During the Grilling JR Podcast, Jim Ross covered the night he was fired in the main event of Monday Night RAW by the McMahon Family. Ross talked about how it wasn’t just a on-screen firing in a storyline, it was actually real backstage, and the plan was for Vince to move forward without him on commentary. He explained how upset he was at the time and how much of an emotional rollercoaster his career was on after the day he was fired.
“I knew that I was getting ‘futured’,” Ross said. “This was more than just an angle on television – this is it. Of course it wasn’t it, because 2 years later, I got into the Hall of Fame. Figure that crazy ass journey out! It was just an up and down deal; it was like I was on an emotional rollercoaster. The reality of losing your job was just that – it was reality. It was real.”
Linda McMahon was the person on screen who fired Ross on RAW. She came down to the ring, kicked JR in the groin, and fired him while Stephanie and Vince laughed in the background. Ross talked about Linda being hesitant to fire JR, and mentioned how she told him backstage that she wasn’t happy about the situation.
“I don’t think Linda was either, quite frankly,” Ross said. “She just said, ‘I’m sorry we’re doing this. I didn’t want to get involved, but it’s what Vince wants, and you know how that goes.’ I said, ‘I sure do. Don’t worry about it. You’re just doing your job.'”
Ross also told a story about how he was in intensive care on a Monday, and the week later, he was in the main event of RAW being embarrassed again by Vince. He said there had to have been personal reasons behind being disrespected numerous times live on television, and talked about how his fans always continued to care about him, so that boosted the ratings.
“Again, no explanation, no rational. That’s just what he wanted to do,” Ross said. “That’s why I felt like even though I did what I was instructed to do, I always felt like there was a little bit of personal animosity. That was the second time a skit with JR closed the show ’cause the fans gave a s–t. They still care about me; that’s why they watch Wednesday night.”
Ross continued to mention how happy he is now to be in AEW and not be with WWE.
“I’m so happy to be a part of this team at AEW. Tony Khan doesn’t have that same mindset. He respects my work, and I think Vince, at some point, didn’t really respect my work. I never did understand that. Was it really business or was there some personal seasoning on that deal? I’m of the belief that there was some personal animosity involved in it, and never knowing why.”
JR spent 20+ years with WWE and had many different roles, including head of talent relations and the lead commentator on RAW. Ross mentioned how frustrating it was to work with Vince for that long, putting in long hours and get nothing in return. He mentioned how he was the one to sign most of the guys back in the early 2000s: John Cena, Triple H, Randy Orton, etc., and Vince always got the credit.
“I didn’t do anything but work my ass off for the guy,” Ross said. “Who signed those guys? Vince didn’t. I did, because I had a great team. It just was always a head scratcher. I still don’t understand it. He kept having to go back and restart things. Hunter even fired me one time. It got to be old.
“I don’t need to work. I love to work. It’s not a job to me – it’s my life. With her gone (his wife) and Tony Khan coming into the picture, it resurrected my career, my spirit.”
Ross continued to mention how he wasn’t ready to be done commentating in 2005, and he is happy to still be going today. He also said he hopes nobody feels sympathetic for him, and that he’s had a fantastic career.
“It was to signify that you’re done,” Ross said. “That really broke my heart. I’m not ready to be done today. I wasn’t ready to be done in 2005. 15 years ago, that was the funeral for JR, and it just didn’t take.
“By no means am I asking you to be empathetic to JR. JR made a great living, still is. I’m blessed to be in the pro wrestling business and blessed to have people that still give a damn. At the end of the day, my career has been a blessing more than I ever ever thought it could be. I took [Vince’s] money, I earned my money. I’m very blessed and very happy. Nobody’s career is perfect.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.