On the April 20th, 2000 episode of Smackdown, Taz, while under contract with WWE, was the ECW Champion and faced off against Triple H, who was the WWF Champion in a match many viewed as the WWF burying Taz. Triple H, of course, defeated Taz in 5 minutes.
During the Grilling JR podcast, Jim Ross talked about that night and how it didn't help Taz or ECW as a brand. Ross noted Taz's size being a reason he ultimately fell out of love with the WWE front office.
"It didn't do it any favors, killed might have been a strong word," Ross said. "It didn't help anybody except Hunter got a nice win in Philadelphia. Taz was so underutilized when we hired him in WWE. For whatever reason, he was never in political favor. Hunter is 6'4, Taz is under 6 foot. The perception was, even though Taz could snuff out on 99% of the guys on the roster, that he's not convincing. Well, if you watch any of the ECW stuff, Taz got over and people believed he was the human suplex machine. I was very excited when we were able to hire him. That was a big get for me, I was a big mark for his work in ECW, [Paul] Heyman knew how to book him."
"There again you get these egos involved, 'Okay he's too short' says who? Who the f*** are you, Lou Thesz? Another thing was 'If guys have been in too many real fights, they've never had their ass beat by guys shorter than them', happens all the time on earth. Taz got a bad hand coming in, him getting that big win over Angle in the Garden, I think a lot of people would've liked that. Vince in the beginning was very much a Taz proponent, but he got unconvinced over time by the other opinions on the other side of the isle."
Ross also discussed Taz signing with AEW and the impact he has on the young wrestlers as a coach.
"Taz is not Mr.Congeniality all the time," Ross said. "He's a product of his environment so he's very aggressive and demanding in a lot of ways. He was a hell of a coach, he does a good job for AEW now when we have T.V.s and everybody is there. He does a good job of coaching these kids up which is good for us."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.