‘Good Ol J.R.’ Jim Ross has lifted the hat on his stint commentating for Vince McMahon’s short-lived XFL and just how much wrestling’s greatest ever commentator was paid.
During the height of the World Wrestling Federation’s popularity in 2001 following the beloved Attitude Era, McMahon decided that he would cash in on the love for the NFL but mix it with what he knew best. Physicality.
A joint endeavour between the WWF and NBC to provide fans with football after the NFL season had ended, traditional rules were modified and players were provided with microphones so fans could hear what was being on the pitch. In a way, it was a novel creation though criticised by many for relying too heavily on WWF’s sports entertainment gimmick approach.
Now, Jim Ross has opened up about the first iteration of the XFL on his Grilling JR Podcast and being brought in by Vince McMahon to provide commentary for the league:
“There were high hopes for it. The football was so bad. My $15,000 a game that I got paid for doing XFL games did not contribute too badly to that $6.5 million loss. I had a lot more fun than $15,000; I really did. To be able to call football on television was a dream come true for me. I look back, and aside from the losses for the company, that was one of the more fun years of my career.
It started taking a lot of time, people were doing 2 jobs or more, including myself. I never complained about the work schedule. When the XFL came in, I was on a 7 day a week run officially. I remember doing a game in Chicago, jumping on McMahon’s plane, and flying to Phoenix to do a pay-per-view the next day. It was very busy, but I loved the pace. It made that adrenaline rush a lot easier.”
The interview went on to include Ross’ thoughts on the current deal FOX have with WWE regarding Friday Night SmackDown and the continuous advertising for football that goes alongside it.
Vince McMahon’s XFL began with a strong start but ratings nosedived and the wrestling genius folded the league at the end of the premiere season. However, the venture was reprised in 2020 but despite rave reviews for its games, was the casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic and filed for bankruptcy.
In August 2020, it was announced that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and a consortium had purchased the rights to the league and the XFL will return to the field in 2022.
Credit for the interview: Grilling JR Podcast
h/t for the transcription: Wrestling Inc.