As promised, I flew through Jim Ross’s new book “Under the Black Hat” this afternoon and it was a fantastic read. Thanks so much to the people at Simon & Schuster for sending it my way.
Basically it covers Jim’s life from 1999 until signing with AEW, although the gaps in the story grow much bigger after 2002. The bulk of the book deals with his role as Talent Relations VP during the Attitude Era, which is where it really excels. In particular JR recounting his rocky relationship with Vince McMahon (complete with “Such good shit” and “PAL!” and yelling in headsets) is the most fascinating part of the story. And of course we know where the story ends up and it’s just as wrenching reading about it as you’d expect. It’s great getting Jim’s perspective on Steve Austin’s departure in 2002, Brock Lesnar’s signing (complete with expected reactions from Vince) and the Plane Ride From Hell. To be honest, the book kind of loses steam from there, because of most what happened after that point was Ross getting fired multiple times and humiliated in various ways on TV before crawling back for more and there’s only so many ways you can frame that. But Jim is brutally honest about his own short-comings and anxieties and what he could have done differently (the bit about his burning effigy in particular got a laugh from me), and especially honest about the feud with Michael Cole in 2011 that went nowhere and made no money. No matter what, it’s an entertaining read from start to finish and stuff like his terrifying conversations with Ken Shamrock on Ken’s way out of the company in 1999, or details of his ill-fated contract negotiations with Jeff Jarrett, will scratch the itch of the target audience. Highly recommended!
“Under the Black Hat” releases March 31, and you can pre-order now on Amazon or many other places: