After signing some of the biggest names in the wrestling business from the last decade, AEW has begun to make some legit noise surrounding their popularity.
One of the biggest names of the previous wrestling war would happen to be Jim Ross, who was the Head of Talent Relations for WWE at the time and the lead commentator for some of the biggest moments in the history of the company. In 2021 though, Ross is now the commentator for WWE’s rival, and revealed on the latest episode of the Grilling JR Podcast that he believes the additions of talent like CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, and others has positioned AEW to have the greatest roster in wrestling history.
“I thought that the Attitude Era roster was about as good a roster as anybody ever put together,” Ross said. “I really do. But boy, we’re coming to an age here now in AEW where our roster is going to rival any roster ever in televised pro wrestling. A lot to look forward to in that regard, but it’s all a feel thing, man.”
Ross has previously stated that the AEW crowds are “Attiude Era-esque”, and the WWE Hall of Famer also said that Jon Moxley reminds him of the Attitude Era’s biggest star: Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Since AEWs inception, the company has received criticism over its “indie style” of wrestling from people like Eric Bischoff back in March and others. Ross spoke about how he believes the company’s style of wrestling has changed over the past several weeks and how the more risk-taking matches have been saved for pay per views like what happened at AEW All Out in the cage match.
“I guarantee you in the last several AEW shows you’ve seen guys go out there and have a wrestling match, and the crowd will still buy it,” Ross said. “Darby Allin and CM Punk’s match I thought was very old school oriented. My issue, I’m not mad at all the guys that take all the unnecessary chances. I’ll give you an example, that cage match we had here a while back at All Out between The [Young] Bucks and the Lucha Brothers, it was unbelievable. It was a testament to their courage and their passion. I thought it was about as good as anything I had seen in years for that environment. It was a spot thing in a cage, and I don’t remember one being as close to that. I’m very high on the talents, my only fear is that they’re going to hurt themselves by taking those margin for error situations that are a thin line between ‘it looks great’ and ‘it feels good’ or ‘uh oh, there’s a cheek bone or broken nose or teeth gone.’ That’s what worries me, the health of the talent.
“I’m not against all of those things, but they’ve got to be used in a specific way by talents that are really, really good in that part of the game. Obviously The Young Bucks and the Lucha Bros are as good as I’ve ever seen in that style of match. They’re just amazing, but you still have to worry. I’ve talked to everybody involved in that match and they’re still sore after all these weeks. Their bodies are still sore. I really admire the Lucha Bros because they’ve been back in the ring since then on a pretty regular schedule, and the Bucks have had more time to heal and they’ve needed it. They’re humans.”
Ross was also asked about Chris Jericho during the podcast and what he thought his contributions have been to AEW. The wrestling legend was the first ever AEW World Champion, and carried the belt for the company for the entirety of the first year of its inception.
“He continues to reinvent himself,” Ross mentioned. “Chris has got courage, confidence in his own abilities, and he keeps getting better. He’s 50, you wouldn’t know it by watching him work. He’s a smarter worker than he’s ever been. I’ve said from the beginning and I stand by what I’ve said, I believe Chris Jericho is the MVP of AEW because of his continuity and his consistency has been main event level no matter what he does.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.