POST NEWS UPDATE: Jim Ross recounts early 2000s WWE talent meeting, fining talents for steroid possession

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** WWE’s 2002 Royal Rumble event was the focus of the latest Grilling JR podcast. During the early 2000s, Jim Ross held a meeting with talents he fined for steroid possession. He recounted that meeting and telling those talents he had the grounds to fire them all. Vince McMahon agreed with J.R. that the culture needed to change within the company.

Another story there in that era was I fined a bunch of guys for possessing steroids and I could have fired them all and I told them in the meeting. I said, ‘I have the grounds to fire every one of you and that’s sad because I hired almost all of you and you know that we can’t have this kind of conduct’ and of course it’s the same old sh*t you hear back. You know, ‘Well, we’re just trying to have fun and we’re traveling on the road.’ Is that a surprise? F*cking pro wrestlers on the road? What did you think you were signing up for? So, I — they were light on some cash, significant cash. I said, ‘You can have them. I’ll fine you or I’ll fire you. Whatever you wanna do.’ So that’s where we are and I’m not trying to be heavy-handed or a dick, but we can’t run a company this way. I talked to Vince about it, he agreed. We gotta get out of the old, we gotta get new talents, we gotta train ‘em differently. We gotta have people that are team players, that are not living in the 80’s territory and that’s kind of what it was.

Several weeks prior to the 2002 Royal Rumble, Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque made his return at Madison Square Garden. J.R. and Jerry Lawler were on commentary and J.R. tapped Lawler to signal that they should remain silent for the beginning portion of Levesque’s return.

That happened .

I thought it was the right thing to do and Jerry agreed because he shut her down. So that was, yeah. We thought that was a — that’s the great thing about having Lawler out there and J.R. to a lesser degree, that we agreed on so many things philosophically and when I tapped him, he knew that we were on the edge of talking through a moment that we could never replicate again. That was my reasoning for it and I remember after the show, he said, ‘I’m glad you tapped me because it was better’ and so you take a calculated risk by not saying anything, but if Vince had been in my ear or Lawler’s ear telling us to talk, we would have been forced to talk. But he didn’t. He felt the same thing we felt and so I really always appreciated Vince’s judgment on that scenario. He agreed with what we were thinking and when you get an experienced broadcast team like J.R. and The King, you have an opportunity to make this thing perfect and that’s all I wanted to do was make sure that the entrance, the return — you’re only gonna get one return, that’s it. You’re only gonna get one debut, one re-entry to the world and I didn’t think we could miss if the crowd didn’t let us down and obviously, the crowd did not let us down.

While speaking about the late Curt ‘Mr. Perfect’ Hennig, J.R. spoke about his son Joseph Hennig, who was known in WWE as ‘Curtis Axel’. Joseph was released from WWE in April 2020. J.R. is surprised that he is not actively involved in wrestling at the moment.

I am a little bit on somebody’s roster today. I never liked ‘Curtis Axel’. Why would we just kill him?

The topic of Booker T and Stone Cold Steve Austin’s grocery store brawl came up, which led to J.R. bringing up other taped matches and segments that he’s done voiceover work on. He recounted calling AEW’s Stadium Stampede match and not wanting to watch the match as it was being taped because he wanted to provide an authentic reaction when commentating over it later.

I wasn’t there when they shot it . I don’t know if any announcers were there. But we saw the tape and then we commentated the tape. It’s kind of like doing that Stadium Stampede that we’ve done at AEW. I refused to watch any footage, and the talents would say, ‘Did you see what we did?’ ‘No, I didn’t see sh*t, because I wanted to give you a decent call.’ I want it to be spontaneous, real, so forth. So that’s kind of what we did with the grocery store thing.

Former WWE referee Billy Silverman has spoken at length about his decision to leave the company and the hazing he endured there. Ross respected Silverman’s decision, but as far as attempting to bring Silverman back, he feels that Silverman may have said too much to the media that prevented him from coming back to WWE.

