Jim Ross was a-okay with having a “toga party” in his debut with WWE back in 1993 even if Bobby Heenan had a rib planned. This week’s “Grilling JR” was a special one as Eric Bischoff played guest host to Ross. The two talked about Hulk Hogan’s tenure in WWE, and when the subject of WrestleMania IX was broached, Bischoff brought up the attire that Ross had to wear for the event.
“It drove me nuts and we had to have a dress rehearsal, and that was an adventure,” Ross said. “I never wore a toga. Do you wear underwear, do you not wear underwear? Heenan, Monsoon, and I dressed in the same dressing room at Caesar’s Palace, a little locker room type thing, the three of us.
“McMahon asked me before the show, that week, he said, ‘Here’s what I’d like to do. I’d like for you to work WrestleMania. It’s a Caesar’s Palace type theme cause that’s where it’s going to be held. [Howard Finkel] will be in a costume, [Randy] Savage, Heenan, and Heenan’s going to ride an elephant or something out to the ring, and we want you to wear a toga. If you are not willing to do it, no problem (which I knew was bullsh-t). Then we’ll get somebody else.”
Ross said he was so excited to have a job with WWE that donning a toga seemed like a small price to pay. Bobby Heenan, however, had an agenda in mind for the newcomer from Norman, Oklahoma.
“Heenan was so adamant that I go ‘commando’ and not wear anything under the toga, and [Gorilla] was standing behind him shaking his head like, ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it ’cause he’s got a plan. He’s gonna expose your fat ass or something,’” Ross said. “Luckily, I took Monsoon’s advice. I wore underwear. Heenan knew I had underwear on and so we didn’t go through the exposure.
“It’s WrestleMania,” Ross added. “My debut at WrestleMania, couldn’t start any better than that, so I’m thinking, ‘What the hell?’ I’m a long way from f-ckin’ Oklahoma, so why not? Let’s go for it.”
The decision did end up paying off for Ross who spent over two decades with WWE and eventually got him a spot in in the WWE Hall Of Fame. Now, he just recently signed an extension with AEW.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit “Grilling JR” with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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