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June 24, 2008

Jim Ross unhappy about being drafted

Jim Ross confirmed on his blog what I think most people suspected while watching Raw last night: He’s not too thrilled about being moved from Raw to Smackdown. He wrote that he actually considered quitting because of it.

I initially believed the shock and disappointment that Ross showed last night was genuine for a couple reasons. For one, I know that most of the talent doesn’t know they’re being drafted until it happens on the air, and I also know how WWE – specifically Vince McMahon – likes to torment Ross.

This is an excerpt from Ross’ blog.

“I am not happy about this surprise development. I also contemplated calling it a career Monday night and not going to Houston to tape SD. After speaking with my wife and thinking on this matter until 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, I have decided to do the right thing for the fans who care and the talent who care and begin my new assignment. It has been explained to me that the WWE’s Smackdown tenure on My Network is a high priority within the corporation. Allegedly, my presence is needed in that effort.

“Many are speculating about when I learned of this development … the same time those of you were watching at home. I should have detected something with the demeanor of certain individuals either through their plastic, poker faces or the perceived smirk that I thought I might have seen on some of their faces during the day. As far as going to Connecticut each week to do Smackdown post production, that’s not going to happen. Either Mick Foley can handle it or the WWE can install a DSL line in my home to facilitate the work.”

It’s no secret that WWE has been trying to replace Ross on Raw for years, which I never have understood. As I previously stated, Raw’s loss will be Smackdown’s gain, but it’s a shame that Ross isn’t treated with more respect by his employer.

More thoughts on last night’s show:

On this morning’s post I questioned why wrestlers would care about winning matches on Raw that would enable their brand to get draft picks, specifically mentioning Edge’s motivation in the battle royal. That prompted several readers to point out that Edge’s incentive to win was that he wanted to eliminate any chance that either he or Vickie Guerrero would be forced to leave Smackdown.

That does make sense, but if that was the case, why did he just walk away and purposely lose by countout to John Cena earlier in the show? That loss also could have meant that he or Guerrero would be drafted.

Like I said before, the draft concept has logic flaws, especially when wrestlers have been routinely appearing on shows other than their own anyway. I think WWE needs to really have three separate shows or else put one big roster back together. …

A few readers also suggested that Smackdown made out better in this year’s draft than it had in the past because WWE wanted the show to be strong when it changes networks in the fall. That’s sound reasoning, but I never understood why WWE didn’t want Raw and Smackdown to be equals in the first place. …

I was surprised at how Mark Henry pretty much manhandled Triple H before losing …

Vince McMahon telling the first contestant that she gave the wrong password (she didn’t), was weird. I’m not sure if he was trying to be funny or if he really thought she got it wrong. By the way, the money giveaway segments would have been a lot more entertaining if Kelly Kelly had accompanied McMahon on all of them. …

Who didn’t know that Santino Marella was going to job to Hornswoggle in the tag-team match? …

Ric Flair’s cameo last week was a nice surprise, but why bring him back last night just to stand there and say one “Wooo!” after McMahon gave away more money? To keep Flair’s appearances special, they have to be infrequent and done for a good reason. …

Melina suffered a legitimate ankle injury, and Batista got busted open hardway after banging heads with Edge. …

I’m still not sure whether Mike Adamle is really this bad or if he is being clueless on purpose so he can be a punch line for the other announcers. When discussing the first seven picks of the draft last night, Adamle said that “ECW has been shut out.” Tazz quickly replied, “No, Mike. We got Matt Hardy.” Then, during the MVP-Tommy Dreamer match, Adamle said that Colin Delaney had just made his way to ringside, when Delaney actually came out with Dreamer.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 5:48 PM | | Comments (22)


Kevin , it should come as no surprise what McMahon has done to another loyal employee . This is another example of his arrogance . Some of us posters talk about it until we're blue in the face but you always seem to defend him . Sometimes you can't see the forest because of the trees Kev .

WWE needs to go back to one roster. I've been saying this for years.

Kevin, in regard to Mike Adamle, I am surprised that you didn't mention the "Samoan Bulldog" reference, or did you decide that the most obvious (and hilarious) screw-up spoke for itself? I too wonder if Adamle's mistakes, at least some of them, are a work. Then again, when I remember Matt Hardy landing the Twist of Fate and Tazz having to cover for Adamle's silence, I am not so sure.

