WWE legend Road Warrior Animal was the recent guest on Jim Ross’ “Ross Report” podcast, which you can listen to entirely at this link. Below are some interview highlights:
On Whether His Son James will Get Into Wrestling After His NFL Days Are Over:
I think James wants to make that 10 year mark in the NFL, then take a year off to recuperate and heal up. It is a battle everyday. Every week you are going to war, battling in and out, to keep your job. There is always somebody knocking on the door to get in, but I’ll tell you one thing; he is a natural athlete. The kid knows how to wrestle; he is really good. I remember one time walking down the halls when he was at Ohio State and Mr. McMahon told him, hey James, there is always a home for you here in WWE, he was somewhat kidding around, but through that kid there is always some sort of realism with Vince. I’ll tell you what Jim, one time we were at the St. Paul Civic Center and we were backstage there with Steve Austin; James entire football team was there and we got to go in the ring to feel what it’s like to be in the ring, jumping the ropes. There was a player named Marion Barber III, who played for the Cowboys. Austin tells us to hit his music, he gets down to the ring, the entire ring clears out except for James. Steve throws him into the ropes, gives James a stunner and took the stunner like a champ. James still talks to Steve until this day, who left such an impression on Steve. James has such a respect for this business so you never know someday after the NFL.
On Pro Wrestlers Being Great Athletes:
I tell people this all the time when I am on the road, whenever I do interviews, and ask me what it was like. I say to them, let me tell you something; I will go to my grave honoring the guys who worked in the wrestling business before me, what they did on the road before me, paving the way for me, guys who were in my generation and passed my generation. These are the greatest athletes in the world and I say that humbly, not to say we are better than other athletes, but there were great athletes in other sports who transitioned to our sport like Ron Simmons, who was considered one of the greatest College football players of all time, and could have easily played pro had it not been for his knee injury. Dolph Ziggler was a great amateur wrestler, or Brock Lesnar. A lot of great guys in our sport, and a lot of great guys all around.
On What He Would Still Like to Do in the Wrestling Business:
I think I am good at coaching. I am good at explaining things that are ideal to an athlete and the way an athlete understands. My whole thing was, you can’t teach guys how to go to the Super Bowl unless you have been to the Super Bowl. I mean that humbly, but you can’t train guys to work the business if you haven’t been in the business and successful at it yourself. I am very blessed man, I had the Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, all these guys in our business; Junkyard Dog, Ernie Ladd. I got to work with a lot of great guys, so I learned so much from them. I would love to be behind the scenes, running the company, helping with the matches, especially in the tag team division, running smoothly. Having guys learn how to be big guys. There are times and places to do things; one guy does a move, so another guy has to do a move. That is not how you tell a story. At the end of the day, it’s about entertaining the fans you know, so they shouldn’t worry about having to get all their moves in at once, but more about telling a story you know? So, that is what I love to do. I love being behind the scenes, love being inside the office, being the guy that helps. I would also love going around the world searching for talent as well, going to Russia or some places to go to the companies, I think that would be a good way to go. I love the business, it has been good to me. I am an athlete at heart and will die an athlete, you know, so I love to give back any way I can.
On What He Would Tell Rookies Entering the Business Today:
I tell the rookies, the first thing you need to do is show respect to the industry. Shut your mouth and listen. I do that out of my own experience. I went to the locker rooms when Stan Hansen and Bruiser Brody were around. I shut my mouth; those two guys taught me so much and so I took that to the bank. Another thing would be to study your craft. Don’t be in such a hurry to wrestle, and leave five minutes later and not watch the rest of the show. Learn your craft; for instance, the powerslam I used to do. People touted my powerslam and tried to emulate it themselves. Well, I actually got the powerslam from Buzz Sawyer, it’s not a new move, I just did my move a bit different. Make your move your own. Don’t do a move because you see it on TV, and it looks cool, do a version of your own move and make it your own style. Third is, listen to the most experienced guy on the card. My philosophy is that there is no dumb question.
To listen to this entire podcast, subscribe to the Ross Report on iTunes and PodcastOne.