Jim Ross is full of praise for his former broadcast partners Jim Cornette and Jesse Ventura, despite both men being enemies of Vince McMahon. Photo via upload.wikimedia.org.
It's not every day that you see two of Vince McMahon's enemies lavished with praise on WWE.com, but mark your calendars, as that once in a blue moon occurrence happened yesterday on July 3rd, 2012. Jim Ross, known as a straight shooter who is willing to touch on topics most wouldn't have the balls to do so, put over his former broadcast partners Jim Cornette and Jesse Ventura in his most recent article for the WWE Classics website.
The kind words for Cornette, like saying that he was "one of the most talented antagonist broadcasters that I ever worked with", are unsurprising, as it is well known that they are best of friends in real life. Cornette gave Ross a much needed job as an announcer for Smoky Mountain Wrestling after he was fired by the WWF in February 1994 shortly after contracting Bell's palsy for the first time. They also worked closely together when Cornette was the head of WWE's developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, and Ross was still WWE's Executive Vice President of Talent Relations.
However, since Cornette was fired by WWE in July 2005 for one backstage temper outburst too many, slapping Santino Marella repeatedly after he failed to react in the manner Cornette wanted to in an angle with The Boogeyman, he's become one of WWE's most outspoken critics, while WWE has downplayed his historical impact and treated him as a figure of ridicule.
Ross even managed to slip in a not-so-veiled dig at their most ardent detractor, Kevin Dunn, WWE's EVP of Television Production, who wanted them both off WWF TV in the late 1990s:
I'm grateful that J.C. and I came along when we did on the national scene at TBS, because in today's marketplace we would seen as "too southern" to be a broadcast duo.
It should be noted that Cornette once made fun of Dunn's teeth and threatened to "beat the fuck" out of him after being called "tiresome" by Dunn in a WWF production meeting in July 1997.
More about Ventura after the jump.
Ross was open that he didn't have great chemistry with Jesse Ventura in WCW in 1992, but placed the blame on his own shoulders for being jealous of Ventura's much fatter announcing contract:
As a result of Jesse being hired to work a very limited schedule for big money, there were issues that I will readily admit that I did not embrace. I was happy Ventura got a big money deal, but I wasn't happy that I was doing much more work, serving as VP of broadcasting, working on the creative committee and hosting multiple hours of TV per week while earning less than half of Jesse's pay. Was the future Governor of Minnesota and WWE Hall of Famer twice as good as me? Perhaps he was, but even with JR's BBQ Sauce poured on that particular corporate dish, it didn't taste good.
So, as a result of the politics that many of us endured in WCW in 1992 it was, to put it mildly, not a good year professionally for the "Baron of BBQ." I was hopeful that Jesse and I could form a great broadcasting team and that we could somehow approach the magic that Ventura had with Vince McMahon and the late Gorilla Monsoon in The Body's WWE years, but that did not happen, at least in my opinion.
It wasn't that we were horrible. We certainly weren't, but I expected so much more from our ringside partnership. Perhaps my expectations were too high or I simply wasn't a good fit with Jesse.
Ventura is another big star who has been marginalised in WWE history at times thanks to his love hate relationship with Vince McMahon and is currently persona non grata again for his failure to support Linda McMahon's senate bid:
I haven't spoken to Vince since he got mad at me ‘cause I wouldn't endorse Linda for the senate... He got mad at me because I was on Good Morning America or something and they asked me would you support Linda McMahon? And I said no. But let me explain, I don't support any Democrats or Republicans. She's running as a Republican and I don't support anyone from those two parties no matter who they are and so it was nothing personal against Linda, but Vince got real mad at me that I said that on national TV, but he should've known better.
Of course, Ventura may still be miffed that Vince failed to return his phone calls about backing him for President as an independent candidate in 2008, which he wanted to announce at that year's WrestleMania.