Jim Ross takes shots at WWE.
For over two decades, Jim Ross was one of the leading voices in WWE on-screen as the play-by-play announcer and off-screen as a talent relations executive. In recent years, Ross has remained under WWE contract but hasn't been used on television outside of special occasions. Ross and WWE officially parted ways in April, paving the way for him to sign with All Elite Wrestling.
Speaking to ESPN, Ross couldn't help but voice his displeasure over what's currently happening in WWE.
"I've always had a little bit of creative freedom to express myself. Over time WWE kind of reeled that back in, I guess they had some of that research or it was due to personal philosophy, I don't have a clue, but most of them don't understand wrestling -- they are in administration there," said Ross. "They are great marketers, they've got some brilliant, brilliant people in WWE, no doubt about it, but I think some of the key decisions are being made without an inordinate amount of product knowledge, which is not going to make them happy to hear, but that's the way I look at it. Vince could do better by surrounding himself with a different kind of consultant or writer or creative people or whatever."
Ross continued, saying, "I've tried to represent our business in an admirable and honorable way since 1974. I got taken out of the game by the coaches and the team's decision, of which I didn't agree with. So what do you do? Well, you can b---- all year, or you can do what you're signed to do and when the opportunity comes, like I did here, my contract expired and he and I agreed we're not even going to negotiate to extend it. To negotiate to do the same thing I'd been doing is something I could not live with."
Later in the interview, Ross discussed the unhappiness in WWE right now. Multiple superstars have reportedly requested their release over the last six months, including Sasha Banks and The Revival. Luke Harper went public with his release request, though he is unlikely to be granted his release. Tye Dillinger, Hideo Itami, and TJP were among those who were given their release.
Ross said in the interview that part of his role in AEW will be to be a leader backstage to ensure the talent remains happy.
"The wrestlers need leadership and guys need to be mentored. One of the things I am going to do is be a leader and mentor and communicate. You see when you don't communicate well with your talent the unrest that it can create," said Ross. "If you're following WWE, you can sure see it. Why do you think that everyone wants to leave? Because they're too happy? They aren't saying, "I want to leave because I'm too happy." It's ridiculous. I don't know if that area has the same philosophy and management and the leadership as it did back in the Attitude Era and shortly thereafter. We're not going to have communication issues in AEW. If talents have an issue, have a problem, have a question, have a concern -- it's going to be addressed. It's not going to be tabled. We won't tell talents that we can't talk to you as much as we talk to the other guy because he's a main eventer and you're not. That's stupid."
Ross will work as the lead play-by-play announcer for AEW along with being a senior advisor. JR will be joined on commentary by Alex Marvez and Excalibur.