Jim Ross Bill Watts
HOUSTON - APRIL 04: WWE 2009 Hall of Fame inductee 'Cowboy' Bill Watts attends the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania's WWE Hall of Fame at the Toyota Center on April 4, 2009 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/WireImage)

Jim Ross Always Felt Uncomfortable With Retaping Matches; Shares Bill Watts’ Work-Around

Jim Ross isn’t a man to insult the fan’s intelligence. On the ‘Yokozuna’ episode of Grilling JR, Conrad Thompson mentions a moment in which a match had to be re-taped that involved Yoko. The Podfather wanted to get Jim’s thoughts on re-taping matches and how WWE handled such during that time.

“You don’t say nothing. You just try to get out of town. Get it done,” he said. “In all the years I worked for Bill Watts, we had one match that we re-taped on television and it was between Junkyard Dog and The Grappler, Len Denton. Lenny was a really good masked man, but Lenny wanted to get over too. So he comes in and Ernie Ladd books him with JYD and Len trying to make sure he got some of his stuff in, which is not anything wrong. For the winner to beat somebody, they gotta have something,” Ross explained. “You gotta give them a little something there that the announcers can build on and the fans can see so that when the babyface gets his hand raised he’s beating somebody significant. Well, Len tried a little too hard and Junkyard Dog blew up.”

“He went ballistic. I think he probably fired Ernie like three times that night,” JR said about Mid South’s head man in Watts. “So they come back up at the end of that show and man, Cowboy he had a sermon for the ages and he said, ‘Man, I should fire your ass. I should fire your ass right now,’ Ross said, ‘because you gotta understand who sells tickets in this territory: JYD. He’s going to make you a lot of money, but the way you went out there, you killed him. That match will never fuckin’ air.’”

JR then shares the way Watts played it so it didn’t pull a peek behind a curtain for the fans in Shreveport, Louisiana that evening.

“Lenny goes out there (as I recall this now and he cuts a promo, just to the house that you know ‘JYD beat me was a fluke, he couldn’t do it again in 100 years,’ that kind of thing so he pre-conditioned the audience. So then we had JYD come out, same entrance the whole nine yards, they had their match. It went exactly as Cowboy wanted. It saved Ernie’s ass and Len got JYD over as he’s supposed to do at the beginning,” Ross explained, “and he showed Cowboy that he could adapt, he could take an ass-chewing, he could take coaching and he went out there and did it and at the end of the day over the time, Len Denton was a very viable member of the Mid-South team. He was a hell of a hand!”

Ross then went into further detail and shared his thoughts on the concept of re-taping matches, and how he was never a fan of the practice.

“I was always uncomfortable with that Conrad. I understand why we did it, but it always felt weird. I thought it was a little bit of an expose,” Ross said, “and the fans got no explanation why this was the same match we just saw, or ‘we’re re-taping.’”

So far, JR can really only think of one instance that had any semblance to a re-taping for his new company in AEW.

“I think in AEW so far, I think I’ve seen it happened once where they just picked it up on a taped show because of some botched spot. It just looked real awkward—just human error, no biggie. Just human error, but if you can fix it,” Ross explained, “then you should fix it. You should give the presentation, the fans exactly what they deserve and most of them do not deserve botched spots.”

(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)

You can listen to the full episode in which the two cover Yoko below:

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