I respected the decision because I couldn’t change the protocol at that point in time. It’s not an overnight fix and Billy had already kind of made his bed and he said too many things that were not advisable, so he didn’t do himself any favors in that deal either so, there wasn’t a lot I could do in that situation. He made his path, he’s walking on it and that’s kind of where we were. There was no exit interviews. That makes too much sense. So you think today, you do an exit interview to cover your ass as far as H.R. issues are concerned. That was not the case then.

** Wardlow’s debut match in All Elite Wrestling was against Cody Rhodes inside a Steel Cage. He reflected on that match during his conversation with Chris Van Vliet. Before Wardlow made his way to the ring, AEW President Tony Khan looked at him and said, “Don’t F this up.”

Thank you. That CM Punk match was that I took the time to enjoy myself. I finally just calmed down, looked around at the crowd, and I was in the moment. The Cody match was like a blackout, it was all business, it was, ‘Let’s get to this.’ I don’t remember much of the Cody match vividly like I do the CM Punk match. Just because there was so much pressure, first match, first time on TV and Cody and I had never touched. Before I walked out there, Tony Khan looked at me and he said, ‘Don’t F this up.’ It’s all the pressure in the world, but I thrive in high pressure situations, that’s what makes me.

** John Bradshaw Layfield and Gerald Brisco welcomed Charlie Haas onto their ‘Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw’ show. While discussing his late brother Russ, Charlie spoke about the pay he received on the independents while teaming with Russ. He found out at Russ’ funeral that he would often pocket $60 of the $100 that Charlie was supposed to be paid.

Well let me tell you what he did to me on the indies so like, we were getting paid and he would always get the money and so I’m like, ‘Man, well how come I’m only getting $40 bucks a match?’ You know, everyone else around us like Low Ki and Homicide and these guys are getting like a hundred dollars and I didn’t come to find out like when Russ passed away, at the memorial — they did a Russ Haas memorial — I’m like, ‘How come you guys never paid us more?’ And they’re like, ‘We did pay you. We were giving it to your brother. Your brother was keeping your $60 and taking $40 the whole time.’ I was so — I mean I just always trusted him.

That story came about after Charlie detailed a run-in he had with Billy Gunn after a dark match in WWE. Russ and Charlie were working with enhancement talents and while making the final pin, Russ counted along with the crowd and Gunn thought it was disrespectful. Billy thought Charlie was making the gestures, but Charlie pointed him in Russ’ direction.

So here’s the story about that too : I remember we did the match, it was really good and they had us go over and Russ had his hand — Russ was going, ‘One, two’ and he’s doing three while he’s pinning the guy and I remember we walked back and man, Billy Gunn grabs me, I mean and I guess Billy, you know, DX was still there. Road Dogg and him were still there and he grabs me, he goes, ‘You mother –’ he goes, ‘Don’t you ever do that. You disrespect somebody doing a job for you? You’re putting up one, two, three.’ He goes, ‘That’s a disgrace’ and I’m like sitting there and I go, ‘Well hold on, that wasn’t me, that was my brother’ and he goes, ‘What?’ I go, ‘Hey Russ, Billy wants to talk to you about your match. He’s got something he wants to –’ and I walked right off of it but boy, Billy chewed his ass out.

Layfield and Haas spoke about working with one another in Memphis, Tennessee under the promoter Terry Golden. Terry wanted Ron Simmons and JBL to rough up Charlie and Russ because he felt they were cocky. JBL and Simmons were supposed to win the Mid-South Tag Team Titles, but they were not happy with the request so they decided to have Charlie and Russ win. Shortly after, Terry Golden was removed from his position after JBL filed a report about the treatment of talent.

Haas: John to take liberties out on me and Russ or something like that.

JBL: That’s right, yeah. That’s right.

Haas: And he was like — and I don’t know what the deal was, you know? And I think he’s like friends with Terry and he’s like, man, he just wanted you guys to beat the hell out of us or whatever.

