WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross recently did a Q&A with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated to promote the release of his new book, Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling, which will be released next week. Here are the highlights:
SI.com: The beginning of the book includes a foreword from WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. Although you have known him for decades, is it difficult to ask McMahon for a favor?
JR: Vince was very accommodating, and I appreciated it. I never looked at that as an issue. I wanted him to write the foreword, and I never had any trepidation that he wouldn’t.
There is a letter in the book from Vince that he wrote to me when I was sick with Bell’s Palsy for a second time. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was battling depression. I didn’t want to come out of the house. Vince told me how badly he wanted me to come back to work, and he wrote, “Get the f— back up!” That might seem abrasive to some, but I knew he was being real and coming straight from the heart. Vince’s letter was a handwritten one that he had somebody from the office deliver to my door, and he let me know exactly how much I meant to him. Vince was so great at the “Mr. McMahon” character that some people think he wouldn’t want to help people in real life, and that’s just not true.
SI.com: With JBL leaving WWE, there were many people who campaigned for you to replace him on SmackDown Live. Was there any discussion from WWE about returning to SmackDown?
JR: I really do appreciate when people think of me for an opening. If WWE ever needed me to fill in, I would certainly do it with no reservation. Now, is it something I want to do full-time? Absolutely not. It’s a young man’s game, so let’s continue to develop these new guys.
I’m thrilled to have my WWE jersey back. I’m going to do between 30 and 40 dates a year. I am happy to fulfill my obligations. If I’m needed for more, I’m ready, but I do not want to do 52 weeks a year. WWE is going to use me if the weekly U.K. show comes to fruition, and my hope is that I’m involved in that show with Nigel McGuinness.