Recently on Sam Roberts' Wrestling Podcast, 'Good Ol' J.R.' Jim Ross talked about calling the WWE WrestleMania 15 main event at the request of 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin and The Rock, the competitive nature of the WWE locker room during 'The Attitude Era', and why Austin resonated with fans.
On the subject of calling Austin vs. The Rock at WrestleMania 15, Ross admitted that he really believed commentating that night in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania would be the last time of his WWE career.
"I really believed that return at WrestleMania there in Philly with Austin and The Rock," Ross continued, "that was it."
While Ross was honored that the talent requested his soundtrack to their performance, Ross told Roberts that he lost his mojo after his second bout of Bell's Palsy and he thought people would see him as a "freak".
"They requested me, Sam, and here's the bottom line: But I don't know. I'm just always honored if those guys think so much of my work, but Austin and The Rock were two of the guys I signed, two of the guys I brought into WWE, helped bring in. I wasn't a one-man band here, by the way. But out of respect, and they knew my situation: my mother had died and it triggered another attack, a Bell's Palsy attack. Then I was on the bench from December till WrestleMania. So, again, I really lost my game. I thought I looked bad, people are going to look at me like I'm a freak, and I thought, this was before podcasting, maybe I could find something in radio, so audible job where they wouldn't have to look at my grotesque face. So it was a tough day, man."
According to Ross, the WWE locker room was so competitive during 'The Attitude Era' that every member of the talent roster wanted to be the so-called top guy in the company. Ross illustrated his point with a story of Austin being insulted that he was not main eventing a house show when 'J.R.' was just trying to give Austin a rest.
"We had a very competitive group." Ross said, "everybody wanted to be the top dog. Everybody took pride in being the guy. I booked Austin one time in a tag match to give him a break on a Saturday night before TV, a Sunday night, excuse me, on the west coast. I put him in a tag match at Vince's suggestion and I put him on right before intermission. So he goes out and gets to the town and Blackjack Lanza is the road agent, so Lanza calls me on the phone, which was very common, go over the plans for the night creatively on the live events, and he goes, 'I've got Austin here for you.' He handed Austin the phone and after he got done over modulating on my phone and cussing, I figured out that A) he didn't like tag matches and B) he couldn't figure out why he wasn't going on last. And I said, 'well, I thought the tag match would give you something of a break instead of carrying the whole load and going on before intermission would get you on the road earlier.' I said, 'you've got a big night at RAW the next night and it's an early night because we're on west coast time.' And he gave me, 'man, I worked my entire G.D. life for this, to be a top guy, and not have to do that and I want to go on last. That's what top guys do.' And that was him! That was the way some talents were."
Ross added, "and by the way, I unbooked the tag and put him on last."
Get in Not [Singer/Songwriter] Sam [Roberts] Mode here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Sam Roberts' Wrestling Podcast with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Sam Roberts' Wrestling Podcast