JBL: I didn’t understand it. We went down there and he pulled me and Ron aside and said, ‘Hey, I want you to kind of, you know, show these guys, teach these guys a lesson.’ I said, ‘For what?’ And goes, ‘Well they’re young, they’re kind of cocky. You know, just kind of rough them up a little bit.’ I said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘It makes no sense. They seem like good guys.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, but you know, just kind of, you know, give them the old treatment’ and so that’s when I came to you guys, and instead of giving them the treatment, we sold for ‘em and put ‘em over. We weren’t supposed to do the job. I did the job, right in the middle of the ring.

Haas: We just had the Mid-South Tag Titles, you know? And they were supposed to give them to A.P.A. but Terry, that guy Terry Golden was so mad. He was pissed man that — I mean John, they sold for us and then John, man, he’s like, ‘Man, pin me.’ I was like, ‘What?’ He goes, ‘Yup, hit your finish, let’s go.’ I was like, ‘… man.’ We were like, ‘Oh my God.’ I mean dude, yeah, he put us over.

JBL: I called it on the fly and we didn’t take the titles. So I told Ron, I go, ‘Ron, what do you think?’ And I can’t repeat exactly what Ron said but Ron goes, you know, ‘That’s messed up.’ Ron wasn’t happy about it — not happy about what they asked us to do, not about you guys because we both liked you guys and so I said, ‘Okay, we’ll fix that’ so Ron pretty much knew what I was gonna do and he agreed completely. We went out there, bump, bump, bump for ‘em and we were supposed to win the titles and hold ‘em up for television or whatever it was and at the end, I said, ‘Pin me’ and I did the job right in the middle of the ring.

Haas: Then you had to do a report and tell them what happened and they shut Memphis down right after that too.

JBL: That’s right. I went back. I think it was J.R., I think it was that I went to and I said, ‘Hey, you want to know how your boys are being treated down there?’ I said, ‘This is what was asked of us’ and I said, ‘This is how you wanna treat guys that can be future stars in this company?’ I said, ‘I don’t think you know what’s going on down there.’ I said, ‘Because this is not right’ and that’s when they took the territory away from him. They should’ve.

** St. Louis Post-Dispatch was a part of a Johnny Knoxville media call to promote the Royal Rumble event. Knoxville is going to be in the men’s Royal Rumble and said he is bringing some of his ‘Jackass’ castmates to be his cornermen.

I’ve got some corner men I’m bringing with me. I’m going to have the greatest corner there that night.

** Stephanie Chase pushed out her interview with Proud and Powerful (Santana & Ortiz). Ortiz shared that at AEW Rampage: Grand Slam at Arthur Ashe Stadium, there was some uncertainty about whether Homicide should get his own titantron or not for his appearance. Tony Khan decided that he should.

Ortiz: To give you a little quick backstage, lift up the curtain a little bit. They , it was Tony’s call like, ‘Definitely. Do a graphic or something’ because the people all the way up in the high-rise might not know who it is when he’s coming out but, when the ‘Homicide’ came up on the screen, you literally hear 20,000 people lose their mind and it was really, really awesome. I got goosebumps for him, just watching him come out. It was really cool. It was a really awesome moment. Yeah.

Chris Jericho stated in a past media appearance that he thought about disbanding The Inner Circle. Tony Khan felt they could still be a group without having to be featured with each other all the time. Santana and Ortiz were of the same mindset as Jericho and did not think there needed to be a big split of the group, but just mutually going their separate ways.

Santana: Um, I mean, for me personally, I just felt like it was, you know, we had done so much and we had proven to be very successful at being the group and stuff. I just felt like it was time for all of us to, you know, go our separate ways. Just start establishing our own and whatever we’re gonna continue doing and stuff like that and then maybe eventually later down the line, we could bring it back together for a major moment and you know, rock and roll again. But, I always feel like the group is cool and we’ve proven that the group can be successful but now let’s prove that each of us can be successful on our own. Almost like the Wu-Tang Clan. You know, they were such a great band together. They were so successful together and then when they all broke up and went their own separate ways, they all became successful so I think that was more my mentality towards it.

