Jim Ross was the voice of WWE during the most successful period in company history, but he was not among those in attendance this past Monday evening for RAW Reunion.
Ross, currently employed as a television announcer for All Elite Wrestling, actually was invited to the show but turned it down. He discussed his reasoning for doing so on his podcast this week.
"Well, it wasn't in anger that I refused or turned it down," Ross said. "I appreciated the opportunity to come back to Tampa to see all my buddies and so forth. There's a couple of things that led to this decision, and the main thing for me was if I had gone there, there would be a certain segment of the social media society that would've said, 'Uh oh, there's trouble in paradise, JR's looking to bail already, he's already back with WWE, something's wrong with AEW.'"
It's true that it would have seemed strange for the new voice of AEW to go back to what is essentially now the competition. Ross went on to explain his role with AEW and great relationship with the company ownership, the Khan family.
"Well, first of all there's nothing wrong with my relationship with AEW," Ross said. "I have a great relationship with Tony Khan, who owns the damn thing. Tony said if you want to go to the RAW Reunion, I think you should go to the RAW Reunion, if you want to. But I got to thinking about it and I didn't want to approach the issue of 'Well, there's trouble in paradise, JR's looking to bail.' I've taken on this role with these kids in AEW, that I really embrace and I love it. I'm an old coach at heart. There's a lot of kids there who are trying to learn how do we get from being somewhat of a hidden or not mass-appeal indie star to going to the next level and becoming a star on a live weekly international TV show in October on TNT. I'm wondering what message I would've sent to these younger guys. 'JR's our guy, he's been preaching unity, he's been preaching teamwork, and he goes back to the big evil empire and for a one night stand, for a payday.'"
Continuing to explain his declining WWE's offer, Ross emphasized that he was thinking of the locker room in AEW and not wanting to disappoint the crew they are putting together.
"The reason was, I didn't want to send a mixed message to the young kids I'm trying to mentor and get them in a locker room mentality, and even though Tony was trying to accommodate me, Tony Khan, I didn't want to take advantage of his generosity. It just didn't seem to be the right fit. I wasn't angry about it, I really, really appreciated Vince taking the time out of his schedule to contact me because he didn't have to, could've had a million minions that could've done it, and a lot of them would've liked to because if I had said no, then they could run back to Vince and say, 'He's not coming, JR turned us down, let's pile on the son of a b---h, let's get the dirt going.' So that's the reason. I thought it was sending a mixed message to the locker room that I am currently in, and I didn't want that to happen," Ross said.
[H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcript.]