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Double M’s Rasslin’ Report 11.05.05 By: Michael Melchor

Double Impact: Making Amends By: Michael Melchor

Hey there and thanks for checking in. Been a while since I’ve been here, I know. Of course running one zone and appearing weekly in another over at 411 – not to mention expecting child #6 (!) and dealing with the rest of everyday life – will do that to someone.

I’d initially planned on filling the spaces here with reprints of the Double M Rasslin’ Report, but even that’s gotten to be a crunch. Instead of taking the cheap way out (which I’ve been accused of already), I figure I can use this to explore topics off the beaten path of the usual news and comments. Topics that I care enough about to get a little in-depth in.

Topics like...Vince Russo.

I’ll go ahead and say it – I’m a fan of both the man and his work. His work because, in my eyes, nothing is as cool as the Millionaire’s Club/New Blood feud could have been. The man, because, right or wrong, he gave all of himself and went with his vision, right or wrong. I don’t even know if I can come up with a handful of people that have that kind of guts or integrity anymore.

But people are human, and they screw up. Russo himself knows this, and has set about to correct a mistake made long ago.

If only the McMahon family could apologize like this...


Since my life has taken on a new direction some two years ago now, I must admit that I really don’t watch wrestling anymore. Having a new outlook on life, courtesy of God, the things that appealed to me for a good portion of my life—42 years to be exact—just don’t “float my boat” any more—pardon the pun.

But I will admit, I still flip around during commercials—a habit which none of us will ever break. This past Monday night between innings of the Yankees/Angels game, I happened to “flip to” Raw when Jim Ross was in the ring.

Why would this concern Russo enough out of his shell to comment? My, don’t we have a short memory?

You know, I swore when Jesus saved my life I would never comment on “mainstream wrestling” again, but this time I have to—not because it has anything to do with wrestling, or an angle, but because it has to do with everything that’s wrong with society.

In my book “Forgiven”, that’s due out in a few weeks,

Ah, ever the plug machine – even in Christianity. Toldja he sticks with what he is & knows.

I talk at great length about Jim Ross, and my relationship with him. I’ll be the first to admit that there were times when I was tough on him, and it wasn’t personal—it was strictly business. But, at the time my view was clouded . . . much clouded. Why? Because I never put myself in the shoes of Jim Ross. I had never walked one step in his boots. Put aside the personal setbacks in his life; the bouts with bells palsy, the death of his mother—who meant the world to him, I’m talking about the taxing job called “Talent Relations”. Fans of the business really have no idea the thanklessness of this job—yes, even more thankless than that of a television writer. Forget about having to please a roster full of wrestlers, many with egos larger than the average man could ever fathom, but the demands from Vincent K. himself . . . you just had to be there to understand. But with unexplainable patience, Jim Ross did it. From a personal level did I always agree with his decisions, of course not, but then again—we’re all guilty of being Tuesday morning quarterbacks. Could I have done a better job? Probably not—but then again—I would have never wanted the position in the first place.

I’d venture to guess that, no matter how much the armchair bookers in the IWC claim otherwise, none of them would, either. Imagine the responsibility and headache that comes with a gig like that for a multi-milllion dollar corporation and every pertinent employee in it. No fucking way I would want that headache. Anyone that does is either a kiss-ass (like the current holder of said position) or suicidal. The pressure that comes with it is immense, and Russo acknowledges that.

In wrestling we all have egos, some bigger . . . much bigger . . . than others. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that JR didn’t have an ego—and I think he’d tell you the same thing. But the difference between JR and some of the boys was that JR truly, truly, loved his job. That’s much more than I can say about myself. JR took great pride in being, “the best play-by-play man in the business", and he should have—because he was. To him—being out there every Monday night was what he lived for. The truth? There was no better. Was he a bit “over the top” at times, of course he was—but—his love, heart, desire, and passion for what he calls “the game” wasn’t, isn’t and will never be matched.

During the Raw boom in the late 90’s, I’ll tell you right here, right now—I wanted to replace both Lawler and JR. At the time we’re talking about the “Attitude” era, when sports-entertainment was as close to reality as it was ever going to get. Personally, I just had a problem with a guy wearing a crown and a guy in a cowboy hat selling it to me. When all else was as “real” as wrestling could ever get—in my opinion, we had two blatant “characters” trying to sell it. But, that was all about personal “taste”; it had nothing—NOTHING—to do with the ability of Lawler, or Ross.

So in hindsight, I can understand the WWE brass wanting to replace JR—things change—you have to evolve. Growing up I can remember Ralph Kiner, Lindsay Nelson and Bob Murphy calling Met games. Man, in my head I can still hear their voices—but that was then—this is now. Things just change . . . look at me. No, I don’t have a problem with the “business” decision, but as not only a Christian but as a human being, I just have a problem with the way they did it.

This coming from the guy that created “Oklahoma”? I mean, he still saw fit to take shots at JR, no? Let’s find out why, shall we?