Ortiz: And we’re like the Justice League or The Avengers. They have stand-alone movies, you know what I mean? And their own side adventures and you’re just like, ‘Why isn’t the rest of the Justice League there to help them in this world cataclysmic event? Like why isn’t Thor helping out?’ Or whatever like that and it’s kind of like, yeah, we’re just — at the moment, we’re having our stand-alone movies pretty much and yeah, I like having the option to always coming back to it. Why does everyone have to break up? Why does everything have to end in negativity or turmoil? Even though that’s kind of where it seems like it’s going right now and only time will tell, you know what I mean? But family fights and we have our issues but, you know, we’ll see where it plays out.

In late December and early January, Santana and Ortiz teamed with Eddie Kingston. Ortiz expressed how much he enjoys working with Eddie and said he and Santana always wanted Eddie to make it to AEW.

Ortiz: Super dope, super dope at the moment so, yeah.

** BT Sports’ ‘The Run-In’ program welcomed Bobby Lashley onto the show. He was asked if his WWE Title match at the Royal Rumble is the biggest of his career thus far. It was difficult to say for Lashley, but he does believe the matchup against Brock Lesnar brings more to the table than other matchups. He then heaped praise onto Drew McIntyre, who Lashley feels is the future of the business.

Well I mean The Big Show . But you know, let’s look at it, Drew McIntyre is the future of the business. I think he’s gonna be one of the biggest names in the wrestling business and I had an opportunity to get in the ring with him several times. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, there’s a lot of out there so I can’t always say the biggest because the biggest is hard to compare but, for night now in my career, I can say it does bring a little bit more than any other matchup for me, yes.

** The duo of Zack Sabre Jr. and Taichi were interviewed by Tokyo Sports to discuss winning the publication’s Tag Team of the Year Award. Taichi shared his appreciation for Sabre Jr. for staying in Japan throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Taichi continuously told Zack that he could go back to the U.K., but Zack insisted on staying.

Taichi: . I think that strengthened our bond even more. I kept saying to him, ‘You can go home if you want.’ But he said, ‘I want to fight in Japan.’

Sabre Jr.: Of course it was hard to be away from my family during this pandemic. The situation in the U.K. was particularly difficult. But as a professional wrestler, I am very fortunate to be able to follow my passion in such a situation. Millions of people have lost their lives, their loved ones, their jobs, their homes. That’s why it was important for me to stay here and work hard. That’s why it was important for me to stay here and work hard, to succeed in this difficult time and bring happiness to people.

** At the 2022 Royal Rumble, Beth Phoenix is teaming with Edge to take on Maryse and The Miz. Phoenix looked back on her 2020 women’s Royal Rumble appearance while chatting with News18. She suffered a cut on her scalp during the match and Beth had been questioning if she would be able to perform at the level she did when she was full-time. In that moment, she was proud she was able to power through the injury and continue to perform at her best.

I had an injury where I accidentally bumped the back of my head onto the ring post and unfortunately suffered a laceration on my scalp and I was bleeding throughout. I was in the match for 30 odd minutes, quite a considerable amount of time with the injury. WWE medical checked me out to make sure that I was safe to go and I was fine; I did not have any wooziness or anything. It was quite an experience, I had a lot of family members there and we had kind of debated whether or not we were going to bring our children – 3 and 6 at that time – to the event and I am really glad that we didn’t. Because I would not have wanted them to be scared seeing mom injured. Nevertheless, it was a great experience in the sense it reminded me… I always had doubts and insecurities about whether I can still perform to the level I used to when I was full-time with WWE, but in that instance I really felt proud that I could overcome a situation like that and still be my best and perform and go the distance.

She spoke highly of Rhea Ripley and touched on being able to see Rhea come into her own over the years. Beth said she’d like to work with Rhea in any capacity.

