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By Mike Johnson on 2017-03-30 15:49:00

Welcome to's live, ongoing coverage of the Wrestlecon Launch Party with Matt Striker hosting a Q&A with WWE Hall of Famers Sting, Ric Flair and Jim Ross.

Matt Striker came out and welcomed everyone to the event.  He thanked everyone from coming from all over the world and said that's the magic of pro wrestling, that it all makes a mark on us.

Striker introduced Jim Ross, who received a standing ovation for a long time.    Ross said the crowd was going to make him cry all over again.  He said he's had some challenges the last few weeks but is proud to be here with "you guys."  His voice was cracking and the crowd immediately gave him another standing ovation.  Ross said the outpouring has been terrific and touching.  He spent a lot of time thanking everyone.

Striker then brought out WWE Hall of Famer Sting and finally Ric Flair.

 Flair thanked everyone for coming out. 

Striker said that everyone have an opportunity to ask their "three favorite uncles" some questions and get to hear some stories.

The first question was Ross' broadcasting.  Ross said that the athletes create the music and the sound that Ross needs to hear in his head while he creates the lyric.  He was asked specifically about the night Shawn Michaels returned in 2002.  Ross said it was an incredibly story and an amazing match.

They were asked about Wrestlemania.  Flair said he's looking forward to Undertaker vs. Roman.  Sting said that he's looking forward to Triple H vs. Seth and joked that Seth retired him.  Ross said that he's curious how Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg will play out and said he doesn't expect a return match.  He joked that by the time the match takes place, no one will care if it doesn't go 15 minutes because they will be in the stadium for so many hours.

Flair was asked about memories of his retirement match.  He said he has several matches that mean a lot to him - the World title win over Harley Race, the first Clash of Champions match against Sting, and the retirement match with Shawn.  He said that when you do something you love your entire match, it's hard and rough to give it up.   Flair said that he'd wrestled a lot in Orlando and the reception was really nice.  He said to see his daughter in the same stadium this weekend is really nice.

Sting was asked what age he started to like wrestling by a young fan.  He joked 47.  He said he didn't know what it was growing up and it was never on his TV growing up.  He saw Hulk Hogan at a gym and everyone was freaking out.  He did a wrestling camp a year later and got interested.  He gave Flair a lot of credit for their match at Clash 1.  He said Ric could make or break his career and Ric chose to make it. 

Flair was asked why he helped Sting.  He said that he remembers how much fun they had in the ring.

Flair was asked about John Cena tying his record.  He said he has no problem with it and said that Cena's work ethic is amazing and he has put in the time and is genuinely a nice guy.  He said he would never begrudge anyone that has worked that hard.

Ross was asked Flair in his prime vs. Cena today, who wins.  Ross joked that it depended on who was booking.

Sting was asked his favorite match.  Sting said he had a top few but it always started with Clash of Champions and the Great American Bash 1990 match in Baltimore against Flair.

Sting was asked if WWE missed the boat by not doing Sting vs. Undertaker and if he would do it today if offered.  Sting said if you looked at their career, neither of them missed anything by not doing it.  He said that he regrets that it didn't happen because fans wanted to see it.  Flair said that when Sting worked for TNA, he had a limited schedule and a "sweet deal."  He said that for Sting to get in the ring to wrestle Triple H and others showed how great he was.

Sting was asked about the Crow Sting.  Sting said it was a Scott Hall idea.  Sting said it was time for the florescent, Flattop Sting to go.  One day in Casper, Wyoming, Hall suggested the trenchcoat and the white and black and that's how it started.

Flair was asked about the podcast coming back.  He said that he's out of the podcast business.  He said he said one thing negative about Finn Balor not ever headlining Wrestlemania (because he's a Cruiserweight) and you'd think he started World War 3.  He said Balor was looking at him in catering and that the guys today think everything on the Internet is a shoot.

Ross told a nice store about how much OU means to him and how the head coach and his wife spent several hours visiting with him.

They were asked about how they felt about the idea of it not being just babyfaces and heels anymore now.  Sting said he prefers black vs. white but when you look at Wrestlemania and weekends like this, you can see the "grey" works.  Ross said that he still believes we live in a society today with heroes and villains.  He said society is largely polarized into believing people are good or bad.  He said that some fans today cheer for the villains because "they know what's going on" and reverse it.  Ross said it's easier to write creative for good vs. evil than it is for shades of grey.  He said that if grey becomes the dominant color, it will be interesting to see how that works out and hopes he's there to see it.

Sting was asked if he was supposed to win the belt before the Great American Bash in 1990.  He was supposed to win it before that but tore his knee and needed to be in physical rehab.  He came back in five months when he was supposed to be out for seven.

