Jim Ross on Jesse Ventura, Jim Cornette

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July 03, 2012

Jesse Ventura and Jim Ross announced for WCW for a time.

Jesse “The Body” Ventura and I had two occasions to collaborate — in 1992 in WCW and again in 2001 in the XFL. After leaving WWE under less than perfect circumstances, Jesse was out of the wrestling game for an extended length of time until K. Allen Frey, then the WCW head honcho, signed Ventura to a hefty contract and brought the former WWE broadcasting star to the dysfunctional WCW in 1992.

Jesse and I became a broadcast team and did our first PPV for WCW in February 1992 in Milwaukee at Super Brawl II.  I remember that event as much for the Brian Pillman versus Jushin Liger bout as teaming with The Body for the first time. However, if one takes a look at that card, it was dotted with future Hall of Fame level talents. 

1992 was a tumultuous year in WCW. Kip Frey was fired and my old boss and mentor Cowboy Bill Watts was hired to run WCW. Bill had a rocky tenure that resulted in his eventual resignation and the residual fall out on yours truly was something that I wouldn’t wish on my own worst enemy. Politics. Never liked them. Still don’t.

As a result of Jesse being hired to work a very limited schedule for big money, there were issues that I will readily admit that I did not embrace. I was happy Ventura got a big money deal, but I wasn’t happy that I was doing much more work, serving as VP of broadcasting, working on the creative committee and hosting multiple hours of TV per week while earning less than half of Jesse’s pay. Was the future Governor of Minnesota and WWE Hall of Famer twice as good as me? Perhaps he was, but even with JR’s BBQ Sauce poured on that particular corporate dish, it didn’t taste good.

So, as a result of the politics that many of us endured in WCW in 1992 it was, to put it mildly, not a good year professionally for the “Baron of BBQ.” I was hopeful that Jesse and I could form a great broadcasting team and that we could somehow approach the magic that Ventura had with Vince McMahon and the late Gorilla Monsoon in The Body’s WWE years, but that did not happen, at least in my opinion.

It wasn’t that we were horrible. We certainly weren’t, but I expected so much more from our ringside partnership. Perhaps my expectations were too high or I simply wasn’t a good fit with Jesse.  Hopefully, those that remember our WCW run look back upon those broadcasts more fondly than do I. Maybe I’m being too critical.

In no way am I demeaning Jesse Ventura as a broadcaster, because that would be inaccurate. The Body had a magnificent delivery and excellent instincts, which he gained through his years of working in multiple wrestling territories and performing with some amazing talents. Working with Vince McMahon and Dick Ebersole on NBC’s Saturday Night’s Main Event broadcasts had to be an amazing learning experience for any broadcaster.

Plus, Jesse was very bright and I got to hear MANY of his conspiracy theories long before they were made into TV shows or before Jesse wrote about them. The experience working with Jesse Ventura wasn’t a negative one for me personally, but I’ve always thought that we should have made a better team.

Hopefully, I’m underselling Jesse and my short tenure as a broadcast team, however, I wish that wrestling politics and my own ego had not been a deterrent to what should have been one of the better broadcast teams to come along in the business in generations.

I wanted JR and The Body to be perfect, but we simply weren’t. I’ll take responsibility for that one.

However, near perfect days would lie ahead . . . next “The Brain” and “Gorilla.”         

Click here to order J.R.'s famous BBQ sauce on WWE Shop and follow the WWE Hall of Famer on Twitter.

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