Jim Ross On How WWE Should Bring Back CM Punk, Shinsuke Nakamura Not Performing To Full Potential

On episode 164 of Sam Roberts' Wrestling Podcast, 'Good Ol' J.R.' Jim Ross shared his thoughts on talent WWE should sign. Also on the podcast, Ross recalled talking fellow WWE Hall Of Famer Shawn Michaels into making his WWE comeback. Additionally, Ross discussed Shinsuke Nakamura's ongoing struggles on WWE's main roster as a part of SmackDown Live.

During the interview, Ross, who was head of WWE's Talent Relations during its booming Attitude Era, was asked by 'Prime Time' Sam Roberts who he would try to sign if he was asked to take over WWE Talent Relations now. In response, Ross immediately named Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, and Kazuchika Okada as potential signees.

"Well, I'm certainly going to try to find another way to bring Chris Jericho back at some point, maybe at a WrestleMania, not [2018], but [2019]. Looking ahead. I'm probably going to try to get Kenny Omega signed. I'm going to find out the interest [level] from Kazuchika Okada because I think he's one of the best in the whole world. He's a good looking young man. He's 29 [years old], I think. He's 6'3" or [6'4"], 6'3", I think. He's really, really good. I had his three matches with Omega this year on AXS TV on the Friday night show I do for [Mark] Cuban's network, so he'd be a guy."

Ross continued by saying he would welcome former Ring Of Honor World Champion Cody back to WWE and J.R. would try to sign a pair of Cody's Bullet Club stablemates, The Young Bucks.

"I would certainly welcome Cody Rhodes back with open arms. Yeah, and The Young Bucks, I would try to get under contract because I like those kids. I like their entrepreneurial ability. I like the fact that they have a little bit of an attitude. Hell, I don't care. I don't know if they like me or if they don't like me. I don't have any idea. That's their prerogative I like them and I love their work. But I think as many shirts as they think they're selling now at that Topic place, what's that place? Hot Topic. Get under that WWE umbrella and see how [many] shirts you sell. Oh, brother. It's just the footprint is so much bigger. Hot Topic's not going to stop buying shirts because they're WWE shirts."

Ross indicated that he would also try to get one more run out of CM Punk.

"I would try to figure out a way if there's one more run in CM Punk. And 'one more run' to me means this: a WrestleMania, not 10, not two, not three, a WrestleMania. Start with let's build to the right build and the crescendo is WrestleMania. And the only other way I'd do him is have him return at WrestleMania and not be on television. Sign, train, vignettes, vignettes, little angle, boom. His first match is WrestleMania. Yeah, that way there's no pressure on anybody."

According to Ross, he got Michaels to come back to WWE partly because 'HBK' did not want to be thought of as being the guy who lost his smile.

"When I talked to Shawn Michaels about coming back to WWE and wrestling, he had been out four years. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Attitude Era time. I flew out from Stamford [Connecticut], LaGuardia specifically, to San Antonio [Texas] to visit with him and his lawyer, agent, whatever." Ross recalled, "but I talked to him about coming back and I said, 'many people, including myself, consider you one of the top one or two performers, in-ring performers, of all time, of all time. Unfortunately, there's going to be a whole generation that don't know you for that. They know you for the guy who lost his smile and the guy that hurt his back and had to take a four-year break. I'm just suggesting that that's not the image, legacy, you want to leave. You have too [many] good things going on. And if nothing else, I'd like you to come back and have one match if you can. If not, let's figure out a role for you. We would like for you to be able to share what to do, what not to do, and help these young guys who look up to you as their favorite.' So I thought we'd get him back for one more match and he had several! And all of them were badass."

With respect to Nakamura, Ross claimed that the wrestleverse has not seen the best of Nakamura in WWE yet.

"I broadcast Wrestle Kingdom 9 live at ringside in Tokyo [Japan]," Ross continued, "and I thought he was one of the most fascinating personalities I had ever seen in my career and when I got back from that I did the old texting and let the appropriate folks know that I saw a guy that [they] might really want to take a look at because the influences for his game are derived from what's the guy's name that sang for Queen? Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson. And I never heard of a professional wrestler saying that their influences are Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson and he has that great MMA background. He's physical. I'll just say this because I don't know what the answer is other than I don't think we've seen the best of Shinsuke Nakamura yet. There's much more there. The question is will it be revealed, discovered, or utilized. I don't know those answers and I don't believe anyone does. But I find him fascinating, but I want to see some of that more physical, more snug."

Ross explained, "what we know is there, we are not getting. And I don't know if that's him. I don't know if he's injured. I don't know what it is. But I'd love to see him be turned loose."

In Ross's view, Nakamura and A.J. Styles have put on matches that have rivalled the acclaimed Omega vs. Okada trilogy.

"I understand Kenny Omega, who WWE, I'm sure, would love to sign someday, I would think. He's proven to have an ability to connect with an audience. He's very talented [and] fundamentally sound. But he'll want to move there someday because the older you get you can't wrestle that crazy multiple bump, big bump style per match. And they do a lot of bumps on the apron, which is very dangerous and more jarring. And I understand their willingness to provide entertainment and all that good stuff. But Omega and Okada had three great matches this year, obviously. I called all three of them at some point with Josh Barnett, but I thought that the Nakamura/A.J. matches that I called were right there with them."

Find out what's the haps 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


Back To Top