I adore Rhea Ripley. I relate this a lot to motherhood. I see my own daughters growing up into the people they are becoming, the young ladies they are becoming. I have known Rhea since she was barely 20 years old. She came to the U.S. from Australia for the inaugural Mae Young Classic and she was in this giant scramble among talented women from all over the world. So young and so willing to just give it her all. I could tell she had not quite found herself in that moment – there was lot of comparison to Charlotte and she had a lot of growing to do, to find who she is; which everybody does at that age. And I watched her do that and it was a pleasure in NXT to kind of watch her find herself, and find who she is and the skin she is comfortable in. So I am so proud for her and I love seeing her flourish as a superstar. We got to take a picture together at RAW this past week, which was something I have been wanting to do, because you know I wanted to see like Rhea Ripley in her final form beside The Glamazon, and if our paths never cross again in wrestling, at least we will have that moment in time. But she is a talent I absolutely will love to work with at any capacity. She is awesome.

** Ahead of challenging for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble, Bobby Lashley spoke to The Hindustan Times and told the publication that he’d be game to reform The Hurt Business with Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander, despite the two sides brawling with the other in recent history. He mentioned The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) as potential members as well.

Hurt Business 2.0, I’ll have Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander. There are a couple of other people who have good potential to possibly do something, I think Street Profits got a little bit more grip.

** Jonathan Gresham tweeted out that he feels Deonna Purrazzo is the best technical wrestler in the world. Purrazzo spoke about the praise she received from Gresham during her interview with Sporting News.

Gresham has tweeted that once or twice, and it is quite a feeling. He is the number one wrestler in the entire world. I can’t speak enough praises about him, I think he’s phenomenal and I’m so envious of what he can do out there. I wish that I can be like Jonathan Gresham. For him to give me that kind of recognition, it means the entire world to me. I fought so hard to be at Impact Wrestling and also be able to do stuff with ROH, and Gresham was one of those people who were pushing for me. For him to be on my side and give me that recognition is amazing because I always wanted to be considered one of the greatest wrestlers in the world. If someone like that thinks that, then it’s that validation and approval that means everything.

** Nick Aldis returned to the ‘K100 w/ Konnan & Disco’ podcast. He reflected on the occasion when he had to do play-by-play commentary for Ring of Honor because Ian Riccaboni’s wife went into labor early. Both Caprice Coleman and Delirious felt that Aldis should take on the play-by-play role.

So Ian Riccaboni, great guy, great announcer, his wife went into labor, early, unexpectedly and we were in Miami for Ring of Honor and so about a few hours before the show, they’re like, ‘Ian has to go. Can you do play-by-play?’ And I’m like, ‘What? Play-by-play for the whole show?’ And I did and it was terrifying and I’m — you know, I wasn’t very good. I did play-by-play, yeah. I was supposed to be doing — it was three-man. It was Ian, myself and Caprice is like, ‘Yeah, I think you should too’ so I kind of went, ‘Okay, well sh*t, all right.’ Ian, you know, I have a great respect for play-by-play guys because on any given day, you can have any number of wrestlers on your monitor who you know nothing about, who you’re seeing for the first time and it’s very easy to get, you know, confused and mixed up and start kind of tripping over yourself when you’re trying to read notes and you’ve got someone in your ear saying, ‘Oh, do this, do that. Plug this, plug that’ and I remember just a couple of matches, there was one match, there was these two Japanese girls. I think we were doing like a women’s tournament or something and I — I mean I had never seen them before and Ian, bless his heart. He had done all this research and I’ve got this page of notes and this one girl comes out and it’s like, she’s been the dream cloud, like super 14-something or other grand champion and I’m sort of reading this and I’m going like, ‘I have no idea…’ I mean I trusted him obviously but I was just sitting there going, ‘Do I sound like a complete buffoon saying this stuff?’ And after a while, I just sort of got to a point where I was just like, ‘Well these two ladies are gonna go at it today and we’re gonna see who’s gonna prove themselves,’ you know? Because I was just kind of like — it just gets to a point where it’s like it’s overdone. Once it becomes obvious to me that you got a load of notes in front of you, that’s to me where it becomes a bit sort of overwhelming with the audience.

