Jim Ross recently spoke on his Grilling JR podcast about a wide range of topics.
During it, he talked about why he didn’t go to TNA Wrestling when he was negotiating with them in 2009. This would’ve seen him be a top executive in the company and be a commentator.
“I couldn’t get the money I wanted, and the control I needed. I used a Bill Parcells’ line to Mr. Carter. ‘You want me to cook the dinner, you have to let me buy some groceries. I need to know your contract structure.’ They were very reluctant to show me any of the contracts. The bottom line is, I can do math. You tell me this is your nut, you have to do this to get into the profit side, then I need to know what the nut is. What’s the overhead? It may be impossible to achieve. How much were you paying Hogan?
I wasn’t trying to cut pay, but you have to know what you’re getting into. If you start being a general manager of a ballclub, you want to know what your salary cap is and how you stand. There’s a set of rules to go by. I never got access to that information, which is fine because I shouldn’t have been there. Dixie flew me down to Norman to their ranch in Texas, north Texas. It was about a 20 minute flight. It was Easter weekend. I came very close to staying the night because of lightning. A cool front moved through, so they scooted me out of there early in the evening. When I got back to Oklahoma, it was dark. I had a great talk with Bob Carter. I like his wife, Janice. Dixie is a sweet woman. She had great passion for the wrestling business and was trying to make her mark in basically a men’s business. It wasn’t about money as much as it was about job description. Then it was, ‘We have a booking committee.’ I’ve already been through that shit. Too many cooks in the kitchen. They said, ‘Come to work for us. Come to those meetings, and I assure you that you’re going to fit in.’ That’s like walking into a pool of sharks with a bloody leg. They’re going to eat your ass alive.”
He was also asked what AEW did differently from TNA to get him to sign with them.
“The compensation was beautiful. The challenge of working for a startup for the first time in my career. Clean slate. The fact that he wanted me to be the lead voice of the broadcast, which I liked. It’s like dancing. I need to lead the dance, which sounds very egocentric. I like Tony Khan and his enthusiasm. The thing about it, Dixie had assembled a lot of really talented wrestling politicians. I didn’t feel like butting heads with them. I want to call the plays. I want to run the ship, and she didn’t have the conviction or the confidence in me to allow that to happen. I didn’t want to get into another deal where I’m chasing my tail all the time. It didn’t make any sense to me.”
Ross was asked if Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan, or Vince Russo were the politicians in TNA at the time.
“All of them, because they’re all looking for the same gig, control, creative control, and this control. I didn’t want to fight that system. At that stage in my life, and what I’ve accomplished in my body of work, why would I want to get into that sh*t hole? It wasn’t worth it to me.”
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