NXT was recently dealing with a COVID outbreak that caused a lot of changes to the show. AEW commentator Jim Ross spoke about the recent COVID issues inside the NXT locker room on the latest episode of the Grilling JR podcast. Ross mentioned that not only is NXT experiencing issues with talent disregarding COVID protocols, but so are talent in AEW and other companies.

“The advice would be the same thing I would give any entity, you better take this damn thing seriously,” Ross said. “I think a lot of guys get that wrestler mentality, they’re bulletproof. This s--t will kill you. It seems to me there are some on the roster in all companies not just WWE, that aren’t taking this matter as seriously as they should. That would be the thing I would stress and I would also not have any compromise.

“Tony Khan wears a mask. Vince McMahon should wear a mask and I’m sure he does. The administrators set an example. Some of the talent aren’t taking it seriously, you don’t just have outbreaks unless there’s not been a breach of your chain of command in that respect. You better take this s--t seriously.”

After spending 27 years with the WWE in many roles that included being the lead commentator on Monday Night RAW during the Attitude Era and the Head of Talent Relations who was responsible for signing so many top stars, Jim Ross chose to sign with AEW in 2019. Ross spoke about his relationship today with Vince McMahon, noting that they’re still friends. He said that even he still considers Vince one his great friends who he texts back and forth with once and awhile even though he works for the opposing company.

“It’s professional, it’s polite, we’re civil, we’re friends,” Ross said. “You can’t work with somebody for 26 years and have the experiences together that Vince and I had without having something more than just the wrestling business tying us together. We did not have a one dimensional friendship, the tragedies of Jan my wife getting killed, people step up, that’s when you find out who’s who and Vince stepped up. I consider Vince a friend.

“We will always have philosophical differences, but what the hell does that mean? Is that an indictment? Vince and I get along, we text for special occasions, unfortunately somebody’s passing. He always returns my text messages, he sent me a text message the other day, we’re just chatting. I don’t know man, everybody always reads something into something.”

Ross continued to talk about his friendship with McMahon, stating if he ever needed help, Vince would be there to help him out. He mentioned how proud he is to still be able to call Vince his friend after 27 years of ups and downs.

“I can tell you this: if I was not working for AEW and I needed money, which by the way is not going to happen, and I needed something that Vince McMahon could facilitate, he would do it,” Ross said. “Our relationship is a lot more personal which is nobody’s business but mine and Vinces than it is business wise. We don’t discuss business ever, ever, whatsoever. I’m proud to have him as a friend, he made me a lot of money. He always was loving and respectful to my late wife, he made our lives better and I don’t forget s--t like that.

“I pay more attention to that kind of stuff the older we get, those that don’t are fouls. It’s a personal relationship that we try to maintain some sort of contact with meaning his birthday, my birthday, Christmas, that type of thing. It’s real simple, there’s two different relationships, the business side is non-existent, the personal side is still in place.”

It was recently reported that WWE was fining talent for “thigh slapping” when throwing kicks during matches. Ross mentioned last year that knee slapping was embarrassing and continued to double down on that sentiment recently. He said he agrees with McMahon, stating that the leg slaps can be annoying if used too many times and are too obvious for the fans to notice.

“Here’s the issue: I don’t have a major philosophical issue with a well placed occasional leg slap,” Ross said. “When you hear them for a 2 hour show, off and on, off and on, it’s not cool. Here’s the main b**** I have about them, instead of taking your hand and starting closer to your body, some of our talents and the business world wide they reach way out here. That’s my problem. You’re being too obvious, it’s an expose. Jerry Lawler was a slapper for years, nobody knew it. He didn’t advertise it, he didn’t say here it comes, here’s a slap.

“That’s my issue there, it becomes unrealistic and if fans open up and start looking for it then they’re not paying attention to the right thing or what the talent wants to accomplish. They’re looking for the leg slap.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.