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Jim Ross on CM Punk-AEW, why JR signed with AEW, why JR declined Dixie Carter’s offer to work for TNA

Jim Ross took some fan questions on a recent “Ask JR Anything” edition of Grilling JR. Here are some highlights:

Jim Ross was asked to give his thoughts on the possibility of AEW signing CM Punk after a eight year layoff:

“I hope we sign him.  I hope he’s one of our guys.  CM Punk is a treasure, and he can contribute a lot to a lot of guys.  He’s willing to share his knowledge and his expertise with other talents.  He pays it forward, and has no problem doing so.  That’s my take on him.  Anybody that signs CM Punk for limited engagements, or less than full, and in our company, we’re only working one day a week.  This is becoming elementary.  Why do people want to come to AEW?  Because they can have a life, and they can create to their own creative.  They can create their own storylines.  They can create their own promo material.  It’s a way to express yourself creatively that they didn’t have in other companies, by and large.  If we can sign CM Punk to our team and our roster, it’s a great get.  I hope that we do at some point in time, sooner than later.  He’s just a huge player in the big picture.  Am I worried that his layoff will affect his work?  Well we know it’s going to affect his work to some degree because he’s eight years older.  He’s in his 40’s, but that doesn’t seem to matter in today’s wrestling business, especially when you have a schedule like ours.  I’m not worried about if he does sign, and I hope he does, how effective he’s going to be.  There’s no doubt in my mind he’s going to be effective, and he can help us in so many other ways.  It’s amazing the things that he can do to help us.  A lot of people are going to rely on him, ask questions for advice, and he will coach them up if he does come.  He’s the kind of guy that’s willing to help a younger talent improve their game.”

Jim Ross talked about why he didn’t go to TNA Wrestling when he was negotiating with them in 2009:

“I couldn’t get the money I wanted, and the control I needed.  I used a Bill Parcells’ line to Mr. Carter.  ‘You want me to cook the dinner, you have to let me buy some groceries.  I need to know your contract structure.’  They were very reluctant to show me any of the contracts.  The bottom line is, I can do math.  You tell me this is your nut, you have to do this to get into the profit side, then I need to know what the nut is.  What’s the overhead?  It may be impossible to achieve.  How much were you paying Hogan?  I wasn’t trying to cut pay, but you have to know what you’re getting into.  If you start being a general manager of a ballclub, you want to know what your salary cap is and how you stand.  There’s a set of rules to go by.  I never got access to that information, which is fine because I shouldn’t have been there.  Dixie flew me down to Norman to their ranch in Texas, north Texas.  It was about a 20 minute flight.  It was Easter weekend.  I came very close to staying the night because of lightning.  A cool front moved through, so they scooted me out of there early in the evening.  When I got back to Oklahoma, it was dark.  I had a great talk with Bob Carter.  I like his wife, Janice.  Dixie is a sweet woman.  She had great passion for the wrestling business and was trying to make her mark in basically a men’s business.  It wasn’t about money as much as it was about job description.  Then it was, ‘We have a booking committee.’  I’ve already been through that shit.  Too many cooks in the kitchen.  They said, ‘Come to work for us.  Come to those meetings, and I assure you that you’re going to fit in.’  That’s like walking into a pool of sharks with a bloody leg.  They’re going to eat your ass alive.”

Conrad asked, “What did AEW do differently than Impact?”

Ross:  “The compensation was beautiful.  The challenge of working for a startup for the first time in my career.  Clean slate.  The fact that he wanted me to be the lead voice of the broadcast, which I liked.  It’s like dancing.  I need to lead the dance, which sounds very egocentric.  I like Tony Khan and his enthusiasm.  The thing about it, Dixie had assembled a lot of really talented wrestling politicians.  I didn’t feel like butting heads with them.  I want to call the plays.  I want to run the ship, and she didn’t have the conviction or the confidence in me to allow that to happen.  I didn’t want to get into another deal where I’m chasing my tail all the time.  It didn’t make any sense to me.”

Conrad:  “Did you still have a burr under your saddle about the way things had been handled before and knowing that Jeff (Jarrett) was in some sort of power position there?”

Ross:  “No, not a bit.’

Conrad:  “So the politicians were more Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan, or Vince Russo, or who are we talking about?”

Ross:  “All of them, because they’re all looking for the same gig, control, creative control, and this control.  I didn’t want to fight that system.  At that stage in my life, and what I’ve accomplished in my body of work, why would I want to get into that s**t hole?  It wasn’t worth it to me.”

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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