Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) is perhaps best known for it's time as a developmental territory for WWE from 2000 to 2008. At the time, this was WWE's first fully fledged attempt at creating a developmental system to help scout, recruit and train future WWE Superstars.
During that time, OVW helped produce and train some of the biggest future Superstars in WWE history. OVW helped train stars such as John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton and Batista among others. The list of OVW alumni reads as a who's who of WWE Hall of Fame worthy talent.
During a recent episode of the Grilling Jr podcast, former WWE Executive Vice President of Talent Relations Jim Ross explained that it was his idea to implement a developmental system in WWE and discussed pitching the idea to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon:
"He trusted me. This is not a revelational thing that we have to get better, we have to evolve, and develop new stars. People love new; wrestling fans specifically love new. I knew they would be taught right. The talents would be taught responsibility and with respect." (h/t Wrestling INC)
Brock Lesnar as the head of the OVW ring crew
One of the biggest superstars to come out of OVW during the 2000s is former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar.
Continuing to discuss WWE's affiliation with OVW as a developmental territory, Jim Ross revealed that Brock Lesnar was the head of the ring crew in OVW. JR explained that it allowed The Beast to learn different aspects of the professional wrestling business:
"He liked hauling things, he liked being the supervisor. It taught him responsibility. There's more to this stuff than just showing up and doing an F5. Everybody there had a job. Our ring crew was bad ass." (h/t Wrestling INC)
JR on Jim Cornette's responsibilities in OVW and WWE
A name synonymous with OVW, especially during the promotion's affiliation with WWE, is Jim Cornette.
In addition to Jim Ross, Cornette helped broker the relationship between WWE and OVW to become a developmental system for the Sports Entertainment giant. Jim Cornette would purchase a stake in OVW, as well as become it's show writer and head booker during this time.
JR revealed that while he was in his position as Executive Vice President of Talent Relations, he would let Cornette do whatever he pleased with OVW because he trusted his ability to maximise a talent's potential:
"We had the same agenda, and the agenda was to produce new talents, Cornette and I had the same philosophy. I knew that if I kept him away from Vince in corporate meetings, kept him away from Kevin Dunn, that we had a chance to keep Cornette on the hook. I wanted to take advantage of his teaching. I let him coach his team. I never one time said, 'I want this guy to be a baby face, this guy to be a heel.' It wasn't my place to do that and there's no sense in it." (h/t Wrestling INC)
"Let the guys who are there every day with these talents everyday make those decisions. Unless you're there everyday in practice and see how they work, how do you make those decisions?" (h/t Wrestling INC)