WWE commentating legend Jim Ross spoke with the Orlando Sentinel for a new interview. J.R. talked about many wrestling topics that have been on his mind recently, and with the Royal Rumble in our rear view mirror, it's time to look for ward to The Showcase of the Immortals.
WrestleMania is almost its own stand-alone brand at this point, Ross argued.
“Fans, with the exception of a few talents — the previous generation of stars, guys like Undertaker, Triple H, Bill Goldberg – seem to be just as, if not more, interested in the brand of WrestleMania as they are in the card. They take it for granted that the card will be loaded, and it always is. Will you like it? It’s all subjective and creative. I can ask you what’s your favorite color, and you’ll say blue. But is it royal blue, Carolina blue, sky blue? It’s all in the eye of the beholder. And fans now like the older-generation stars. As for the fans’ questions … some things I’ll always be branded with. The most prominent question is about Undertaker throwing [Mick] Foley off the top of Hell in a Cell in Pittsburgh in June 1998, usually asking, did I know it was going to happen? I hear that mentioned every day in some form or fashion. For the record, I did not know. [Jerry] Lawler and I always did our best work when we could call matches organically. I didn’t often want to know what was going to happen. It’s so much better when you can call it like a big sporting event.”
There's more wrestling than ever, and it's easier to find, says Ross.
“It’s a great time to be a wrestling fan. There’s a lot of content for people to enjoy of all different types. An example is my overseas work. The U.K. is a great marketplace…the [World of Sport] special I just did for ITV, if anything comes from that, it could be the show with the biggest potential audience of anything I ever worked on. Think about that. It’s the power of a terrestrial network in a big market, plus the power of the Internet. There are opportunities out there, is my point. It’s a great time to be in the business and a great time to be a fan. As ubiquitous as WWE is, and they’re the big dogs, but they’re not the only dogs. The others are not in WWE’s yard, but there’s room for others. People want variety. WWE has the [streaming] network, which scratches a lot of people’s itches, but they still want diversity.”
The future is hard to predict, but Ross says he's not going anywhere.
“I always say I should have a sign, “Will talk for food.” I feel young and I’m feeling good. … I do work in an environment that can be very competitive, and I’m good at it. If you understand the business at all, in the world of independent contractors and egocentric bosses, you’ve got to have a little bit of an ego to survive. When you work with Cowboy Bill Watts and Ole Anderson, it’s not always peace and love. But I can do these shows. I did shows in November in Toronto, took December off, then did Phoenix and San Antonio in January, now I’m off until I come [to Orlando]. But the uniqueness is the diversity of the audience. We don’t care what religion you are, what race, gender, orientation. You can leave all of your prejudices and all of those big divisions at the door. We’re fans, first and foremost.”
You can read the entire interview at this link.