On a recent episode of AEW Unrestricted, Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone went through Jim Ross' early career with him from his days starting in Mid-South to Jim Crockett. Edwards remarked that broadcasting was in Ross' blood, and while Ross agreed that broadcasting was his calling, he said that his best work was the talent he signed while working talent relations in WWE.
"That was my calling. I think my best work, at the end of the day, someday will be the talent that I signed that went to WWE and have become millionaires [and] movie stars," Ross stated. "I was there 26 years, and the majority of that I was in charge of talent relations and negotiated all the contracts. [I was] a good listener to those guys and gals. You find out they're really insecure as entertainers, and they're getting paid discretionary money and that is also an unsettling thing for a lot of people because they don't understand that formula. I enjoy that. I think that is my greatest contribution quite frankly is the guys that I helped facilitate to get in the game in that level and see how they ran with the ball."
Edwards asked if there was ever one person that got way from Ross and WWE. Ross said no and talked about one of the biggest signing classes that he helped put together.
"No, we kind of got what we needed," Ross admitted. "I had one signing class to our team where we signed Lesnar, Batista, Cena, Orton and Shelton Benjamin, who is by far the best athlete of the group. We signed those guys, and I predict all those guys will be in the hall of fame someday."
Schiavone and Edwards talked about the Attitude Era being the most popular time in WWE. Schiavone said that Hulkamania was big, but Edwards brought up the mainstream appeal that the Attitude Era brought. Ross has talked about before on why WWE fans stopped watching after the Attitude Era, and he discussed how the Attitude Era was able to be so successful.
"It connected. It emotionally connected with the audience," Ross stated. "Anytime an entertainer of any ilk can connect with his or her audience, the ticket buying, the record buying, the concert goer or whatever, that's when the magic happens. Who is my audience, and how do I find them? That's marketing. It's not 18 degrees and 17 meetings. Who's my audience, and how do I reach them? [You do it in] the most efficient way and the most memorable way so my message can stick with them for the next 30 seconds."
Edwards then asked what AEW has done correctly so far. Ross has criticized AEW before saying it has "too man flips and flops" for his taste. However, he praised the young talent that he says are still working on working high level matches on a national stage.
"Well, we're introducing a lot of young guys that are still trying to figure out how to wrestle in a main-event level match on a national outlet like TNT," Ross said. "It's a big deal, and I told guys that. I said, 'you don't realize the opportunity you have to become rich and famous. Let's cut to the chase. You want to be rich and famous don't you?' Oh hell yeah. Well, here's your vehicle. Jump aboard and make a difference, but a lot of these kids you can talk to in that vein whereas in other companies that have more guys that are older and set in their ways, they sometimes get offended when you infer they're not the busting their ass. You haven't changed your game yet. Since you got that big deal, you haven't changed nothing. Alright?"
You can listen to the podcast by clicking here. If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.