Jim Ross has discussed one of his first duties when he became the Head of Talent Relations in WWE was to invest in softer rings to help try and prevent injuries.
Ross was discussing Judgement Day 2001 on his Grilling JR podcast with co-host Conrad Thompson. At the time, WWE had a growing injury list that would get longer the night after Judgement Day on Raw. Triple H tore his quadriceps muscle in a tag team match against Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho for the WWE Tag Team Titles.
Ross discussed the steps he took to make things safer for the wrestlers in the ring:
“Well, first of all, one of the first things I did as head of Talent Relations is was to change the rings out. The old ‘Hogan ring’ – I always equate it to Hogan and Bundy. It was hard as a rock and not very wrestler friendly. You’ve gotta take care of wrestler’s backs. It’s funny how so many things Conrad end with a back bump. A flat back as the boys call them. So I think that the issue – the hard ring thing can’t be used as an excuse because it wasn’t that long after I got that job that we swapped those babies out to more bump-friendly rings. But we wanted the bumps to happen in the ring Conrad.”
New rings were one thing but Jim Ross continued saying he wants to see more bumps in the ring rather than on the outside:
“The guys opened the envelope on that so much, they’re taking bumps on the ring apron, taking big bumps on the concrete, taking big bumps on the rampway. Nowhere in wrestling are you trained to do that. It’s illogical and you’re flirting with disaster when you do. As our product evolved it became very diverse as far as that stuff is concerned, everybody was trying to top the other guy. When you’re doing things from the top rope to the outside and you’re landing on concrete and a human body, it’s inevitable something bad’s gonna happen if you do it on a cumulative basis.”
“So I think we just try to do too much and the talent got a little bold. I see it today a lot. When it was really special – people think that I’m such an old f*cker that I don’t like the group gathering on the outside and somebody goes over the top rope and they land on them in a cluster. When I first saw it, I thought ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool’ but when you see it on a regular basis, almost on a weekly basis in somebody’s wrestling TV, whomever it may be, all of a sudden it’s not as spectacular as it used to be. You’re vaccinated, it’s not a great spot anymore.”
Jim Ross has also recently detailed Vince McMahon’s reaction when the WWE Chairman first set eyes on ‘The Beast Incarnate’ Brock Lesnar.