In a memorable moment during the 2008 WWE Draft, renowned commentator Jim Ross found himself being unexpectedly transferred from "WWE Raw" to "WWE SmackDown." Unaware of the impending roster shake-up, Ross, who currently plies his trade with All Elite Wrestling, couldn't hide his disappointment when his name was called out on the June 23, 2008, episode of "Raw," right in his home state of Texas.
Reflecting on the incident, WWE executive Bruce Prichard shared insights during a recent episode of the "Something to Wrestle" podcast. The decision to keep the draft picks a secret was a deliberate move by WWE officials to elicit genuine reactions, and Ross's response didn't disappoint.
"We didn't tell anybody [who was being drafted] and wanted a genuine reaction, which we got," Prichard revealed. Ross's candid outburst, expressing his dissatisfaction, echoed through the arena as he exclaimed, "'I ain't happy about this by god.
I'm gonna talk to somebody later on.' " It was a raw and unfiltered moment that captured real emotion, steering clear of scripted performances or backstage pranks.
Ross's Emotional Struggle with WWE Draft
For Ross, the draft hit a sensitive nerve as he had been deeply invested in "Raw" and considered himself an integral part of its foundation.
His years of dedication and passion for the brand made the abrupt shift to "SmackDown" all the more challenging to accept. The move was part of WWE's larger plan to shake things up and inject fresh energy into their programming.
Prichard clarified that the intent behind the shuffle was to give both shows a unique identity and distinct feel. While Ross's reaction may have seemed unexpected and even challenging to witness, Prichard acknowledged that it was precisely the authenticity they were aiming for.
"Again, you get the real emotion. It's not a rib. It's nothing else. It's actually just something to get a true, passionate emotion from someone versus a phony, 'Ah, well, here comes 'SmackDown,'" he explained. In this unscripted moment, fans got a glimpse of the genuine bond Ross had with "Raw" and the impact he believed he had on the show.
In retrospect, Prichard admitted that had Ross been forewarned about the move, the reaction might not have been as powerful. The element of surprise played a crucial role in capturing the authenticity of the moment, highlighting the human aspect of these larger-than-life WWE personalities.