During a recent episode of the Grilling JR podcast, Jim Ross spent a large portion of the show talking about the King of the Ring 2000 event. Throughout the podcast, he mentioned how Brock Lesnar, who was just about to make his debut with Ohio Valley Wrestling, had no chance of being picked up or signed by another wrestling company other than the WWE.
“Absolutely not, we had him,” Ross said. “We could’ve signed Brock after his junior year. I never told Vince this story because he would’ve wanted me to sign him right away, but we made a commitment that we would not try and steal Brock from them so he could come back his senior year and try to win a NCAA Championship at the Heavyweight division. And he did.
“We had Brock committed and on his way along with Shelton Benjamin, on their way to Louisville within days of the wrestling season being over literally that week. I wasn’t worried about it whatsoever. Brock was tired of being broke, and I remember he got the biggest rookie contract to that point. He was a no miss guy.”
Raven has always been known as a controversial star in wrestling. His in-ring skills were undeniable, but being able to trust him had always been an issue for every company he worked for. In 2000, Raven’s ECW contract expired and WWE had a chance to sign him. They did, but his WWE career was cut short after 2 years. JR talked about Raven’s reputation with Vince and why they let him go after such a short return to the company.
“It was just a matter of trust for a variety of reasons,” Ross stated. “It was a trust issue with him, it was never a talent issue. He had talent, he’s a good talker, smart guy, high I.Q., could’ve been a road agent at some point later on. It was never a talent issue with Raven, it was simple the matter of him distancing himself from his previous indiscretions.”
Vince Russo was the head writer for the WWE for two years during the time when they surpassed WCW in the Monday Night Wars. Russo was known to have contributed into the development of stories and characters like D-Generation X, Stone Cold vs. Vince McMahon, and Mick Foley’s three personas. Ross talked about Vince Russo in 2000 being on the mind of Vince and if the company was interested in resigning him.
“I want to say there was some interest in bringing Russo back, and he came to Stanford for a meeting with the old man,” Ross said. “He had not destroyed a bridge, he could’ve come back and I think he wanted to come back. There was an interest in bringing him back and to see if he could recreate his magic.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.