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Jim Ross Says He Never Talked With Vince McMahon About Leaving WWE For AEW

May 10, 2024 | Posted by Andrew Ravens
Vince McMahon WWE, Adnan Virk, ECW Image Credit: WWE

On a recent episode of his podcast, “Grilling JR,” Jim Ross discussed a wide range of topics. During it, the AEW announcer talked about the process of joining AEW, whether he spoke with Vince McMahon about it and more. Here are the highlights:

On his first meeting with Tony Khan: “I met Tony on one of those weekends that we had a New Japan show. And I think it was — where was that? Long Beach, yeah. And that was kind of cool… I met him during that New Japan show. He stayed at the hotel that we were all staying in. And he was with Alex Marvez, who I’d known years before. So Alex Marvez introduced me to Tony, and we shot the breeze about wrestling, of course. And had a good visit at a cocktail or two. He was there to see that New Japan show.”

On what they talked about: “We talked about the past a lot. Historic things. He would tell me, matches, even in Mid-South, that he got tapes of that helped drive the conversation. So a lot of just historic stuff. ‘Do you remember this? What happened when the Junkyard Dog did that? How was Bill Watts to work with,’ things of that nature? So it was a great experience. But I found out right away, Tony Khan was real. He had answers. He had education. It was just great. So I’m thinking, ‘Well, I don’t know where this is gonna go. But I can see myself working for this dude.’”

On signing with AEW: “I just left it in Barry’s [his manager Barry Bloom] hands. Because being under contract to WWE, the last thing I wanted to do is get sideways with their attorneys. So I just backed away from it all. I didn’t dig too deeply into that situation. It just didn’t make any more sense, ddin’t make common sense. So that’s kind of how I handled it.

“That’s why you have an agent; let them run the interference and he’ll cut the deal. And Tony Khan took very good care of me on that scenario. That three-year deal was for the most money that I’d ever signed a contract for, including any of my deals Vince. Now I made a lot of money for WWE. I did, you know, I got put into video games that earn me more royalty money. So I did really well with Vince and had no ill feelings. It’s just that I knew that from my past record there, being replaced and reinstated and being replaced, you know, all that s**t, that I needed to figure out plan B. And I thought this was a very viable plan B. And then when the numbers came in from Barry, after his negotiations with Tony Khan, I felt very comfortable that we were making the right decision.”

On whether he told Vince McMahon he was going to join AEW: “That never happened. I never had any conversation with Vince whatsoever, because why would I have conversations with him? Because it was obvious that he wanted to have another announcer out there. One that wasn’t old, one that wasn’t Southern. One that wasn’t chubby. I’m not as chubby today as I was then. So I didn’t bother him with it. That’s Barry’s job. And Barry had a good rapport with Vince, still does because he represents Paul Heyman and others. So he was in communication with Vince on a quasi-regular basis because of the talents that he’d already represented or was representing.

“But I never talked to Vince about it. I just thought it would be smoother just to get the hell out. And, you know, once that gig with AEW was established, and the numbers were — confidential, but they were real numbers, and Barry did a phenomenal job. And Tony Khan’s generosity made it very easy for me to make that decision.”

On whether he ever talked with Vince about it: “No, none. Moving on, moving on down the road, baby. Look, I spent — I got to work for, I started working for Vince in ’93. So we’re talking several years. And I knew how Vince worked, better than most; maybe better than anybody, because of the talent relations gig. And the fact that we rebuilt the talent roster for WWE. My team in talent relations, built a hell of a roster that fed that Attitude Era.

“And it just seemed like a no-brainer, Connie, it seemed like a no-brainer for me. Vince wanted to make a change. He had already proven that, he had done it several times. And I had an offer to do something where I was going to make more money than I was even making for WWE. So, to me, it was a layup.”

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

article topics :

AEW, Jim Ross, Vince McMahon, WWE, Andrew Ravens