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Jim Ross on Jake Roberts: He’s got a breathing machine he carries with him. He’s under a great doctor’s care

WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Ross talked about Judgment Day 2002 on the latest “Grilling JR” podcast along with his thoughts on some recent wrestling news subjects:

Ross talking about Ric Flair wrestling one more match:

“The fact that he is going to get back in the ring in tights and wrestle is something that I would never have predicted you could pull off. The other good thing about that is that he is not going to be wrestling acapella so others will be in the ring with him to experience this situation.”

Hogan returned to the WWE in 2002. Ross was asked why he thinks a Hogan vs Austin match didn’t happen:

“I never had great confidence that the match would ever happen or have a long enough program and storyline to crescendo it and peak it at a Pay-Per-View, and we were not in that mode at that point in time.”

“If you’re going to rebuild a legend like Hogan, you don’t want to relaunch him simply with a plan in mind to beat him. You know you’re going to beat him sooner than later. Everybody loses at some point in time. It’s imperative for the storytelling to have both sides of the issue, a little jeopardy, and all these things.”

“Steve never thought, or at least this is my opinion, I might be wrong, because Steve did not tell me this, that he had a lot of chemistry with Hogan in the ring, in the ring chemistry. The one thing about Austin is that he sensed who he could have the better matches with. He had a feel for it, and if it was somebody that he didn’t think that he could perform up to the standards, he would just lobby to not participate in that particular storyline. That’s very smart, because he wanted the fans to get what they expected.”

“There’s some talents that we’re talking about here, including Hulk, that I don’t think Steve felt like he could have the matches that he wanted to have. This is not a knock on Hogan. It’s just the styles are different and they just clashed a little bit. My deal there would have been that I’ll put Hogan and Austin together against some tag teams. It’ll be easier on Hogan, easier on Steve, and you get to expose opposition to two more guys on the other side. To me, that would have been a safe route to take. I didn’t miss the opportunity to see Hogan and Austin one on one because I didn’t think it was possible knowing how both guys felt about match quality and their limitations through injuries and age at that point in their careers.”

Ross talking about Randy Orton being pushed in 2002:

“I think we learned from The Rock’s presentation to be aware of force feeding and be aware of overexposure. But I never had a doubt in my mind that Randy Orton was not going to be a big star. I saw him and I got to know him a little bit and that was challenging because he didn’t trust. He came from a wrestling family, and if you’re a third generation star in pro wrestling like Randy is, then one of the things you hear about at the dinner table is like, ‘I got screwed on a payoff’, or things that would add to your overall distrust of the office. I thought if we didn’t overexpose Randy, he was going to be a big time player.”

“Randy’s biggest challenge he had was socially. You know, trying to stay sane on the road. He was young, handsome, and women were beating his door down. He knew he was good. He’s not a dummy. He knows what’s good and what isn’t. So I always had great confidence that we had something in him.”

“To be honest with you, when I had a meeting with Vince about some new guys I signed, he didn’t even know what Randy looked like. I mentioned that Randy got dishonorably discharged from the Marines and that almost killed the deal. I said, ‘Well, Vince, you said all along, I use your example on a lot of decisions I make, that everybody can make a mistake.’ I said, ‘You told me about your mistakes, the military school, and all these other things you had to endure, just to straighten up or grow up. So I think he deserves a second chance.’ I said, ‘He’s going to be a player.’”

Jim Ross said he has signed a contract extension with AEW:

“I don’t think we’ve made this announcement. I signed an extension with AEW here not too long ago. I appreciate Tony Khan’s confidence and his willingness to keep me on the team and contribute. We’re not going for a long time, but I think I signed about a year and a half or something like that to stay in the position I’m in. I’m just really pleased at 70, I still have a future. At 70, I still love what I do.”

On Jake Roberts denying he is having as bad of a time with his health than Jim Ross said he has:

“I said some stuff about Jake’s health and his breathing issues. He denies that he’s as sickly as I portrayed him to be. Maybe he’s right. He’ll know better than me. But I know that his health has been challenging. He’s got a breathing machine he carries with him. To me, that’s not normal, but he’s dealing with it. He’s under a great doctor’s care.”

“So I didn’t want to start some bullshit about Jake because it might affect his bookings. Like, ‘Well, I was going to sign Jake for an appearance, but I heard J.R. say he wasn’t in good health, so maybe I’ll pass on that.’ Don’t pass on Jake Roberts for doing anything. Put him to work. That’s going to be the best medicine you can give the guy. Put him to work and he’ll be happy that you did. So I didn’t intend, nor do I now, to stir the shit. It was just an update on a guy that I respect that’s changed his life a great deal, and I can only hope that he continues to change in a positive way, and continues to reap the benefits.”

If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to for the transcription

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