On the latest episode of “Grilling JR” on AdFreeShows.com, Jim Ross and Conrad Thompson talked about WWE No Way Out 2006. This was the last pay-per-view before WrestleMania 22 and WWE was running an angle based on Eddie Guerrero, who passed away a few months before the show.
Randy Orton faced Rey Mysterio Jr on the show and Orton was scripted to tell Mysterio leading up to the event that his good friend Eddie Guerrero was not in heaven, but in hell. Ross was asked his opinion of this angle:
“It didn’t work and it was distasteful. It was the wrong kind of heat. There’s money drawing heat where you want to pay money to come see the heel get the sh*t beat out of him, which is a great theory and it’s a great formula. That’s what you want to do. If you’re a great heel you want a person to sit every 18 inches so that they can boo you and hopefully cheer when you get your a*s whipped. That’s the rhythm. That’s the whole dichotomy of that formula of pro wrestling. The heels are the key guys. You have to have a babyface you believe won’t quit on me but the heels are the guys are the straws that stir the drink.
I didn’t like the ‘Eddie’s in hell.’ I thought it was a reach. It was knee-jerk. It just was distasteful and that’s go-away heat. Go away heat, I don’t want to see you anymore. I don’t want to hear this anymore. Go-away heat is not beneficial for anyone. I thought this was very distasteful in that respect. I understand it’s fiction. I get it, but we made a wrong turn on the road to get to the destination…It’s a crutch and a lack of creativity. We didn’t have anything better so this is what we came up with. Personal issues draw more money than titles. They always have, they always will. That’s not me knocking titles because that would be silly and irresponsible. I think we really missed the boat on that deal. The more I’m thinking about it, the more I’m thinking, how did this happen? How did we get here? Why did we even start this journey this way? It’s like saying, ‘Well, we want to do a personal issue.’ Well good for you. That’s a great idea but the way they presented the idea saying ‘Eddie went to hell’, really, what were we thinking? We weren’t thinking much.”
Vickie Guerrero, at the time of the angle, said she was ok with it. Ross was asked if he thinks she really was ok with it or not?
Ross said, “I think Vickie was just very leary to disagree with the major creative element of this PPV and didn’t want to cause any ruckus and she was working there, or she wanted to work there. I don’t know where she was at that exact time, but she was looking to work. She was looking to be able to feed her girls and her and take care of her overhead and all those things. The deal there was, I’m not sure if Vickie embraced it? I’m not sure if she did or did. I wasn’t in the loop in that deal. I think she was probably trying to protect her own potential job offerings by not creating any waves. That would be my take on it. Vickie is such a wonderful person and still is to this very day. We love her when we see her at AEW events and at our Wednesday night shows on TNT. She’s a sweetheart to be around and all the other women that work there love her. She’s a great sounding board for them. She’s mature. She’s seasoned. She has a great resume and track record, so she helps us in AEW a lot in that regard, but I just think that probably she was a little bit leery of rocking the boat and didn’t want to piss off the old man.”
Ross gave his opinion of JBL as WWE Champion:
“I thought JBL made a very good champion because he was the kind of guy who can win by hook or crook. He had enough abilities, significant abilities as a matter of fact, on promos that he could talk his heat back onto himself which I thought was important. He was the kind of heel that was so obnoxious and overbearing that you would literally enjoy seeing him get his a*s whipped. So he had all the boxes checked there. I thought he checked all the boxes you wanted a heel to be and I thought he did a good job. If you had told me when we hired JBL back in the day that he would someday be the champion, I probably would have had a debate with you because I didn’t see it at that time, but as he got better, and he worked hard to get better, I thought he became a very viable heel.”