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During early 2019, I was kicking back at the retirement home, not expecting to give a damn about pro wrestling at all… Then, All Elite Wrestling (AEW) was formed and I was like “wow”… However, as time wore on, I became worried… I saw some similar patterns to TNA’s formation, I was worried about naming wrestlers as Executive Vice Presidents, was wondering where revenue streams would come from, among other things. During March, I actually wrote a column that rough on AEW that I pondered for days to post… But I didn’t.
That’s because AEW officially signed Jim Ross to a contract.
And not just to be their play-by-play announcer, but as a “Senior Advisor”.
I was ready to be an short-seller AEW and now I’m buying more stock.
Jim Ross is exactly what the Khan family needs to properly run All Elite Wrestling (AEW). If you look at their Jacksonville Jaguars NFL operation, they needed help after purchasing the franchise and enlisted former Jags/Giants coach Tom Coughlin to help them. 2 seasons ago, the Jags were on the brink of making and possibly winning the Super Bowl with the “Sacksonville” defense that Coughlin helped build. In my opinion, a veteran and intelligent mind is what TNA has lacked.
The more baffling thing is how the WWE has just discarded Jim Ross… They allowed him to step away from administrative duties during the mid-2000s, particularly allowing John Laurinaitis assume Ross’s role as VP/EVP of Talent Relations. The developmental territories that Ross built went from being loaded with well trained talent to struggling to restock the WWE with quality talent for years to come. WWE releasing Ross a few years ago for the Ric Flair‘s antics surrounding an appearance for a video game was insane as well. Jim Ross should be the key advisor to Vince McMahon AND he should be a member of the WWE Corporation’s Board of Directors.
I STRONGLY recommend that ANY wrestling fan read Jim Ross‘s book, Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling which you can read my Review by CLICKING HERE. It is a thorough explanation of how the pro wrestling industry should work and how Jim Ross gained valuable experience when working for Mid South under Bill Watts and how he was able to spread that knowledge plus his own unique ideas to World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and World Wreslting Federation (WWF, later WWE) years later.
What makes Jim Ross GREAT and valuable backstage are the following:
(a) He treats and respects pro wrestling like a sport. He announces wrestling like it is a serious sporting even and he acquires and develops talent like a farm system.
(b) He can do “more with less”. Look at all of those WCW castaways that he acquired when working with WWE during the late 1990s. WCW didn’t want Steve Austin or Mick Foley but Ross not only signed both, but sold them to the WWE as potential stars. He was doubted heavily on Mick Foley and yet with time, Foley became one of Vince McMahon’s favorite stars.
(c) He is pragmatic with company bosses. Jim Ross had to deal with Jim Herd in WCW, whom many people have criticized, and the very demanding Vince McMahon in WWE. Remember, WWE was having problems creatively and developing talent during the mid 1990s. Ross became the head of talent relations and had more say backstage and suddenly WWE became very competitive to eventually reclaim the #1 spot from WCW.
What Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, and the Young Bucks need is advice from a Senior Advisor on which talent to sign and the tone that their company needs to present to wrestling fans. Jim Ross not only has a wealth of experience, but he has the BEST experience out there on the market due to unique eye for talent.
Many of you used to mock me for constantly reciting the “Ohio Valley Wrestling – Class of 2002” in my columns. If you don’t know what that’s alluding to, before NXT and FCW were the developmental territories, WWE used Danny Davis and Jim Cornette’s Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) territory based out of Louisville. Jim Ross was VP of talent relations for the WWE and would send recruited talents there to train on in-ring stuff with Davis and promos/personality with Cornette. The likes of John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Batista, Shelton Benjamin, and Charlie Haas all trained in OVW and debuted with the WWE as talents during 2002. Through 2019, for example, 5 out of 6 of those wrestlers (everyone but Haas) are actually still wrestling for the WWE and most of them (besides Benjamin) are considered top Main Event stars.
I mostly began mentioning “OVW – Class of 2002” as a protest against EVP of Talent Relations at the time during the early 2010s, John Laurinaitis, because the WWE developmental system was struggling to reload the WWE with the right talent. But when Jim Ross was let go by the WWE during August 2013, I ramped up that “Class of 2002” rhetoric out of support for Jim Ross. After all, he’s the one who thought it would be a great idea to bring in amateur wrestlers like Brock Lesnar and Shelton Benjamin, a wrestler calling himself the “Prototype” named John Cena, generational talent named Randy Orton, and a physical freak named Batista. Not only that, but Jim Ross advised the WWE to let them train with Cornette and Davis at Ohio Valley Wrestling to be trained the RIGHT WAY and to respect the business.
