There is said to be controversy within AEW over recent comments made by announcer Jim Ross.
Ross recently discussed today’s pro wrestling on his “Grilling JR” podcast, and the lack of evolution. While some fans and wrestlers agreed with JR, others publicly disagreed with his comments on how some moves aren’t being used correctly. There’s no word on the extent of the internal issues stemming from the comments, but Dave Meltzer noted on Wrestling Observer Radio that there is controversy within the company due to what JR said.
JR was asked about not thinking the business has evolved into a better place, and how it relates to today’s wrestlers using finishers from yesteryear as just regular moves.
“No, that evolution of the business is bulls–t. Or that the business is evolving,” JR said. “How the f–k do you know that it’s evolving? Not you Conrad, but in general. Yes, they should be protected. Of course they should. ‘Well, we don’t sell right hands. But if you hit me with your left, it will register.’ What!? ‘But if you hit me with that right, I’ll sell it like a drunk man.’ Come on; that’s so stupid.
“The DDT is a finish instead of a transition spot. Shawn Michaels, same thing? the superkicks are just a part of the flow of a match. Nobody wins with it, so what’s that say to you? Does it say that back in the day guys were more proficient at delivering a DDT or a superkick than they are in this generation where things are evolving or changing? I want some proof of that s–t. I want somebody to prove to me that the changing of the wrestling business is what it is today and that it’s making a difference. Maybe it is in some people’s eyes, but is it making a difference? I say no.”
JR also criticized when wrestlers dive over the top rope onto a group of wrestlers who are foes, but are just standing still side-by-side on the outside. Ross said no one ever wins with that move and it’s just done for a pop.
“They go, ‘Holy s–t! This is awe-some!’ It’s a spot, folks. It’s a trapeze act. Come on! ?I don’t buy into that,” JR said. “The DDT is a great finish and it should be used as such unless you’re not as proficient as Jake the Snake was and you can’t execute it. What if I said it on commentary, ‘Boy folks, do you remember those DDTs and when somebody hit that it was over? I guess these guys just aren’t as good at it as they used to be.’
“That ain’t gonna help anybody, but there’s a thought there and same with the superkick. So yeah, I’m not big on that ‘the business has changed.’ Tell me how the business has changed that you can bastardize established moves.”
The spot where wrestlers gather at ringside and wait for a dive is often criticized by fans and other wrestlers on social media. For what it’s worth, Bryan Alvarez noted on Wrestling Observer Radio that AEW wrestlers were yelled at for a similar spot after at least one recent show. No other details were provided.
AEW TNT Champion Darby Allin, who has made his name with some of the moves that JR criticized, was asked about JR’s comments during a recent interview with Riju Dasgupta of Sportskeeda.
“I love Jim Ross and I agree with him,” Allin responded.
AEW star Brandon Cutler recently joked about JR’s comments when plugging the 14-man match that was advertised for last night’s Dynamite episode.
“THIS WEDNESDAY on #AEWDynamite 7 vs 7,” Cutler wrote in the tweet seen below. “We’re gonna go outside, cluster up like coils, stand there in a huddle, friends and foes together, side-by-side to catch some leaping idiot going over the top. Can’t wait 8pm TnT Hopefully for 1M viewers let’s fn go.”
Cutler ended up pulled from the match as it was changed to a 12-man bout due to Wardlow missing the show because of a family issue.
Regarding JR’s comments, it was noted by Paul Davis of WrestlingNews.co that there was a feeling within AEW that the legendary announcer and former WWE Talent Relations boss made a lot of good points, but some wrestlers are less likely to listen to him while he’s publicly knocking their work.
“Look I know there is a lot that JR can teach us but burying us on the show or on his podcast is only going to make some of us ignore what he says,” one unnamed wrestler told the website. “I grew up watching JR and he is the best and we love it that he calls our matches but maybe find a different way to criticize the wrestlers in the ring. Everyone is doing what they have been taught. I agree that sometimes things need to be slowed down but that won’t happen when the guy who is supposed to help put us over is going out there and publicly burying us.”
Another AEW talent echoed similar sentiments, noting that AEW trainer Jerry Lynn is someone who receives a lot of praise backstage because he’s seen as a straight shooter who gives constructive criticism.
THIS WEDNESDAY on #AEWDynamite
7 vs 7
We’re gonna go outside, cluster up like coils, stand there in a huddle, friends and foes together, side-by-side to catch some leaping idiot going over the top.
Can’t wait 8pm TnT
Hopefully for 1M viewers let’s fn go pic.twitter.com/DTbBQN8WM5
? Brandon Cutler (@BranCutler) December 11, 2020
Ross Kelly and Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.