Jim Ross thinks there’s a lot of potential in All Elite Wrestling but they need to build their own talent without concerning themselves with what anyone else is doing.
In build for his live Huntsville, Alabama show with Conrad Thompson and Tony Schiavone last week, Jim Ross spoke with WrestleZone’s Dominic DeAngelo, both about topics in-ring and out. With the Super Bowl just capping off a few days before their conversation, JR was asked about the team aspect of wrestling and how strong that dynamic is backstage with All Elite Wrestling.
“I think we have a healthy locker room being built. There’s leaders there. There’s young guys that want to be led, want to be taught, coached up, and you’ve got veterans on your squad. We have several. We live by our champion, Chris Jericho,” who JR credits highly for any sort of input, both on the heads or tails side with babyfaces and heels alike.
“How do you not respect and follow the lead of a Chris Jericho who’s reinvented himself over and over again—always for the better, always leading to more success at a high-level? So if you’re a young guy and you’re wanting to talk about being a wrestling villain or fan-favorite or whatever it may be, Chris Jericho’s a great source of information with that.”
With how fast-paced technology is today, JR is aware of how imperative it is to engage an audience quickly, but also sees pitfalls in regards to cultivating a well thought out story that can be told over months at a time.
“It’s a sad thing because that’s how you invest emotionally in the characters and that’s how they become big stars and part of that is how they’re booked. You can’t book somebody 50/50. They win one week, they lose the next, that’s silly. Nobody merits from that and the way you get talent over is you get guys on a roll.
“That’s the thing about our team is we got The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, Cody – they can all get on a roll. They can have great matches with anybody and some people, most teams they can have great matches and some teams they can have matches that are absolutely extraordinary so we got the right chemistry, I think.”
It’s not just established talent that Jim Ross enjoys interacting with. A great deal of his satisfaction comes from working with the up-and-coming stars of the AEW roster.
“Darby Allin’s got a great future I think. He reminds me of a very young Jeff Hardy. I love Jungle Boy Jack Perry. I think he’s got unlimited upside. He kind of reminds me of an early-20-something-year-old Kevin Von Erich. I like him a lot…I mentioned on the air that Sammy Guevara is a little Eddie Guerrero-ish. Great personality, never going to beat anybody with his size, he’s gonna beat him with his technique, his skill set and his speed and so forth. So we’re just going to continue to keep trying to get these guys over.”
A good deal of the AEW talent is new, but so is the product in its entirety and keeping in mind to allow such talent to flourish is imperative to developing the AEW product and brand.
“Everything’s new. Our best days obviously would be ahead of us because that’s just the nature of the beast, but if you and I have this conversation a year from now, I hope that we’ll be able to talk about all the great things that we’ve seen develop and how some of these talents have taken ownership of their own in-ring personality and persona.”
JR mentions that furthering the product is between the EVPs and Tony Khan, who he gives immense credit to in respecting the business’ storied history.
“A very real, devout, sincere fan of wrestling and that’s one of the things I love about working there because the respect factor is off the charts so I love that. And so for his sake and his family’s money that we’ve been investing in this, we want to help build up a strong brand, and we’re off to a good start.”
What AEW is sure to not do is worry about ratings, nor reacting to what the WWE television product is doing.
“Look, we have to be realistic about things. The more that AEW devotes more time than they devote on WWE and what they’re doing, we’re wasting time on our own product. If we’re thinking about them, we ain’t thinking about us. I don’t care what the ratings do. It’s irrelevant to me what the ratings do—that’s a good sound byte. I don’t care about it because all we can do is work our ass off and provide a great product or as best as we are being produced to do, that’s what we have to worry about, not the other stuff. So I believe if we spend all our time working on how to get us better and improve our team and not worry about anybody else’s team because we can’t change or affect it. Too many of us worry about things that we have absolutely no control over.”
And as far as attaching the aforementioned Jungle Boy with his real name Jack Perry? Jack doesn’t mind and JR explains his very valid reason for doing such, one of which being a tip of the cap to his late father, Luke Perry.
“Jack doesn’t mind because he can’t be Jungle Boy when he’s 35 or 40. It’s an insult to our audience if we’re still calling him ‘Jungle Boy’ when he gets older, right now it’s fine. If you look at the big picture and to get his name out there and establish his name identity as Jungle Boy Jack Perry is a good deal. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to pay some tribute to his father who really wanted his son to do what he’s doing right now and the late Luke Perry was a pop culture icon and so I’m not saying that we’re riding Luke Perry’s coattails for Jack, no, but to ignore that they’re father and son is bad storytelling.”
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)
You can hear the entire interview with Jim Ross below: