true payoff of all these extra efforts. I really believe that the OKC crowd will be hot and man does that help make any broadcast better.

Kurt Angle is the only man in NCAA history to win the NCAA heavyweight title at under 200 pounds when he beat N.C. State ‘s 275 pound Sylvester Terkey a few years back. Angle is a wrestling machine and has honestly never looked more effective than he has recently. With John Cena traveling to Italy over the next couple of days for promotional work for WWE, how much will jet lag affect Cena, who is obviously not 100 percent healthy as I write this, Sunday versus Angle for the WWE Championship? For Cena to win, he must make this match a fight or an all-out brawl because if Cena doesn’t, Angle’s deadly focus may be too much for “The Champ” to overcome. Angle may simply be untouchable right now.

I liked the strong messages sent this past Monday on RAW especially from HBK, Flair, and Edge/Lita. There is a difference in hearing and listening and I personally listened intently to the aforementioned talents’ remarks more closely because of what was said.

I like it when other fat guys do well. You see we “husky” guys have to stick together so I am smiling about the job Charlie Weis is doing at Notre Dame for the Fighting Irish football squad. Weis is a motivator who has his players believing in themselves again and in the hallowed legacy of the Irish program. I am a firm believer that in any business negative motivation usually fails and quite often ends up biting a suit in the ass.

OU football Sooners head man and my friend Bob Stoops may be on hand Sunday night in OKC’s Ford Center to see his old pal the Nature Boy attempt to win the Intercontinental Championship for the first time when he challenges Carlito. Flair is a marvel and he truly believes he has “one more run” left in him. To me, that means not only winning the Intercontinental Championship but going after the WWE Championship as well.

How fortunate are Cade and Murdoch to get a Tag Team Championship match so quickly in their WWE tenure? I hope these two pups realize what an opportunity that awaits them this Sunday and they take full advantage of the moment. Did this opportunity come too soon for this young duo? Are they ready for the pressure of wrestling for a championship on a live, worldwide broadcast? We’ll find out Sunday, but the landscape seems ready for some new teams on both RAW and SmackDown to step up and contribute in a major way. I know I have said this before, and recently, but damn I would like to see some red-hot tag teams start tearing up RAW and SmackDown.

“Kerwin White” attempting to be someone he is not is ridiculous.

Trish Stratus told me Monday night after RAW that her back started improving at a much more rapid rate when she took up yoga. I know some NFL guys who utilize yoga to help with lower back issues, too. Needless to say, it was great to see Trish back on RAW, or any where else for that matter. With Trish coming off an extended injury, this one is really hard to predict. But as a red-blooded male, I sure am anxious to see what the ladies wear to the ring and how this live presentation will climax…. so to speak. I think I can adequately predict that Coach and King will enthusiastically fawn over these lovely ladies as if either one actually had a chance with any of the participants.

I have a gut feeling that Matt Hardy is going to Slobberknock Edge inside the cage Sunday, which means in layman’s terms I feel Matt will win this much-anticipated match at Unforgiven. Go ahead and make your appropriate wise-ass remarks about my prediction history, but even a blind squirrel finds an acorn occasionally. And just think, IF Matt wins, perhaps some pundits will cease using the term “poor Matt” when referring to the talented Hardy.

The ranks of the college football world are dotted with wrestling heritage. Vader’s son Jesse White (#66) is a center for Oklahoma and may be redshirted, James Laurinaitis, the son of Road Warrior Animal, is playing some linebacker (#33) for Ohio State, Wild Samoan Afa’s son Afa, Jr. is playing defensive tackle for UConn, while Wild Samoan Sika’s son Joe Anoai is the starting defensive tackle for Georgia Tech. Do you know of others?

I really enjoyed being on ESPN Radio’s “All Night with Todd Wright” Wednesday night. Todd knows his stuff prepares like a true pro and follows WWE on a regular basis. He kept me company on my five-hour return trip from Little Rock late Monday night with his radio program.

According to published reports, former wrestler Sam Houston, who was once married to one of the businesses first valets, Baby Doll, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for repeated DUI arrests. When I interviewed Jake Roberts for his shocking and revealing DVD recently, Jake mentioned that little brother Sam was not doing well and was having drinking problems. This is such a sad commentary for this family for many reasons, including the fact that Sam has two young daughters that he has been apparently estranged from for years that he will now probably not see until they are young women. I’ve known this young man since he was in elementary school and I am truly sorry for this development. Perhaps Sam can get the help he needs while he is away and can start his life anew in a few years. Whether he realizes it or not, he is being given a second chance at life. Let’s hope he makes the most of it.

I would personally like to see more “Legends” utilized from time to time on both RAW and SmackDown. For instance, I would be curious to hear what Arn Anderson would have to say about his friend Ric Flair’s chances of winning the Intercontinental Championship for the first time. Can you image the verbiage that would be flying if Double A were ever a guest in Carlito’s Cabana?

JBL just got named to the All-100-Year football team at Abilene Christian University as an offensive tackle. Former Philadelphia Eagle running back Wilbert Montgomery who also made the all-time squad. Congratulations to JBL who may live the life of luxury in New York City , but he will always be a Texan to me.

