While Jim Ross has been a staple of All Elite Wrestling's announce team since the company's inception, the WWE Hall of Famer has been working a reduced schedule as of late. Ross had previously taken a couple of months off at the end of 2021 to heal up from his skin cancer, which went into remission this past December. The veteran commentator had been back on his regular duties to kick off the new year, but now only calls half of AEW Dynamite. Ross spoke about this change on his Grilling JR podcast, where he revealed AEW President Tony Khan made the switch.
"That was a Tony Khan decision. Creatively, I was coming out before the show and doing all of Dynamite. The reception was humbling, fans were glad to see me and they expressed themselves," Ross said (h/t Fightful). "The reception I was getting was really good."
The pop for JR was loud enough that Khan believed it should be televised.
"He thought the middle of the show, Dynamite, needed a boost. So JR became the booster. I come out in the middle of the show, still going to call the main events," Ross said. "Then we all take a bathroom break and go right into taping Rampage."
With Ross now calling AEW Rampage on top of half of AEW Dynamite, he still retains the two hours of total commentary he does weekly.
"It's only an hour, it's kind of like an old school hour wrestling show. I like that deal," Ross said. "I didn't have any issues with at all. I'm very Mariano Rivera, go in for long relief and get results for you. That's the deal there. Just keeping me fresh and 'special,' and try to give Rampage a little boost commentary wise, selling wise."
Moving JR to Rampage was also done with the ratings in mind, which have been on the decline in recent months. The most recent episode did just 428,000 viewers, which was down 12% from the previous week's total viewership. This is still an improvement from May and June episodes of Rampage, which dipped as low as 292,000 viewers.
"We need to, obviously, get the ratings up, which we are," Ross said. "That's the reason for that. No problem whatsoever. I get more exposure now than I did before."
JR returns to the AEW commentary booth this Friday on AEW Rampage.0comments