On the latest episode of Grilling JR, Jim Ross spoke about Bill Watts quitting WWE in 1995, a short time after being hired and being told he had complete creative control, Watts having backstage issues with The Kliq, and more. Highlights are below.
On if bringing in Bill Watts to WWE was his idea: “No, it’s not a Jim Ross idea. And I had no idea that Vince was even talking to Cowboy, and I’m glad I didn’t. I wouldn’t have wanted to influence the decision one way or another because at some point you have to think, ‘Well, since Bill’s WCW tenure, if he has changed enough to play better with others.’ He was used to being the captain of his ship, the captain, the first officer, everything. And so playing with others in a corporate world was something he was not accustomed to. He failed at it miserably in WCW. Could he correct those ills and have a favorable experience in WWE? I think we know the answer to that deal.”
On if he thinks Watts was offered full creative control of WWE: “But I applaud Vince because it was a bold move. I don’t think Bill ever really had control of creative or was even promised the role of full control of creative, don’t know that. That’s what has gone on for years in your proverbial rumor and innuendo. I can’t imagine Vince giving anybody complete control of creative under any circumstance. He didn’t do it then, he’s not doing it now, and he never will do it.”
On how Watts was toward the wrestling business in 1995: “I think he was tired of the wrestling business when he took the WCW job. I think he was burned out on the wrestling business when he took the WWE job. I think more than anything, it was a nice, fat payday and a chance to get his toe back in the water to see how it feels. I don’t think the water felt good for him. It didn’t get him committed or fired up. He did some good things, he had some positive remarks to some talents, helped motivate some talents, but it didn’t work. Time had passed him by.”
On if Watts’ style clashed backstage with The Kliq (Scott Hall, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash): “Not just them. It’s fun to talk about them because they were the lightning rod. They were the big personality guys that had the intelligence to influence their own careers through Vince, their relationship with Vince. But it wouldn’t have mattered. He was going to be that way to everybody. That was a good thing about him, he managed pretty even keel. But he wanted change, and he was saying things that guys did not want to hear. ‘You’re not over, you’re not selling tickets, so we gotta fix this.’ And a lot of guys were just, ‘Well, I just need more time, I need this, I need that,’ instead of looking in the mirror and saying, ‘You’re right Bill, I gotta re-shine my game, I gotta put some new stuff in, I gotta reinvent myself,’ much like Chris Jericho has done, among others, Jon Moxley, among others, at AEW now. But that’s where we were with him. So The Kliq knew this, they weren’t that damn upset about it because they had their relationship with Vince cemented. So it wouldn’t have mattered who Vince brought in, they were still going to have their relationship with Vince.”
If using any of the above quotes, please credit Grilling JR with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.