The claim from Vince McMahon that AEW has not changed the way WWE conducts business should not be believed, according to JR.
During a live “Grilling JR” show – via Inside The Ropes – from February, the legendary voice of the Attitude Era argued that McMahon’s claim about AEW showed that he thinks wrestling fans are “stupid”:
“Vince McMahon says “Well AEW means nothing to us, didn’t change the way we do business at all.” He thinks we’re all so stupid we’re going to believe that. And look at it: in their biggest market in the United States they put their NXT show – which is a very good show – and they throw them head-to-head against us, but we don’t mean nothing. Come on.”
NXT was, for many years, a WWE Network exclusive show. Many have argued that the show’s move to the USA Network was a clear attempt at counterprogramming, a sentiment JR seems to agree with. However, he was quick to point out that attempts to stifle AEW’s growth have been largely unsuccessful as the young promotion continues to succeed in the Wednesday Night Wars:
“He wants to squash the competition before we can start growing and get a foothold. Unfortunately, since October, more weeks than not, we’ve been beating them in the number of viewers on our show, and he can’t handle that.”
Though he has praised NXT numerous times in the past, Jim Ross has also left fans in no doubt over how he feels the show compares to AEW. Ross’ happiness in AEW is clear, and he has discussed how the promotion makes him feel wanted. However, he recently discussed how Vince McMahon made him feel in WWE when it became clear that he wanted to replace Ross, signalling that he has not always felt so wanted.