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Jim Ross on Wishing He Could’ve Called Mick Foley’s First WWE Title Win, Discusses His Past Friction With Vince McMahon, and His Thoughts on Why Shelton Benjamin Never Became World Champion

January 13, 2018 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Jim Ross

– Luis Vasquez and the Unsanctioned podcast recently interviewed WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross. Below are some highlights (transcript via WrestlingInc.com).

Jim Ross on wishing he could’ve called Mick Foley’s first WWE world title win: “Mick Foley’s first WWE title win. Because I really worked hard to get Mick on the team, and he over exceeded everybody’s expectations, and I was on the IR with the bell’s palsy attack when he won the title for the first time, and because the journey we had been on together, it would have been really cool to have been able to call that first one. I was watching at home and I was happy for him. I got tears in my eyes, I was so happy for him to win. And that’s the thing, because, why would you have tears in your eyes, J.R.? You probably knew he was going to win. Well, I didn’t know he was going to win, and I was happy for him.”

Jim Ross on his new book Slobberknocker: “The book is not a wrestling book, and that may, on the surface, be confusing to wrestling fans buying it. It’s a story about a wrestling guy. A guy that loved wrestling as a kid and thought there’s no way in hell he’d ever get in the business. I didn’t know anybody, I wasn’t a shooter, I wasn’t an All-American, I didn’t have any relatives in the business, I just went cold turkey. And I thought when I got my job with Bill Watts in ’74, this would be a nice gig for three months, I’ll go back to college this fall, graduate, start coaching football or something. But that three month gig lasted 40 years and I really wouldn’t change a darn thing. I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Jim Ross on his past friction with Vince McMahon: “I wasn’t the easiest guy to manage. The story about McMahon used to give J.R. hell; he did sometimes. But guess what, guys? I deserved it sometimes. I deserved to get my ass taken to the woodshed. I’m not infallible, I’m a human being, I have strong opinions, and sometimes I forget who my audience is. And also, I was like one of those guys that I don’t like now and disagreed with every damn thing you say – if you don’t agree with everything I say, you’re an idiot, and I used to think that.”

His thoughts on why Shelton Benjamin never became a world champion: “Part of that is Shelton’s fault. He was making really good money, he had a really good spot on the team, but he wasn’t at the top of the roster, but when he worked with a top guy, he killed it. But when he got his opportunities, maybe they were ill-timed or he was ill-prepared, whatever, he didn’t hit a home run on a mic as he hit in the ring. So we needed to protect him or fix that. But, here’s the thing nowadays, it’s not a 100 percent, but I can say at least 90, if you’re not talking, you’re not getting over.”

His thoughts on Goldberg’s WWE runs: “I wanted to get Goldberg right out of WCW, but he was owed so much money by Time Warner in one of those ridiculous deals. Not ridiculous for talent, but for upper-management it’s a little dicey. He was owed so much money, I couldn’t pay him what he was owed. So, he could make more by not doing work, not wrestling. That’s what I would have done too. So, we missed on Goldberg when it was popular and timely, and then we got him and I don’t think we did a very good job of taking care of him, in my view. This last time he came back with Brock, I thought was excellent. He got back in the spotlight, he held his own. He’s not no 25-year-old kid, I don’t care what he looks, he’s still got some miles on him. I didn’t think we did great by Bill [in his first WWE run].”

Jim Ross on if he thinks he could still be a signature voice on today’s WWE product: “If you’re asking if I could carry the mail on today’s WWE product, absolutely. I like to consider myself a 40-plus year broadcaster. I’ve done boxing, I’ve done MMA, I’ve done NFL, I’ve done XFL. I’d like to think I’m a broadcaster/storyteller. And I believe that if I couldn’t adapt, it’d be on me, not on the product. Because product’s what it is. I’ve done everything from WrestleMania to Smokey Mountain Wrestling. It’s all different man.”