For a man who began his career in wrestling in the 1970’s, Jim Ross has called matches for some of the biggest stars in the history of the business.
During his time with WWE, Jim Ross was also integral in signing the likes of The Rock, John Cena, Batista and Brock Lesnar to name a few.
While JR now enjoys a less hands on role in AEW, he still keeps a keen eye on who will be the company’s next break out star.
Speaking in a recent interview with Sportskeeda, Ross praised the wrestling ability of the current roster, before singling out one star in particular as “the next big thing.”
“It’s heavy on wrestling and I love that. Maybe it’s my age or what have you been… I like comedy but I like comedy done by people who are good at it. Our guys came here to wrestle and I’m glad that that’s what we do and do very well. I’m so proud of these kids. The mix of all these guys, Sammy Guevara, MJF, all these guys… Jungle Boy, Wardlow. I look at Wardlow and I go back every generation I’ve been in, seventies onward, there’s not a booker that I ever worked for who would not have embraced and loved having Wardlow on the roster. I believe, it’s not where Tony Khan sits, that’s not the way I work but in my opinion Wardlow could be our next big thing here. Great attitude, smart, polite, has integrity, character.”
Wardlow came to AEW making his debut in November 2019 at the side of MJF. Since then he has acted as Friedman’s hired muscle and took a place in Inner Circle before MJF unveiled his very own group – The Pinnacle.
Reflecting on his role within AEW Ross explained that he enjoys being the company’s elder statesman. Adding that after the death of his wife, he felt alone and isolated.
“I love being around those kids. For me, being the oldest guy on the roster, I love them. I love the position I’m in. I’m uncle JR to a lot of them. Good ol’ JR to some of them. To the ones that know me a long time like Chris Jericho, I’m still Jim. He may be the only guy in the whole damn company that calls me Jim. I’m living my dream. After Jan got killed, I was in a really tough spot. I was lost and I was alone. She and I had no children and my other two children were grown, their own life and everything. I was in a lot of isolation and I realized this is not good for me.”
Ross continued, explaining that he was struggling to go on before joining AEW, crediting President Tony Khan with saving his life.
“It’s been a really good run for me. I told Tony, “I’m not so sure you didn’t just save my life” because I had lost my will to do anything. I didn’t want to shave. I didn’t want to go outside.”
Jim Ross joined AEW in April 2019, and has called AEW Dynamite along with the company’s pay-per-view specials ever since.