Thursday, April 10, 2008

So Much to Blog About, So Little Time: An Attempt to Catch Up

Life has a funny way of keeping you from the things you really want to do - one of them, in my case, is updating this blog. So much has been happening in the world of pro wrestling, both in and out of NECW, and I have a ton of comments to share with you:

WrestleMania 24:

While I enjoyed the show and marveled at the spectacle that only WWE can deliver, apart from Flair-Michaels, Show-Mayweather and Edge-Undertaker, I found the rest of the card lacking from an emotion standpoint. Of course, absolutely nothing could compare to the three matches I just mentioned. I look forward to the DVD to see the Hall of Fame, which I missed.

Ric Flair's in ring swan song was done beautifully. A match and a finish for the ages. I was crying right along with Flair when Michaels hit the sweet chin music. More on Flair below.

Show-Mayweather had one of the most creative finishes I think I've ever seen. I'd bet money Pat Patterson had something to do with it. A fantastic piece of business.

Edge-Undertaker was a phenomenal match. Edge is at his athletic prime and one of the greatest workers on the major league level of this business. Undertaker truly deserves the moniker "phenom." Taker has had one of the most amazing careers in modern wrestling history.

C.M. Punk winning "Money In The Bank" was nice to see. Punk is a good guy and a great worker who is a franchise player waiting to happen.

Gordon Solie Inducted Into the WWE Hall of Fame:

Gordon Solie was the greatest wrestling announcer of all time and you can ask Jim Ross if you don't believe me. (J.R. comes in second in my book. One of these days I'll do a whole blog on wrestling announcers.) Hats off to the WWE for acknowledging "The Dean."

I was extremely fortunate to have met Gordon through the Cauliflower Alley Club and, later through my work with the late Hiro Matsuda and Howard Brody on "Ring Warriors."

While our encounters were brief, they are nonetheless memorable. I first met Gordon at a Cauliflower Alley Club banquet in Springfield, MA. If you know Gordon, appropriately enough, we first met in the Marriott hotel bar. I will never forget this as long as I live, because about four words into our conversation, Gordon uttered an expletive. When asked about different people he encountered over his career, the expletives continued to fly. Not everything was negative mind you, but it struck me so funny that this articulate gentleman that I had watched on TV for so many years and so respected was using language that would make a sailor blush. Imagine, if you will, Walter Cronkite bidding his audience farewell by saying, "And that's the $#@!%-ing news, and if you don't like it, &*$#@! @#$!&!!!!! I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing.

Gordon is a person I wish I had gotten closer to when I had the chance, but the encounters we had were warm and friendly. Gordon was a truly good man and a person I feel fortunate to have encountered on a professional level.

In my role as a wrestling announcer for the NECW TV shows and DVD's, I study old tapes of Gordon religiously, as I do Jim Ross and Lance Russell.

Sadly, there will never be another Gordon Solie - a truly deserving Hall of Famer.

Ric Flair's Retirement:

Like Gordon Solie, there will never be another Ric Flair. Flair said himself on Raw the day after WrestleMania that he had the greatest career in the history of pro wrestling. Boy, he sure did.

Flair is the last of the great touring NWA World Champions and a real bridge between the territory era and the national era. He and Sting are the last two major stars of any long standing that Vince McMahon did not create. In many ways, Flair's true greatness can be measured in the fact that Vince McMahon and the WWE allowed his to be himself and allowed his considerable legacy to be acknowledged and celebrated.

An interesting fact: The WWE Ultimate Ric Flair Collection DVD grossed more than it cost WWE to buy the intellectual property and trademarks of WCW.

People talk about Hulk Hogan as being the greatest star in the history of wrestling, and on some levels he is. But the greatest wrestler, the greatest worker, the most emotionally enduring figure in pro wrestling in my lifetime has been Ric Flair.

The farewell celebration on Raw has been called one of the greatest televised moments in wrestling history. It was as sweet and as perfect as a farewell could be.

In thinking back on this, it's too bad that Flair couldn't have been sent off by a younger guy - not that there was anything wrong with Michaels in that role. But it would have been nice to have seen Flair "pass the torch" to an Orton or a Cena, someone with more years ahead of them in the business than behind them. Then again, the business that Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels came to prominence in is at an end too. For those of us who grew up on Ric Flair, there has to be that tinge of sadness that we are all growing older and our heroes fade with time.

While new history will be written and new stars will be born, the brightest of them all was Ric Flair and the memories of his exploits have been largely preserved on video. Thus the old adage is really true: Diamonds are forever, and so is Ric Flair.

NECW Notes:

We had a terrific event in Quincy a couple of weeks ago with MARCH BADNESS. The title situation in NECW is really heating up with Big Rick Fuller being hotly pursued by Antonio Thomas and Max Bauer.

It has yet to be determined how the ankle injury to Handsome Johnny will affect his reign as NECW Television Champion, but the Handsome One is blue chip material and will come into his own in NECW.

We have a very unique event talking place on Friday night, April 18. It's a benefit show for the South Middle School in Brockton, MA. The event is only open to students, faculty and staff at the school and their families, but a large crowd is expected and we look forward to a great night in Brockton on the 18th.

We have a great DVD our right now called The IRON 8 Championship. It's last June's tournament along with over an hour's worth of bonus features. If you like hard hitting athletic wrestling at it's finest, you will love the IRON 8 DVD. The 2008 IRON 8 Tournament is scheduled for Saturday night, May 31 in Quincy, MA, so circle that date on your calendars.

Speaking of DVD's, next week we will be releasing last summer's BIRTHDAY BASH 7: CAGED FURY on DVD, complete with never-before-seen segments and bonus features. This and the IRON 8 DVD are the best DVD's we've done to date. I am really proud of the way they came out and the way they represent NECW.

I often think that our company is a well kept secret among the major wrestling web sites. They will announce our shows and publish our results, but unless you watch the TV's and get the DVD's, you don't know how really good this company is.

I will have more soon!

1 comment:

snaps said...

loved your report on Wrestlemania. Reading that just reminded me of how much I miss our conversations of old.

Really have been enjoying the NECW web-casts of recent matches on I have to admit I get a kick out of watching my son . It's hard to believe he's working for you in the fed. that I helped to launch so many years ago! It was a very small part that I played, but I'm proud of it none the less.

Here's wishing you many great shows in front of packed houses, and continued good health to you and all the folks that make NECW and WWW two of the best feds that I have seen.

Your friend

Bob L.