On a recent edition of his Grilling JR podcast, WWE Hall of Famer and AEW commentator Jim Ross discussed the practice of using race to get heat in wrestling angles, Johnny Ace gunning for his talent relations position in 2003, and more.
You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:
On race angles in wrestling: “Yeah, don’t go there. A race, religion are two things popping off my head right away, there’s no reason in this wide world of creative and all the opportunities and things that we could be doing other than pointing out that. It’s just hard to understand why we’re doing that and you know, is it based in reality? Are there racists out there? Well, hell yeah of course there are unfortunately. It’s pretty sad, but I would not have gone that way. I would not have brought in religion or race whatsoever. I wouldn’t even got close to that.”
On Johnny Ace wanting the talent relations job and JR stepping away by year’s end: “Yeah, that was kind of a topical thing. John got bold and didn’t try to hide his agenda. But, through all those imaginations never once did he come to me and say, ‘You know JR, I’d like to be in charge of talent relations, and here’s why and I’m qualified’ and so forth. But, at the same time I’ve got to say, ‘Well, I helped build this department. All those guys are on the roster that you’re seeing on television I signed.’ So, I got a vested interest in this deal. So, I’m not ready to step away.
“I know he kept pushing Vince, and he was younger and he looked good in his suit. He had pretty teeth and look at me, I can’t even smile. Vince sided with John and decided it was time. He was very nice and he couldn’t thank me enough for my contributions. I think he made me the EVP of business strategies. I had some title I don’t know it’s meaningless didn’t matter. My money didn’t change, my hours didn’t change. I worked less hours, actually. The payroll still had to be paid. The funny story about that is that I was still doing payroll. I got in a conversation about something and I said ‘Well, I gotta finish payroll.’ He said ‘What do you mean you got to finish payroll? That’s not your job anymore.’ I said ‘I understand that Mr. McMahon, but your new guy doesn’t understand that.’ It was an arduous this, you know, mind-numbing responsibility every week. There’s no off time. You can’t not pay a guy. You cannot fail or screw their money or make their checks late whatever it may be. So, it was a messy deal. Shouldn’t have happened. Another great example if we all communicate no matter our differences of opinion the situation has a way of bettering itself at some point along the way. I was reluctant to play that game, but I did and I guess I lost, but in any event I was proud of our accomplishments in our department and challenge anybody to come up with a roster and sign more stars now millionaires, now Hall of Famers that had been done previously. At the end of the day, I was okay with it.”
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