Recently retired Jim Ross sat down to talk to his good friend Steve Austin on the Steve Austin Show podcast, which aired Tuesday.
Ross and Austin covered a number of topics. Here are some highlights:
On what the future holds post retirement:
“I’m not going to go out an buy a rocking chair. I like to say that 61 is the new 41. I’m feeling good. I’m healthy. I want to be doing some other things without question. So I’m not going to go away, I’m just not going to be in WWE any longer."
Ross talked about possibly getting into acting.
On whether he had any regrets during his career:
“It would be to call the Undertaker’s last match. If he has another match at WrestleMania, on my bucket list of things to do to bring everything full circle, it would be apart of that broadcast.”
On how wrestling commenting has evolved:
“It was clean. It was you, the audience and your partner. And whatever you saw on the monitor you described. As the years have gone on, it’s become more refined. There’s more information that you got to disseminate. There are more voices in your ear. I remember an XFL game on NBC that I did where I had four different people talking to me at exactly the same time.”
“It’s gotten a lot busier. There’s a third screen experience. There’s Twitter. There’s Touts. There are promotional considerations. In my view, in order for me to survive I had to change with the times.”
Austin always talks about the feeling of relief he had when he retired from wrestling 10 years ago. He asked Ross if he had the same feeling.
“Absolutely. I can’t look back, starting in 1993 and have a 20-year run in as high-profile pressure cooker-like environment and not say it wasn’t a great run. But I always had varied interest and a lot of people are aware of good ol’ JR [with a] black hat sitting at ring side broadcasting and doing play-by-play, but I have other interests.”
“I have interests in acquiring talent and mentoring talent, negotiating contracts, writing. I’ve always done blogs and the Twitter thing now is a big deal. I helped write your [Austin’s] book and the cook books are two New York Times best sellers.”
On whether he would consider calling mixed martial arts:
“I’m a big fan of UFC. Don’t know what I can do to help them, but I’d be interested in having a conversation with Dana White anytime he wanted to have one. I think he’s a hell of a guy. He’s a lot like Vince [McMahon]. He’s a go-getter.”
On his career as a whole:
“For a wrestling fan to waddle his [butt] into the business like I did and to work 39 years in it was a true blessing. Wrestlers don’t have 39-year careers. I got into a role that I could set there for all of those years and do my thing. I wouldn’t change a darn thing. It’s been great.”
A funny story on the craziest thing he’s ever seen in the ring:
“I think the craziest thing I ever saw that I didn’t believe was Danny Hodge making a bear run in a battle royal.”
“They had a battle royal with a bear. The bear is in the battle royal and it came down to the bear, Danny Hodge and Bill Watts. Somehow or another they worked it out to where Watts was going to win the battle royal and then get jumped by somebody.”
All of this left Austin wondering what was going to happen to the bear. According to Ross, Watts was supposed to trick the bear into smelling something it liked and have it leave the ring without mauling him.
“The bear was going to eliminate Danny Hodge,” Ross said. “But Hodge didn’t want the bear to eliminate him. He was going to do it, but he was going to have some fun first. So Hodge goes behind the bear, reaches around the bear’s anus and pulls out a handful of short hair around the bear’s butt.”
“The bear bellowed to its muzzle and with a massive swat hit Watts right in the side of the head and knocked Watts out of the ring, which eliminated him from the battle royal. Watts got pissed off because that was going to be an angle for the town to come back.”
“I mean the bear was in shock and awe as Toby Keith would say and the bear got scared at that point. So the bear eliminates the Cowboy [Watts], the bear leaves and Hodge is the winner with that little sly grin on his face.”
Ross, a noted college football fanatic, also talked about Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Maziel. Ross apparently has ties to Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin as he used to be a position coach for Ross’ beloved Oklahoma Sooners. Ross considered Sumlin a good friend and said they have shared a few adult beverages together.
“Johnny Manziel wasn’t the most recruited player in Texas and they [Texas A&M] weren’t even sure he was going to play quarterback,” Ross said. “They gave him a chance to play quarterback before they moved him to DB. They thought he would be a defensive back or a wide receiver. But he lit it up and Kevin put him in an offense that fit Johnny Manziel to a tee.”
“Kevin’s inherited that issue and I think Johnny Manziel’s issues started long before he got to Texas A&M. He needed a trip to the wood shed. He needed my old man to be around him a little bit because some of that stuff wouldn’t have happened. It might have happened once, but it damn sure wouldn’t have happen twice.”
“The kid’s just immature and he’s been given everything that he’s wanted materialistically and he’s got to reel her back in and take some of that focus off himself and not put himself in the position where it’s all about him and not those other dudes out there. It’s hand full and Kevin has done a lot better job than he’s been given credit for considering the firestorm that Johnny Manziel had after he won the Heisman Trophy.”
Ross and Austin cover a whole lot more during the conversation including more funny stories and the heels Ross has seen that had the most heat with the fans.
[Click here to listen to the full episode.]