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  Jan. 18, 2002



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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Jim Ross ready for the Royal Rumble
By JOHN F. MOLINARO -- SLAM! Wrestling

It's days away from the Royal Rumble, traditionally one of the W.W.F.'s biggest pay-per-views of the year, and rumours are already flying.

Is Goldust coming back full-time? Are Mr. Perfect, Val Venis and The Godfather really going to be there on Sunday? Any big surprises lined up? Are the Hardys involved in the show or are they still in the 'doghouse'?

Fortunately for reporters who took part in an hour-long conference call with Jim Ross late yesterday afternoon, these 'pressing' questions were answered.

"Right now the Goldust characterization is a one-time situation but that doesn't mean that we won't be doing business with Goldust beyond the Royal Rumble," revealed Ross, the Senior Vice President of Talent Relations for the W.W.F. "I don't think the plan is to promote Val, whether in running commentary or vignettes, as the porn star characterization that he was introduced as and I think that the Godfather's character is going to be tweaked a little bit to make him more politically correct."

"Hopefully they will be very entertaining," added Ross.

Ross chuckled when asked if the Goldust character appearing at the Rumble will actually be Dustin Runnels and not just another wrestler playing the character.

"I talked to someone who told me they were Dustin Runnels and I hired them to work at the Rumble on Sunday in their Goldust costume. Curt Hennig will be in the Royal Rumble on Sunday and introduced as Mr. Perfect. So {there's} no impostors."

Ross also confirmed that the Hardy Boys will be at the Royal Rumble: "The rumours of them being in the doghouse have been much blown out of proportion. They're in good standing."

What about any surprise entrants from either Ohio Valley Wrestling or the Heartland Wrestling Association, the W.W.F.'s developmental territories?

"I don't think there's any plans to use any (of that) talent this Sunday. An eleventh hour creative decision could be made for their use but as I sit here now there are no plans on those folks being at the Rumble on Sunday."

Ross addressed the future of W.W.F. pay-per-views and whether the plans to run two events per month when the brand split takes place is a good idea in light of the stagnating economy in the U.S.

"The economy is a big issue for us or anybody in business, quite frankly," admitted Ross. "But if the creative is strong with those two rosters, and the stories are compelling and there's a few fresh faces, it ought to keep us in the hunt for decent pay-per-view buyrates."

"It's really difficult to say. I think as much as anything that the economy and the amount of disposable income people are going to have is going to effect the pay-per-view business about as much as anything."

Ross feels that the state of the economy and whether or not it will be able to rebound over the next few months will have a significant impact on the W.W.F.'s business as a whole.

"We're not bread and milk here. We're not a staple," joked Ross, afraid that in these tough times fans might not be as willing to shell out $30 each month for a pay-per-view. "We're an entertainment entity. I have a bigger concern about the nation's economy and the money in the economy floating around for recreation and entertainment than I do whether or not the opening segment of the first show after the split is going to be really hot."

Check back with SLAM! Wrestling tomorrow morning as we'll have more with Jim Ross talking about the W.W.F. potentially signing Bill Goldberg and Scott Steiner, a possible return to the ring from Shawn Michaels and Eddie Guerrero, the status of Lita and the Hardys, his feelings on Jeff Jarrett and so much more.

More Jim Ross stories




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