Jim Ross has said that he doesn’t see any of AEW’s television shows lasting three hours, claiming WWE Monday Night Raw only does so for financial reasons.
The competition between AEW and WWE has risen to new levels in recent weeks after recent episodes of AEW Rampage and WWE Friday Night SmackDown overlapped. This meant that for the first time ever, an AEW show went head-to-head against a main roster show from WWE.
The ratings have since revealed that while SmackDown drew more viewers, the two shows were extremely close in key demographics.
In the lead up to the clash on October 15th, AEW President Tony Khan talked up his desire to beat SmackDown in the head-to-head, while saying that a recent episode of Raw sucked.
Speaking on his Grilling JR podcast, available via AdFreeShows, AEW announcer Jim Ross reflected on the period when AEW Dynamite ran up against NXT on Wednesdays, before WWE’s third brand switched to Tuesday.
Recalling the competition, Jim Ross said that it would motivate his former boss and WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon.
“It motivates him, he doesn’t like to lose,” Ross said, regarding Vince McMahon and his opinion on WWE having competition. “I think the battle on Wednesday nights is indicative of that statement. That’s why they moved to Tuesday, he didn’t like getting his ass beat every Wednesday night. And I know we didn’t win every Wednesday night, but we won most of them. Winning one is too many for him. He’s very competitive, he believes he owns the genre.
“He is the godfather and I get it, I understand it, and I respect and appreciate his competitiveness. He works better when there’s a little pressure on him and I think that’s been proven time and time again. He’s a different breed of cat when it comes to that stuff. Reading on Thursdays who’s got this audience and which show got that audience, I can promise you it was an issue. It was definitely an issue without question.”
Continuing on, Jim Ross explained that ultimately the competition between the two companies is a good thing for the wrestling business as a whole. The legendary announcer detailed how if the wrestling industry is popular and making money, that can only be a positive for all involved.
“I think that’s good for pro wrestling, period,” Ross said. “I’m not going to over analyse it, I’m not going to analyse their ticket prices or any of that sh*t. Why can’t we all just be happy if our business is good? That’s what matters, the healthier pro wrestling is, the healthier Grilling JR is going to be.
It’s a trickle down, we all share in the success of our business and I’m really glad that we’re in this stage. Who the hell would’ve thought two years ago that we’d be talking about it in these terms? All of a sudden, AEW has become very, very relevant and I believe that’s all to do with Tony Khan’s opening up the check book and signing some of the best talents in the world.
“I don’t say that in a knock to the other guys, but that’s how wrestling fans take it. ‘JR is knocking the WWE guys,’ I’m not knocking them, all I’m saying is two years ago when AEW started its journey, I don’t think any of us, including me, perceived it would grow to the level it has grown in this length of time. It’s pretty astonishing. The winners of all of this are the fans. Some fans just don’t have that mindset, and I think that’s a sad state of affairs.”
Ahead of the most recent episode of Rampage, AEW ran a Buy In for the first time. The one hour show featured the highly anticipated clash between Bryan Danielson and Minoru Suzuki. This has led some fans to wonder whether the show will expand to being two hours in the near future.
Ross said that it’s unlikely the show will grow from it’s current one hour running time, adding that he doubts Khan will ever extend any AEW programming to three hours like Monday Night Raw. Something he noted was done purely for financial reasons.
“That one hour show on Friday nights, it seems like it flies by,” Ross mentioned. “I think that the one hour format still has its place, but two would be my absolute limit unless you’re doing a pay- per-view because you’re paying for more, and you get more on a PPV. I think the one hour thing still works. I don’t see Rampage going to two hours,
I don’t see any of Tony Khan’s over the air content ever going to three hours. Who the hell knows, but I would be surprised if that ever happened. I think we’ve all learned good lessons about these three hour RAWs. It’s not done for artistic benefit, it’s done for the money. USA is paying a lot more money for that third hour of primetime television. It’s live every week, but to me, it’s a little long.”
Jim Ross signed with AEW in April 2019 after leaving WWE a month earlier, deciding not to renew his contract. In his role with AEW, Ross acts as play-by-play announcer for Dynamite and all pay-per-views.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.