Whether it’s behind the headset or with the booking pencil, Jim Ross is a master chef when it comes to cooking up a meal of wrestling and a big aspect of that job description is ultimately what led to the Boomer Sooner never signing a deal with TNA.
On a recent episode of Grilling JR, Ross was asked by a fan as to why he never did ink an agreement with TNA. Host Conrad Thompson already knew the answer but Jim gave the details to listeners. It wasn’t particularly cash, but more with knowing the full ins-and-outs of the job description.
“I used the Bill Parcells line to Mr. [Bob] Carter: ‘You want me to cook the dinner, you gotta let me buy some groceries,’ and I needed to know your contract structure. They were very reluctant to show me the contracts,” Ross said regarding all the talent that was signed. “I wasn’t trying to cut pay, but you gotta know what you’re getting into. If you start to be a general manager of a ball club, you want to know what your salary cap is and how do you stand. There’s a set of rules to go by, there’s a little pattern here and I never got access to that information, which is fine, cause I shouldn’t have been there,” he said before noting that he did go down to visit the Carter family to discuss a potential deal at the time.
“Dixie flew me down from Norman to their ranch in Texas, North Texas. It was about a 20-minute flight and it was Easter weekend,” Ross said, noting he almost had to stay overnight due to lightening in the area.
“But I had a great talk with Bob Carter. I liked his wife, Janice. Dixie was a sweet woman, had great passion for the wrestling business and trying to make her mark basically in a men’s business.”
“It wasn’t about money as much as it was about job description. And then it’s like, ‘Well we got a booking committee.’ I already been through that shit,” he said. “Too many cooks in the kitchen, baby.”
“They didn’t mean anything by it, it was just like, ‘Just come to work for us, come to those meetings and I’m sure you’re going to fit in.’ That’s like walking into a pool of sharks with like a bloody leg. They’re going to eat your ass alive.”
Conrad asked JR what was different that made his AEW deal so attractive.
“Well the compensation was beautiful, the challenge of working in a start-up for the first time in my career, a clean slate,” he said. “The fact that he wanted me to be the lead voice of the broadcast, which I liked. It’s like dancing, man. I need to lead the dance which sounds very ego-centric and that’ll be a nice little clickbait for some of you motherf*ckers,” he said before telling Conrad he can bleep that last bit out. “But serious, all these things I say here can be used in unique ways to make things sound different than they’re meant to sound, if that makes any goddamned sense.” Ross continued to elaborate what makes his current situation different.
“I like Tony Khan, his enthusiasm and all that. The thing about it, is Dixie assembled a lot of really talented wrestling politicians, okay? And I didn’t feel like butting heads with him. I wanted 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 so I didn’t want to get into another deal where it’s chasing our tail another time. That didn’t make any sense to me.”
JR makes clear he didn’t have a bit of animosity with Jeff Jarrett at the time and was then asked what wrestling politicians he was referring to. JR said being the mix of the entire lot was something he had no interest in because everyone was vying for the same position.
“I didn’t want to fight that system. At that stage of my life and what I accomplished and my body of work, why would I want to get into that shithole? It wasn’t worth it to me.”
“I loved being around Bob Carter. He’s a big football guy and I’m a big football guy, Conrad as you know. He didn’t want to go against Dixie and I respected that, by the way. Still do, and I got a text from her a day or two ago and guess what we’re talking about? SEC.”
Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone
You can tune into the full episode of Grilling JR below: