Early on in the interview, Ross was asked about how it feels for him to be getting started in a new promotion. While the illustrious commentator has worked in many different companies throughout his career, his time in WWE is what cemented him as a legend within the industry.
“I’m very excited about where it’s going to go because it’s a new journey for me. I want to go into it with a little chip on my shoulder because I’m sure there are some internet fans out there who were never exposed to my work in the NWA or Mid South or any of those companies. It was just before their time.
And then the WWE stopped using me to any significant degree around 2008 or 2009 and I went from being a starter to a relief pitcher. Then I went from being a relief pitcher to a closer.
I had two bookings last year. I sat home. I went to Saudi Arabia then I went to New York for Raw 25. I can’t live that way. I’m not ready to retire. I don’t play golf, I don’t fish, I don’t hunt. When it’s not OU football season, I’m looking for something to do.”
JR’s lack of usage in WWE evidently played a role in his decision to look elsewhere for work. It’s unfortunate as Ross still has a lot left in the tank and it’ll be seen at Double or Nothing and on the rest of AEW Televison as well.
When asked about if he was given any reasons for his workload being cut in WWE, JR still isn’t entirely sure.
“I’ve always had a little bit of creative freedom to express myself. Over time WWE kind of reeled that back in, I guess they had some of that research or it was due to personal philosophy, I don’t have a clue, but most of them don’t understand wrestling — they are in administration there.
They are great marketers, they’ve got some brilliant, brilliant people in WWE, no doubt about it, but I think some of the key decisions are being made without an inordinate amount of product knowledge, which is not going to make them happy to hear, but that’s the way I look at it. Vince could do better by surrounding himself with a different kind of consultant or writer or creative people or whatever.”
JR would be asked about his negotiations with Vince and how the two parties mutually agreed it was time to part ways.
“I’ve tried to represent our business in an admirable and honorable way since 1974. I got taken out of the game by the coaches and the team’s decision, of which I didn’t agree with.
So what do you do? Well, you can b—- all year, or you can do what you’re signed to do and when the opportunity comes, like I did here, my contract expired and he and I agreed we’re not even going to negotiate to extend it. To negotiate to do the same thing I’d been doing is something I could not live with.”
Working in a new promotion, it’s important for JR to know everybody on the roster. It goes deeper than just knowing names, though, and this is something JR evidently takes very seriously.
“Number one, we need to get to know everybody. Some of the talents I do know. Some of the talents like Cody, Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks, Hangman Page were all at New Japan when I was working those three years with AXS TV, so I’m very familiar with their work. But I will tell you there’s a lot of brand new talent that are going to be on this roster that I don’t know.
And here’s what you do — I don’t do it any different from anybody else. You roll your sleeves up and you go to work. You watch matches.
That’s why guys like Alex Marvez and Excalibur and I are going to be very well prepared. Alex is a prep freak. Excalibur knows a lot of these guys much better than either of us. Between the three of our skill sets, we’ll have a great scouting report on all of the talent and we will prepare even more diligently for the show we are going to do in Vegas on May 25.”
JR would also discuss how he doesn’t want to head talent relations as he did in WWE, the death of his wife Jan, balancing the value of wins against entertainment and more. The full interview can be found here.