During the latest episode of the Grilling JR Podcast, Jim Ross went back and rewatched Monday Night Raw on July 31st of 2000. Throughout that show, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were shown constantly arguing about the prior week where Triple H was shown behind a bent down Trish Stratus.
Ross also mentioned how during that time, Stone Cold was off for 9 months after receiving surgery on his neck, and that the rest of the roster needed to step up. Ross also talked about this being the hottest a wrestling company has ever been at the time.
“Yes, and without Stone Cold which is a testament to the roster,” Ross said. “All these guys when they saw Steve go down knew that there was a spot now, a top spot, the door opened for opportunity. I told the guys the same thing – the path is clear, become a star and take advantage of the opportunity at this point in time because I always believed Steve was coming back, and he did. Nobody forgot about Austin, but it gave these other guys like Triple H [an opportunity], who really had a hell of a year that year.
“He really evolved into becoming a really good wrestling heel. He could brawl, he incorporated the sledgehammer from time to time, and his mic skills kept improving. I always gave him credit for that. He never stopped trying to improve even though he was sitting in a great spot politically, athletically, age wise. He was a big big addition to what we were doing, but it wouldn’t have been as effective if he had not taken the challenge to improve, get better, and continue to become a bigger star.”
Vince McMahon vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin was widely regarded as the biggest rivalry during the attitude era. Ross talked about Vince McMahon during the attitude era as a heel, and says he was the greatest during the era. Ross also shares who he believed wasn’t far behind in heel heat.
“Vince was the top heel in the attitude era and I believe that, but Stephanie wasn’t that far behind,” Ross said. “She was as natural a heel as we had. She just had that Vince gene that fit so well as an antagonist.”
Throughout the years in WWE, its been known that Vince McMahon has been in the ear of the play-by-play commentator telling them what to say at certain times. Ross was WWE’s play-by-play announcer, mainly during the Attitude Era, and he was known as the voice of the company. Ross talked about McMahon being in his ear and the stars he would be more vocal about, and also talked about who would count him down to go to commercials during broadcasts.
“Kevin Dunn did not over talk or overplay his role in the truck whatsoever because he knew we were being monopolized by the old man,” Ross said. “On segments involving Stephanie and Hunter, Vince was probably a little bit more aggressive and active than he would with other matches because there’s personal investment in his daughter and son-in-law.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.