Jim Ross On What He Told WWE Stars That Didn’t Want To Work With Hulk Hogan

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When Hulk Hogan returned to WWE in 2002 with the NWO, Jim Ross had to talk to some wrestlers about why they shouldn’t be worried about it.

Jim Ross is best known for being one of the greatest pro wrestling announcers ever. A lot of fans first got to hear JR in WCW, then he went to WWE in the mid-1990s and eventually became the voice of a generation as fans watched the likes of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, John Cena and countless others rise to the top.

In 2019, JR joined a new company called All Elite Wrestling to lend his voice of credibility to the startup promotion.

While in WWE, JR also had a very important job as the Head of Talent Relations that was in charge of managing the roster, bringing in new talent, paying the talent and of course, dealing with the complaints that come in. JR is praised heavily for his role as the Head of Talent Relations from the late-1990s when he helped build the roster during the Attitude Era and he kept the job for many years into the 2000s as well.

It was in 2002 when WWE’s Chairman Vince McMahon decided to bring the New World Order’s Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall back to the company. In Hogan’s case, it would be his first time back in WWE since he left for WCW in 1994, which is where he formed the NWO with Nash and Hall in 1996.

Hulk Hogan was a 49-year-old man in 2002 and had been wrestling for about 25 years at that point. He was not going to be the guy to carry the company as he did in the 1980s and even in WCW in the 1990s. Despite that, Hulk Hogan was clearly coming in to be a big deal in WWE again as his match with The Rock at WrestleMania 18 proved.

On a new episode of his Grilling JR podcast covering the No Way Out pay-per-view that was headlined by The Rock beating Hulk Hogan in the controversial main event, JR spoke about how he dealt with some wrestlers in WWE that may not have wanted to work with or wrestle Hogan.

“Well, a lot of top guys were not interested in it, because they knew that it was going to create competition for that spot, or those spots. There are not enough spots to go around to cover everybody’s bases it needs and so forth. I tell talent, I remember telling talent: ‘Why are you worried about it? He’s the older guy with multiple back surgeries, he’s very limited on what he can do physically. So I don’t understand your angst, I don’t understand your paranoia. It sounds like you’re worried about competition, right?'”

As he continued, JR told the wrestlers in WWE that they should continue to try to have the best match they can whether Hulk Hogan was on the show or not.

“‘And knowing your abilities, talking with talent, I don’t know what you got to worry about. Let’s go do your thing. Go do your thing and, and have the best match you can possibly have. And then stick your chest out and you walk back to the gorilla position and say something to the effect of follow that boys. Follow that.'”

“So you know, I had no issues. I just wanted whatever is gonna be good for the company to enhance my paycheck, I’m forever for it.”

One of the top guys that didn’t have an interest in working with Hulk Hogan was Steve Austin because, as JR said also on the podcast, he didn’t feel like he could have good matches with Hogan since the Hulkster was so broken down by that point.

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