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Jim Ross On What He Would Have Advised Vince McMahon to Do About WrestleMania, Not Feeling ‘The Buzz’ For This Year’s Show

April 1, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Jim Ross Grilling JR

Jim Ross spoke with Wrestling Observer Radio and was asked about WWE holding WrestleMania in a modified, empty-arena environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. WrestleMania takes place this weekend and of course it isn’t in the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa where it was supposed to due to the risk of the disease.

Before the decision was made to tape it from the Performance Center and other locations, there were thoughts that WWE might hold off until later in the year and Ross said that would have been his advice, though he understands why as a publicly-traded company they can’t. Highlights are below:

On what he would advise McMahon to do regarding WrestleMania: “I would’ve waited until I could have got it to an arena, or a stadium. And I would have made a big celebration out of it that we’re back, America’s back, the virus is gone. Celebratory WrestleMania probably. But here’s the problem with that. That’s already been, I’m sure, budgeted in for a certain amount of money. And because of the uncertainty of the virus we don’t know when that date would be to run the stadium show as the make-good, the celebratory WrestleMania as I call it, whatever. And so I can understand it budgetarily, they’re a publicly traded company, they have to make money for their stockholders, their stock needs to rebound, blah blah blah. So I don’t know if my suggestion is a great one whatsoever.

“But I can tell you it would be so easy to replicate amazing enthusiasm, anticipation and excitement in a make-good, celebratory WrestleMania, vis-à-vis it’s a television vehicle like we’ve done on AEW the last few weeks, like WWE has done, in a closed set. The empty arena thing. I just — the empty arena thing is okay to keep fresh programming on. But man, it’s not much fun to work at because you get used to that adrenaline that the fans provide. There’s nothing like that.”

On the importance of a live crowd to WrestleMania: “Dave, we’ve both talked to Dwayne Johnson so many times. He’ll tell anybody that listens, there’s nothing like being at a live event. A movie lot, a set, don’t get it. He’s good at it, he’s great at it and makes a lot of money at it. But the fun is walking out at WrestleMania for him. He would have a brilliant time doing that, as he always did. So it’s a hard — it’s a good question. But hell, I don’t really know the right answer. You could probably talk me out of my opinion about doing it later.”

On not feeling the buzz for this year’s WrestleMania: “But I don’t — here’s the thing. I don’t feel the buzz for WrestleMania this year, and I wish I did. Because when WrestleMania does well, that’s a good thing for all my friends and all the folks that work there. But it trickles down. The popularity of wrestling, we share some of that stuff. And so I want them to be successful, everybody else to be successful. It helps us, and maybe I’m being greedy in that analogy. But I don’t feel the buzz, I don’t feel the urgency of WrestleMania this year. Does that mean I’m not going to watch? No, I didn’t say that whatsoever. I’m sure I’m gonna watch at least portions of it. I’m making an educated guess on what I would do, but I don’t know all the backstory information and I know being a public company — if the company was private, I think it would be more likely that they would wait to do WrestleMania at a later date when they get back in a great environment like a stadium. Like maybe back down in Tampa. Being a publicly-traded company, I think that then creates challenges to make that decision that affects so much revenue.”

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