“Heartbreak and Triumph – The Shawn Michaels Story” will be on sale at book stores around November 15. I liked this book a lot because I lived a good portion of it and could readily relate to it. Bret Hart fans may not be overwhelmed with Shawn’s side of the story about the 1997 Montreal Survivor Series, but I found it to be a compelling, albeit small, portion of HBK’s life story. Shawn is another blessed individual, as he flirted with death on more than one occasion and he talks about it.

Speaking of books, I have really enjoyed reading Larry Matysik’s book “Wrestling at the Chase” the story of St. Louis wrestling featuring legendary promoter Sam Muchnick. St. Louis was as well promoted as any city in the world for many, many years. Nice job, Larry!

Heidenreich told me Monday night that his family literally lost everything they had as a result of Hurricane Katrina when it hit his New Orleans home. Heidenreich thinks he may move to Atlanta or elsewhere to get away from the potential damage of another natural disaster of Katrina’s magnitude.

Unless plans change, yours truly gets the honor of introducing the legendary rock band ZZ Top this Friday night at Oklahoma City ‘s Zoo Amphitheatre.

I feel badly about the comment I made a few weeks ago about how annoying I felt ESPN’s Trev Alberts was. Now the former Cornhusker is gone from the all-sports cable network. Geez, I feel badly for the guy. Really. I know the feeling of getting the ax. Twice.

By the way, is there a “Hip School” for ESPN anchors. That seems like the call to order these days for most of the younger talking heads. Maybe I’ll check into their correspondence course but then again it just may be too damned late for old J.R. (Does that count for talking in the third person?)

Should wrestlers be mandated to have to make a donation to the Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina’s relief effort every time they use a clothesline more than, oh say, three times in one match?

If I were to start wearing sunglasses on Monday Night RAW would it make me look more hip or just more stupid? Just wondering.

If you are in the OKC area this weekend for Unforgiven, drop by my fellow Sooner buddy and Norman resident Toby Keith’s “I Love this Bar and Grill” in Bricktown around 7 p.m. for a big kickoff celebration for Unforgiven, which will feature several RAW Superstars. The food there is awesome. Trust me on that one. I may even eat something “fried” Saturday night.

O.K., so my Oklahoma Sooners are struggling at 1-1 but I refuse to waiver for my support of my team and, by the way, I don’t leave games early like some fair weather Sooner fans who seem to only be fans “when we win”.

We are just getting WWE 24/7 here in the OKC area and man am I gonna be a regular viewer of this classic wrestling material. That aspect of WWE business is growing and in my opinion has a HUGE upside potential.

Enjoy Unforgiven this Sunday on pay per view! I’m personally as pumped about this event as I was about broadcasting WrestleMania because of the old “home field advantage” and having the privilege of being part of something special for my state. Take care.

Now on to your e-mails…

Name: Devin S.

Dusty Rhodes has mentioned on WWE.com that he would like to wrestle Ric Flair one more time at a WWE non-televised live event. What do you think about these two legends locking up one more time? Don’t you think people would pay to see it on TV?

If provided the adequate time to re-establish the rivalry on TV, I absolutely believe this “last dance” would be attractive to many fans. I would pay to see it without a doubt. The promos between the two going into the match could be priceless. After decades in wrestling, these guys have not lost any passion for their life’s work. Devin, I have been fortunate enough to call many of the Flair-Rhodes matches over the years and would love to be around to do this one too, if it were to ever happen.

Name: Steve Wheeler

What happened to senior official Earl Hebner? I’ve noticed that he hasn’t been officiating any matches? I remember many of the classic matches that he has officiated, and I was wondering if he decided to retire.

Earl and his twin brother Dave are, unfortunately, neither still with the company. Someone told me recently that they heard Earl was doing some carpentry work in Virginia. I wish them both good health and success.

Name: Jeffrey P.

When will WWE bring back Mean Gene?

Jeffery, I’m a big Mean Gene fan and hopefully we will see more of him in the future now that his health has bounced back and that he is feeling much better. I also expect Mean Gene to be an integral part of our WWE 24/7 presentation.

Name: Chuck Minor

Where is Sid Vicious and what is he doing? Will he ever come back and compete? Thank you.

The last I heard, big Sid was still living in the West Memphis, Arkansas. After severely injuring his leg in the old WCW a few years back, Sid was unable to compete for quite some time and has only recently, from what I have heard, been able to get back in the ring to wrestle. It’s been years since I have seen him, and his name rarely comes up in conversations I partake in here in WWE. I would never say never, but my best guess is that he probably won’t be coming back our way, which could mean Sid might be back next week, but I wouldn’t bet my black hat on it. Chances are you will see him hitting balls over the fence on a softball field near you before he competes in a WWE ring again.

Name: John M.

I am 18 years old, and have been a wrestling fan since I was in diapers. First I want to thank you for giving wrestling a voice, second I would greatly appreciate your opinion on the following matter, who do you think was the better mat wrestler, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat or Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, in my opinion, Valentine had a slight skill advantage but Steamboat had much more heart. Once again thanks.

