Jim Ross recently recalled the yearly discussion he would have with frustrated performers who were left off pay-per-view cards.
‘Good Ol’ JR’ worked as Head of Talent Relations in WWE during the peak of The Attitude Era and has often discussed the responsibility the role held, from dealing with irritated talent to firing performers.
On a recent episode of ‘Grilling JR’, Ross remembers the frequent conversations he would have with Superstars who would find themselves without a match at a pay-per-view, and what that meant for them:
“They had a contract, and they’re guaranteed money. And so if you tell them that they are going to get paid everything that they are owed, under the terms of this contract, most of them exhale. So that’s how I look at it. You’re still getting paid, and you’re not going to be shorted.
You can still live your life, you can still plan, and you can still use this money as a budget. So you take some of the negativity from it. But as far as me saying ‘Oh, Im sure your time’s gonna come. Oh I know that creative is gonna have something for you’ would be bullshit by me. And that ain’t my game.”
One show that all professional wrestlers strive to appear on is WrestleMania as the spectacle is widely considered the ‘Granddaddy of Them All’ in sports entertainment. The road to WrestleMania begins at the Royal Rumble, with excitement and hype running wild. Thousands upon thousands of fans from around the world pack out stadiums year after year to witness the spectacle, and more often than not the show is a highlight for many fans.
When discussing WrestleMania X7 with Conrad Thompson, Jim Ross recalled having to have conversations with performers who felt slighted, and hearing their frustrations at not being able to step onto ‘The Grandest Stage of Them All’:
“Every year at WrestleMania you have that conversation, from a variety of folks. They’re wondering what they did wrong. You know, ‘Who did I piss off? This has got to be a political decision because I’m great, I should be on the card.’ So, it’s a very hard, a very sensitive subject to discuss.”
The first WrestleMania featured 9 matches compared to WrestleMania 36 which had a total of 19 bouts across two nights. Jim Ross agrees that WWE has improved in managing to get more Superstars on the show in recent years, but admits that not everyone is worthy of a spot on the bill:
“You can’t get everybody on the card. They’ve done a better job in adding Battle Royale’s and so forth, [and] another day, whatever. I also believe this, because you’re on the roster, doesn’t mean you automatically get a pass to be on a WrestleMania card.
I would never book anybody on a card just to make them happy […] because those tickets, those pay-per-views are not cheap. So consequently, I think it just didn’t make any sense to have so many people on the card just because you didn’t want to hurt their feelings. I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, for god sakes. But we have to be, its a business, we have to be realistic.”
From its beginnings at Madison Square Garden, WrestleMania has always been a star studded event. Each year features multiple celebrity appearances and iconic moments, from music royalty such as Ray Charles singing ‘America The Beautiful’, to Hulk Hogan slamming Andre The Giant in front of 93,000 rabid fans.
WrestleMania 37 on April 10 and 11, 2021 will be held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, the original site of WrestleMania 36.
Credit for the interview: Grilling JR Podcast