Starrcast Jim Ross
Starrcast III is almost here and the fans are as excited as ever and they have a good reason to be! Among the many standouts are panels with CM Punk, Cody and Mick Foley. And among such bright names, there is one that to this day makes fans stand up in excitement! It's none other - the LEGEND Jim Ross!
We sat down with Jim and talked about lots of interesting things. Here are some of the highlights from our truly special conversation with JR.
Question(Q): You've obviously been a big part of FITE's development early on, being an ambassador and having some of the most popular video pieces on the platform. Can you tell us a bit about your experience, being on the ground level of a company like FITE from the very beginning?
Jim Ross(JR): It was very exciting to be on the ground floor of the launching of FITE. I always thought it was an amazingly refreshing concept and one of those ideas where you want to say "Why didn't I think of that?". The FITE app introduces me to a lot of talent, that would not be seen very readily so I'm a big fan of the FITE app, I use it for many things. I tell people - you can't make it simpler - you've got a smart device and/or WiFi and you're in business.
Q: You've become a big part of All Elite Wrestling. What drew you to AEW? How has the AEW experience been for you thus far and what are you looking forward to in the near future?
JR: It's beyond my expectation really. I've been in a lot of Wrestling companies in my career and it's very rare … as in never happened before, where the company's political issues are miniscule. It's just a very upbeat enthusiastic company to work for. I like the fact that you don't have to worry about what's happening on this side of the aisle or that side of the aisle. It's been refreshing. My obligation is to step forward here and give something back to the business that's made my living, educated my kids … I mean, I don't have a bad day at work. Tony Khan gave me back my wrestling spirit. I sat at home the last two years of my WWE contract so I didn't do much ... and that was not my decision by the way. The WWE just felt I was done - I was too old, didn't have the TV look and whatever. I always found that offensive and I found it insulting … All I ever wanted to do was just get back in the game. And Tony Khan did that - (gave me) the best contract I had in my career. So I've had nothing but a great experience in AEW - and quite frankly, I've signed a three year deal and I'm looking forward to every minute of every year.
Q: Great! Your commentary was obviously instrumental in making WWE's Attitude Era a success. You've been the definitive voice of the industry for decades. With your role in AEW, do you think you will be able to influence another generation of Pro Wrestling fans?
JR: I hope so. It will be a new presentation for some fans, who are used to hearing the Wrestling broadcasters give narrative and backstory ad nauseam while ignoring what's going on in front of their eyes. We're not going to ignore things on our team - we're going to do play-by-play and we're going to have fun doing it. We're not going to insult your intelligence, we're going to make it as sports-like as we can.
I did a sit-down interview with Hangman Page the other day. With no script. I didn't go over any of the questions, because I didn't have any of them written down. I wanted to have a normal, organic conversation. I knew what we were talking about - that was Chris Jericho for the first ever AEW title on Saturday night. That was all we needed to cover and so we did it. And these little things are so great because we cut the promos … and AEW doesn't have any writers - it's all organic. That means some days, some interviews are going to be badass and some are going to be "oh-oh".
That's the great thing about growing a brand - mentoring and helping these kids out.
Tony Schiavone is going to be joining us - that's going to be amazing. I was really hopeful that it would happen.Tony is going to be a great influence as well, you got two Turner guys from back in the day, so it's ironic that we'll be making a full circle … even though I've never been on TNT. And Excalibur - he's a young guy, Tony and I are excited about him and we want to go forward in teaching him some of the things that we've been taught so that he can utilize them when he chooses to.
I go to TVs and I get stopped down the hall by our own guys that want to ask a question or two - "What do you think about this JR?"; "What would you think if you saw this?" and I love being that coach/teacher/mentor guy.
But make no mistake about it - when the bell rings and we're on the air, I'll be riding the attitude and we'll have a great show.
These shows sell out in minutes and people are waiting on tickets for months. You've got to believe that the audience will be red hot from the get-go. And then it's everybody's game.
Q: Very interesting! Now, moving on to Starrcast which you'll be a part of. Conrad Thompson has made something truly special for all fans to enjoy and Starrcast III has some of the most interesting panels to date! What panels are you looking forward to?
JR: Twithout a doubt I'm looking forward to seeing the CM Punk presentation. I have no idea what perspective CM Punk is going to throw out - making a special appearance at All Out or will he be back in the ring sooner or later … and who knows if he's not? I have no idea what he will be doing. I haven't talked to him since he left the WWE. But the CM Punk presentation is a must-see for me. I think that when Punk is done it will be one of the most overanalyzed interviews of the year.
I always look forward to working with Jerry Lawlor because … we're not going to be working regularly in the foreseeable future. Neither one of us are getting any younger, so I look at it as a blessing any time we can rejoin each other and interact. And what's really heartfelt to me is that the people that have come to see JR and The King genuinely enjoy the opportunity. You hear a lot of "you are the voice of my childhood" and that means something to me.
Mick Foley's got a panel - he's always great. It's an all-star lineup.
QS: And speaking of Conrad - you guys have made quite an impact with the Grilling JR podcast. How has that experience been for you? You're obviously a podcast veteran with very successful projects. How is working with Conrad different?
JR: It's much better to work with Conrad instead of working solo. I'm really glad we pulled the trigger on that idea. It was Conrad's idea to get together and I wholeheartedly endorsed it. I didn't know how much time he has with his other podcasts - he's on the clock 24/7. He's making a real strong business and I'm happy to say that our show, I think, is the top earner. I'm not sure but it's close. Conrad and I have a great chemistry, we've got a lot in common - two ol' chubby southern boys who like to eat, who like college football, we both like to drink the same booze - we're the biggest Tag Team in wrestling since The Mcguire Twins. It's great to work with him because he's organized, on time, he's professional, he challenges me. I'm blessed to work with Conrad Thompson. I got a new friend out of "Grilling JR", I made a new friend.
Q: Awesome, great! Do you have any other projects on the plate? Something you want to tell the fans about?
JR: Well, my writing partner Paul O'Brien (who helped me write Slobberknocker) and myself are about to deliver a sequel to Slobberknocker - "Under the black hat", which is essentially a continuation of my autobiography. It's going to include the Attitude era, the Monday Night Wars, all those critical things … me getting moved from RAW to SmackDown in 2008, my wife Jan's death … which is going to be tough to write about … it's heavy. But we'll also try to write some more humor in the book. I also want to have some life lessons - things I've learned the hard way about how to lead a better life. That book will be out in stores on March of 2020 … ironically around WrestleMania, so somewhere in that timeframe.I try to spend a little more time with my kids and grandkids. In that respect, it's time for JR to take a step back and be more of a full time dad and be a grandfather like the ones I had.
Also getting ready for October, for the launch on TNT. That's going to be very interesting. I say let's go, let's play, let's see what happens.
QS: JR, thank you so much for your time!