In a recent edition of Grilling JR, Jim Ross discussed Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 19, Lesnar’s botched shooting star press, the original plan for the main event, and much more. You can read his comments below.
Jim Ross on signing Kurt Angle in WWE: “One of my favorite guys. The bond between Kurt and myself was created through Jan because of Pittsburgh. We brought Kurt in originally for an interview, but he had an offer on the table from a local station in Pittsburgh to do sports. He found out quickly that reading off a prompter and writing his own script was not his cup of tea. We brought him back, and I remember seeing him down in the lobby of Titan Tower. He was in the lobby getting ready to go meet Vince and me. He was there early, and I said, ‘Man, obviously I’m biased, but you don’t have any goddamn business trying to read TV sports. You’re not gonna make any money unless you climb to the top of the ladder and get into the upper echelon.’ I said you’re an athletic freak.
“So, we got him there and signed him. I have never seen anybody other than maybe Danny Hodge and Jack Brisco who went from the amateur to pro transition better than anybody – until I saw Kurt Angle. I think Tom Prichard was a big help there in training him, and then Dory Funk Jr. They loved Kurt and his work ethic. People say why do you want to hire all these accomplished amateurs or athletes from another sport? Beacuse they’re used to functioning well in a locker room. They set high goals from themselves. They push themselves to levels that a normal man would not do. Kurt was right away big-time.”
On the original plan for Steve Austin vs. The Rock to main event WrestleMania 19: “They closed the show because Austin, the night before, spent the night in the hospital. Even though he demanded he was OK to work and the doctors cleared him, we were worried that he and Rock – the third match between the two – might not be what they were looking for based on Steve’s condition. We switched that around, and it did not make The Rock or Austin very happy. There’s something about closing the show.”
On Brock Lesnar’s shooting star press in his match against Angle: “I don’t remember who the agent was on that match, but they should’ve been fired for even sanctioning or allowing your 295-pound phenom, Brock Lesnar, to do a shooting star press. It made no fucking sense. It didn’t help anything. It was a spot. Everything I preach about on where you can’t build your match around one spot – there’s gotta be a story told. We’re lucky he didn’t break his neck. I remember talking to Brock and his dad after the show, and I said, ‘Hey, Mr. Lesnar, your boy got lucky tonight. He’s trying to do things little guys do to show everybody he can do it.’ I said that ain’t gonna happen again. We had a nice chat about it. I understand you want to have a sensational spot, but the risk/reward and the fine line between success and failure is very, very thin. That was interesting stuff.”
If using any of the above quotes, please credit Grilling JR with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.