WWE Hall of Famer and now Fox Sports 1 boxing commentator Jim Ross spoke with USA Today on a wide range of topics from his relationship with Vince McMahon to Stephanie McMahon and Triple H leadership, to his new ventures that include commentary and live shows.
The interview starts off describing what fans can expect from his live stage shows and how they differ from his insights on his podcasts and blogs:
What I do on these live shows is basically take the wrestling fans — either today’s fans, or fans that have become disconnected for whatever reason over the years — on my journey. I believe that my journey is one of the more unique careers that anybody’s ever had in the business.
What makes it different than my podcasts or blogs is that I actually get to interact one-on-one with a live human being — not somebody emailing, texting, or tweeting me — and that’s the most enjoyable part of my shows.
Now that he is out of the WWE, JR’s play-by-play commentary skills are brought to a different ring, the boxing ring. He discusses his preparation for Fox Sports 1 for the boxing call:
I’m doing the same basic preparation that I was getting ready to do a WWE PPV event, and the same thing that I did when I was preparing for XFL and NFL broadcasts — I’m doing a lot of reading on the fighters, I’m reaching out to people in the boxing world to give me feedback on the fighters, and making use of the huge amount of online information out there.
His opinion of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon leading the WWE:
I think they’re going to be great leaders because they have an inherent love and understanding of the genre. I don’t think anyone can lead WWE without understanding the two key components of talent and television.
This is not like a job for them — it’s not like going to a headhunter and hiring an executive. This is their life, and I’ll take my chances any day with somebody who has that kind of passion in managing a company.
Reflecting on some of his time at the WWE announcers booth, Ross discusses the unfair criticism of today’s announcers and the strict guidelines they have to adhere to. McMahon wants things a certain way. He goes on to talk about his relationship and career with Vince and why he isn’t in the company:
Sometimes, Vince didn’t share my timing, obviously, so he would tell me not to yell at the audience.
He may have been right on some of those occasions, and I think that sometimes I was right. That was my style. That was how I worked. I presented the product with a little bit of gusto, and a little bit more fuel in my tank.
I don’t think that my yelling was the reason, per se – I was there 20 years. I had done everything from broadcasting to administration to becoming an executive vice president. I had a lot of health issues that had to be addressed, or I wouldn’t be here talking to you right now. It was time that I needed to get away from the weekly grind of travel, and the pressure with my job description, and I was not the type of guy who was going to take myself out of the game.
It’s a very insightful, interesting read. The full USA Today article can be seen here.
[h/t] ewrestlingnews.com and USA Today