On the latest episode of the Grilling J.R. podcast, Jim Ross talked about the Armageddon 2000 pay-per-view view which featured the first ever 6-man Hell in a Cell match. The show aired on December 10th, and saw Kurt Angle win the WWF title by defeating The Undertaker, The Rock, Stone Cold, Triple H and Rikishi in the main event match. Ross talked about how the event was booked in the month of December, so close to Christmas. He also gave his personal opinion on what Vince McMahon believes about Christmas compared to his personal favorite holiday.
“McMahon could give a sh** less about Christmas,” Ross said. “He’s all work, he’s all business if Christmas is a day that they’re going to run a live show, which I’ve worked many Christmas’ and Thanksgivings. McMahon’s favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, bottom line. He can mentally justify eating cake and pie, and his wife’s a great cook.”
The name of the show Armageddon was dropped in 2001 along with several other event names the company used that gave a negative vibe after the events of 9/11 in the United States. Ross talked about why this happened, and he gave insight into the mindset during some of the meetings they had backstage with Vince in the early 2000s.
“We had a square table meeting. It was in Vince McMahon’s office, and what he said was what we did,” Ross said. “Sometimes in McMahons world, things like that could not be recognized. You have to go back and say how can we make this viewer-friendly under the guides of the times we live in? We didn’t do a lot of those kinds of meetings. We had a small group that made decisions. He liked it that way; he didn’t like sharing information with non-wrestling people in a big group. And what kind of feedback are you going to get?”
“Vince just came up listening to somebody, and they reminded him that this isn’t real sensitive and Armageddon probably isn’t the right name for this d**n thing and what it signifies. I remember us talking about it and saying we got to rebrand some of these shows. Quite frankly, it’s not a bad idea. Wrestling fans love new and fresh. You don’t screw with your 4 [major] pay per views. The others, to me, they can all be changed. What’s it going to do?”
WWE has been in the business of providing weekly television and PPVs for decades now. During that time, there’s been the highs of the Attitude Era viewership and the lows of the current era. Ross talked about if Vince ever peaked to the point where he ever felt content with the level the product was at. He said Vince was always focused on what’s next. Even during the highest highs of the Attitude Era, Vince was always fully dedicated to the next show because the only show that was driven by its name was WrestleMania.
“He’s always focused on grinding, and keeping the work ethic and time spent in your specific job,” Ross said. “Peaking? Nah, if he did, he kept it to himself. He was always full speed ahead and that we could always do better.”
“The thing about PPVs that people need to understand is that the only PPV in the wrestling business that’s driven by its name only is WrestleMania. Everything else is attraction driven, meaning if you have a main event that the audience wants to pay to see, you have a great chance of being successful. The match that closes the show will sell you PPVs. If you get something hot underneath that, all the better. If you don’t, you load that main event like [Armageddon 2000]. Attractions sell PPV, it’s not the name of the PPV except WrestleMania.”
Ross also talked about Vince settling a lawsuit with the Hart family over Owen Hart’s death. He mentioned that the situation was never something you would ask Vince about if he was around other people. He also said you could tell Vince was very busy by the fact he wasn’t in his ear on commentary.
“All I knew is the busier Vince was during the show, the less he was in my headset,” JR said. “I relished those days. I didn’t question it. If we were by ourselves, we would converse and not confront, but never ask him a question of that nature if anybody else was in earshot. He didn’t like that and you didn’t get your order. The way you ask for the order with him is if you converse in private I don’t give a s**t if it’s Hellen Keller in the room with you, he isn’t going to come clean if there’s another heartbeat in the room. He’s just not.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.