This week on Grilling JR, Jim Ross and Conrad Thompson covered the career of WWE Hall Of Famer Ron Simmons.
JR talked about Simmons’ college football days, his days in the NWA/WCW when he teamed with Butch Reed as Doom, Simmons winning the WCW World Championship and why the title run did not last long, Simmons’ brief stint in ECW and briefly leaving the wrestling business, his run in WWE as Faarooq, his issues with Ahmed Johnson, the Nation of Domination, APA, why Simmons was released from WWE, and much more.
Here are some highlights:
Jim Ross and Conrad Thompson mentioned Kurt Angle now has a podcast on AdFreeShows. Ross wanted to add to the story of WrestleMania XIX that Angle talked about on the first episode:
“They (Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar) closed WrestleMania XIX. That wasn’t the plan. They closed the show because Austin, the night before, spent the night in the hospital. Even though he demanded that he was ok to work and the doctors cleared him, we were worried that he and Rock, the third match between the two, might not be what they were looking for based on Steve’s condition. We switched that around. That did not make The Rock or Austin happy. There’s something about closing the show.”
Ron Simmons faced Lex Luger for the WCW at Halloween Havoc ‘91 and Luger retained. Simmons later went on to win it from Vader in 1992. Ross was asked if Simmons was not ready yet in ‘91:
“I think it depends on who you ask. Luger was the prototype. He was going to be WCW’s Hogan. Big frame, great body, Caucasian. I would think Ron might have been as ready as Lex. Lex’s progression was very deliberate. He got better, no doubt about it. I thought Ron was getting ready. Sometimes you have to pull the trigger and go with your instincts. I think that’s what (Bill) Watts ended up doing, going with his instincts. Bill might have been, I’m not sure if it was a good thing or not, was the fact that Ron was not going to be The Junkyard Dog. Cowboy had great success and long term record and made a lot of money promoting Dog, who was a very average, at best, wrestler. But, he had overwhelming charisma and can identify with the audience, especially the African American audience.”
“How much of Ron being African American do you think played into the decision for Bill Watts to put the belt on him?”
“Significant. No doubt. Bill had the precedent with JYD. Cowboy fully believed in the African American babyface. Bill’s favorite color, as he will tell you, is green. Promoters would call him and say, ‘What are you doing? You’re killing the business.’ I think Cowboy felt it was the right timing and the right thing to do. Ron was very promotable. Cowboy loved authenticity, physicality, and athleticism. Ron Simmons checked all three of those boxes very prominently.”
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