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Jim Ross on Steve Austin Being Angry Backstage, Paul Heyman/Vince McMahon, and More


During a recent edition of “Grilling JR”, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross commented on Steve Austin being angry in WWE, Owen Hart, and more. You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:

On the reaction backstage after the incident: “Very tense. Very tense, Conrad. A lot of concern. And it’s gonna sound bad if I don’t say this the right way, but you’ve gotta be first and foremost concerned about a man’s health. But at the same time, you’re looking at the guy that you see is going to be, unless injuries bite him in the ass, is going to be the biggest we’ve ever had. And now that may be over just as he got started. Took him seven years to get to WWE. Territories, missed booking, underutilized in WCW. We all remember all those stories. But you know, you just thought, ‘Well, this poor son of a b***h is not gonna live his dream.’”

On Austin’s recovery: “We’re all learning new things about neck injuries, and different kinds of surgeries and all these things. So he had a great surgeon luckily in San Antonio, a fellow by the name of Lloyd Youngblood. Good dude. I met him, I was down there several times. He’s a hell of a doctor, and he took care of Steve, and got Steve believing he could be healthy again. And he did. But boy, we didn’t know.”

On Owens’ reaction: “During Steve’s time off, I was in and out of San Antonio a few times. I’d see Owen at TV, he’s always pull me off to the side, didn’t fail, to ask about Steve. Because he knew I’d be talking to him. Not just because of my job, but also because of our friendship. And so I’d tell him how Steve was doing, but he never said to me, ‘Well, if you think about it tell him I said hello, or tell him whatever.’ He would never have got there. ’cause that’s kind of awkward. I know that Owen had been kind of reluctant about contacting Steve on the injury. And I don’t think it was anything mean-spirited. I think it was strictly a matter of, he was embarrassed. He was a Hart. And to many people, wrestling equals the Hart Family. And Owen, unlike Bret — Bret would tell you he’d never hurt anybody in his life in a match he had. That’s a great thing to say. And he meant it, and it’s true. Owen could never say that now. Because he’d not only hurt somebody, he may have ended the career of the biggest star we looked like we were ever gonna have.”

On Austin being angry backstage: “So it was tense moments there, ’cause Owen had his friends and Steve had his friends. But the old veterans knew that if Austin got hot and could stay healthy, they were gonna make a lot of money off the houses he drew. And that came to fruition. But boy, it was touch and go there for a while. I know Steve was very, very angry that night. I mean, almost to the point of ‘couldn’t be consoled.’ Because he, apparently his body was telling him, ‘This is over. I can’t do this anymore.’ Luckily, he got over the shock and the trauma of that, got his surgery. And got great care from Dr. Youngblood, and came back and was able to squeeze a few more years out of it.”

On what really happened with Paul Heyman almost becoming a commentator in 1997: “Well, I think pretty much with Paul said. Paul sometimes can be…aw heck, he’s a brilliant guy as we all know but I wouldn’t want him doing my taxes. Sometimes his organizational skills, like others that we know, need work. And I also think that he may have thought that broadcasting on Shotgun Saturday Night, which is a…we had no idea if it was going to be around for another week or another month or another year or whatever. It was certainly not Monday Night RAW. It was not the A show. And Paul felt, and perhaps deservedly so, that he should be a part of a bigger, more higher-profile presentation. But that’s just Paul. Paul’s Paul, you know?”

On Heyman not telling the ECW roster: “Paul should have told his team what he was doing. But because he had beaten their heads so fervently, so aggressivly, ‘it’s us against the world.’ And the world in wrestling at that time was the WWF. That was the world. So for Paul to partake in some assets, funds, funding and then to find himself doing television on a secondary show didn’t fit his plan. And I can understand his reason for that, quite frankly. But he’ll drop the ball sometimes. He didn’t want to face his troops that here’s where we are. And he knew it was getting closer and closer to that day. And all it was gonna mean was that I was gonna hire as many of his guys that wanted to come to work for us that were good and I did. And he knew it was gonna happen. I didn’t do it behind his back. He knew. And I’m sure the talent told him, because they’re leaving. So that was how that was. I think he just thought he was being under-utilized and didn’t want to get caught in a jackpot with his team. He still had hopes that ECW was going to survive. Unfortunately it did not.”

On what Vince McMahon thought of Paul Heyman in 1997: “He was a brilliant, albeit annoying, human being, in Vince’s eyes. Hey look, I’ve been with Paul since day one, man. When the booking committee in WCW wanted nothing to do with him, because he was smarter than most of the guys on the committee, and I put him as my partner on TBS, which gave him his big break, and he was a great partner. I had no regrets about that. I’d work with him any time, anywhere. But I don’t think Vince ever really sold on Paul. I’m sure Bruce has told stories…and that story on your podcast about JR on you and Bruce. You know, how I was treated or mocked or made fun of, is not a secret. Every writer that’s been through there in that era can tell you stories about that. Even to a point where Vince goes on TV at one time and impersonates me where he’s wearing a hat and he’s talking like his face is paralyzed like I had the Bell’s Palsy. So that’s how that worked. I think probably some of the same things about Paul. Cheap suits, you know. Paul’s a much better dresser than he was then. I saw a picture that he was on McMahon’s plane the other day, he named all the clothing he was wearing, the name brand stuff. Let me promise you, in 1997, he was going to either Men’s Warehouse or Burlington Coat Factory. So I think Vince…it’s just Vince. He’d kind of make fun of Paul behind his back, but we all knew that he was a smart son of a gun, man. He still is.”

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