On Thursday night, I had the opportunity to interview WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross exclusively for MMANews.com ahead of his MMA broadcasting debut tonight on pay-per-view for Battlegrounds MMA.
There were a wide variety of topics discussed, including how he got linked up with Battlegrounds MMA, calling the action tonight with Chael Sonnen, drugs in MMA, his future calling MMA & boxing events and much more. Naturally, we also talked wrestling, with JR giving his opinion on Global Force Wrestling partnering with New Japan Pro Wrestling for their first pay-per-view event on January 4, 2015.
The most newsworthy item was Jim Ross stating that he’s interested in doing the English commentary for the Global Force pay-per-view. Here are the highlights:
Global Force Wrestling Working With New Japan Pro Wrestling:
“I think it’s a great idea. If [New Japan] want to build their brand, you’ve gotta make the product available to English speaking countries. To maximize profitability and your opportunity to grow. They also need to be very selective about who is broadcasting that event. Right now, New Japan is kind of the cool group, they’ve got some great young stars, they’re very physical, they’re more steak than sizzle, so I think for the hardcore fans, they’re the it group right now. The hardcore base is small, but vocal and loyal. So to mass market what they’re doing, they’re going to have to go to the English speaking countries where pro wrestling has been big for decades. So I think it’s imperative to have English commentary and to market their product. I think the audience is going to demand information about who are these guys. They have some great young stars, they have a unique style but you’ve got to tell your audience who they are. I think if they want to build their brand, they want to create some revenue, they have to extend into the English speaking world. That will help them enlarge their footprint, which is essential in building their company.
It is potentially a big win-win. Having done an event myself in the Tokyo Dome many years ago when I was with Turner (WCW), it’s amazing atmosphere to witness. For the fans that would tune in on January 4th, it’s a very unique atmosphere. The culture of the country is very unique. The pro wrestling lineage in Japan is long standing and has had some of the more historic wrestlers and moments in the history of the sport. There’s a long history of that, so for some fans, all of that information and that documentation, that history lesson, would be good info. I think they’re going to see an entirely different pace of the product.
New Japan is going to present a different kind of wrestling product than the North American audience is used to seeing right now. How they do, who knows. It’s all a matter of how they market it and how they promote it and how they deliver on pay-per-view. With WWE creating their own network and getting out of the PPV business, not totally but in a large part, there’s now openings for PPV products to find promotional time on cable systems. Timing wise for New Japan, it’s pretty wise. We’ll see where that goes. It’s an interesting time to be a fan of the genre.”
Would He Be Interested In Doing Commentary For Global Force Wrestling’s First PPV?
“Yeah, I’m doing my podcast, I’m in entrepreneurial mode right now. I don’t do a lot of things that conflict with OU football, but I’m doing my podcast, it’s doing really well. We manage about half a million downloads per week and it’s growing. I’m in the process of working on my autobiography, that should be done by spring or summer 2015. I’m doing some writing for FOX, we’re talking to FOX about maybe doing some more boxing play-by-play, which I had fun doing, I’m a big boxing fan. My point is, if I like projects, if it seems like fun, if its going to be win-win for everybody involved from a business standpoint, I’m open to a lot of things – and that would be on my list of something I’d be interested in doing if it was a good business decision and a good arrangement for both parties. I certainly would listen to what they had to say.
It would be like an adventure. It’s like one of those deals where you might say, ‘I can take my wife with me on this one. We may stay a week.’ That kind of deal. Why not, you can make a little pay day, you fly your wife over, you enjoy the sights, you get the opportunity to do some things we haven’t had time for. You do 51 weeks of live TV a year for a quarter century; you don’t have a lot of free time. I worked 21 years for WWE without a vacation and took a vacation maybe once. So I didn’t take a lot of time off and I had a lot of responsibility. I wouldn’t change a bit of it, I loved every minute of it. But I did make sacrifices that were family-oriented and I can’t get back that time. When you’re 62, that’s one thing that you really start putting a value on, your time. So, I’m going to maximize whatever the good lord blesses me with and enjoy every day and make sure that whatever I do, I’m having fun doing it.”
* Continue Reading: More From Jim Ross’ Exclusive Interview With MMANews.com