Jim Ross on the Fake Diesel and Razor Ramon angle: “I didn’t think I’d be good at it”
Jim Ross discussed the aftermath of the Curtain Call on his latest podcast and the infamous Fake Diesel and Razor Ramon angle. The angle took place after Scott Hall and Kevin Nash left following the curtain call, and saw Rick Bogner and Glenn Jacobs (better known these days as Kane or Mayor Jacobs) brought in to be recast in the roles that Hall and Nash played.
WWE owned the rights to the Razor Ramon and Diesel gimmicks, and WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt allegedly came up with the idea of just getting new guys to play the characters since WWE owned the intellectual property, but the whole thing was a disaster and audiences rejected the attempt to pass the two off as the characters. The entire thing also included Jim Ross cutting a heel turn promo where he said he ran key talent out of WWE as ‘revenge’ against WWE for treating him badly and WWE considered having him manage the Fake Razor and Diesel.
Ross also discusses how Steve Austin benefited from the curtain call because Triple H was originally scheduled to win the 1996 King of the Ring but ended up being punished for his involvement in the curtain call, opening the door for Austin to win it and deliver his famous Austin 3:16 promo.
Highlights are below:
On if he was in the creative meeting where Fake Diesel and Razor were decided: “No, I’m in the meeting. I don’t know. I always wondered why those decisions were made. I was very, very content to continue to improve as a broadcaster and to hopefully earn more significant minutes on the TV doing my work as to what I came there to do. And then it was given to me that this is what we’re gonna do, and ‘You’re gonna be the guy.’ I was never told — I thought I was gonna become like a heel announcer. But I never got the discussion I was gonna become a manager. Because that was never in my plan whatsoever. I didn’t think I’d be good at it. And why are you using me when you got other guys who are much better that you could use?”
On the prep work Rick Bogner (Fake Razor) and Glenn Jacobs (Fake Diesel) had to play the roles: “I think Cornette did some work with those guys about Diesel’s mannerisms and so forth. And Corny had a long history with Glenn Jacobs, who we hired. I saw him in Smokey Mountain. I was doing some commentary for Cornette at that time while I was with WWE. So he was like a no-brainer to sign. I was completely unaware of who Rick Bogner was and don’t mind saying it, this ain’t no knock on the dude. Canadian cat. So I wasn’t around him, I didn’t know him well. But he had, at a distance when prepared for television, he had some Razor tendencies. And of course Glenn had that near-seven foot frame that Kevin Nash did. So that’s kind of how that worked out. And [Jacobs’ other gimmick] Doctor Yankem was never gonna work out. It was another stupid gimmick! Made no sense. So eye-rolling, nobody could attach to it, because they don’t wanna be embarrassed that they’re a fan of something so bad. And it wasn’t Glenn’s fault, the gimmick was so bad. So I don’t think we did a walkthrough.”
On his own prep for the segment featuring his heel turn promo: “The night before, I did a promo in Hershey introducing these guys, doing my heel promo thing. I rode from Philly to Hershey with Jerry Brisco in a sleet ice storm. And my Native American compadre was not really happy driving on the ice and I was even less happy. But all the way there from Philly in slow traffic, I recited that promo. I had bullet points and I started putting all the sentences together. So when I got to TV, I had the promo down so I was confident I was gonna be able to do that.”
On his feeling going into the segment: “I was excited about it, because it was something new. Again, thinking if I’m still going to go back to the commentary booth, I’m gonna be a little bit more edgy and so forth, so on, it’s all fine. But some of the things I said in the promo got cheered! So I don’t know, it’s like swimming upstream. I didn’t mind trying it, but I sure as hell had no envisions whatsoever of becoming a quote-unquote ‘heel manager.’ I’m not Jim Cornette or Bobby Heenan or Gary Hart, or any of those great ones. I’m just not. That’s not my skillset. So I didn’t feel good about stepping into that world, but that hadn’t really been determined.”
On the Curtain Call launching Steve Austin and Kane: “It’s ironic here that the Curtain Call indirectly helped everybody discover the Stone Cold Steve Austin character. The Curtain Call as it would play out, helped Glenn Jacobs get rid of Doctor Yankem, have a stop-off as the phony Diesel, but more importantly it took him to Kane. And Kane became one of the longest-running main event stars in the history of the company. So when you go back and say ‘Boy look at all the damage that happened in the Garden [due to the Curtain Call].’ Well first of all, we know the Garden wasn’t killed, business continued. It helped create a new atmosphere, new attitude for WWE. And just in the sense of two guys, Steve Austin and Kane, they were byproducts of that chaos. That’s called a win to me. So the Curtain Call was what it was, unsavory to some. I get it. But the fact that we could get Austin and Kane both out of that scenario, squeeze that out of the fruit. Pretty damned good.”
Credit: Grilling JR, 411mania.com for the transcription