Recently, current AEW announcer and advisor Jim Ross recently stated the following on today's wrestling business during his Grilling JR Podcast, as transcribed and reported late last week on NoDQ:
"That evolution of the business is bulls**t. Yes, they should be protected. The DDT is a finish. The superkick is just a part of the flow of the match (now). Nobody wins with it. What does that say to you? Does that say guys back in the day were more proficient delivering a DDT or a superkick than in this generation where ‘things are evolving’? I want some proof of that s**t. I want somebody to prove to me that the changing of the wrestling business is what it is today and it’s making a difference. I say no. I told a kid the other day at AEW that everybody does the same f***ing spot. All you guys go outside. You cluster up like coils (or quails?). You stand there in a huddle, friends and foes together, side by side so you can catch some leaping idiot going over the top who never wins with this move. They are looking for the “holy s**t chant. They love to hear ‘this is awesome’. It’s a spot folks. It’s a trapeze act. I don’t buy into that. The DDT is a great finish and should be used as such."
First of all, I 100% agree with Jim Ross on his quote and he is a veteran of the wrestling business since 1974. 46 years in the wrestling business and that's longer than most AEW wrestlers have existed. Today's wrestling, both AEW and WWE have major problems and I believe that it's a combination of management, lack of veterans teaching younger wrestlers, lack of creative minds, and being too corporate.
Given that this statement seems to be loaded with AEW criticisms, as the perception is that AEW is guilty of many of the things that Ross is saying... Should this be something that Jim Ross should say on his Podcast or behind closed doors in a meeting with company President Tony Khan and the 4 EVPs of the company (Cody Rhodes, Young Bucks, Kenny Omega). Behind closed doors, NOBODY but upper management is there to listen... But on a Podcast that is FREE to download and listen to by anyone... That could cause trouble.
Today's younger generation of wrestlers are a tad bit sensitive to criticisms and AEW's veterans (Jericho in particular) and the EVPs (all 4 of them) have rabbit ears to any criticism. The Young Bucks quit Twitter for a while and block about anyone who remotely criticizes them.
I believe that Jim Ross's mention of the Superkick will be taken wrongly by the Young Bucks and that could lead to his potential demise with All Elite Wrestling. Ross reportedly has a 3 year deal with AEW which would expire during April 2022 but contracts can be negotiated for an exit. Provided that I know this style of wrestling isn't Ross's "cup of tea", it might be time to consider moving on. These words will upset the younger culture in AEW and I'm willing to bet that Ross, as an advisor, will be alienated from assisting with any decision making if the Young Bucks have a say internally.
And it just so happens that the WWE and Vince McMahon needs Jim Ross BADLY right now.
WWE's biggest weaknesses right now are its TALENT and DEVELOPMENT OF TALENT.
Triple H just isn't getting it done, period. He has been the Talent EVP since mid-2012 and has yet to develop a top drawing superstar. Don't say the Shield or any member of the Nexus... Those were all John Laurinaitis signings... Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose (Triple H lost him, by the way), Rusev (Triple H lost him, by the way), and Bray Wyatt. Those guys were all signed by John Laurinaitis and each spent time working in Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) before a Performance Center was built and NXT was formed.
Who does he have? Maybe Braun Strowman? He's been OK, though he has choked in big Main Event spots (see Brock Lesnar). But do you remember when he ripped on Indy wrestlers complaining about COVID-19 shutting everything down and how Braun "paid his dues" at the WWE Developmental Center. Remember that? And yeah, the AJ Styles signing was great but Styles was a highly talented veteran. How did Anderson, Gallows, and Nakamura work out again?
His claim to fame is the Women's Division... It's much easier to recruit for the Women's Division as there is a lack of Pro Sports for women compared to men. For example, Charlotte Flair was a College volleyball player but there really isn't a good volleyball league that draws to play in after college. UFC pulls great women athletes, but even that is limited because 1 loss or two typically ends UFC careers. Ask Ronda Rousey who later joined the WWE for a career opportunity. For the Women's division, though, Dusty Rhodes was heavily involved in the early training of the women, as most top women cite Dusty as a major influence... Meanwhile, NXT has been blessed with having Sara Del Rey as its lead trainer. She was a Triple H hire and thus I'll give credit where it's due...
