AEW's Jim Ross On Calling Matches In The Ring Vs. Rehearsal And Memorization

Although pro wrestling is a predetermined sport, a lot of the in-ring action is called on the fly by the performers. In the lead-up to the 2003 Survivor Series, a report claimed that Steve Austin and some of WWE's backstage producers were encouraging wrestlers to no longer rehearse matches, urging them to listen to their instincts and react to the crowds while performing in a live setting. 


On a recent episode of "Grilling Jr," Jim Ross reflected on those drastic changes in the industry, and explained why the wrestlers who refused to adapt to the new lay of the land struggled to remain in top spots.  

"A lot of talents just don't want to change," Ross said. "They like the match-by-memory scenario. I don't, quite frankly. Because my guys get off their script, or off their set pattern of moves, and they have to deviate sometimes [if] things go awry ... [otherwise] the match becomes sloppy and somewhat predictable. So, it was time to ... I just think talents are so much better off if they are connected emotionally and psychologically to each other in a match, instead of going by memory." 


Ross then explained why the old rehearsed format of putting together matches becomes "cumbersome" after a while, not just to performers and announcers, but even to the smart fans possessing intricate knowledge of the business. 

"It gets awkward sometimes, and that's what you don't want," Ross continued. "You want it to seem like a natural progression in a match. I like the fact that talents are calling it in the ring and they're using the material that works to make their match more believable, and that's always been the key. You do that by not memorizing your spots. Austin was one of many who wanted to go back to doing what they believed was the right thing for the match."