On the latest episode of the Grilling JR podcast, Jim Ross spoke about the recent news about John Laurinaitis being back as WWE’s Head of Talent Relations. Ross was widely known on-screen as the lead commentator on Monday Night RAW for decades, but he was also the Head of Talent Relations for WWE for years and was responsible for hiring superstars like John Cena, Edge and Christian and Batista. Ross said he was a bit surprised that WWE chose to bring back Laurinaitis in that role, but said he wishes him well.
“Good for him, everybody deserves the right to feed their family,” Ross said. “I was a little surprised to be honest with you. I was surprised that he came back in that role. I don’t understand what [WWE’s] exact management chart looks like. I don’t know if Laurinaitis has the autonomy to hire talent or fire talent, more likely probably not but I don’t know that. I did talent relations differently because I’m a different person and I was doing it in a different time. I was just reminded I got replaced in 2004, 17 years ago, I’m kind of over it. I was surprised and I hope he does well.”
Ross said Laurinaitis getting the job back after having it in the early 2000s just shows that there aren’t many people in the business with the ability to do the job. He said he’s hopeful that one day AEW can someone who can run talent relations, like the recently signed Christian Cage or Paul Wight.
“It also says a lot about there not being a lot of people out there with the overall management and experience and product knowledge for those types of roles,” Ross said. “There’s where guys need to start paying attention, there’s where a guy like Christian Cage or Paul Wight need to start paying attention. If you got an opportunity here to fill some voids going forward as AEW grows, they’re going to need more management people.”
As reported last week exclusively by Wrestling Inc., Andrade had requested his release from WWE on the March 8th episode of RAW. JR spoke about Andrade requesting his release, saying it’s shocking to see somebody do this during a world-wide pandemic where money and job stability is something very important.
“I am surprised during this COVID climate that people are asking for their release,” JR said. “You damn sure don’t want to ask for a release unless you’ve got somewhere to go and can establish some stability and financial security. I don’t know if he has that or doesn’t have that, I’m not as familiar with his work, Andrade, as a lot of guys are. I don’t watch as much WWE T.V. as people would expect, I have different viewing habits now, I’m not going to watch a three hour RAW.
“Unless you’ve thought it out and you got a good long range plan in place, it’s probably not the smartest thing to do. If it’s an act of defiance or an act of anger, that’s probably not the right reason to ask for a release especially if he doesn’t have somewhere to go. I’m not sure where he’d go.”
Andrade’s release request was reportedly denied by the company. Ross said that it’s clear that WWE is “keenly aware” of AEW and believes Andrade needs to watch himself because his only claim to fame is his girlfriend is the biggest female star in WWE.
“To me it says WWE is keenly aware of AEW,” Ross said. “We’re not that ‘piss ant’ company that Triple H said we were going to be at the beginning. If I were [Andrade], I hope he’s thought it out. Right now, the most significant thing in his timeline is he’s dating and living with Charlotte. That’s his claim to fame. He is a good worker don’t get me wrong, he looks great but right now he hasn’t distinguished himself. He’s another guy, a very talented other guy. Would I like to work with him someday? Why not.
“I’m not surprised that WWE refused it because that allows them not to make him happy or another company. They don’t give a s--t if he sits at home till the contracts over. If you’re going to dig yourself in a hole, get ready to step in it. You think he endeared himself to the decision makers [in WWE]? I don’t.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.