Business has picked up.
This week Jim Ross did an excellent interview with ESPN spanning a wide range of topics. The veteran pro wrestling voice talked his time with WWE, his new role with AEW, and his general excitement to be on the ground floor of an upstart pro wrestling company.
Then Ross slipped in a subtle jab at his former employer and this single quote about WWE will now be dissected and analyzed from every angle humanly possible. One quote, in what reads like a passing sentence where Ross is asked why his workload with WWE was cut back significantly over the past few years.
You can read Ross’ words about WWE’s creative power structure 100 times, and interpret them in 100 different ways.
“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.”
Ross echoes a lot of what many already feel, that WWE at times micromanages their talent to the point where creative ideas are often sacrificed. The pro wrestling lifer also makes it clear that WWE is filled with brilliant people but not necessarily wrestling people.
Not pulling punches during the interview, you also got the sense that both JR and WWE ended their working relationship on good terms. Looking to do more than what WWE could offer at the time, Ross added he and McMahon agreed they would not renegotiate his contract once it expired.
“I just felt like my time was passing by after Jan got killed in March 2017. I had to make a lot of changes or I was just going to be a story. A sad story. And I wasn’t ready for that, nor will I ever be ready for that. I went through a lot of depression. I had to get out of the house. I talked to Vince McMahon about this multiple times. He understood. If anybody can understand wanting to live your dream and continuing to have fun and do what you were brought here to do professionally, it’s him. He’s 73 years old and still on TV getting beat up. So why would I be any different? Why should I be any different? I think going to work for AEW is going to extend my life. I may be overdramatic, but I believe that. I’m happier, I’m active and involved. I got a purpose and a destination. So for me I look at AEW as a lifesaver.”
Check out the rest of the Jim Ross interview here.