P.S. I would love to see you knock Jonathan Coachman out again!

That’s a really tough call, John, because both men had different styles. Valentine was probably known for being more physical and depended more on his “ground game” than did Steamboat. Ricky’s strengths were his finesse, quickness, fundamental soundness and his desire to win no matter the cost. Steamboat could also fly which was not “The Hammer’s” specialty. So to answer your question based on what I have outlined here, I would probably go with Greg Valentine. If you want to talk about hard-nosed, mat wrestling take a long look at Greg’s dad Johnny Valentine who was as physical as anyone to ever step through the ropes. If you don’t believe me, just ask some of his opponents. “JV” was a real badass.

Name: Alex

I have always enjoyed watching WWE and my Dad’s favorite wrestler was Bruno Sammartino. Do you know what Bruno has been up to? And, do you think Bruno will ever be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame?

Bruno, who recently shaved his head, is a physical freak of nature who still runs several miles a day most every day. The Italian legend looks as if he could still step in the ring and handle himself quite well for someone who is north of 65 years of age. Bruno, who probably weighs around 225, still lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and makes an occasional appearance at wrestle reunions and civic functions. Bruno did not leave WWE on the best of terms, however, I would love to see him get inducted in the near future. His acceptance speech would be a classic!

Name: JoAnn

Hello Mr. Ross! I recently saw on WWE.com that Tough Enough winner Daniel Puder was released. Why? Also, will we see another Tough Enough show?

I am not 100 percent sure why Puder was released but one has to assume that those doing the scouting and talent evaluations probably felt that Puder was not going to become the WWE Superstar that he was projected to be after winning the Tough Enough Challenge. This certainly doesn’t mean Daniel’s dreams have ended and should serve as a motivational tool to help him get to where he wants to go. Perhaps a different training environment or different coaches will help him improve as it has other athletes who have become household names after changing their surroundings.

It’s hard to say what the future of “Tough Enough” will be as a free standing reality show. I know of no plans to bring it back, but it certainly was a much better show than many of the hard to watch reality shows on TV these days. It also made John “Big” Gaburick a household name in the greater Baltimore area where he is considered one of the most-eligible bachelors in the land of crab cakes even if he does no an uncanny resemblance to Philadelphia Eagles head honcho Andy Reid.

Name: Dave Camratta

I read online that RAW will be moving back to the USA Network Oct. 3 and the WWE will have WWE Superstars Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, Mick Foley, Triple H and Mr. McMahon on the broadcast. What are your thoughts on moving to USA? And, what was your all-time favorite WWE USA moment?

In my personal opinion, I think the move back to USA will be great for WWE for many reasons. USA is in more homes than Spike TV, to the best of my knowledge, and is much more established. Our long time, previous relationship with the USA Network, now a part of the NBC family, was largely positive for many years and the network has made a commitment to actively and aggressively promote Monday Night RAW, which can only help everyone involved. The first night back on October 3 from Dallas will be a three-hour broadcast that will be loaded with star power and unpredictable, LIVE action.

Dave, I’m not sure I have one all-time favorite moment out of the thousands of things I have seen on RAW on the USA Network, but the evolution of the Austin-McMahon era has to rank right up there for a variety of reasons. That rivalry helped propel WWE to its greatest heights and nothing like it has been able to follow it since.

Name: Steve Walsh

After listening to Marty Jannetty on Byte This! a few weeks back, I was just wondering what are the chances of the company re-hiring Jannetty to a contract. I’m aware of his release. It just seems such a shame that a genuine guy like that has fallen on some difficult times .

There is no doubt that Marty can still probably out wrestle a fair portion of our current competitors. However, it seems that Marty may have bigger issues to deal with at this point in time. Going back on the road, even with the reduced schedule the wrestlers now endure, might not be the best thing for Marty personally.

Name: Ed Farmer

What’s up? I was reading on the Internet the other day about Steve “Dr. Death” Williams making a surprise visit at one of the live events, Is this true? And, will we be seeing him on TV anytime soon?

The good Doctor made a surprise visit recently to see the “boys” in both Texarkana and in Monroe which are both close to Doc’s Shreveport home. Dr. Death is a walking miracle who, even though he had his voice box removed, has been declared cancer free through the grace of the good Lord and the prayers of a bunch of folks. Doc is back up to 260 pounds or so and looks absolutely amazing for what he has gone through. I was told that Doc even wrestled recently, which no one thought would ever happen again… except Doc. I have met some tough guys in my 30 plus years in the business, but none of them were tougher than Steve Williams. We are great friends and he’s a part of my family. For those keeping score at home and perhaps still wondering about Doc’s involvement with Turner’s WCW and the “Oklahoma” character and how that affected our friendship, let me say this – the concept was ill conceived and weaker than cat urine, but I knew that Doc was simply earning his pay and doing as he was instructed to do. Business is business no matter how hard a pill it is to swallow sometimes. There are no plans at this time for Doc to appear on WWE TV.

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