Jim Ross has discussed the WWE’s move away from using as much blood in matches during the Ruthless Aggression era of the mid-2000s.
Ross was discussing the career of John Cena in 2006 on his Grilling JR podcast with co-host Conrad Thompson. During that year Cena was involved in many bloody battles as he looked to hold on to his WWE Championship.
JR explained that WWE was looking to move away from frequent blood use in matches that had been seen in the era before. For Ross, the trick to using blood to enhance matches is simple – less is more.
Jim Ross stated:
“The intent was to get away from the gratuitous violence and the blue humour and be a little bit more family-friendly. So Ruthless Aggression, this era, was simply a search for something to replace the Attitude Era – that’s all that was. So consequently, I think, after that, the use of blood was very selected – it wasn’t overused.”
“Vince always had a soft spot for some guys who needed or wanted to do colour for their angles. The thing about blood is that if you don’t overuse it – it’s not like the 80s or 70s – if you don’t overuse it, Conrad, then it’s a great dramatic effect ‘ooh look at that’, ‘oh she’s hurt.'”
Ross then went on to use a modern-day example where blood has been used to emphasise the violence of a bout:
“It’s like the – I would suggest to you the match we had on AEW, several weeks ago now, with Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa, that the use of blood in that women’s math was a shock. And got people talking and mostly in a good way. It exhibited and demonstrated the violence and the aggression that both women had. If we did that every week it would mean nothing. We’re in a position that we’re not going to use it every week, but I know WWE was in that mindset too about this time. It was anything we could do to keep this show edgy but not the Attitude Era-ish. There was still blood, don’t get me wrong, but it was very selective. It had to be the right place, right time for it to work because everything was about the sponsors. And you can’t blame them for that.”
Jim Ross also discussed his return to lead the Raw announce team following an illness. JR gave his thoughts on his replacement at that time, former ECW announcer Joey Styles.