In a recent edition of Grilling JR, Jim Ross talked about Brock Lesnar leaving WWE in 2004, being unhappy with his WrestleMania payoff, and much more. You can read his comments below.
Jim Ross on Brock Lesnar leaving WWE in 2004:
“He was burned out and getting bad advice from some of his peers I believe. Brock had this dream of playing in the NFL, and apparently had that dream for many, many years. He had been so focused and grounded in the amateur wrestling world that he never got to really do that. I just think he didn’t travel well at that time. He went from a dairy farm in South Dakota, and now he’s traveling the world regularly. I think it wore on him, and that could’ve been something we probably could’ve made better for him. I look at myself in the mirror on that deal. For him, he did really well in that camp. I think he was the last guy cut before the 53-man roster without playing college football at all.
“I just think he didn’t fully understand the travel. We had him in OVW, and he didn’t travel. That was all local stuff. That was not the case here, and knowing the trajectory of where he was headed, it wasn’t gonna lessen. Any international tour was gonna include Brock Lesnar. Any major events were gonna include Brock Lesnar. I think he forecasted that a little bit. But it was very abrupt. We were not ready for that announcement that ‘I’m leaving.’ It was a little bit of a shocker and hard to process because Vince felt like we were treating Brock well and he was making a lot of money.”
On Lesnar being unhappy with his WrestleMania payoff:
I think the payoff, if I’m not mistaken, is that he made $250,000. So did Goldberg. I remember sitting in my office in Stamford and Vince’s assistant said Brock Lesnar is on the line and he wanted to talk to Vince, and Vince wants him to talk to you. So, that was my prep for that conversation. I get on the phone with him and he’s in a foul mood because he got his payoff and thought he got screwed.
I said what are you basing this on? Did you do a study of the finances of this event, or did one of your buddies tell you you got screwed on the payoff? Give me something here. I said we didn’t screw you, and I’m sorry you feel that way. And he hung up on me. He’s a very unique guy. I didn’t have a problem with him hanging up on me. He heard his answer, but thank god he was on the phone and not staring me down the gullet. He’s a little intimidating. We were really shocked that it came to that.”
On whether Vince McMahon was unhappy with Lesnar’s decision:
“Of course. Let’s say you bring in Kurt Angle to your podcast team and he’s doing a great job every week, and all of a sudden, he decides he’s bored with it. You spent money to promote him, gave him a spot, and cleared the booking for the show. So, I can understand Vince’s apprehension. It was Gerald Brisco and I that found Brock at Minnesota. I had a vested interest in this guy, I believed he was the answer, I never backed up from that opinion. Brock was a special, special talent.”
h/t to Grilling JR & 411mania.com for the transcription.