However, if we're going to give Triple H credit for hiring Sara Del Rey for the Women, he needs to own the installation of Matt Bloom (formerly Prince Albert, A-Train, Lord Tensai in WWE). He has NOT been a good Lead Trainer for the WWE since March 2015. The male division are not being taught how to cut promos, how to incorporate psychology into matches, and the simple concept of "less is more". Instead, bad Indy habits are not being filtered and Bloom is allowing and teaching high spots at the Performance Center. While flashy matches used to make for fun Takeover events about 4 times per year, it is completely exposing the NXT brand with weekly 2 hour shows on the USA Network. Triple H has also tried to use Shawn Michaels as a teacher but some of the all-time greats are so naturally gifted at what they do that they are unable to explain or teach. Many of the best coaches in Pro Sports were guys who sat on the bench and didn't have the physical gifts as the top talents but they had the minds to figure things out.
The talent signings of Triple H are questionable... Much of NXT consists of guys 5'10" and 200 pounds when soaking wet. He has mostly been lazy on his recruiting and just picking off Indy promotions with loose affiliations with the WWE.
Recently, there were reports of Vince McMahon being upset at the larger wrestlers and wanting them to return to the Performance Center for additional training. Funny how this news report appeared quickly to the Wrestling Observer newsletter... I wonder who leaked that? Since mid 2012, we have NOT heard a single word about Triple H as the Talent Relations EVP. If you read that same Observer newsletter, you heard endless complaints about both Jim Ross and John Laurinaitis as apparently leaked by wrestlers. After all, the guy who signs wrestlers and then completes the payroll is usually under heavy scrutiny in the WWE. We heard lots of noise on Jim and John but NOTHING on Triple H in this Talent Relations EVP role.
The NXT developmental system, since Triple H took over during mid 2012, has NOT given Vince McMahon any legitimate top drawing main eventers. Guys that were sort of close, but I would suggest that with the roster eroding so much after the exits of John Cena and CM Punk, nobody has come close to giving the WWE star power. In the end, Vince McMahon has to rely on Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton constantly to bail him out in spots.
Oh, you think that Triple H is responsible for Drew McIntyre? I guess that you forget that he was initially signed by John Laurinaitis and trained within the FCW system.
How is Finn Balor working out? Oh yeah, he's BACK in NXT... That one is definitely a Triple H signing.
And then, to make matters worse at NXT, Pat McAfee walks into Takeover and makes the ENTIRE ROSTER look bad by outworking them with some training provided to him by former Ohio Valley Wrestling lead trainer Rip Rogers... Ah yes, Rip Rogers, who was training guys like John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Shelton Benjamin, and Batista along with Jim Cornette and Danny Davis... Jim Ross was the Talent Relations guy signing talent and sending them to Ohio Valley Wrestling to be trained by competent hands. Ross also had help from Gerald Brisco scouting athletes throughout the country, particularly amateur wrestlers.
Pat McAfee PROVES that the Ohio Valley Wrestling system of the late 1990s and first half of hte 2000s model with Jim Ross signing talents and Cornette/Davis/Rogers were there to book and train them WORKED. THIS is the way to build talent for your future. A great wrestling mind with Jim Ross with a perfect eye for talent and then legitimate veteran guys training wrestlers how to properly and safely work a match. Meanwhile, you had someone like Jim Cornette, who is an ALL TIME promo guy, teaching wrestlers how to talk.
It was a perfect system and Pat McAfee training with one of them, Rip Rogers, proves that.
Triple H failing to replicate the success of Jim Ross as Talent Relations EVP also proves that.
If I were in Vince McMahon's shoes, I would want to REPLICATE what Jim Ross and Davis/Cornette/Rogers created with Ohio Valley Wrestling as a developmental territory. And re-creating this isn't that hard to do...
If I were Vince, I would swallow my pride and do whatever it takes to bring Jim Ross BACK to the WWE. Then, I would give Jim Ross a budget and a big staff of HIS CHOOSING. Give Ross resources to not strain himself while encouraging him to TEACH younger personnel how to recruit, develop, and mold wrestlers. Meanwhile, I would sell the Performance Center facility (prime real estate for someone in Florida) and maybe consider enlisting Al Snow's version of Ohio Valley Wrestling as the territory. Somewhere gritty and not as luxurious as the Performance Center to HUMBLE the talent and make them HUNGRY to want to be great.