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: At this point, I almost expect him to say Samoan Bulldog instead of Bulldozer. Screwing up nicknames is one thing, but to not know that Matt Hardy was drafted to ECW or that Colin Delaney came out with Dreamer is scary. That has to be a work.

Hey, Kev! Like you, JR has posted a followup to his blog re: his draft. I also wondered about Edge's earlier countout and lack of concern about being drafted, but I guess that was before the vignette with he, Vicki and VKM where Vince informs them about the matches at NOC still taking place. Like you said, not perfect.
I thought that possibly Carlito might job to Hornswoggle.
I missed Flair's appearance last night. Thanks for filling me in (nature called). And it doesn't make much sense, especially after Vince kicked him out the week before.
As I previously said, I'd like to see a new Helmsley/McMahon Era. Matter of fact, it could be an entertaining feud vs. La Familia.

I can't blame JR for being upset. He has been an institution on Raw for several years with Jerry Lawler. Mike Adamle is so clueless as to what is going on, I am not surprised that Tazz corrected him like he usually does. Too bad Coach isn't coming back because he would have to replace Adamle.
I hope Melina gets better quickly as she is my favorite Diva right now that Torrie is no longer with the WWE.
Batitsta and Edge really butted heads big time. I am surprised that Edge wasn't busted open to.
Kevin, I don't think having one roster is a good idea. These guys are so burned out that some need time off.
Do you think they would ever make ECW an internet show like they did to Heat?
I agree that Kelly Kelly would make Vince look better on all of them. BTW that caller did say Nights Of Champions instead of Night of Champions. That's what it sounded like to me. So technically Vince was right on that one.
They shoulda made better use of Ric Flair.

The WWE is stupid for trying to replace Jim Ross. This guy is one of the best commentators of all time along with Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby The Brain Henan. As if Joey Styles (no offense to him) was going to do a better job. When it comes to WWE, logic is not applied.

"the draft concept has logic flaws"
Just the draft Kevin?

I'd say until we get a couple weeks under the new rosters without trades, defections and all I'm not going to count on much of anything that happened last night.

I feel for JR and yes the WWE or just Vince has toyed with Ross over the years for what ever reason, maybe its one of those WCW things in the back of Vince's mind.

In general for me anyway, nothing that happened last night will have me watching Smackdown or ECW any more than I already do, which isn't much.

i think that vince has got so big with his money that he has lost touch with the realn fans and and i think that i will not let any of my 15 grandchildern witch any more.

I really enjoyed Flair when he was HHH's manager in '03. He's great on the mic and always sells well when he interferes. WWE would benefit from having more quality managers and I think they should have him manage HHH after a few months off.

JR's presence will help boost Smackdown's credibility - along with the presence of HHH - but it won't be enough to make me watch. And ECW is horrible.

I'm not worried about Raw's broadcast coverage suffering. I've been impressed by Michael Cole's steady improvement over the years and believe he will work well with the King.

I really enjoyed Lawler more when he was a straight heel broadcaster like Heeenan and The Body used to be. It would be great if he could return to that role.

I'm still on the fence about Mick Foley's braodcasting...I like that he tries to bring an old-school approach to the table by explaining the effect of holds and asking intelligent questions such as "What happens to the draft pick if there's a 10-count" but he's still so rough around the edges. I hope he improves quickly. JR's presence should really help him.

In all, the draft was lame. WWE's brand concept has really never worked for me. The presence of so many titles dilutes the product. If only getting rid of ECW and cutting Smackdown back to an hour didn't mean the WWE would lose out on ad revenue (which is why they won't do it). But I'm still hoping that WWE will elect to unify the titles at the WM 25 main event. (My dream match would be Edge vs. Chrstian, which will obviously never happen)

Anyway, I long for the good ole days of the 1980s and 1990s when wrestlers actually knew how to tell a story in the ring. I'm holding a contest: the first wrestler I see to do a sunset flip AND bang someone's head off the top turnbuckle 10 times in a row will become my new favorite and in addition will win my big blue Akeem the African Dream Halloween costume and a homemade Damien Dimento foam finger.

I had forgotten about Edge's first match! I guess once he got away with not being drafted once, he didn't want to risk it again? Ok, I'm making excuses, but it is like him to take advantage to win a big match by eliminating two major stars without really facing them.

I hate that the WWE screws around with JR. He's so far and away the best announcer in wrestling, I can't imagine why they would try to make him leave.

