Jim Ross recently talked about the WWE/Saudi Arabia deal during his podcast and also revealed Greatest Royal Rumble was one of his biggest paydays. Below are the highlights courtesy of WrestlingInc.
On WWE Crown Jewel:
“It is a hot button issue right now,” Ross said. “The thing that cannot be compromised is putting any talent, or any WWE personnel, or any fans in jeopardy. If everyone feels completely comfortable with the safety, that’s the problem for me, then you should do it. I’m not going to get into all the politics, and the oppression, and all these things. I know I’m not read on it. It’s not something that I’m going to read on. I know what’s right and I know what’s wrong. I know ever person no matter their color or gender should be treated equally. That’s what I believe. I don’t care what their nationality is, what party they’re in, what side of the aisle they sit on. So I think if you’ve got a guy on the card that needs a payday because WWE [has] got massive rights fees coming, that doesn’t go in everybody’s pocket.”
On His Greatest Royal Rumble payday:
“One of my biggest paydays in my history of working for Vince [McMahon] was making a trip to Saudi Arabia.” Ross admitted, “I got paid very, very well. And much more than a former guy doing the payoffs than I would have paid myself. And if it affected me in that regard, how many other people that were there, some of them for days and weeks, even more, how many of them did it affect in a positive way? So I’m not going to be the guy to get up and talk about things that I don’t quite understand. I know what I believe, but I also don’t want to take any money out of a wrestler’s pocket and takes care of their family. That [has] always been my pet peeve. Take care of the talent and if the talent don’t want to go, they shouldn’t go and they won’t have to go. That’s what I think about this Saudi thing. There’s no right answer, guys. There really isn’t, I don’t think. I’ve heard both sides of the argument and both sides can make very good points that I can say, ‘yeah, I can see that. Yeah, I can see that too.’ But I don’t have the right answer apparently. But I have an answer for me. My answer is, if it’s safe and the talents can go earn money that they need. Look, Christmas is coming! Think of these things as simple as it may be. ‘Oh, listen, J.R. had this reason that [WWE] should go to Saudi because it’s near Christmas. What an idiot! What an idiot!’ Okay, maybe I am an idiot, but the bottom line is I would move cautiously, WWE. I would try to make sure that everything is as safe as it humanly possibly could be. Nobody would go if they didn’t want to go and I would divvy that money up like you did before, in a very fair, equitable way because it’s new money. It’s significant new money. It’s not like running a house show in Muskogee [Oklahoma] next week. This is big time money for a lot of guys, some of them are looking at it like they have less paydays left than they have earned previously. So that’s my thoughts on Saudi.”
On Shawn Michaels’ return:
“I think Shawn [has] got plenty of matches left in him if he’s wisely booked.” Ross claimed, “in other words, I don’t see the return at Saudi Arabia being a one-off. If Shawn can go out and maintain the level of performance that he will be comfortable with, and trust me, he will not be comfortable with mediocrity. Does he have to adjust his game a little bit? Of course he does! He will be great no matter what. When he was off for four years and then he came back to wrestle at WWE, I told him when I went to San Antonio [Texas] that he owed it to himself more than anything else to finish his legacy and don’t let it end this way. I’m sure others would tell him the same thing. He took it to heart and made the decision on his own. And he came back and the night he was back, he was amazing. After four years off, no practice. So Shawn [has] got a lot left in the tank, in my view, if the vehicle is driven correctly. Pedal to the metal, day-in-day-out ain’t going to happen. If he’s smartly and strategically booked, you’re damn right, I could see him having something big and significant at WrestleMania. He would be if I was sitting in that chair suggesting stuff. At least that would be the suggestion.”