POSTED ON JANUARY 12, 2011:
The WWE is ready to slam the BOK, Tulsa better bring the bodies
Ring Dream. Acclaimed wrestling announcer Jim Ross wants to clench Bob Barry’s old playby- play post with Sooner Radio.
The city of Tulsa hosts the second and third rounds of the NCAA March Madness tournament in two months. Initial reports revealed lagging ticket sales. In fact, out of eight pod cities, Tulsa's were the lowest.
Should the local media beg Tulsa-area fans to purchase tickets to avoid embarrassment? Should we bribe the NCAA to send a powerhouse like Duke or Kansas to our region? Will the Tulsa Sports Commission and University of Tulsa regain control and blitz the region with promotional genius?
Probably not, but the WWE knows how to bring the heat. On Tuesday, Jan. 18th, WWE SmackDown will body slam the BOK Center. Visit BOKCenter.com for more information.
"I think this is a great way for the facility to get on national television in a unique way," said the greatest announcer in wrestling history, Jim Ross. "I think the outside shots, the skyline of Tulsa and downtown Tulsa, which is beautiful, speaks very well of the community.
"I look at it as a great PR tool for Tulsa in general," he continued. "The only thing that is going to really make it great is for us to fill it up."
He is right of course. We cannot afford another Conference USA tournament turnout. The WWE has several advantages going for them. They promise and deliver action and entertainment.
The product is polished. The pace is fast and furious. The brand is global. Parents and children alike will be impressed with the festivities.
"I like the fact that you can have family entertainment and tickets start at 15 dollars," Ross said. "I appreciate WWE's sensitivities on the ticket pricing. They don't price it where people can't afford to go."
Ross no longer calls the action from ringside. He now focuses on his barbecue sauce while keeping an eye on his dream job: Sooner Radio play-by-play broadcaster. Those OU roots might land him in Bob Barry's old seat, but they certainly introduced Jack Swagger to the world of wrestling.
Jacob Hage, a Perry native, played football and wrestled at OU. He switched to wrestling fulltime in his sophomore year, but remained roommates with Dusty Dvoracek.
Through Dvoracek, Ross and Hage mat at a cookout one day. When Hage was ready to graduate, Ross inquired about his future plans. Instead of a day job in the insurance field, why not use the natural born athleticism and give sports entertainment a try.
Bringing the Swag
Talk about a perfect fit. Jack Swagger has already captured a WWE Championship belt in his young and promising career. He is scheduled to take part in the Tulsa show.
"He reminds me a little bit of when we first signed Kurt Angle," Ross said. For those in the know, this is high praise indeed. Both physically gifted wrestlers had to prove their ability on the showman side. Swagger is well on his way.
A hot sports talk topic in T-Town is live event attendance, or lack thereof. Everyone attempts to pinpoint a reasons why our dominant football program at 11th and Harvard cannot sell out a 30,000 seat stadium.
One of the theories is television. If TU's game is on broadcast TV, then why not stay home and watch in comfort.
WWE SmackDown tapes 6:30pm on Tuesday, but airs nationwide on Friday, Jan. 21, on the Syfy Channel at 7pm if you are scoring at home.
So bring your signs, lungs and energy on Tuesday. Watch your performance on Friday. Win-Win!
The show will be hot. The match scheduling is fluid by nature but it will be the final show prior to one of the biggest yearly pay-per-views. Many storylines should apex in our backyard.
"I know that whatever matches that are on the card will have Royal Rumble implications," Ross said.
Look for Edge and Rey Mysterio to battle Kane and Alberto Del Rio in a special tag team. Of course that is subject to change. What is not subject to change is the in-house experience.
"I equate it to going to an OU football game," said the man under the big black hat. "I much prefer to go to the game. I like to be at the game and feel the atmosphere and see things the TV cameras might not pick up. I'm such a diehard Sooner fan in that regard that I'll DVR the game, go to the game, then I'll come home and watch it again. It may sound like insanity but I'm probably not alone in that."
You already know whether WWE appeals to you or not. But there is at least one item still up in the air
OU's longtime radio broadcaster Bob Barry retired this season. Director of athletics Joe Castiglione hired Bob Stoops, brought in Jeff Caple and kept Sherri Coale stomping the sidelines. He is bound to make the right choice replacing Barry in the booth. He might not have far to look.
"Radio is theater of the mind," Ross said. "I think subliminally I've been preparing to broadcast Oklahoma football on radio since I was eight or nine years old. Whether or not I get the opportunity to ever do it remains to be seen."
Imagine the buzz a ballsy move like this would create. OU would gain new fans across the nation if not the world.
Ross is not a football virgin either. He called the Falcons radio broadcast for Ted Turner when he worked in Atlanta. He also manned a NBC booth during Vince McMahon's XFL years.
"I can honestly say, as a kid, long before I ever dreamed of becoming a wrestling broadcaster, it was in mind's eye that one day I wanted to be the voice of the Sooners. We live (in Norman) because of the university. My wife and I moved here from Connecticut (WWE headquarters) to be close to OU so we could go to athletic events and be part of the community," Ross said. "We are here because of Oklahoma. Whether I get that opportunity or not, to be honest with you, we are still going to stay here and support the school, but I'd be remiss and less than truthful to say I wouldn't covet the opportunity."
Do the right thing, Joe.
URL for this story: http://www.urbantulsa.comhttp://www.urbantulsa.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A34916