They were asked about the night WWE took over WCW.  Flair said that it was the greatest night of his life.  His big problem was that Jim Ross called him and asked him if he was ready to go to work, Flair said yes and then no one called him for a year.  He said he had to stay home with his wife for a year. Ross said he's not taking the blame for that divorce.  Sting said it was a surreal night.  He said for many years, they were second class citizens and number two.  They launch Nitro and have great ratings and PPV buyrates and suddenly they are the number one act, only to have it slip through their fingers.  He said it felt like the enemy had come through the village and raped and pillaged.  He said it was emotional and hard.    They told Flair he was wrestling Sting and he was like, no I'm not.  Sting had just had shoulder surgery and Flair wasn't in shape.  They had their shortest match ever that night, seven minutes.

Sting and Flair were asked what was the secret to success as a WWE wrestler.  Sting joked he never knew he was going to be a WWE wrestler.  Sting said it's a 24/7 job and you have to be able to work through injuries and have longevity.  Without those things, you won't be there 30 years later.  Flair said the key thing is that if you don't feel comfortable in your persona, it's not going to work.  He said it's not working today for a lot of guys.  He said he was Ric Flair and it worked for him in a lot of ways.  He said Sting was comfortable with himself from the beginning.  He said that if Sting had gone to WWE before there was a Hulk Hogan, there never would have been a Hulk.

They were asked if there were any elements on WWE TV that are used too much.  Ross said the long monolouges but that's not just WWE but across the board.  He said they need to be shorter and tighter and need to tell "us what time it is, not how to make a watch."  He said that when you are reciting lines, you are going to screw up and people tune out.  Ross said shorter and real is what you need. 

They talked about the importance of physicality in wrestling.  Sting said that selling is missed sometimes now.  Flair said that Sting was amazing at selling and all you had to do was get him down for a few minutes.  He said Steamboat and Morton were the same way.

They were asked about Kurt Angle going into the WWE Hall of Fame.  Flair said that he's an unbelievable athlete and deserving.  Ross praised Angle vs. Alberto el Patron a few months back.  Flair that the only other amateur wrestler who was that tough and took to pro wrestling that way was Jack Brisco.  Sting said that Angle pushed him physically harder than any other wrestler.  Angle is literally a machine.

They were asked if there was any chance to save WCW.  Sting said it was like a battleship that had taken on too much water.

They were asked about Rick Rude going into the WWE Hall of Fame.  Ross said he's probably underrated and people don't realize how great a heel he was.  Sting said he was through and through a heel.  Sting said when things started to change in the 1990s, some of the heels tried to get a babyface reaction but Rude had the ability to really, truly piss people off.  He said that made life easier back in the day.  Sting said he was one of the best of all time.  Flair said he thought Rude was very good.  He had that thing that happens to a lot of guys where they battle demons and there were a few times he was impaired but beyond that, he was great.

When asked who fans should pay attention to outside of WWE, Flair said he really wishes Jay Lethal was signed by WWE.  Flair said he believes that Bobby Roode would be on the main roster sooner than later.  Flair said Seth Rollins can go, but is a much better heel than babyface.

Sting and Flair had to leave to go to AXXESS but they continued on with Ross.

Ross was asked what he thinks about the lack of blood in wrestling.  He said too much of it means nothing, so the occasional use makes it a bigger deal.  He's gotten over the idea of it not being used.  He said that if you want to bring the kids, the last thing you want is for someone to bleed on them.  He saw that happen all the time back in the territory days.

Ross was asked about the best match he ever called.  He said Hell in A Cell was the most talked about.

Ross was asked about the differences between calling something for WWE and something for ESPN.  Ross said he approaches everything the same.  He said he has to be himself to do a good job, so he doesn't let the product change him.  He tries to listen and do a good job.  He said on New Japan on AXS they don't even promote the next episode and don't push other things.  He said that if he isn't good enough to do his job, get someone else. 

Ross was asked memories of the Chamber of Horrors match at Halloween Havoc and what led up to that match.  Ross said that he tries to block a lot of negative things in his life.    He said it was a PPV that featured WCW management trying to do what they perceived WWE to be.  Ross said it was horrible and ill-conceived but they did a lot of things in that earlyt WCW era with Jim Herd.  Herd felt that if they copied WWE well enough, it would rub off.

 Ross was asked about favorite Rock N' Roll Express matches and memories that he's called.  He said the formula was simple but it worked and once you were caught in their episodic story, they had you.  He said there would be a lot that wrestlers today could learn from Midnights vs. RNR Express. 

Ross was asked why he went into broadcasting.  He didn't want to continue on the family business as they farmed.  He spent a lot of time with himself and if he did good in school and all his chores, he would get to watch an hour of pro wrestling.

There as a discussion about who's left to go in the Hall of Fame.  That led to someone saying Chris Benoit.  Ross said that he believed that if Chris Benoit could be asked, he would not want to go in the WWE Hall of Fame because the idea of a murderer who killed himself going in would overshadow everyone else going in.

At the end, Ross put over Wrestlecon, saying that he thinks about how excited he would have been as a kid for an event like this.  He said he's standing tall and steadfast per his wife's wishes and thanks everyone for their support.

That's all for now!  Stay tuned for more coverage from ALL OVER ORLANDO!

For details on everything taking place at Wrestlecon, visit!


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