WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Ross recently appeared as a guest on the “Wrestling Reality with Justin LaBar” podcast to promote his new book. Below are some of the highlights from the interview.
On his former job as Head of Talent Relations for WWE: “The run should be measured by the success earned. We took a roster and retooled a roster that had the company in position to contemplate bankruptcy. We were lucky on some of our highers because they connected; the roles started and then the company goes public. So, you go from a private company that’s having some troubling financial times, and a lot of us took financial cuts, but we endured, which I believe we endured because we had a strong talent roster, not just in the ring, but in the locker room and in the public with appearances and going above and beyond so I take a lot of pride in that. I approached that as a General Manager of a sports team, or a Recruiting Coordinator of a big Division 1 College where we started doing things that hadn’t been done before where we would organize scouting of amateur wrestling and football. I had meetings with the NFL. Gerald Brisco had scouted Brock Lesnar for two years and recruited him so that Brock Lesnar would know that we were waiting for him, and we could have signed him a year earlier, but we made an agreement with his Head Coach in Minnesota that we would leave him alone because he wanted to come back to win a National Championship, which I thought was great so we saved our money for that year but we ponied it up because we knew we were going to get him the following year. He was motivated by the dollar, he wasn’t a wrestling fan but he kind of thought that the lifestyle – guys like me and you may not have the benefits that Brock Lesnar gets, but if I could be Brock Lesnar, I’m in. I’ll take that deal, but the roster was big and we looked at it, and I always said that the key element, or trait for any talent that I ever signed was reliability.
“I don’t care if you are the greatest high flyer, or the biggest biceps, whatever your trade might be, if you aren’t reliable then I can’t use you because I don’t know if you are going to be here or not. Are you going to play? Are you going to be here early? Do you want to get better? Or, are you happy with your little midcard job making six-figures plus and don’t want any pressure or ruffle anybody’s feathers and decide that you don’t want to be the main eventer. I never wanted to hire anybody that didn’t have the dream of headlining a WrestleMania. Why would the Steelers ever draft a player that didn’t want to play in a Super Bowl? Why would you want that guy? I wouldn’t want that guy in my locker room. I don’t want a midcard, bottom feeder. Anybody can be a preliminary guy, but we are looking for main eventers, and all of a sudden you get that great competition in the locker room; you have deeper cards, and I think it’s the wave of the future.
“What they are doing in the Performance Center is really phenomenal. We have to develop new stars. Not everyone can come from Ring of Honor, or any other Independent federation it might be; they have to be able to find enough totally green new guys, totally new and I think they are doing a good job with that so I am a big advocate that the Performance Center gives me hope for the future in WWE. Here’s the other deal: you get the program, you last for a while and if you don’t make it you go out in the world like Drew Galloway. Drew Galloway didn’t get to where he wanted to be in the first run, he is now, and he will now.”
On whether or not Vince McMahon had any issues writing the foreword to his new book: “Absolutely not. Even when Vince let me go on September 11th, 2013, I got let go and we did that about five minutes and then we spent half hour shooting the breeze. Not a raised voice, not a curse word, nothing. I knew that he had to do what he had to do, and I knew that I had made an error judgement, but I knew that my drinking scenario had been misreported. I put myself in that position and I am a big boy and took it like a man. I walked out with my head held high, he gave me a big hug. We were never separated; Vince and I would text each other off and on the entire time I wasn’t working there.
“He and I are friends and have a lot of things in common. Neither of us were supposed to be in the wrestling business. His dad didn’t want him in the business and my parents didn’t even know how to get to Tulsa, Oklahoma much less getting in the wrestling business, so hell, we have a lot of things in common. He used to kid that, ‘If people only knew JR that me and you are just a couple of rednecks.’ He’s right; he’s a North Carolina redneck and I am a Oklahoma redneck so we got along fine, but we are just so strong in our opinions that we didn’t always agree, but I always knew how to communicate with the Chairman and I felt like and out of respect, and like he said, you have to know your audience. I learned so much from him and I am glad to be back. I still communicate with him. If I see something on television that jumps out at me, good or bad, I will let him know. It’s just an opinion, just feedback. He doesn’t ask for it, but afterwards he thanks me.”
Check out the complete Jim Ross interview from the “Wrestling Reality with Justin LaBar” podcast by clicking here.