** Joey G. of Wrestling Headlines spoke to QT Marshall. QT discussed HOOK’s popularity and weighed in on what he believes makes HOOK special.

I think Cody did an interview recently where he, you know, with all respect to Hook, he kind of related it to Fandango. Like Fandango, the night after WrestleMania was the most over guy in the company, right? But, you know, I don’t know what happened there. And I can’t speak to what happened there. I can speak to the ideas and ideologies that I think Hook has for himself and Tony probably has for him, and it’s just about you know, keeping them special. I think that is because he does have something. He’s a good-looking guy, like I said, cool hair… different. There’s a mystique to him. He’s not all over social media. It’s just all the stuff that intrigues people. And that’s a huge, huge thing in professional wrestling. I think the moment you know, we let everyone in on what’s going on is the moment that they stop caring. He’s definitely off to the right start.

** Eastern Daily Press has a feature story on their site about Zak Bevis (Zak Zodiac), brother of WWE’s Paige. He detailed his weight loss journey that resulted in him losing 70 pounds over the past year. Zak wants to “reach for the stars” in pro wrestling this year.

At my lowest I was over 21 stone – I wasn’t in a good way and my struggles with mental health cost me my wife and my children – who I have fought to get back. When the pandemic hit, I knew we wouldn’t be able to do much wrestling, so I have focused on training and am now 16 stone. After so long helping other people, I decided that this year, it is my time and I am going to focus on reaching for the stars one last time. I’ve been in the business for a long time, but I am still only 30-years-old. When I didn’t make it the first time, it hurt, but I have come to realize I hurt myself more than anybody else can hurt me. If I don’t make it again, I will always know it was not without giving myself one last shot.

** While speaking to PWInsider, Dana Brooke said she would like to have a moment with Charlotte Flair in the 2022 women’s Royal Rumble match to play off of their on-screen history together when Dana was presented as Flair’s protégé.

Honestly, if it comes down to the last two, I would love to face off with Charlotte Flair. I feel as though from the beginning — and I haven’t come to a blow-off terms yet. I came into the main roster with Charlotte and I was very naïve, hoping and praying that she would show me the ropes, but that was totally the opposite. Me being her protégé, doing all of her dirty work, and then I was dropped like a bad habit. I would absolutely love to share the ring with her and show her that within the years that I’ve been here and she left my side, I have not only grew as a person but have grown as an in-ring competitor and I could be just as superior as she is and show her that I’m not gonna take no for an answer and I can stand strong with the best.

** Former NXT writer Ryan Katz has launched his own website and he’s offering services such as in-person seminars and pro wrestling consulting.

** According to the Los Angeles Times, The Miz and Maryse are looking to sell their home in Los Angeles, California. The asking price is $12.5 million.

** NBC 5 caught up with WWE’s Titus O’Neil and Liv Morgan to promote WrestleMania 38.

** F4WOnline conducted an interview with Kazuchika Okada. NJPW commentator Chris Charlton assisted with the translation.

** David Arquette appeared on ‘The Late Late Show with James Corden’ and during the conversation, he spoke about his Death match against Nick Gage from GCW’s L.A. Confidential show.

** Dana Brooke was interviewed by Digital Spy’s Stephanie Chase.

** The latest Talk’n Shop podcast featured Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson, Brian Myers and Tom Hannifan.

** Edition #2 of ‘Eat Like An Ace’ with Hiroshi Tanahashi on

** Jay Briscoe turned 38-years-old today.

** South Wales Argus published an article about Scott Garland (Scotty 2 Hotty) returning to Newport, Wales in March for the ‘Exposure Wrestling’ promotion.

If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.