Monday Night Mayhem with Jim Ross
Returning to the WWE announce table for Monday Night RAW’s three-hour "Old School" special, keeping his return a surprise, and what his main concern was that night in Hershey: "It was 13 months between wrestling matches that I had worked, and I think no matter who you are, if you really care about your work, and you want to do well for the fans’ sake, there’s a degree of apprehension. I knew I was going to be a little bit rusty, so you just hope that you don’t stink the joint out when you go out there, but I had great anticipation going into it. I was looking forward to it. It was kept secret, which I thought was really cool. It didn’t leak out.
"I thought the surprise element was nice. The feedback subsequently to that night has been really heart-warming and tremendous. It made me pause to give thanks for a lot of things in my life and career during the Thanksgiving holidays. I was really pleased that I had the opportunity to go back, and call one more match, and to work with Jerry (Lawler). Michael (Cole) was there, so that added a little bit of spice to the presentation, but my only concern was can you still go out and get the job done, so hopefully we did that. It was a lot of fun. I had a blast seeing all the guys from the past that were there, and the new guys that have come since I’ve been gone, and some of the incumbents. It was kind of like reunion-like atmosphere to me. It was a really enjoyable day. A long day, but a really enjoyable day."
Why he personally endorses The Miz as the new WWE Champion, why he feels the WWE made the "smart move" in having The Miz cash in his Money in the Bank contract successfully, and which WWE Hall of Famers he mirrors The Miz to right now: "I am of the philosophical belief that having a champion that is resourceful, that is physically beatable, that has excellent verbal skills are good combinations. I go back to "Nature Boy" Buddy Rodgers was that sort of competitor. He wasn’t overwhelmingly large in stature, he was wily, he was cagey: all of those adjectives. He had a great mouth, he had a good look, but he was beatable. You knew that on any given night in your city that Buddy Rogers may lose to your local hero.
"I think that moving forward Ric Flair was much in that mold. He was a very charismatic, very beatable guy, because he wasn’t 6’6, 300 lbs. I think even moving forward, the earlier versions of Shawn Michaels. You knew Shawn wasn’t the biggest dog in the fight, but he would had great skills, some great talent, he was resourceful, he did whatever it took to win. All those guys, no matter now their outcome was last week, when you got them on TV this week, and they had the opportunity to verbalize, they put themselves back into a real good position. Having said all of that, whether Miz achieves the success of any of those men that I mentioned, or comes close, or approaches it remains to be seen.
"None of us know. But if Miz can approach reach that certain level of success with his current personality and current persona, I believe it is a very strategically sound move by WWE. It shook things up, it changed the perception of things, it created some new matches, it added a freshness to it, and now we are going to see if The Miz can develop the legs and the legacy that he needs to as the WWE Champion. I personally believe it was a smart movie, a good move, and certainly a play that I would have endorsed calling. Now it’s up to Miz to get better every week and to accept responsibility of being the champion."
The significance of bringing back the King of the Ring tournament back to the WWE: "First of all, it’s an exciting, unpredictable tournament. Certainly, if it does well, and it does have great name identity, one would think maybe once a year on one of these three-hour Monday Night RAW specials that it would be a good theme. I vividly remember the first King of the Ring I was part of, and that was in ’93 working with Bobby Heenan and Randy Savage. I think Bret Hart won that night, and I think Jerry Lawler and he had confrontation with ‘Mean’ Gene (Okerlund) at the conclusion of the event. That was a good tournament, with some really good talent in it. I don’t know if it was a launching pad, but it was a nice way to make Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart more relevant in the WWE conscious."
His choices for the most memorable moments and memories in the WWE this past year: "The things that stuck out to me in 2010 were Undertaker and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXVI. Shawn’s last match was huge. The resurgence and reemergence of Bret Hart was big for me personally, because I’m a Bret Hart fan and a friend. I was in the Mid-South territory when Shawn Michaels broke in, so I’ve known Shawn since day one and think the world of him. Michaels and Bret coming back were major things for me. Undertaker staying undefeated at WrestleMania was extremely significant and ties into the Shawn thing."
After all has been said and done, whether or not he would accept a full-time WWE return/being "the voice of the WWE," if approached/asked by Vince McMahon: "Of course. I’m open to doing anything for the company that has employed me since 1993 wants me to do. I get e-mails almost everyday from people wondering if I even have a job or why did we take myself off the air, or why are refusing to go back on TV. Things are so misguided, and they’re so inaccurate. I am very happily employed by WWE. I’m very pleased to be with the company since ’93, and obviously if I’m ‘out in the bullpen,’ and they need me to come in and play, I’ll be more than happy to come out of the bullpen and go work. And if there’s another area that the company needs for me to help in, I’ll be more than willing to do that."
More is contained in JR’s exclusive interview, including his candid thoughts and comments on why Michael Cole’s on-air remarks that have been directed his way since he left the broadcast booth have not bothered him (and based on that, why he has no problems helping to expand Cole’s new persona), the long-term feud between John Cena and The Nexus (and how John’s Mexican cousin "Juan" might play a vital part into what we may see), CM Punk’s future as a color-commentator in the WWE, which Raw and SmackDown superstars he feels are "ones to watch for" in 2011, which developmental talents currently in FCW he believes could be future cornerstones for World Wrestling Entertainment, why the WWE may have actually decided to eliminate the King of the Ring as a Pay-Per-View, advice for aspiring announcers, plus so much more!