A WWE Hall-of-Fame inductee in 2007, Jim Ross will forever be remembered as one of the company’s greatest commentators and the voice of the lauded Attitude Era. He stepped away for good in 2013 after debuting with the company in 1993, with his most memorable run coming while seated next to Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Good Ol’ J.R. was never one to drum up controversy while manning the microphone on Monday nights, even if he was booked in silly angles which he always admitted weren’t his strong suit. Lawler, on the other hand, lived closer to the edge than his broadcast colleague and recently found himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The King was arrested on domestic assault charges and subsequently suspended on June 17.
WWE has a zero tolerance policy for any domestic violence issues, but when the charges were dropped last week, Lawler was reinstated and right back in his ringside seat for this week’s episode of Smackdown. J.R. came to Lawler’s defense, saying that while Lawler understood the delicateness of the situation, he also knew he was innocent, and things worked out the way they should. However, interestingly, Ross later seemed to intimate on The Ross Report that Lawler’s days as an announcer might be ending, with the brand split acting as a catalyst for change (Thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription).
“When you’re getting ready to switch up brands, it’s not a bad time to reevaluate all your announce teams and how do you want to configure your announce teams for these brands. I have a hard time seeing WWE without some presence of Jerry Lawler on their air for the foreseeable future. Obviously, he’s 66 years old. This is not going to last forever. And it may not last, he may not want it to last past his current deal. I don’t have any idea, but he is 66 years old and it is weekly travel. And I can tell you, I’m younger than him, but when I got off of weekly travel, it was like I’d gotten on the gravy train.”
Corey Graves has been heavily rumored to be the one that eventually replaces Lawler in the booth, but it was David Otunga who filled in last week as The King served his suspension.
Brock Lesnar has been a major topic of conversation over the last month, due in large part to his decision to cross back over to the octagon to fight Mark Hunt at Saturday’s UFC 200. From a WWE fan’s perspective, many wonder how the outcome of his fight with Hunt will affect Lesnar’s immediate future in WWE, specifically at SummerSlam, which happens just a month and a half later. WWE already has confirmed that Lesnar will face Randy Orton at that event, but Ross believes that not even a loss in UFC will hurt Lesnar’s stock in WWE because no one is ready to slide into his position.
“I heard that Lesnar had two more WrestleManias on his contract, so that means he would be with the company, if this is true and it may not be, so nobody should go jump on the line on this one if they hear this on our podcast, but I heard that he had two more WrestleManias remaining on his contract. So, if that’s true, that would be 33 and 34, so he is a major part of the success of those two WrestleManias without question.”
Lesnar’s contract status has been a point of debate over the last several weeks as well. The most recent reports support J.R.’s line of thinking, while others have indicated that his deal is set to run out next April with Vince McMahon making it a priority to extend it. In any event, J.R. thinks there’s only so much left in the Lesnar tank and that the WWE will capitalize on every bit of it.
“And it’s almost a blessing to know that probably when that deal ends, he’s probably going to want to hang it up. He’ll be north of 40. He [has] got young kids, young boys. He [has] got a farm. He [has] got land. He likes to hunt. He’s a blue collar guy. He’s a different breed of cat. That’s why he’s so damn great. So I think that, win or lose, he’s going to be a made man in WWE for as long as he wants to be there because there’s nobody vying for his role. There’s nobody that compares to him.”
[Image via WWE]