Jim Ross has revealed the infamous WWE angle he’d “rather not have done” and explained why he followed it through despite his reservations.
During the summer of 1996 WCW had not only started to gain ground on WWE’s ratings and popularity, but it had become a serious threat to Vince McMahon’s empire. WCW Nitro proceeded to beat Monday Night Raw in the ratings for 83 consecutive weeks and kicked off one of the most famous and successful angles in wrestling history.
With Scott Hall and Kevin Nash jumping to WCW from WWE the Atlanta based company had also snapped up two of their rivals’ biggest stars. Throw in Hulk Hogan turning heel to align with the outsiders, creating the “New World Order of professional wrestling” and WCW were firmly in the ascendency.
Back in WWE, announcer Jim Ross had begun to become more outspoken on commentary, before fully turning heel. Not only that, he promised that Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) and Diesel (Kevin Nash) would be returning to Raw. What actually transpired was the introduction of Fake Diesel and Fake Razor played by a pre-Kane Glen Jacobs and Rick Bognar, much to the dismay of fans.
Reflecting on the angle he was placed front and centre of, Jim Ross said that he’d “rather not” have been involved. Speaking on his podcast, Grilling JR, available via AdFreeShows, the legendary announcer said he didn’t think the story would accomplish very much.
“I’d rather not done it because I thought my skills were being wasted by doing that and not doing play-by-play. That was just me, maybe just my ego talking as well. It was different and it was new. Like I said many times, wrestling fans love new. I had fun at the beginning but tying me to that wagon with the Fake Razor and Diesel, I didn’t think it was gonna accomplish very much,”
Despite his reservations about the angle, JR pressed on with his heel turn and attempts to ‘get over’ the new introductions. Ross explained that despite not being overly enamoured with the angle, he simply did what was asked of him at the time.
“I love the business so much that it was something to try, something different, and it’s what Vince wanted, so that’s what you did. You did what the boss wants. Don’t try to outsmart the system,”
After their somewhat underwhelming introductions in September 1996, Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon quietly disappeared from television early the following year after competing in the Royal Rumble. Jacobs, who had been performing as Diesel was then repackaged and rebuilt into Kane, debuting in October 1997.
Rick Bognar went on to appear in the United States Wrestling Association, New Japan and a revamped Stampede Wrestling in Canada. Bognar sadly passed away on September 20th 2019.
With Fake Razor and Diesel quietly shuffling from view, Jim Ross’ heel turn went the same way. By early 1997, Ross was back in his more traditional role and went on to become one of the most beloved and respected voices in pro wrestling.
H/t to Sportskeeda for the transcription.