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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Jim Ross Between The Ropes Interview

Courtesy of Adam Samons:

Between The Ropes
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Central Florida's Sports Radio 740 The Team
Simulcast online at BetweenTheRopes.com

On Wednesday night, November 7, WWE commentator Jim Ross joined hosts Brian Fritz, Dickerman, and Vito DeNucci live on Between The Ropes on Central Florida's Sports Radio 740 The Team to discuss his favorite WrestleMania moments, the current state of the business, his contract status, and much more.

The interview began with some discussion of WrestleMania coming to Florida for the first time ever. Jim said that given strong history of Florida Championship Wrestling back in the territory days it's probably past due to have WrestleMania in the state.

The WrestleMania talk continued with Jim discussing what makes it such a special event. He said that during his 20 years in the business before coming to the WWE he still never missed a WrestleMania. Even as a he has worked in wrestling he has remained a fan and there is nothing bigger for wrestling fans than WrestleMania. "For me at my first WrestleMania, after 20 years, I felt like I had arrived in the major leagues to participate in what I and my peers feel is the Super Bowl of Wrestling."

Asked what his favorite WrestleMania memories have been Ross mentioned getting the chance to watch the Rock take on Steve Austin at WrestleMania 17. He noted that it was particularly memorable since he was watching two guys he had hired main event in the sold out Astrodome.

Ross also mentioned WrestleMania 15 as one of his favorites. "In Philly I came back from the Bell's Palsy. That was another Rock/Austin main event, the first one. I had been sick with Bell's Palsy and they had lobbied for Vince McMahon to let me call that main event. That was really moving, because I probably wasn't physically ready. My heart was ready and the passion was there, but I had to hold my face up to talk. I felt extremely self conscious but it helped me get over that. It was kind of like getting pushed into deep water, you either sink or swim and it was time for me to get back into the deep water again and see if I could swim."

Jim then discussed his current role of just being a broadcaster instead of also being the head of talent relations as he had been in the past. He said that his old job was challenging but rewarding and eventually became an unending 7 day rotation where he "couldn't do anything but the job." Jim said he's having a lot of fun just commentating and enjoys all the time he has now to hang out with his family, work on his restaurant business, and follow Oklahoma football.

On his future with the WWE Jim said that "I realize I have more years in than I have left. I'd like to work a few more years under this schedule and then focus on my restaurant projects…I'd like to go out on my terms, if possible. If that's not the company's vision and they have the vision to replace me sooner than I believe I'm ready then that's their prerogative. I've done very well, so I'll have no regrets. I think that if all goes well in a perfect world I'd help prepare my successor for his or her opportunity and then hang around the company." Jim also said he would like to get out of commentating before people begin to feel he has gone past his prime.

Jim talked about his feelings on the current state of the business. "I like more steak than sizzle. I like physicality, athleticism, drama, and confrontation. All those things stir emotions in me. I have to also remember I'm 55 years old, I'm not in the target demo. I'm not 12-17 or 18-34…so on a personal level I'd like to see the wrestlers focus on telling a better story in the ring, utilizing more strategies in the ring instead of relying on holds, moves, and maneuvers. I think some guys use sensationalistic moves and maneuvers more than they need to…I think they have their place, but their seasoning, they're not the entre. I'm not disillusioned with the product, I'd like to see it go back to more basics and be more reality based."

Lastly, on the often rumored issue of his contract status Jim said "My contract is up soon. I signed a one year deal last fall which I was very happy to do. I wanted to sign a one year deal because coming off my colon surgery and health issues I wanted to make sure I could still get the job done. I didn't want to imbarass myself, but I think my work is holding up okay. Right now we're negotiating and I don't see anything on the horizon that's going to keep us from signing our deal soon and keeping my in the WWE for the next couple years or so, maybe even beyond that.

To listen to the entire Jim Ross interview, including Jim discussing the constant rumors of his firings, the potential of international markets, and wearing a toga at WrestleMania 9, as well as the entire November 7th edition of Between The Ropes in streaming audio, visit the show online at http://www.BetweenTheRopes.com. Join us for Between The Ropes for two hours every Wednesday night at 10:00pm ET on
Central Florida's Sports Radio 740 The Team and worldwide on