WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross appeared on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on FS1 on Thursday to promote his autobiography Slobberknocker. The following are the highlights of the interview.
-Cowherd acknowledged that many pro wrestling fans don’t like him (he’s referred to them as “booger eaters” in the past), but said he considers Ross to be one of the great American storytellers.
-Cowherd asked Ross about signing Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Ross recalled Rock telling him during a meeting that he had seven bucks in his wallet (hence the name of his production company), but he would become the top man in WWE/WWF.
-Cowherd said his favorite wrestlers were Andre the Giant, Jimmy Snuka, and Dutch Savage when he grew up watching Pacific Northwest wrestling. He said in his view, the biggest stars in pro wrestling history are Hulk Hogan, The Rock, and Steve Austin. Ross said Cowherd is going to kill his image with wrestling fans because he has knowledge. Ross said he would add Ric Flair to that list and it would be his Mount Rushmore of pro wrestling.
-Cowherd asked if pro wrestling was bigger before Hulk Hogan arrived. Ross spoke about WWE going national and eventually global with Hogan.
-Cowherd said Andre wouldn’t be the toughest wrestler because of his lack of dexterity. He said he viewed Austin as the toughest wrestler. Ross praised Austin, but pointed to Brock Lesnar. Ross spoke about how he and Lesnar butted heads at times when Ross worked in WWE management, but they also have a similar background due to growing up the sons of farmers and that provided common ground.
-Ross was asked about times he told Vince McMahon he was wrong. Ross told the story of hiring Mick Foley and Vince saying that Ross needed to understand what it’s like to have his heart broken by a talent he thought would be great that would not be great. Ross put over Foley and said he needed positive influences in his locker room, not outlaws or carnies.
-Cowherd was asked about Conor McGregor in WWE, saying that UFC doesn’t pay as well as boxing or pro wrestling. Huh? Anyway, Ross said Conor will eventually earn a “massive check” for a one-off match at WrestleMania someday. “Why not make it happen?” Ross asked. He added that he thinks McGregor will continue to fight in UFC as well.
-Cowherd brought up the Roman Reigns and John Cena verbal and Twitter exchanges and said it was a “get real moment.” Cowherd asked if Ross feared that Reigns and Cena would go at one another when they had their match. Ross spoke about Cena having the top spot and transitioning to Reigns, and how Cena threw the gauntlet down and said that if Reigns is going to be his successor then he has a lot of work to do.
-Ross was asked about the “daunting” WWE schedule and whether he ever had to tell a wrestler that he wouldn’t last and needed to be a grownup. Ross said yes and said he assumes similar conversations take place in pro sports locker rooms. Ross said he wasn’t a very good father because he was a workaholic and he covered that in his book because his wife wanted him to and it was important. Ross also recalled an unidentified wrestler paying for the breast enhancement surgery for a mistress with a credit card and thinking he could get to the statement before his wife saw it.
-Cowherd promoted Ross’s Slobberknocker book and said it was an absolute pleasure. He also spoke about how Ross has handled the passing of his wife Jan with “grace and dignity.” Cowherd said he hoped that Ross would tell some of his wrestling fan haters that he’s not such a bad guy. Ross said he would tell them they need to reevaluate.
Powell’s POV: Cowherd’s anti pro wrestling comments have always struck me as a case of a guy who is beating wrestling fans at their own game. In other words, he was being a heel and trying to get a reaction out of them. The funny thing is that it worked every time. By the way, I am over halfway through the Slobberknocker book can already highly recommend it.