But Jim Ross did that before in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) during the early 1990s… LOOK AT THAT ROSTER back then… Loaded with younger talent that would carry pro wrestling for the next 10-15 years. Problem with WCW was the managerial staff that Ted Turner installed, such as Jim Herd. I have yet to hear a single good word about Herd’s managerial style or creative ideas although Jim Ross is the only guy who doesn’t outright bash him. He has class… He probably knew that Herd was out of his element and probably had respect for the human being, unlike Flair, Cornette, or others that hated his guts. Ross’s creative and talent contributions must have been good enough in WCW from 1989-1992 because WCW’s bottom fell off during 1993 without Ross. Talent choices were a disaster (big contract to British Bulldog) and Eric Bischoff struggled badly in his first year. It wasn’t until Bischoff began massive talent raids that caused WCW to subsidize success from 1996-1997. But getting to 1996 was hard for Bischoff, especially 1993. WCW didn’t realize how much Ross kept things afloat.
Ross’s signings of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Mick Foley SAVED the WWE during the late 1990s. Not only that, but after Scott Hall and Kevin Nash joined WCW, Ross found ways to retain their best talent as the manager of Talent Relations. Several big names had contracts come up yet they stayed with WWE. Ross would make great signings like the Hardys, Edge/Christian, and then picking off the Dudleys from ECW to stock the tag team division for greatness during 1999-2001. Before Ohio Valley Wrestling, Ross was using several indy promotions as developmental territories to help someone like Kurt Angle get ready for his debut. Ross was very careful in his advising of those territories to train the wrestlers correctly on in-ring ability, psychology, promo cutting, personality, and other fundamental functions of pro wrestling.
And in my opinion, Jim Ross’s talent choices overcame bad to overrated Creative Teams… He had Jim Herd in WCW and with all due respect to Vince Russo late 1990s WWE success, he kind of struggled in WCW and TNA without Jim Ross giving him great talent to work with. In my opinion, his “Ohio Valley Wrestling – Class of 2002” SAVED the WWE from the awful WCW/ECW Invasion angle that weakened the WWE’s brand during 2001.
I’m baffled as to why the WWE didn’t use Jim Ross in an advisory role from 2004 through 2019. The AMAZING track record is right there for review, particularly on talent scouting and evaluation while pushing for simple fundamentals in pro wrestling to always be on display. Ross should be one of the key executives with the WWE to this day and if he can’t handle the workload, become a WWE Board Member. WWE needs his brain to help their company operate and find/train the right talent.
That is WWE’s loss and should be All Elite Wrestling (AEW)‘s gain. Having Ross and a veteran like Chris Jericho backstage to advise Cody/Omega/Bucks is definitely needed.
As you saw from last night’s WWE Monday Night RAW, the WWE is at a weak point. For the Post-Wrestlemania RAW show, they were UNDER 3 million viewers at just above 2.9 million average viewers. That is INSANE for what is usually the top rated show and has pushed 4 million viewers in the past.
(a) WWE fans were pissed at the obvious Champion vs. Champion booking, knowing likely that a “Bait & Switch” trick was coming.
(b) Lacey Evans. What am I missing here? She comes down with her stupid music and all dressed up for months now and nobody reacts to it. Becky Lynch just defeated (a) multiple time Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair and Women’s Champion & former UFC Champion, Ronda Rousey, and now she gets to feud with the NEWB as the combined Women’s Champion? Lacey is just another attempt at creating “the next Sable” by Vince McMahon and his executive producer, Kevin Dunn. They tried with Torrie Wilson, Kelly Kelly, Eva Marie, and Lana… Just didn’t stick. What is the rush? And what proves that she’s over to get a title shot?
What, are Charlotte or Nia Jax (remember, she punched out Becky) not available? Charlotte lost her Women’s Title by Lynch pinning Rousey. What sense does that make?
Point is that the WWE fumbled the ball on the post-Wrestlemania RAW. Big time.
They are at their weakest point, folks, and next week will ruin the WWE further with yet another confusing “Superstar Shake-up”.
The time is NOW to defeat the WWE… I don’t care what the Comcast or FOX deals are paying them. Fact is that there are FEWER WWE fans watching NOW than just 4 years ago by over 1 million on television viewers and thousands fewer in attendance for shows.
All we need is Jim Ross to make that key free agent signing for AEW that creates the next big Main Event star.
I believe in him… Always have and always will.
Jim Ross helped make me become a full time wrestling fan. I heard his voice first at the Class fo the Champions #1 event from 1988 and his serious approach made me believe what I watching was real. I seriously believed that Sting had a chance to defeat NWA Champion Ric Flair back then. His voice helped me endure WCW during the early 1990s when creative decisions pushed by Herd often got in the way. Then, I was thrilled when Jim Ross joined WWE… But when I began to hear about what he was doing backstage, I respected him more.
I’m rooting HARD for Jim Ross to succeed and shall try to support AEW all that I can with Ross under contract.
In case you missed it, here is my Wrestlemania 35 Review.
And remember… To purchase the Doc’s book Greatest Matches and Rivalries of the Wrestlemania Era via Amazon.com in the United States, GO HERE. To purchase this book via Amazon.com in the United Kingdom, GO HERE. If those don’t work, please inquire Doc via Twitter through his handle @TheDocLoP.
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So just chill… Until the next episode!
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