And this can happen if both Vince McMahon and Jim Ross want it.
As I mentioned, Vince just has to swallow his pride and admit that his Son-in-Law, Triple H is struggling to recruit and develop talent. THAT'S OK, as Triple H can concentrate on working Live Events as that is a demanding job. Also swallow pride on the biggest mistake that Vince ever made by demoting Jim Ross from Talent Relations VP during 2004.
Then, on Jim Ross's end, if there was ever a scenario where Vince would want him back, he could easily get out of that AEW contract by continuing to talk on his Grilling JR podcast. More shoot conversations, baby... This will cause a line of wrestlers outside of Tony Khan's office and it would force his hand.
See, here is my OPINION on the Attitude Era... Vince McMahon was at his BEST when he had the perfect management staff surrounding him during the 1990s. The beauty of these guys were that most of them weren't YES MEN to Vince... Obviously, Jim Ross was with Talent Relations and bringing in Steve Austin and Mick Foley along with recruiting various younger talents helped the WWE after WCW raided them of key talents. Vince Russo joined the Creative Team during 1996 and changed the tone of the WWE to a more adult themed program. Jim Cornette also joined the creative team during 1996 and added logic to storylines and created a pipeline of talent to join the WWE from his Smokey Mountain Wrestling days. Pat Patterson, with Ross in charge of talent and Russo in charge of Creative, could focus on in-ring storytelling and creative finishes. Gerald Brisco was great backstage as an agent and helped Ross with recruiting. Kevin Dunn could just focus on TV production and wasn't relied on more for his creative opinions, which happened later on. Bruch Prichard could just sit in on production meetings and provide ideas without any pressure of being a Creative lead.
Vince McMahon had a DREAM TEAM in place and THAT is what made the WWE win the Monday Night Wars. WCW didn't have a superior management team in place, as it was Eric Bischoff and a handful of wrestling veterans with their own agendas. Meanwhile, the talent overtook the prison thanks to creative power granted in their overpriced contracts.
What happened next was sad... A burned out Vince Russo approached Vince McMahon about working too many hours and wanting to spend more time with his family. Remember, this was during the Fall of 1999 with WWE Smackdown looming and RAW going live weekly (I think). He was burned out but Vince McMahon didn't care about his family concerns. This caused Russo to consider better money and better schedules with WCW. Could you imagine if Vince McMahon was more thoughtful and considerate? "Hey Russo, I understand... We're printing money at the WWE now and we can hire you a bigger staff! Thanks to your work, here is an EVP title to oversee a Creative Team. Great work pal!".
Next, Jim Ross... Ross tried to be Talent EVP while being an announcer at the same time. It thinned him out... Vince's response to this was grooming John Laurinaitis to eventually take his job and by surprise, John was given his job one day during 2004 by surprise. Instead of giving a former WCW officer who didn't quite help that promotion out during 2000-2001 an important WWE role, why not give Jim Ross more resources and a bigger staff? Why couldn't Vince appreciate the assets of Brock Lesnar, Batista, John Cena, and Randy Orton to want to want MORE of this? He should have given Jim Ross a bigger staff of employees to manage and also more support of the Ohio Valley Wrestling promotion who was grooming talent perfectly. And yes, Vince would need to agree that the Boogeyman was a stupid idea and Santino deserved getting slapped for laughing at it openly.
Vince McMahon's biggest downfall is treating his management staff like CRAP by overworking them and under-appreciating them while giving free passes to his family to fail. Stephanie McMahon was TERRIBLE as Creative Lead from late 2000 through late 2013 and Triple H hasn't been strong on creative since late 2013. Meanwhile, Triple H has struggled to produce stars as the Talent EVP for the WWE since mid-2012. Also, Shane McMahon wants to be a wrestler and does stupid stunts trying to live out his dream. How does Vince McMahon let his own flesh & blood take dangerous bumps like that? Is he not concerned for his health? He's a total enabler by allowing Shane to kill himself in the ring.