You know what, there are a lot of things you can say about Vince Russo back “in the day”, BUT one thing I will say—I never—NEVER—treated anybody disrespectfully. Yeah, my button was pushed on a few occasions, but all-in-all I treated people the same way I wanted to be treated. Even though JR and I weren’t on the same page at many times—I can sit here and say that when I worked with him—and when I wrote for him—I never made him the butt-end of a joke. One of my personal, professional highlights came when JR had his own announcer’s desk built during an episode of Raw—to me that was entertainment---and JR was priceless.

But on the other side of that coin---when WCW backed me into a corner—when they wanted ratings yesterday—I did the despicable. I sent Ed Ferrera out there and asked him to do a parody of JR. There is much more about that in “Forgiven”, but let me just say—if there is anything I could ever take back that I did in the wrestling business—that was at the top of my list. Again—at that time we were going after the WWF, and we were going hard—I was stopping at NOTHING. What a horse’s !@#$ I was. Again—you will never understand the pressure I was under—if you think for one minute that I was thinking straight—you’re wrong—but still, that’s no excuse. I ask God everyday for forgiveness—and I hope this column serves as an open, public apology to JR.

So, there you have it. It’s already been admitted (not here) by Russo himself that he and JR didn’t see eye-to-eye about a lot of things. Now I’m not sure if “Oklahoma” was a personal attack on JR or the down-home hayseed he came off as on Monday nights. I’d still bank on the former, but, unlike the people that JR worked for, Russo at least sees the error of his ways then and wants to make up for that now.

BUT—with that being said—what’s the WWE’s excuse? I mean, not only isn’t there a ratings war—but the guy is on their team! Why, do they make a guy who has been so loyal to their company—the butt end of their jokes? Well, there’s only one good reason for that—because they can . . . they will . . . and they don’t care.

Yes—it’s all a work my friends, all “made-up”, all “make-believe”. But—there isn’t a single person in that company who doesn’t know what announcing means to JR. From having him kiss Vince’s butt to having Linda low-kick him—JR has been degraded as a human being every way humanly possible. And that’s the problem I have with the business. Replacing JR was no doubt traumatic to him—NO DOUBT—if not for anything else—why not let the guy go out with dignity? Why not let the guy go out on his own terms—with his head held high and not squirming on the mat like a helpless imbecile? Why? Because it was funny? I don’t know . . . maybe it’s me . . . but I wasn’t laughing. I wasn’ t laughing because there was just more evilness behind it then you’ll ever know . . . but again that’s the wrestling business and that’s why I now play for the “other” team.

That’s an interesting statement to me...there was just more evilness behind it then you’ll ever know. Like what? Does Russo know something about the specific incident he’s not letting us in on? Probably not; he’s just worked with the McMahons before and knows how they play.

But, you know what—there also needs to come a time when you just say to the boss, “Sorry, Vince . . . I’m just not going to do that.” I completely understand that that is easier said then done.

And he should know. Continuing on...

There is a lot of money at stake . . . and everything else that goes with it . . . BUT . . . you know what really comes with money—NOTHING. Take it from a guy who once had it, doesn’t have it any more, and doesn’t want it. Money is not worth anybody’s dignity. JR is talented enough to get a job calling whatever he wants. And at the end of the day, if his dreams come true and he’s up there in that Sooner booth—guess what—he doesn’t have to worry about anybody kicking him in the jewels to get their jollies—that just doesn’t happen out here in the “real” world.

Man, we need to re-think were we’re at. Don’t give me that angle nonsense—we need to start treating people with dignity and respect—especially in the wrestling business. The change has to start somewhere—and I hope it does here.

Again—JR—to the world, I’m sorry for any pain I’ve ever caused you, and I have to deal with that every day, but my friend—I’m telling you—you deserve better . . . much better.

I won’t get into that one like I did Russo’s, but Ed Ferrara also apologized for his part in the whole affair. Where Russo goes, Ferrara follows – that much has always been accepted. But Ferrara at least had the guts to admit he did wrong and own up to it.

Vince McMahon didn’t. Neither did his wife or daughter. It’d be understandable if the payoff was Austin going out on Taboo Tuesday and kicking Coach’s ass from one side of the building to the other and, as a result, JR got his job back. However, Austin walked out again because he was told that, win, lose, or draw, JR wasn’t coming back.

The McMahons not only humiliated him on national television, but they left it as the last time we see the man – the voice of Raw and one of the best announcers to have graced the industry – on TV.

But, of course, God forbid they recompense that with a tribute or anything of the like. No, the whole story is dropped now and everybody moves on.

Except for Vince Russo. He did JR wrong and, despite how he felt about him back then, publicly apologized for it. Say what you want about Russo’s writing technique or his desire to grab what attention he can when he can, but, in this case, I say good for him. He at least had the wherewithal to step up and do what JR’s own bosses wouldn’t.

L8. Thanks again for reading.

Send Feedback To Michael Melchor

Michael Melchor is a longtime – if infrequent – contributor to The Wrestling Fan and former show recapper. He also runs 411 Music and contributes his weekly thoughts on the world of wrestling at 411 Wrestling. He is also a proud husband and father of 5 (soon to be 6) children. In his spare time, he—oh wait, never mind. He doesn’t have any.

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November 2006


by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).