Eric Bischoff was forced to fire Jim Ross from WCW because Jim Ross was loyal to someone else.
Jim Ross is considered arguably the most iconic and beloved wrestling commentator in modern times. Many fans remember his voice, unique expressions, and the passion with which he called segments and matches.
But Ross was more than a commentator: he was also an important figure backstage, both in WWE and in WCW.
Ross worked for Jim Crockett Promotions (which later became WCW) from 1987 to 1993 before being hired by WWE in 1993 as well and making his debut at WrestleMania IX.
Back in 1993, Eric Bischoff wasn’t yet the major player in WCW that he would later become, but he too was still an important figure backstage. And it was Eric Bischoff who had the unenviable task of firing Jim Ross from WCW.
As for his reasons why, Eric Bischoff explained on his 83 Weeks podcast that Jim Ross was let go because of his different vision for WCW and because of loyalty to Bill Watts.
“Look, for better or worse JR believed in Bill Watts. They had a long standing relationship. JR probably owed a good part of his success and career to Bill Watts.
I haven’t talked to him about this, but I’m guessing. JR felt about Bill Watts much like how I felt and still feel about Verne Gagne. Somebody gives you that opportunity that changes your life forever or gives you an opportunity that has a dramatic impact on your life in a positive way, how are you not loyal to that person?
Even through their faults. I am. That’s my nature and I would imagine Jim is much the same way.
“Plus, Jim had a lot of the same perspectives and point of view creatively and how wrestling should be run as Bill Watts. Certainly Jim had his own as well, but there was a lot more in common with Bill Watts than with me for example or others. That was part of it.
The other part was because they were so joined at the hip because of their previous relationship that everybody knew about because of Jim’s support for Watts in WCW during a time when supporting Bill Watts within Turner Broadcasting was not a healthy career choice.
But, Jim was already there. Jim tied himself very closely to Bill Watts. It worked until it didn’t. Once Bill Watts got fired, in my opinion, I never talked to Bill Shaw about this or anybody else and I didn’t even know for sure that Jim was trying to get the job was executive producer.
I didn’t find that out until well afterwards same Tony. I didn’t know Tony was trying to get the job. I think Jim was guilty by association. When the s*** hit the fan with Watts, Jim was standing there to get splattered with it first.”
h/t 411Mania for the transcription