JR Interview: How He Would Have Handled Punk Situation, Backstage Politics In Storylines, More
– Jim Ross recently joined Doug Mortman and Dave Lagreca on Busted Open. You can hear Busted Open on SiriusXM 92 and on the SiriusXM app. Here are some highlights:
His thoughts on MVP debuting in TNA and if he will have a positive impact for the company: “You know, well I’d like to think so. I like the guy. I think he’s has around a million with life experiences cause his path to get into the business is certainly…unique. To say the least. I always thought he was a real sharp guy. He had a great head for the business. So if he’s given the opportunity to take over a leadership role or if he has the mindset to become a leader in that locker room; then he should be able to help him. He’s a good man. I’m glad that he’s back in the loop and I think that he has a lot to offer. He’s just a really cool guy. And I’m happy for him.”
His take on the ‘new’ kayfabe; where backstage politics seem to bleed into storylines and no rivalries between two wrestlers in dominate anymore: “Well it’s a unique phase without question. I’m not–I don’t know if I like it or I don’t like it. I like it if it leads to outstanding in-ring content. Just the face to face–or talk or whatever; I’m not so sure how much I like it. And not speaking of anything specifically. I’m an old school guy, for better or for worse. I still believe that personal issues that make common sense are very marketable. I still believe that there is and are a good versus evil. I know there’s lines of grey and that line allegedly between good and evil becoming more and more thin; and all that good stuff. But I mean I have people; there’s people in my life that I encounter that I like a whole lot less than others. So they’d be on my heel list. So I still think we are creatures of habit and our human instincts are gonna be what they are. We’re gonna like some people and we’re not going to like some people. But I think that wrestling should have villains and heroes for various reasons. And I’m not a big based guy. I think you gotta be either black or white. I’m not big on earth tones. I think you gotta have a divinity. And a lot of the guys, unfortunately because they just don’t have the experience, nor have they had, they don’t have–some of them don’t have the instincts. A lot of guys actually don’t know how to be a heel or a villain. And hopefully that is something that will continue to be reinforced and taught as time goes on.”
His thoughts on the CM Punk situation; how he would have handled it: “Well, I had that happen. Stone Cold did that and went home. And he regrets it to this very day. Because he just–you never get into a situation where–there’s a couple of basics things here. One is that you don’t want to get into a situation where it becomes easy for you as a professional or in private life to start breaking commitments. And a contract is a commitment. I think that the other thing is that you never get–you never save enough money nor can you live a starkness existence. The way you got all the money you’re ever gonna need and you live good money laying behind. I personally don’t believe in that. And I think a lot of the wrestlers over the years would say the same thing. So I’m not a fan of anybody in any walk of life exiting before it’s time. But I also don’t know all the information. This may have been a situation where Punk needed to take his leave and recharge his batteries a long time ago. I don’t know. I haven’t been there. And I have observed his privacy by not reaching out to him in several weeks.
“We used to text every now and then just to shoot the breeze and see how he’s doing. And mostly just friendly stuff. It wasn’t too deep. So I haven’t talked to him. But I know what it’s like to see burn out and hit the wall. And it’s a tough business. The one night stands, the taxing on your body, the mental strain of–especially when you’re a perfectionist like he is. Where you really analyze creative. And creative has a hard time keeping guys like Punk happy because he’s so demanding and he’s got such a great head for creative in a large sense. Austin did too. Austin could tell you what he didn’t like. He wasn’t great at telling you what the solution is but he had such amazing instincts that he could tell you what was going to work or what wasn’t going to work. But he didn’t know exactly why. It was a feel thing, which is a great gift quite frankly. So I wish the guy had not hit the wall. But I can understand it. I can understand hitting the wall. I just felt like the timing of it was–is there ever a good time for these type of circumstances? Probably not but I’m not a big fan of leaving your post so to speak. Especially when his contract was up–I guess it’s gonna be up in July.
“So he was coming down the home stretch anyway. So if it were me, being the overt capitalist that I am, I wanna stick around and make the money. Now the other thing that we don’t know and I certainly don’t know; I don’t know about you guys but we don’t know physically how he is. He obviously mentally is burnt out. He’s done. But I don’t know physically how bad he’s hurting. And if he’s hurting badly enough that he’s not safe in the ring or he’s jeopardizing his health; then most definitely he should not be in the ring. But we don’t know all that data so all I know is he’s one of my favorite guys in the business, outside of the ring or inside of the ring. I wish things had worked out differently but look. He spent his whole life to get here and to get in that main event level area and make big money. He did that. He has a lot to be proud of and he’s had a lot of accomplishments. Live the dream. I don’t think the dream is over. I just think that he needs to step away for a while. And I don’t know what a while is. He might not be back for a year. He might not be back for six months. I would give him as long as he needed. Because there’s no sense in coming back when you’re half-ass ready. Come back when you’re ready to roll. But I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him. But we may have seen the last of him this year.,
On the relationship between the fans and wrestling; crowds hijacking shows: “Well, I think overall it’s good. I think there’s the defiant, vocal group that likes to express themselves. I have no issue with the fans chanting things that make sense. Indiscriminate or ill-timed chants, just off the wall BS, just to draw attention to yourself; I’m not a big fan of that. But you know you pay your money, you come in–the tickets aren’t exactly cheap. So you come in, you pay your money, you sit down and then you can–it’s like you go to a football game or–hey I’ve had, I’ve been pissed off at Oklahoma football fans for booing the team. At home. I don’t like it. But you know they paid their money and they came so they express themselves.
“I do think that there are some of these chants that are individually, ego-centrically based. I don’t think it’s a matter of just executing one’s freedom of speech. I think it’s to draw attention to themselves. And then some of these people sitting around and chanting; I don’t think they even know why they’re chanting. It’s kind of just the fun, cool thing to do. So I don’t think that the relationship is horrific or anything but I do the fans in our society are more outspoken. And more defiant. I have season tickets to the OU women’s basketball games with Jack Nicholson type seats. You know front row. I’m near the pep squad and the cheerleaders and all that. And what some of the pep team; the men and women, they’re called rough necks. What they chant to the opposing women’s basketball teams sometimes can be uncomfortable. It’s like you’ve got to be kidding me. They’re girls. I’m a grandfather. I’ve got two granddaughters.
“So I think it’s partially a societal thing. I don’t think it’s a wrestling deal. But I do think that wrestling fans have a little bit more knowledge. They’re a little braver. They’re a little bit more defiant. But that kind of goes along with society so I don’t look at it as a huge deal. The bottom line is always this: If you give the fans what you perceive that they want; more often than not most of them will be happy. But we live in a society guys where today, you’re never going to make all the fans happy. Back in the day, you didn’t know if you were making them happy or not cause it was all based on ticket sales for live events. Now there’s a million ways to measure it and who’s trending and all this other stuff. It’s just a whole different ball game. So I don’t look at it as a wrestling issue as much as society has a say. And it’s just the way it is. So it’s not an issue to me. I don’t like the hijacking–cool term of, we‘re ‘hijacking’ a show. We’re taking it over. And by god you’re gonna book what we want or you’re gonna hear from us. Really? Well ok. Where does it stop? Where does it go? We could talk about that a lot. It’s interesting.”