Recently on The Steve Austin Show - Unleashed!, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin interviewed Marcus 'Buff' Bagwell. During the podcast, Bagwell claimed that Jim Ross ruined his professional wrestling career.
According to Bagwell, he had to get 20 stitches following an altercation with Shane Helms. After initially agreeing to cover up the incident, Bagwell changed his mind and reported the incident to John Laurinaitis, former Director of Talent Relations, when Helms and the Hardy Boyz ignored Bagwell backstage at WWE Monday Night RAW in Tacoma, Washington.
"When I showed up, after being told everything I was told [as in to tell Fit Finlay and John Laurinaitis that the head injury was caused by accidentally falling] and Shane Helms crying and everything, I see Shane Helms and the Hardy Boyz coming at me and I said 'hello' to them and none of them waved and none of them said 'hello'. And as soon as I saw that, I went straight to Laurinaitis and I said, 'brother, here's the deal' and I told him the whole story. I said, 'here's what happened [and] here's what's going on.' Well, he got all 12 guys [who were present during the incident] together, made us all apologize, [and] shake hands, because at this stage, he's trying to have a job! He [has] got 12 guys he [has] got to get over to WWF. So we all shook hands and did the whole thing and got everything together."
Bagwell claimed that Ross gave him the weekend off following his lackluster match against Booker T on RAW that night.
"Jim Ross, God, and me are all on the phone and Jim Ross says, 'hey, buddy. I just want you to know I want you to take the weekend off,' which was Augusta and Birmingham [Georgia], then Atlanta, the [Georgia] Dome, and he said, 'take the weekend off. Get your head healed. We've got big plans for you at Philips Arena on Monday in Atlanta.' So I was like, 'thank you so much, Jim. I really appreciate it.'"
This version of the events in question differ greatly from Ross's account as Ross once claimed on WWE Legends of Wrestling that Bagwell's mother, Judy, called him to ask if her son could have the weekend off. Bagwell insisted that there is no truth to Ross's assertion.
"Absolutely not! Mother never made those phone calls!" Bagwell continued, "I really believe with all my heart that Jim Ross really, really, really took his time out and even took time on the roundtable with all the legends, and took his time out to bury me".
When Bagwell arrived at RAW in Atlanta, Georgia the following Monday, Vince McMahon informed him that he was being released. Bagwell stated that he was told to call Ross in three months to see if he figured into WWE's future plans and he got a cold response from Ross when he made the call.
"I really don't know what happened. I just know that I did what they told me to do. They said, 'in three months, call us back' and I waited about two weeks passed the three months, so it wasn't right at three months, and when I called Jim Ross, he literally answered the phone with a deep breath. And I swear to God, I went, 'Jim, I'm just calling back because you told me to' and he said, and he didn't call me 'Buff', he went, 'yeah, Marc.' I said, 'Jim, I'm just calling you back because you guys said to call you in three months. I waited two weeks longer than that and I'm just calling you back.' And he said, 'Marc, we'll call you if we need you' and he hung up the phone on me." Bagwell added, "I am 100% convinced, whether I'm right or wrong, that Jim Ross ruined my career."
On episode 90 of The Ross Report, the WWE Hall of Famer responded to Bagwell's claim. Ross said that his job as head of WWE Talent Relations was to notify performers about employment decisions.
"When the word came down from up top to terminate talents, it fell on my shoulders to execute that piece of business and I became the messenger of bad news, so I can assure you, anyone listening, anyone at all, that I never relished in firing people. Plus, it only makes sense, that if a talent can help the company, that I wanted them to make it! We needed talents to make it big in the company, so we're trying to create stars, not eliminate them."
Ross admitted that he has no plans of listening to Bagwell's appearance on The Steve Austin Show - Unleashed!, but wished Bagwell the best.
"I'm sorry Marc feels like he does. I'm sure he believes what's there is true, but I never went out of my way to cause him any misery. I just was the guy who had to deliver the bad news and only doing my job. So, nonetheless, I can only wish Marc the best in the future and I hope he stays healthy and continues to enjoy life."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show and The Ross Report with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.