Jim Ross interview: Favorite era of wrestling, Ronda Rousey



WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross recently spoke with Raj Giri of
WrestlingINC.com. During the interview, JR discussed his one man show
in Chicago this Saturday afternoon, TNA, Vince McMahon, his favorite
era in the business, working for WWE, Ronda Rousey, how it is harder
to be a good heel today, UFC and much more. You can purchase tickets
for Saturday's show at:
 
http://concerts.livenation.com/rngside-an-evening-with-jim-ross-chicago-illinois-05-31-2014/event/04004C960E948A19
 
Here are some highlights from the interview:
 
Wrestling INC: You've been commentating since the
1970s and you've seen lots of changes in eras. As a fan, what was your
favorite era in the business?
 
Jim Ross: Every era offered something unique and its
own specific challenges. The 1970s was kind of a Wild West show and
I'm a 20 something year old out in the world with these experienced
veterans. The 1980s were turbulent because I was with Watts and then
we sold to [Jim] Crockett and TBS took over. The beginning of the
1990s was kind of a crazy and adventures time in WCW. Then I left to
go work for Vince [McMahon] for some 20 years and change.
 
If I had to give an answer, I would say the Attitude Era because the
fruits of my labor, trying to assemble a roster, and the Monday night
wars made it an exciting time. From a business point, it was the
Attitude Era based on behind the scenes of bringing guys in, molding
them together as a team, and by repeatedly losing on Monday nights. We
kept believing and motivating each other and we finally won the battle
and the war. I've had fun at every turn of the road during this 40
year adventure and enjoyed every decade for what it offered. I don't
look back at any of the time in the business and say I could have done
without this era. They are all life lessons learned. The Attitude Era
was fun because we had great talent, not a PG-14 rating. It's
ridiculous that people think switching back to PG-14 would solve
problems.
 
Wrestling INC: You mentioned on UFC Tonight
that Ronda Rousey is your favorite fighter.  Could you have seen how
big of a superstar she would become in the organization? I think she's
arguably the biggest star they have.
 
Ross: I would agree with that. When I saw
Strikeforce, I had never seen a women's MMA fight. The fact that Ronda
was a medalist of judo from the Olympics as a teenager was a great
story. I had no idea how good she was until she won the [Strikeforce
bantamweight championship] in one of her earliest fights. She had the
'it' quality that you can't teach, manufacture, or buy. She's like a
[Steve] Austin, Rock, or Four Horsemen. They had 'it' and there was a
reason why you wanted to keep your eyes on them longer than someone
else who came across the screen. She has a great look and has the most
amazing marketable fight face with her walk to the Octagon—bar none.
It's real. She's organic and not working me. I feel her realness and
uniqueness of being an attractive young woman is also very marketable
in that male oriented genre.
 
In pro wrestling, it's like transitioning from the Moolah and Mae
Young era. Their look is a far cry from Trish Stratus, Sable, Torrie
Wilson, and Stacy Keibler. [Vince] McMahon was a visionary in knowing
he had a large male audience and he had some females coming aboard. A
female is going to be a lot more interested in seeing what an
attractive woman is wearing, her hair, or her athleticism than an
unattractive woman. Heterosexual males will probably want to watch
attractive woman in pro wrestling than one that isn't. Ronda has that
package. She's a highly skilled athlete, who is intense and tough. She
has that I can't take my eyes off of her appeal. She's got the
intangible you hope to run across every now and then. The guys at the
gym are all big UFC fans. She always comes up in conversation and
she's a big star to the male genre for all the right reasons. There
are a lot of talented fighters and more are being developed, but I'd
argue she is the most marketable fighter in the company.
 
The brilliance of this deal is that Dana White said women wouldn't be
fighting in the UFC. He's smart enough to change his mind. That's the
mark of a great promoter and businessman—to have the ability to
willingly change his mind for the better of the business and growth of
the sport. Dana White facilitated Ronda Rousey's opportunity. He threw
her the ball and she started making touchdowns. Dana doesn't get the
credit for seeing the potential and I think the whole division will
grow. It's not a one trick pony. She's the star, but a lot of young
women watching are going to start training in mixed martial arts. It's
great cardio, conditioning, and could lead to a career. She's going to
draw those younger girls into the gyms to learn what Ronda Rousey
does.
 
Wrestling INC: What can fans expect from Saturday's
show in Chicago at the House of Blues on May 31st?
 
Ross: The show starts as a roadmap of my career as a
fan then into the business aspect. Being in the wrestling business
back than was like being in the mafia, there's just no violence. You
either know somebody or have connections. I got lucky and made a
connection promoting a couple of events that impressed the bosses and
the opportunity came after that. I tell some outrageous and funny
stories of the territory days. I was around to see wrestling get big
from local TV stations, to cable and satellite, followed by
pay-per-view. Working for Watts, Crockett, all the bookers they had,
Ted Turner, Vince McMahon, WCW, WWE, and being there for the Monday
night wars gives me a unique perspective.
 
My journey is different from everybody else. I didn't get in the
business to be a wrestler. I wasn't sure what I wanted to be, but I
always wanted to be a broadcaster and the opportunity came about and I
found my itch. Along the way all these other skills like booking,
evaluating talent, interacting with talent, payroll, and being an
administrator I acquired through the journey. I do a little standup of
those stories, which are intended to be mostly humorous. Then we do a
massive question and answer with the audience, without
restrictions—hoping people won't be vulgar since we don't have
restrictions. People paid their money and came to support me, so I'm
not going to put restrictions on what they should ask. I will do my
best to answer every question. If I don't know the answer, I won't
make one up. They've been popular because I do try to interact with
the fans and always appreciated them for their support. The question
and answer is a major hit. I enjoy them, the fans seem to like them,
and it gives every show a different personality. If you come to one of
my shows, the next one will be different than the previous one.
Different parts of the country have different questions.
 
Chicago is unique because it's at 2 p.m. start; it's a matinee, which
we've never done before. It's what the promoters wanted and the
building was available. It's open to all ages at the House of Blues.
We always holdback tickets so if you don't feel comfortable buying
them online, you can get them at the door. That's old school in me.
The V.I.P. meet and greet is at noon and the doors for everybody else
opens at 1 p.m. and the show starts at 2 p.m. The next day is WWE
Payback, so maybe folks can make a two day event with my show and
Payback from the Allstate Arena. There's humor, motivation,
information, the question and answering is always unpredictable so
hopefully we will have a nice house as they say and everybody will
leave saying they had a good time. My goal is to entertain the masses.
 
JR also discussed Vince McMahon, how TNA can improve, working for WWE,
Ronda Rousey, how it is harder to be a good heel today and much more.
You can read the full interview at:
 
http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/2014/0529/576491/jim-ross-talks-his-favorite-era-in-wrestling/

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