Jim Ross

Jim Ross Reflects On Recruiting Big E. To WWE, Gives Thoughts On His Rise To WWE Champion In 2021

Jim Ross sounded off on some WWE-related topics during the latest installment of his “Grilling JR” podcast.

On this week’s episode of the show, the longtime pro wrestling commentator and behind-the-scenes figure spoke at length about recruiting Big E. to WWE, why every wrestling company needs someone like him in their locker room, as well as why he thinks WWE deserves credit for “broadening their scope” by featuring minorities and inter-gender talents in top spots.

Featured below are some of the highlights from the show.

On recruiting Big E. to WWE and his rise to the top as WWE Champion this year: “I sat down in a first class seat beside this dude and he knew who I was, the hat kind of gives you away, and he’s a wrestling fan obviously but he was big into Iowa athletics. Like a big booster, and loved Dan Gable, and wrestling, and football, so we had a nice conversation. He said, man, ‘I got this kid at Iowa and I think he’s got a star wrestler written all over him. He told me about him, he said ‘He’s about 6 feet, he’s a defensive tackle, and he’s the strongest guy on the team. He makes everybody laugh, he’s got a massive personality.’ I asked a few questions that I would normally ask. I don’t even think I was in a role then, but I got word back to the home office about this kid that we should check into.

“I think I may have told Jerry Briscoe, and so, that led to Big E getting noticed and led him onto building his body of work and career. And now, he’s one of the top guys in the whole company, which that is so rewarding to see happen. To have some small little piece of helping a guy get to the next spot, now I’m sure he’s making seven figures plus a year. He’s very well respected in his community. His peers love him, he’s good for the wrestling business and his success can only help others of color without a doubt.”

On Big E. being a role model for young black kids and WWE doing a good job of broadening the scope by using minorities, inter-genders, etc: “We have role models as kids. All the star wrestlers were white. Vince has done a great job of broadening the scope. Using minorities and inter-genders and all of that stuff, I don’t get involved in that stuff. Either you’re a good wrestler or you’re not. I don’t give two sh*ts what your political affiliation is or your sexual persuasion is. I don’t care and nobody should care.”

On the first time he heard Big E.’s name while on a flight and how that conversation led to him contacting WWE about him, as well as how he feels every wrestling company in the world needs someone like Big E. in their locker room: “I got him on the radar. The powers at be saw what I saw, this guy had pictures of him, they were buddies. He had pictures of him on his phone, so I got a good look at him, and the only thing he said was ‘He might be too short to play defensive tackle in the NFL but he’s got a great 40 time, which means he’s athletic and has fast feet. Strongest guy on the team. He’s just 5’10 or 5’11, something like that.’ He came in and blew them away, and he’s a good citizen. Every company should have their share of Big E’s in it because he’s a good citizen and a good representative of the brand.

“You need guys like that in your locker room, you need guys that are upbeat, and positive, and are willing to help in your locker room. WWE probably has plenty of them, but Big E is maybe at the top of that list. Of course [in AEW], we’ve got some of our own guys. Chris Jericho is a big leader with us. To me, he’s one of the MVP’s, if not the MVP. If you’re going to be successful, you have to have somebody who’s going to have locker room leadership, and we’ve got a lot of good leaders.”

Check out the complete episode of the Grilling JR podcast at CumulusPodcastNetwork.com. H/T to Wrestling Inc for transcribing the above quotes.

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