Credit: Frank Wilson & PWInsider
I attended Jim Ross’ return to the Gramercy Theatre.
VIP ticket holders were admitted at 6 pm for the pre-show meet & greet. After my admission ticket was scanned, I was handed a small ticket which turned out to be for a raffle for a pair of tickets to SummerSlam!
While on line to meet JR, a staffer handed everyone a large poster commemorating the show. Really nice freebie.
JR looks in better shape now than he did at the 2013 show he did at the venue. He took time to chat with each fan and sign whatever they brought with them, as well as pose for pictures.
As he signed my poster, I advised JR to hit Dave Scherer with some tough questions during their upcoming podcast! I mentioned PWInsider.com and my 15+ years following Dave, and Ross said “He runs a pretty good place.”
I took my seat in the theater and had the privilege of talking to a few other fans who were in town to see SummerSlam as well. One was from Indiana and the other from England.
JR took the stage at 9 pm and got a standing ovation. He acknowledged the competing NXT show. He said he knew those in attendance were there to see him and thanked us for coming. He said the opportunity for WWE to sell out a major venue three nights in a row was a smart business move.
Ross started with a serious discussion about his health over the years and implored everyone to stay on top of their health and wellness.
He then went into stories about his early days in the business with the likes of Leroy McGuirk, Dick Murdoch, Andre the Giant and Ric Flair. The audience was scolded for not letting out a Whoo! at the drop of Flair’s name.
JR also broke down for us the far-reaching means by which Jim Cornette can bring himself to fly on an airplane.
The Q&A was again the main event of the night. JR was asked about his preferred theme for WrestleMania in Texas next year and he proceeded to meticulously lay out an exit plan for the Undertaker’s legendary career that made perfect sense.
He then took questions about booking, dealing with difficult talent, the age of no-selling once-potent finishing moves, the last days of the territory system, as well as his infamous toga from WrestleMania 9.
He had high praise for such greats as Bobby Heenan, Gorilla Monsoon and Paul Heyman.
JR elaborated about his third and final firing from WWE and how it led to his popular podcast and other endeavors.
He concluded the evening by encouraging everyone, at any age, to pursue their dreams with hard work and dedication.