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Monday Night Raw from Portland was memorable. Lots of talk on the broadcast but an ample amount of compelling, WM28 selling verbiage.
As I thought, Jericho/Punk had a spirited verbal exchange and I expect more between now and April 1 in Miami. These two talented wrestlers are out of the box thinkers and who have both traveled somewhat similar routes to earn WWE main event status. Their upcoming bout, for them, arguably means more to each man on a personal level as any one on the card which is saying a great deal.
Chris Jericho is a performer that our talent relations team recruited and signed from WCW back in the day. Chris struck me as extremely intelligent and talented with his first impression to Jerry Brisco and myself who were meeting with him. I remember the meeting vividly at a spot called the Bombay Bicycle Club in the Tampa area. Chris took less guaranteed money to come to WWE, where he would be provided a fair opportunity to become a legit star, rather than to stay in an uncomfortably political environment in WCW where Chris seemed to never be totally appreciated.
Both Punk and Jericho have been told that they would never make it over the hump to become a bona fide main event star. Those skeptics were dead wrong.
I'd almost like to see @CMPunk vs. @IAmJericho go on early at WM28 so that time limitations would not be an issue. This could be the best, pure wrestling match at WM28 and, if not, it will certainly be in the debate.
Remember this, the competition between those professionals who have really invested in their careers and who love what they do is intense. With that said, Jericho/Punk won't be out performed by Cena/Rock and neither will Undertaker/HHH. Pride and passion are more powerful weapons that any wrestling hold or catchy cliche or Twitter trending. Quite frankly, going on last at this year's WM28 is going to be spicy and dicey and being average or 'solid' won't get it done.
Good to see a tag team bout get two segments of air time to conduct their business. I might be wrong but it seems that the tag team scene in WWE may take on a higher priority specifically after WM28. I hope that isn't my own personal, wishful thinking. The WWE Tag Titles need to be re-established.
Sheamus is rolling along impressively which may not bode well for the extremely talented Daniel Bryan at WM28. With every one talking about so many other bouts for WrestleMania, Bryan vs. Sheamus is the type of match that can slip through the cracks and be a legit 'sleeper' at WWE's biggest event. It's amazing to say that a World Title Bout could actually be a sleeper.
BTW...the Bryan vs. Punk bout was excellent on Raw but it's too bad that the bickering General Manager's had to insert themselves into the proceedings.
Cody Rhodes is beginning to amass legit, sustainable antagonist angst highlighed by him 'picking his spots' as to when to be aggressive and when to take leave. Talented kid.
The big news of the night, which should come as no surprise, was the verbal exchange between @JohnCena and @TheRock. This one got intensely personal which I like as a fan but which I didn't care for when I was an administrator.
Some talents couldnt seperate their day job from real life therefore feathers were ruffled at times and insecure egos had to be soothed.
The final segment of RAW occasionally crossed the line into No Man's Land from a content standpoint but that's what occurs when highly competitive, motivated talents are holding a live mic and are in front of a passionate audience.
How can one assume, as some have suggested to me here, that Rock and Cena will 'cool off' before April 1 now that they have "gotten things off their chest?" That's not how it works in this business. The duel of oneupsmanship has begun in earnest and it will carry over to the ring at WrestleMania. Guaranteed.
Cena seemed to get the verbal nod in Portland and should have the in ring advantage going into WM28 considering that Cena gets more ring time than does the Rock. With that said, Rock is a 3rd generation talent who is amazingly athletic and hates finishing second in anything that he does. What ever is necessary for Rock to eliminate any 'ring rust' before WrestleMania will be done by the man who wants to make a lasting impression in his hometown come WM28. Rock certainly didn't disappoint in his November Survivor Series tag bout and I expect him to play at National Championship level at 'Mania.
I thought the video package re: HIAC was outstanding. When one's peers talk of an upcoming match it always resonates with me. Upon further review, the careers of the Undertaker/HHH/HBK and how they have intertwined over the years is compelling. HBK will be in Boston this Monday for RAW which should provide even more fireworks as business has picked up in the build to April 1.
BTW...who was that announcer on that HHH-Taker bout from WM27? Oh, yeah...Jerry Lawler.
Eve is embarking on a 'Jezebel' journey or so it seems. If Eve embraces this, she can become more relevant than she's ever been. Obviously, the Divas need more relevancy.
Quick reminder that I will be attending the Cauliflower Alley Club event in Las Vegas on April 16-18 along with Steve Austin, Ricky Steamboat, Sgt Slaughter, and many, many others. This is one of the true, fun events of the year for any fan and there is nothing else like it anywhere in the world. I will be conducting a seminar on all things sports entertainment on Tuesday April 17 and also attending the must see CAC Banquet on Wednesday night April 18. Visit http://www.caulifloweralleyclub.org for details and I hope to see you in Vegas.
Enjoyed the in Octagon action of the UFC, $54.95 on HD, Saturday night from Tokyo. I was disappointed in the TV production of the event as it seems as if UFC has hit their comfort zone or a wall as it relates to producing live TV with new production elements. The action in the Octagon will always be the focus of any UFC PPV broadcast but UFC needs to provide slicker, better looking events in the future. Not shooting the massive crowd was a mistake and at times the announcers over talked moments that would have been golden if the viewer was allowed to simply soak in the ambiance.
For the record, I thought Ben Henderson defeated Frankie Edgar in their title fight but have even more respect for the toughnss and talent of Edgar than ever before. This weight class is loaded and if the stars are developed from a personality standpoint on UFC TV, this division will produce significant revenue for future UFC PPV's. Smaller talents will draw if the consumer has an emotional investment in the athlete as inches and pounds don't guarantee success. It's about one's skill set and passion plus the ability to connect with the audience. That produces cash.
Same goes for Cruiserweight pro wrestlers in my view. If I am made to care and the talents can perform bell to bell and put sentences together, then I will watch.
I'll be back soon to address questions sent to us here to our Q&A sections and via Twitter @JRsBBQ.
Get ready for all your tailgating and other delicious food needs with JR's from http://www.wweshop.com/Category/JimRoss.
Finally, I hope to see many of you at WM28 AXXESS and remember that the WWE Merchandise stand there will be selling some of our products.