Jim Ross on why Manu’s run in WWE did not work out and why Umaga got over as a big star
This week on “Grilling JR,” Jim Ross and Conrad Thompson covered WWE Cyber Sunday 2006.
That show featured a Triple Threat for the WWE Championship between John Cena, King Booker, and The Big Show. They also talked about Rated RKO vs. DX with Eric Bischoff as special referee, Ric Flair and Roddy Piper vs. The Spirit Squad, and more.
Here are some highlights from the podcast:
Jim Ross was asked why Afa Jr (Manu) did not work out considering the success of the rest of the family in WWE: “I think he was still green and still developing and still trying to find his way. He kind of got stereotyped into the typical Samoan persona that had been seen a lot. It wasn’t new. He was a good kid. I’ll be frank. The company gave him plenty of opportunities as far time was concerned because he was there for like three years. He got a chance. It just didn’t work out. He wasn’t quite ready for that level. I got a lot of respect for Afa and Sika. It doesn’t mean your kid is going to be as good as you. A lot of kids that follow in their father’s footsteps find themselves in challenging positions.”
Ross was asked if he believed the voting for Cyber Sunday 2006 was a work or a shoot: “I am fully of the belief that it was on the up and up. I really am. If it wasn’t, then you are exposed that your votes meant nothing and it would kill the concept entirely going forward. If you want to kill the concept of internet voting, then rig it, but somebody is going to find out about it. I really believe that it was legit.”
Ross talked about the build for Umaga during 2006: “He was unbeaten for a year. That’s how you get a guy over. Build momentum. You don’t overexpose him. He doesn’t have to win every week because he doesn’t need to be on TV every week in a live capacity. There are a lot of ways to get talent exposed on television without being in a match for a live bout. He got over the right way. He never lost for a year until it was time. You’re talking about October 2006, remember at WrestleMania 2007, he was in that billionaire hair match. That was all a plan to keep him hot and keep him rolling. He was booked well but he was so athletic for a big guy.”
If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription