In a recent edition of Grilling JR, Jim Ross discussed Jeff Hardy being released by WWE in 2004, The Rock’s return at WrestleMania XX, and much more. You can read his comments below.
Jim Ross on Jeff Hardy’s WWE release in 2003: “I was really surprised at that decision and when I told Vince, he was surprised as well. You mean he is just going to walk away? You know we are going to push him. You know that he has a great opportunity. Apparently, he’d rather get high than come to work. And so, luckily for everybody involved, for many, many obvious reasons, he has climbed that mountain, and he is looking down on past drug and alcohol abuse. But man, he was primed. You know we talk about reliability thing. There is no reason that Jeff Hardy would not have been a great WWE Champion or any title. But he just wasn’t reliable.
“How do you put your championship on somebody you don’t have full confidence that they are going to be cool? They are going to be OK. Can they take the pressure of being the champion? Can they take the pressure of going on last night after night? Can they take the pressure of putting their company on their shoulders and marching forward? And at that time, that was not the… it’s not what everybody thought. They just didn’t think Jeff was going to be able to hold on in that scenario. And part of that is just maturing and getting past it. Nobody was ever going to bail on him. If he raised his hands and said, ‘I’m ready to go to get help,’ we would have brought him right back after the help. After successfully completing a drug and alcohol program. So, it was a tough time, and I felt bad about that. Now you look back and say, ”Well, he wasted some time there that he can’t retrieve.’ But he was hard-headed as hell.”
On The Rock returning at WrestleMania XX to team with Mick Foley against Evolution: “The audience wanted to see Rock. He had left the nest and become an even bigger star. He was in great shape and always had ‘it’ and still does to this very day. If he came back and wrestled again, he’d still have ‘it’. I enjoyed it. We didn’t have a lot of access to Rock leading into that WrestleMania. The good news is, everybody knew and he didn’t need to be on a lot of TV. It wasn’t typical of a build-up to a WrestleMania match because of his unavailability……it was just strange to have a handicap match. You could see what’s happening a mile away. But I didn’t hate the match at all. It was loaded with star power. You’ve got Ric Flair and The Rock in the same match in Madison Square Garden at WrestleMania. How bad can the damn thing be? This match had Ric Flair, The Rock, and Mick Foley in it. I enjoyed seeing Rock back out there. I enjoyed seeing the real gleam in the eyes of talents that loved what they did for a living. You could tell the gleam in the eyes, and Mick was very emotional.”
If using any of the above quotes, please credit Grilling JR with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.