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Jim Ross Recalls Contract Talks With Mike Tyson, Ahmed Johnson Lacking In Self-Confidence

March 28, 2023 | Posted by Bob Colling
Steve Austin WrestleMania 14 MIke Tyson Image Credit: WWE

On a recent episode of Grilling JR, Jim Ross talked about WrestleMania XIV. Ross talked about Mike Tyson’s contract negotiations, and Ahmed Johnson’s lack of self-confidence costing him during his WWE run. Some highlights are below.

On contract negotiation talks with Mike Tyson: “He wanted to be with us. We didn’t have the impasse to sell him on lets do something. He wanted to do something, and yes some of that was because of his financial needs. You know, Don King had really done a number on him, and Mike had done a bigger number on himself. So, we knew that the money that was in play and we had the capital. We had the funds to take care of that. So, it was never an issue on how we get him together. How do we get Mike to like WWE enough to commit to a certain amount of time and come and participate in this crazy ass presentation on live television? But, that was not hard. He wanted to do something. He needed to do something.

On Ahmed Johnson refusing to lose to Kurrgan: “He was a handful. Poor guy. Impressive looking, had a great physique as we could all remember. But boy, he didn’t have any self-confidence that I could remember. Wrestlers in general are the most paranoid, insecure lot of performer-athletes as you’ll ever meet. The ones that can handle that all the adversities the travel and commitment of time that they know they can’t get back. All these things — you know, if you can solve all those problems the business would be a whole lot better, but it’s not. It realistically isn’t. Ahmed was a victim of that. He didn’t have any confidence and he had a lot of self-doubt. I think he had one of those attitudes where the ‘office is out to get me’-type deal, and it’s always been amazing to me that when you stop and think about it.

“The office’s job is to create stars that in turn will sell tickets and pay-per-views merchandise etc. etc. so you can keep monetizing the investment of a said talent. That’s your goal. No matter if you’re talking about a preliminary guy that you may use in a year or two or an established star. Well, you just gotta have some solidarity or I guess for a lack of a better word just be more consistent more trusting. But, Ahmed was a handful in that regard and I think it had a lot of, and I’m guessing, it had to do with his background, his upbringing. But, we thought we had something with him and we just couldn’t get there. Sometimes the more you do the farther behind you get is the little cliche goes and we could never found the solution on how to manage, I guess, Ahmed Johnson.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.