In promotion of his upcoming autobiography, Slobberknocker: My Life In Wrestling, Jim Ross sat down with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated. Many topics from the book were discussed, including JR’s relationship with Paul Heyman, calling the historic trio of Flair/Steamboat matches and much more. Slobberknocker will be available Oct. 3.
On his future with WWE:
“If WWE ever needed me to fill in, I would certainly do it with no reservation. Now, is it something I want to do full-time? Absolutely not. It’s a young man’s game, so let’s continue to develop these new guys.
“I’m thrilled to have my WWE jersey back. I’m going to do between 30 and 40 dates a year. I am happy to fulfill my obligations. If I’m needed for more, I’m ready, but I do not want to do 52 weeks a year. WWE is going to use me if the weekly U.K. show comes to fruition, and my hope is that I’m involved in that show with Nigel McGuinness.”
On calling some of the greatest matches in wrestling history:
“I called the Flair/Steamboat matches in ‘89 with three different partners. I worked with Bob Caudle, Terry Funk, and Magnum T.A.
“You’ve got to start with Ric. Being in the ring, bell-to-bell and cutting a promo to get you there, Flair is the number one guy. He’s the best ever. Flair really established himself as the best that ever was when he was wrestling in the latter days as the traveling NWA champion throughout the 80’s. In the era he was traveling, across the board, wasn’t the strongest in the history of the NWA. That’s not because of Ric, it was the territories. Some of the talents he worked with may not have been main eventers in any other territories, and I saw firsthand, Ric was able to turn it into something special.
“Then you have another era with Austin and Rock. Both those eras had different styles, but that was an announcer’s dream. Calling those matches? It was unreal.
“That holds true to this day. This year, I’ve called Undertaker-Roman Reigns and three Okada-Omega matches, as well as the Mae Young Classic final. Watching these newer talents evolve is one of the most exciting things about still being in the business.”
On his relationship with Paul Heyman:
“We had more in common than it looks on the surface. Paul is a Jewish kid from Scarsdale and I’m a redneck Okie from Oklahoma. Paul brought out the best in me, even though we could seemingly be very confrontational, so I trusted my instincts. I got to know Paul, especially when he was driving me, as a person and a professional.
“Paul had all these guys on the booking committee who were not ‘Paul Heyman Guys’. They would not have bought that t-shirt. I just thought he should be booked as a villain. The booking committee had already proven that theory, so it seemed so simple enough to me. All I knew was Paul would know how to get talent over, and though we might take different roads to get there, our destination would always be the same.”
For much more from this interview including the time Vince McMahon wrote JR a handwritten letter in support of his return to the company, check out SI.com.