Jim Ross says the ratings dipping in 2001 for WWE can be attributed to losing the company’s two biggest heroes as Stone Cold Steve Austin aligned with Vince McMahon and The Rock headed for Hollywood.
The WWE Hall Of Famer was discussing the first half of 2001 on his Grilling JR podcast alongside co-host Conrad Thompson. Thompson mentioned that television ratings for the company had been in decline following the hugely successful WrestleMania X-Seven.
“The company was built so much around Rock and Austin. The Rock was gone doing movies and pursuing that dream which was a smart decision for Dwayne. And then Austin making that turn, so you lose two babyfaces of, it might sound overdramatic, immortal proportions Conrad. They’re no longer available on that babyface side. And as we’ve discussed here we didn’t have anybody ready for Steve [Austin] as a babyface or a heel.”
“We had to hit the reset button and we had to get somebody hot on the other side of the aisle with all those babyfaces we had. You know, the thinking of ‘Oh we’ll just put the old rocket ship up their ass’ and it’s all automatic, come on man, it’s not automatic and everybody ain’t got it. We didn’t have any more Austin or Rock babyfaces on the roster. They weren’t existing at that point and I dare to say that maybe since then no one has approached their status as a babyface for WWE.”
Jim Ross has also recently given his thoughts on who the best heel in the company was around this time, saying that for him The King Of Kings reigned supreme until suffering a career-altering leg injury.