And then Vince likes having guys like Kevin Dunn and Bruce Prichard around to say "YES" to every bad idea that pops into Vince's head. Seriously, Bruce has been in charge of Creative for most of 2020... What has he done?!?
Jim Ross is the BEST wrestling mind that the Pro Wrestling Business has ever seen, PERIOD. He has the sharpest eye for talent and even when WCW had a revolving door of bad creative teams during the very early 1990s, those rosters were LOADED with guys that Jim Ross hand picked. Then, he joins the WWE as an announcer during 1993 and within a few years, takes over as Talent Relations manager. Lose Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, Roddy Piper, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, 1-2-3 Kid, and eventually Bret Hart... NO PROBLEM. I'll just sign Mick Foley and Steve Austin to deals while signing younger kids like the Rock, the Hardys, Edge, Christian, and many others to deals while also recruiting the Dudleys to join. And Kurt Angle... And then scouting and signing Cena, Batista, Lesnar, and Orton.
WWE has done nothing but erode since 2004, when they demoted Ross as Talent Relations EVP, and to this day, they are still reliant on past Jim Ross signings to carry them. Seriously, the WWE may go 2 consecutive Wrestlemania events with Randy Orton vs. Edge. Think about that... Those are 2 guys that Ross signed and the WWE is still reliant on them to perform at a high level.
Swallow your pride, Vince McMahon, and start to realize what SAVED you from losing to WCW and what has SUSTAINED your business. Where would you be without Steve Austin and Mick Foley joining your promotion as Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were leaving? How would you survive without the Ohio Valley Wrestling "Class of 2002" (Cena, Lesnar, Batista, Orton) constantly bailing you out when Laurinaitis or Triple H's recruits cannot cut it?
Triple H just isn't cutting it as Talent EVP... Proof is out there right now without DULL the NXT show is on USA Network and how talents from NXT struggle badly on the bigger WWE stage.
The Internet needs to STOP acting like Vince McMahon no longer knows about wrestling. That man built a wrestling empire that still sits on top to this very day. Even with a weaker WWE roster right now, he has still convinced Comcast and FOX to send him $2 Billion over the next 5 years as President/CEO and Board Chairman.
For All Elite Wrestling, they need to swallow their pride and have a closed door discussion with Jim Ross. Once they clear the air with him, start actually using him as an ADVISOR which is part of his job title. Obviously from the looks of your car crash product, you are NOT listening to him. You should... If you want to beat the WWE, you need to develop new talent that the world hasn't seen... Jim Ross can help you achieve that if Tony and his stubborn EVPs would just seek his advice. Obviously they haven't and that is probably part of the friction seen in Jim's recent podcast.
If you don't care to have him as an advisor, then what's the point of signing him to a 3 year deal that probably has big dollar signs attached to it? He's a great announcer but you are paying him to do other things. LISTEN to him instead of hearing him say it on a Podcast out of frustration. Otherwise, more criticisms are coming and the morale of your AEW locker room towards him will keep souring.
WWE needs someone like Jim Ross to oversee the eroded talent base. Wrestlers are tired, frustrated, and burned out on the WWE roster. They cannot improve because of their weak training by Matt Bloom and maybe Shawn Michaels. Triple H just isn't a good talent recruiter, either. Having open sessions at the Performance Center is just lazy... Have you ever watched American Idol or the Voice? Outside of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and a few others during the early seasons, those shows have NOT generated superstar talents. Especially NBC's The Voice. Nothing has ever come out of that show. Triple H needs to realize that recruiting means searching and scouting the entire country for unique athletes that could be molded into wrestlers. For example, Brock Lesnar and Shelton Benjamin were heavily scouted for their College amateur wrestling.
If Jim Ross could ever get out of his AEW deal, WWE should welcome him back with open arms to reclaim the Talent Developmental system. Give Ross a big staff of people to organize and teach. You need MORE people like Jim Ross helping you manage the WWE, not less. You need less of Triple H's way on developing talent, obviously. Just look at the last 10 years.
If Vince McMahon is interested in bringing back Jim Ross, I would hope that he steps up his AEW criticisms to make it happen.
Make Jim Ross a WWE Board Member, too. He is the greatest mind to ever work for a pro wrestling organization ever. Period.
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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