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WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross was recently interviewed by WrestlingInc. in which he said that Impact Wrestling has never approached him about coming in to call Impact Wrestling and added that he has no interest in calling a weekly wrestling show.
Below are the highlights:
On the announcer changes in Impact and if he would work for them: “Well, first of all, I knew that the announcer change was coming because I talk to Jeff, and not about me coming in, just we talk in general. We brainstorm sometimes. We exchange ideas sometimes. It behooves me for Impact and all other promotions to be successful. I’m still in the wrestling business and for wrestling to be on its ass or businesses to go belly up because of poor management, is not great for the genre and I pull for the genre no matter whose banner it’s under. So Jeff and I [talked]. I was aware that it was going to be J.B. [Jeremy Borash] and Josh [Mathews] and so all I was doing, based on talking to him, and his suggestion was to throw out that changes are coming. I didn’t realize people would pair me into that tweet where, ‘oh, J.R.’s going to be [commentating].’ Why would we kayfabe ourselves if I was going to be announcing? Why would we not… if I was going to do it, why would we kayfabe ourselves and me just show up? Maybe there is one. I can’t think of a good one. But nonetheless, I don’t really have any desire to do any weekly American wrestling other than what I’m doing and I may do some other projects, internationally, or abroad, or in Britain, but I’m not going to do, I don’t think I’m going to do, I don’t have the desire, you never say ‘never’, I get that, but I don’t have any plans, whatsoever, to be doing anything other than what I’m doing right now in North America.” Ross continued, “so I like what I’m doing. I’m certainly pulling for Impact and if I can help them down the road, in a manageable way, that ain’t weekly television, then I’m always willing to help Jeff and his team. I’ve got lots of friends that work there.”
On calling New Japan matches for AXS TV: “I like the schedule; I love the people I work with; we’ve got a real good product; and I know that AXS and New Japan are working diligently to enhance and strengthen their relationship. I think that tells me there will be more opportunities down the road for Josh and I to broadcast some of the New Japan product. And, of course, people are going to think, ‘well, what about July when New Japan has their live events in Southern California?’ Well, obviously! Josh lives out there. It’s easy for me to get there. I’d love to be able to say, to get the assignment, ‘hey, look, we’re going to do a live two or three hour show, whatever the hell it’s going to be, on AXS. Primetime.’ So that’d be great! I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but I’m up for it.”
On working with Josh Barnett: “Well, I truly enjoy working with Josh. The great thing about working with Josh, for me, is that, and I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to work with many great partners, is number one, Josh is really skilled at the genre. He is extremely aware of the culture of New Japan. He knows what it’s like to be at a main event at a Tokyo Dome event. When the go to ground, submission wrestling, there’s nobody better at broadcasting than Josh Barnett to explain why these submission holds are effective and how the best work. So he’s the perfect partner for me for this product. And I decided early on that I was going to try to give Josh a bigger role than he previously had on that show. I wanted him to be a little bit more involved because I needed it. Mauro may not have needed it because Mauro has got a lot of Japanese culture, experienced Pride, and all these bits that he has done over the years. But I wanted to kind of change it up a little bit because I needed the input, I needed the knowledge, so I think Josh has become a bigger part of the broadcast that I can see, and maybe I’m wrong, than before I came along and I really like it that way. It’s a teamwork thing for us and I’m learning from him, he’s learning from me, so it’s a really good pairing.”
On if he saw that Okada vs. Omega got a six star rating prior to calling it: “No, I didn’t see it. I like the surprise element. I don’t read a lot of the spoilers. You can’t stay away from some of it if you’re online at all. I knew that Omega and Okada was allegedly the greatest match of all time. I knew that Dave Meltzer gave it six stars and I have great respect for Dave’s opinion. So I knew the expectations for the match were going to be extraordinary and that we would need to bring our A-game for sure. But I think we try to bring our A-game every week, so I enjoyed that match and I thought it was a really good presentation. I think it takes away from the end result and what the show sounds like if I have some sort of preconditioning in my head that I got to watch this spot or ‘here’s this’. It moves away from being organic, and real, and reality-based to more of a showbiz presentation if I were to watch the matches and then get a feel for the end. It’s like doing an audition or doing a rehearsal. I don’t know of anybody that would tell you that they embraced doing a rehearsal for a live event. I can’t imagine Troy Aiken and Joe Buck rehearsing an entire Super Bowl before they called this year’s Super Bowl. It doesn’t make a lot of sense.”