AEW play-by-play man and senior advisor Jim Ross was recently interviewed by TV Insider to hype his new autobiography Under The Black Hat. Highlights are below.
To know that this audience has grown immensely and have appreciated my work over the years, it’s amazing. The book has a lot of familiar topics to cover here. One is certainly my marriage to Jan and how important she was behind the scenes when I was in charge of talent relations at WWE. Selfishly, how important she was in my career and keeping me propped up when I was living life in the fast lane trying to do all my work. There are some funny parts. There are some dramatic parts. There are some poignant parts. There are a lot of life lessons. There are some interesting stories about Steven Austin, recruiting Chris Jericho, signing the Radicalz, the original XFL. It covers a broad spectrum.
On his late wife, and how much her spirt helped him finish the book:
Jan’s spirit got me through. She deserved to have her story told, too. If people are interested in my story, they’re certainly going to be interested in hers because she wasn’t just my wife. She was my best friend, my biggest fan, my most positive voice day in and day out. In pro wrestling, you don’t always get a steady diet of positive voices. It’s a very unique business where insecurity and paranoia can run rampant including me. I didn’t say I was exempt. This is showbiz. There is always that uncertainty. The most powerful weapon in wrestling is the eraser. The book needed to be written. Under the Black Hat is my last public hug to my late wife. I have buddies of mine who’d be on the road and their wife got a hold of the book first and wouldn’t let them have it because they said it was a love story. I never looked at it like that. I didn’t write a love story. I just wrote a truthful story that had love involved in it.
Getting involved with AEW and praising Tony Khan:
[All Elite Wrestling president] Tony Khan has been a breath of fresh air in my life. He made hiring me a priority inasmuch as I signed my contract and went on the payroll the day after my WWE contract expired. The WWE contract did expire. I wasn’t fired. I decided I didn’t want to renegotiate because I wanted to stay busy. I’m in the back nine of life, and you want to maximize your minutes in tenfold if you can. I didn’t want to sit home. I didn’t want to be that guy sitting on the sidelines wearing a visor and carrying a clipboard. I wanted to play. Tony Khan wanted me to play in a big way. I am senior adviser of AEW, which he and I discuss a lot of things. He is a rampant fan. He is as educated a fan as I’ve ever been around ever. His recall is extraordinary. He was quoting something the other day on Mid-South [Wrestling], and he wasn’t even born.
How AEW differs from other places he’s worked:
It’s refreshing with AEW. It’s entirely different from what I’ve been accustomed to because it’s very nonpolitical, intimate. The atmosphere that those in charge create is one of positivity. We laugh, have fun. We’re just a bunch of wrestling fans that are finally getting the opportunity to really express our voices. I love doing commentary, and since I started in October, I’ve heard Tony Khan on my headset maybe two or three times to remind me of something. Not to correct, don’t say this or that. Just information. It’s been really cool. It makes me feel younger. I enjoy going to work. I’m not flying right now going places because Tony wanted me to stay home because I’m in the high risk group. I appreciate his concern, but it doesn’t mean I’m not contributing and helping out when I can. It has been a blessing in JR’s life.