During the latest episode of the Grilling JR Podcast, Jim Ross talked about The Rock and his acting career. He said that he and Vince McMahon went to the premier for the Scorpion King together, sitting next to each other. Ross also talked about how long it had taken him and Vince to realize he would become a big star in Hollywood.
“About 10 minutes after seeing the Scorpion King,” Ross said. “I sat next to Vince McMahon [at the theatre]. Not one word was uttered, we gained eye contact in the movie theatre at the premier and we kind of looked at each other like, ‘I see something special here.’ He jumped off the screen, man. It wasn’t like doing a promo or making his pie jokes, which were entertaining as s–t. But he jumped off the screen.
“When he was on screen, he was the only person you were really looking at. We knew then that there was something extraordinary about this cat. To say that I knew he was going to be where he is now, producing television shows, hits around the world, etc., making 90 million last year? No. I’m not going to bulls**t you.”
Ross said even though they saw something, they never expected him to get to the level he has, which is one of the highest paid actors in the world. He said the money that The Rock was being offered was nowhere near the amount they could offer him, and that they knew it was only a matter of time before he took those opportunities.
“We did know that there was something special about this guy when he appeared on that silver screen, and others, obviously much more refined about that type of thing, are seeing it also,” Ross said. “Offers were going to be piling in for a whole lot more money than we could pay, and bump free money. Rock has been a brilliant businessman. He’s even got me drinking his tequila, and I don’t even like tequila. And I wouldn’t have tried it had it not been for him. Nobody could perceive how great he would be in that world.”
Ross also talked about the Armageddon 2000 pay-per-view that featured the first-ever, 6-man Armageddon Hell in a Cell match for the WWF Championship. The match featured Triple H, Stone Cold, Rikishi, The Rock, The Undertaker and the winner of the match, Kurt Angle. The notable name left out of the match to many people was Chris Jericho, although, during that time, he was just starting his first year with the company.
Ross mentioned how it wasn’t time yet for Jericho to be inserted into the match even though his t-shirt sales at the time were among the highest in the company. He also went on to say Jericho is the MVP of AEW, and mentioned how he and Tony Khan work together heavily on his creative.
“Not yet,” Ross said. “How long had Jericho been there? A year; he’s just arriving. I always had great belief in Jericho and I still do to this day. I’ve said many times on the air that he’s the real MVP of AEW. He influences more people, he’s involved in great storylines, he works closely with Tony [Khan] on his creative. Jericho creates a lot of his own ideas. [Back then], it just wasn’t the time.
“He would’ve done great in the main event but it wasn’t his time. His combined efforts with Kane on this show sucked, so that didn’t help him. It’s easy to go back and review, but the bottom line sometimes is it’s just stupid. What more star power can you have in that match? We had 6 of the biggest stars we had. Rikishi was just hovering in the loop, but you’re telling me those other 5 guys could’ve been replaced easily? Bulls**t. No matter how many t-shirts you’re selling.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.