This week’s “Grilling JR” podcast with Jim Ross did not pull any punches when Conrad Thompson brought up Seth Rollins’ recent comments about Kenny Omega and AEW. For those of you that missed it, Rollins said that Omega could wrestle him at WrestleMania when he’s done wrestling in the minor leagues. Those comments did not sit well with JR.
“You’re right, I’m pissed off about it. Here’s why I’m pissed off about it,” Ross said. “Number one, it doesn’t do any favors for our business. Our business in general, any promotion in the total of all the pro wrestling business it’s bigger than any individual. Now I’m not inferring that Seth thinks he’s bigger than the business but by what he says sometimes, you can make that assessment, rightly or wrongly, but it’s just not a classy thing to say, for an athlete of his designation. Since this came out, I talked to two Hall of Fame guys off the record that were embarrassed about those remarks as well. It doesn’t do the business any good and one of these cats even said to me that maybe Rollins is breaking under the pressure because he’s getting a lot of criticism.”
Ross went on to say that today’s WWE is a whole different world than when wrestlers were making money well above their downside guarantee based on live event attendance and pay-per-view buys.
“Now guys in WWE, like Rollins, [are] on a salary in broad terms. I don’t know how many houses Seth has drawn that sold out. As another Hall of Famer mentioned to me, it’s not about the individuals being over or drawing the house or selling out, it’s about the WWE brand selling out. Hence, the best illustration is WrestleMania. The brand name WrestleMania and the parent company, the big dog in the yard, WWE is what sells tickets at WrestleMania under the auspices that they’re going to deliver a special show, opponents and participants to be named. But Rollins he’s in a great spot, he’s blessed, maybe someday he’ll be as over as his girlfriend, I don’t know. Nonetheless, I’ve always liked his work. He’s a solid guy, he’s a solid guy, but saying things like that make him look bad and for that, I feel badly [for Rollins]. I just do.” Ross continued, “Here’s the thing I find incredulous about this deal, one of the things. He says, ‘Well, when you’re through playing in the minor leagues…’ Ironically, Mr. Khan’s got more money than Vince, but nonetheless, that’s another story for another day. We believe that we’re on a great network in TNT. We think we have a chance to build a nice brand. You never heard from me ever, Conrad, even when we’re drinking, say ‘we’re gonna kick WWE’s ass.’ It’s stupid!”
Conrad Thompson went on to plug some merchandise and then moved into a plug for WWE 2K20 but Ross was not done addressing Rollins’ comments. Thompson said that maybe fans can create a fantasy match up in the game between Seth Rollins and Kenny Omega. “It would be a great match, seriously,” Ross said.
He continued, “If Omega and Rollins did have a match it would be a great match because both of them are great workers. I was upset at Seth because I thought his comments made him sound bad, made him sound bush league. Made him sound like he was one of those guys that was born on third base, woke up and thought he hit a triple because it’s just, for the guy that worked his way through the indies and Tyler Black and Ring Of Honor, great hand, I don’t know what’s happened to some of these guys. I just believe sometimes it’s internal, sometimes what they’re driven to say, what they feel obligated to say, they say things that they think will gain the favor of their bosses, I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer is, but for a top talent that’s being blessed with great health right now, thank God, and making a ton of money and dating the hottest woman in the business, arguably by many, man what do you got to bitch about? Are you kidding me? We’re over there working our ass off and a lot of us have dedicated our lives longer than you’ve been alive to this business, and we’re busting our balls without knocking…I’m not knocking WWE. I think it’s a bad thing when you’re knocking a company that’s working our ass off to be good. We’re proving that we’re gonna be good, we’re gonna be different and we’re gonna grow and evolve every Wednesday night on TNT at 8 o’clock, 7 central.”
Ross said that AEW will grow and make mistakes and that is what growth and evolution is about.
“My deal with Seth was not his work. All of those guys are playing under different rules than the guys on the Attitude roster that we put together. Guys that I talked to today [on different things, including this matter] said it’s just a whole different locker room, a different world, different mindset. Some of that charm of the old school wrestler is slowly slipping away and for that, I say that’s a damn shame.”
You can listen to the entire podcast by clicking below. This week’s episode focuses on WWE Buried Alive 1996.