I do think they should go back to one big roster, as I don't feel any show is really deep enough to keep them apart. It used to be we could have 10 or 11 matches in a show, and they would all be great and entertaining, but I can't imagine sitting through 10 or 11 matches in a show now. Although having more matches, or longer matches would be nice.

All I can say is I hope Undertaker comes back, cause him and batista were my favorit along with matt hardy even that wont be effected much cause most ecw comes on SD. I dont get cable or a dish. Triple H might be good for SD but when both your favorits go gets hard to watch more so if they let edge and vicky have there way on SD, last friday was show I thought was sicking what they did to the refvery.

I don't think that the commentator trade is neccessary and the only trade that could have worked would be Tazz for Foley. Jim Ross's partnership with Jerry Lawler is legendary along with his storytelling style and also Michael Cole has been on almost every smackdown episode. I do think the picks are refreshing although ECW championship on Raw makes no sense despite that I found a very positive article about WWE's recent ratings and its website, the link is here.

Kevin, you're just not as sneaky-smart as Edge that's why his actions seem illogic to you! unfortunately neither am I, so I can't tell....

Why did Michael Cole get up straight after JR had come up on the tron before his switch had been announced? He must have known. JR on SD will be a good thing but its not fair if he really doesn't want to do it.

While Ross isn't happy I think that moving him and HHH, maybe a few more big names, will help smackdowns ratings. I never watch smackdown and had no idea Foley was announcing, me I set the media PC to start recording on Fridays just to see if there's an improvement. Something I didn't see mentioned was the fact that maybe the titles are getting "drafted." I can't believe that all the title holders are going to lose, so I'm guessing they might also be moving some titles to different shows. Also it was great to see the Hardy's together for a match, since they disbanded the Hardy's, Edge and Christian, and the Dudly's (while it was getting a little stale) the tag division has reaally sucked.

Everyone is forgetting the funniest moment of Raw, when Khali started yelling at the phone when the caller hung up! With your "booker" mentality, can "Khali's Korner" be far off?

Kevin - Do you know if ECW will still tape on Tuesdays with Smackdown, even though they are switching the live events (non-televised) to be with RAW in August?

From the schedule on, it looks that way. I was wondering if that was the plan for the future as well, and why the switch for the live events was made. Thanks!

I’ve been happy with the Draft so far, but there needs to be more of a shakeup. I think WWE needs a full rebuilding from the ground up. The way I look at it is that nostalgia only goes so far. To me, it seems like WWE (and TNA for that matter) have been using the same style of producing a wrestling show that has been around for decades. Wrestling needs to be modernized. Maybe I’m wrong, but a lot of times wrestling seems to be stuck in the past.

Here’s a few examples of what I’m talking about:

-Vince McMahon used to be cutting edge and interesting. Not anymore, he’s too old. Let Shane take over.

-Stereotypes need to go. (see: Cryme Tyme)

-There’s too many logos on WWE television. I know what I’m watching; I don’t need a brand stamp on screen at all times to remind me. It’s annoying.

Storylines need to go somewhere. Sometimes it seems like WWE likes to test the fans patience and see just how long they can drag something out that was really stupid from the start. It’s like they’re trying to make people stop watching. (Example: Vicky Guerrero and Edge)

Those are a few examples of what’s bugging me. Plenty of people have made those observations before me, but I’m wondering why nothing has been done yet. Hopefully the Draft can serve as a fresh start to a new era of WWE. Otherwise, people will become so bored of watching the same stale product that everyone will just move on. Nothing lasts forever.

What is with McMahon being so infatuated with faking his own injuries/death? Its getting old fast.

I also found it very lame on the previous shows where he gave one person $2 and another person $13. That is just lame, and shows his true personality.

I definitely agree with Sean. I can never watch wrestling shows anymore because they just seem so tired and recycled.

As for Vince, I think he has an unhealthy obsession with himself. I think if he really did things to continue the evil boss character it would be one thing, but all these death and god and doctor and judge angles are just some excuse for him to be screwy in front of a national audience.

Get rid of Mike Adamle and bring in Tony Schiavone. I think that he'll pair well with Tazz.

While normally I feel like each show could stand to have about 15 minutes of polishing from someone not on creative. Just someone to say "hey shouldn't we give Melina 30 seconds to explain how she turned face this week (same for Kennedy)?"

This time they kind of did kind of have an out with Edge since he and Vickie seemed like they never expected that they could be split until after his match with Cena was over and Vince brought it up (thus motivating him for later). Not a perfect explanation, but a better attempt than we usually see.

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
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