Jim Ross Blogs On Scandor Akbar & The 900th RAW
On Scandor Akbar's Funeral: Even though the drive from Norman to Wichita Falls, Texas is only a couple of hours and change, the drive down to attend the funeral services of my dear friend and mentor Scandor Akbar felt like an eternity. I found myself thinking of dozens of stories that kept creeping into my mind of my days with Ak.
It seems like I spent more time wiping tears from my eyes on the drive than any thing else.
In my over four decades in the wrestling biz, I don't think I can name one man who unselfishly done more to help young wrestlers and who was more dedicated to his profession that Jim Wehba aka General Scandor Akbar.
Ak passed away suddenly last Thursday at the age of 75 after living a wonderful life doing what he loved more than any thing and that was being a viable and timeless participant in the world of pro wrestling.
Everyone should be so lucky to have such a long, distinguished career in their chosen vocation.
It was good to see several of 'the boys' at the Catholic service in Ak's birthplace of Wichita Falls including the great Danny Hodge, Johnny Mantell, and former referees James Beard and David Manning, among many others.
The drive home was equally as challenging again not because of the miles but because I had to come to grips that I would never see my dear friend again in this life.
Ak's love for Texas Longhorn football was noted in the services in a wonderful presentation made by one of his nephews. 'Uncle Jimmy' was perceived much differently than the dastardly villain known as General Scandor Akbar.
It was funny that the first thing that Ak brought up to me when we saw each other in Charlotte a few weeks ago at the Fanfest was the fact that his 'Horns had beaten my Sooners four out of the last five years. Ak's recall of all things Texas football and some of the unique experiences that he and I encountered from our days on the road were uncanny and spot on.
Some emailers have tried to compare Ak's passing to other, recent deaths of pro wrestlers of which I find the comparison to be unsavory. Any human being's passing is heart breaking specifically to the individual's family and friends. I chose not to embellish on this matter but be advised that any questions suggesting differently will be deleted. Death is a painful experience no matter where or when it comes in one's life.
On The 900th Raw: This Monday's RAW, the historic 900th, is a show that I am anxious to see. I have no idea what will be done on the show to commemorate in some way any of the previous 899 episodes that began in 1993 but I'm sure that the past will be recognized in some manner. RAW did more than any program on the USA Network to help make USA the #1 cable network on TV. Yep, even the Westminster Dog Show.
I have fond memories of every era that I was privileged to be a part of in my career but I have no fonder memories of working on any TV show than I do of being a part of Monday Night Raw. Especially when the show was live virtually every Monday night and when it went to the two hour format the experience became intoxicating.
Monday Night Raw did for WWE what Monday Night Football did for the NFL. It was impactful and was an honor to be a small part of for the several hundred episodes on which I appeared.
Teaming with Jerry Lawler was so much fun as we always tried to bring a little something special to the show and to make the stars that appeared on Monday nights be perceived as being even bigger and better. Through that job my friendship with the King grew which is one of the true and lasting rewards of my association with WWE's flagship broadcast. There is rarely a day that goes by that my association with The King isn't mentioned to me in some shape, form or fashion.
I can still vividly remember the Monday night in Charlotte when the King returned from his 'sabbatical' and took his chair back from the controversial and talented Paul Heyman.
Working with Heyman was always unpredictable and exhilarating as Paul always knew what buttons to push to elicit the most organic of responses out of me. Heyman was a natural, antagonist broadcaster who embraced his role and did it well. Very well.
Wonderful memories all I can assure you.