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Jim Ross: SD!/CW Update, Shaq At WrestleMania, More

Jim Ross is back today with another blog on his website, jrsbarbq.com. Below are a few highlights:

Friday Night SmackDown leaving CW Network

WWE Friday Night Smackdown leaving the CW Network at the end of this season seems to be the most topical news story of the day. Smackdown will move to another network, come Fall, after being on the air approximately 10 years on network, prime time TV. It would seem to me that Smackdown would have ample suitors for the two hour program with an established, built in audience. Original, first-run programming, 51 weeks a year, is a premium commodity for any TV network. One could also assume that it is possible that Smackdown could theoretically move back to its original Thursday night slot if that’s where the negotiations took it. Bottom line, as Stone Cold Steve Austin would say, is that Smackdown will undoubtedly find a new home this Fall, while the compelling aspect of the matter is where and on what night? Yours truly actually broadcast the very first episode of Smackdown, which might be the answer to a trivia question some day. Since then, Michael Cole, if that is his real name, has admirably sat in the lead announcer’s chair and has quietly put up some damn impressive numbers as it relates to the number of episodes on which he has appeared.

WWE serving its ties with OVW

News of the WWE severing its ties with Ohio Valley Wrestling was met by yours truly with mixed emotions. The WWE made a business decision to consolidate all their developmental talents under one roof, in Tampa, which makes sense. For young athletes to live in Florida isn’t all bad, as one could easily surmise. The Florida facility is apparently a bona fide, first rate operation that has been a significant investment by the WWE to make it state of the art. Nonetheless, OVW’s legacy will be that of helping to develop some of the WWE biggest stars of this generation and for that, Danny Davis and his crew, including trainer Al Snow, among others, should be commended. I have long said that the future success of the WWE largely lies in the success of their developmental program and now that responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the Florida operation. Recruiting athletic, extroverted, preferably long time wrestling fans to train to be WWE Superstars is a huge responsibility, as the actual number of individuals who make it and become main eventers is minuscule compared to the number of people that are signed. Many more people will not make it to the Promised Land than will, which mirrors other major sports and entertainment entities.

Bobby Lashley Update

It has been reported that former WWE Superstar Bobby Lashley has signed with a representative that reps MMA competitors. This is one of the rumors making the rounds about Lashley and his future plans. Knowing that Bobby had a monstrous 2007 financially and his apparent dislike for travel and/or sports entertainment, one could assume that the MMA world might be Lashley’s calling. No one knows, but Bobby, what he wants to do with his future and the rest of us are purely speculating.

Shaq at Wrestlemania

When I spoke with Shaquille O’Neal in Miami in November he indicated that he was really getting worn down after all the years of pounding his 300 pound plus frame took up and down the hardwood in the NBA and that he hoped to get two more years out of his body. Now with Shaq traded to Phoenix the huge WWE fan has likely joined the final team of his amazing career. Seeing Shaq in the ring at a major event like Wrestlemania after his NBA days have concluded would not surprise me. The big guy is a great fan and has the personality to be perfect for a “one off” appearance at the right place at the right time.