SK Exclusive: WWE legend Jim Ross on WrestleMania, NJPW & much more
We, here at Sportskeeda, recently had the chance to speak with the one and only good ol' JR, also known as WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross. We spoke with Jim about a range of topics including his Slobberknocker Sessions show in New Orleans, which you can get tickets to here, as well as MMA, New Japan, his future shows with Jerry Lawler & so much more. You can catch the entire interview below.
On WrestleMania week:
“I love being around the fans, in any environment. I also enjoy the opportunity to pick their brains, which is why I only have 100 tickets available [for Slobberknocker Sessions on Friday]. I enjoy the whole WrestleMania experience, it’s really evolved amazingly. Seeing where it’s gone from being in a regular arena, like in Hartford, to stadiums and domes, it’s pretty awe-inspiring, to say the least.”
On New Japan & crediting WWE:
“I think fans like ‘new’. They like to anticipate new things. With a niche brand like New Japan, it isn’t surprising that they’re on the radar because they’ve got a good product. I think WWE’s footprint has helped the entire wrestling world in bettering themselves. There’s a lot of companies that are gonna have a big weekend in New Orleans coming up, including myself, thanks to WWE drawing a huge crowd due to WrestleMania. It’s a phenomenon. They don’t get the credit they deserve sometimes.”
On the key to success as a commentator:
“The key thing is to discover who you are and be that person. The more authentic one can be, I believe, the more successful they will become. Wrestling fans are very intelligent nowadays, they’ve always had a keen sense of the genre and the uniqueness of it. I think that the fans understand what’s going on, and they should be respected more by a lot of guys.”
On fans not enjoying Michael Cole:
“Fans today have a unique voice, and they’re very willing to share it on social media. Michael works his ass off. He’s a good family man, he’s a company man, he works diligently to do his job. I respect him for all those things. I’ve always liked him, he’s a good dude, and folks won’t understand that. They only judge him for his television persona, rightly or wrongly. It’s kind of frustrating.
When Michael Cole came on the scene, he was replacing me. Without sounding so overwhelmingly egotistic, that was challenging for him, because I was what the audience was accustom to. Let’s not forget I had 19 years of establishing my body of work before I got to WWE at WrestleMania 9. I felt bad in a lot of ways for that, but there’s nothing I can do. Michael knows he does good work, and it’s a tough job right now.”
On the criticism of his NJPW work:
“A minority of the New Japan fanbase, the hardcores, they wanted me to die! I don’t know what you say about that. I can’t do anything about it, it’s silly. It’s a god damn wrestling match. Get over yourself. Get out of the basement, and go make friends. Nobody can ever debate that I did not provide effort, my heart was in the right place. If my style doesn’t fit your taste, then that is your prerogative. But nobody can say accurately that I was ill-prepared, or that I phoned it in. That don't happen in my world.”
On the future:
“A lot of cool things are coming up, and you just can’t stop thinking, man. You’ve got to continue to evolve and grow. The thing is, for me, is that if you allow yourself to dwell in your ‘comfort zone’ then it’ll end up beating your ass up. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Most people don’t want to think of it in those terms, but the bottom line is it’s a fact.
Whether it’s your relationship, or your job, whatever it may be – if you’re not growing, you’re dying. I ain’t ready for that yet, I don’t wanna retreat. Even though I realise that I’m on my ‘back nine’ on the golf course, I get it, but it doesn’t scare me a damn bit. I’ve got a lot to give, a lot of experiences to have, and one of the great things is having this amazing audience of fans who believe in what I’m doing. As long as my fan base gives a damn, then I sure as heck will be good with that.”
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