This past Saturday, prior to AEW Fight for the Fallen, Jim Ross sat down to speak with Chris Van Vliet. During their over 50-minute interview, AEW’s current play-by-play announcer and senior advisor spoke on myriad topics, including his favorite matches, calls as a commentator, and his days in WWE with Vince McMahon in his ear. Ross spoke about AEW in terms of competition to WWE and his current role in the former.
One of the topics discussed was the possibility of AEW usurping or, at the very least, competing with WWE. Ross didn’t see this as a possibility. “That’s not even remotely feasible,” said Ross. “That’s like saying the XFL is going to supplant the NFL as America’s football league. They’re not, but they don’t have to.” Ross stressed that AEW’s focus was for the brand to improve itself, not be preoccupied with the competition, even the biggest name in the professional wrestling industry.
Ross shed light on his role as AEW senior advisor. He likened his job to coaching, which he said that he was likely to do had he not gotten into broadcasting. During a period of his time in WWE, Ross served as the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations, which not only entailed scouting but recruiting talent.
Sutter’s Synopsis: In this interview, Jim Ross echoed the sentiments of the majority of sensible wrestling fans as it pertained to AEW.
One of the biggest criticisms of professional wrestling, as of a few years ago, was the fact that there a lack of competition. While independent promotions, as well as smaller entities like Ring of Honor and Total Nonstop Action, existed, the idea of alternatives as prominent as WWE seemed unfeasible. With AEW, fans have an alternative that is easily accessible to most via primetime cable television. AEW is unlikely to surpass WWE in the short term, or even years down the road, but its existence is a net positive.
Professional wrestling is in a good place, from a fan’s perspective, as there are numerous options. While the bulk of my work on this site focuses on AEW, I’m not a homer for a single promotion. I’m not a WWE fan, an AEW fan, an NJPW fan, or what have you; I’m simply a wrestling fan. If someone tells me that there was a five-star match that took place last weekend, but it took place in a warehouse that seated 100 people, I’d watch said match and wonder why I wasn’t in that dump to see it live.
While it’s understandable that fans can’t watch every single promotion on a regular basis, it’s worth keeping an open mind. What they may find, if they explore the deeper cuts of the industry, can be nothing short of captivating.