Double Impact: Making Amends By: Michael Melchor
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.
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.
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
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
are human, and they screw up. Russo himself knows
this, and has set about to correct a mistake made
If only the
McMahon family could apologize like this...
THOUGH WE DIDN’T ALWAYS AGREE---JR DESERVED BETTER
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.
this concern Russo enough out of his shell to
comment? My, don’t we have a short memory?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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”
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.
should know. Continuing on...
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
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.
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
I won’t get
into that one like I did Russo’s, but Ed Ferrara
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
again for reading.