As wrestling fans will remember, Hulk Hogan left WWE in 1993 after being the federation's iconic face for nearly a decade. Vince McMahon had identified in the figure of Lex Luger the worthy heir of Hogan, even if the two characters were very different.
Until that moment, Luger had in fact exhibited himself as a narcissistic and hateful heel, before suddenly turning into a face to cover the hole linked to the departure of the legendary colleague. Jim Ross joined WWE around the time Lex's push to the top of the Stamford-based company began.
During the last edition of his 'Grilling JR' podcast, the WWE Hall of Famer revealed that many personalities inside the backstage were not at all sure of the success of this project.
Jim Ross on Lex Luger
"I remember there was something in the air, even if I don't know exactly what," began Jim Ross.
"It wasn't something tangible, but the feeling was widespread inside the backstage. The impression was that we were working hard by investing in that boy, but the latter was not making much progress. Numerous people have had long conversations with Vince McMahon in private, in which they expressed doubts that Luger might not be the right man," he continued.
The current AEW commentator explained how Vince himself had to resign himself in the end. “At one time, he truly believed that Lex Luger would become Hulk Hogan's successor. In my opinion Lex was a much better athlete than Hogan, but he didn't have his charisma and personality like him.
It has always been rumored that the Hulk was not a hard worker, but what does that mean? He was a money machine as there have been very few in this business. How can you say he didn't try hard enough?" - said JR. After leaving WWE, Hogan worked briefly in Japan before joining WCW in 1994.
Former WWE referee Mike Chioda has recalled how Vince McMahon reacted positively to R-Truth accidentally winning the United States Championship. “Vince loved it,” Chioda said. “R-Truth tells me the wrong f***ing finish.
‘You said you were only getting schoolboyed once!’. And he was like, ‘Oh, my bad, dawg, I’m sorry, man.’ He had the US title or something, 24-hour title… US title, I think. So it was kind of funny.
I thought I was gonna get a bunch of heat coming back and Vince was like, ‘That was phenomenal, I loved it!’. I’m like, ‘What? Okay, great.’”