Jim Ross Recalls Reaction To Controversial Katie Vick & HLA WWE Storylines
Jim Ross has shared his reaction to two of WWE's most infamous storylines
Legendary wrestling announcer Jim Ross has recalled his reaction to WWE incorporating the controversial Katie Vick and 'HLA' (Hot Lesbian Action) storylines in the fall of 2002, while discussing the creative direction of the company at the time during a recent edition of his Grilling JR podcast.
Both storylines took place on the Raw brand, where Ross was working as the lead commentator alongside Jerry Lawler. Behind the scenes, Ross was in charge of WWE's talent relations department. Regarding HLA - a ratings-grabbing concept introduced by on-screen General Manager Eric Bischoff - Ross said:
"It would've been another short creative meeting. 'Here's what we want to do', and my vote would have been no. I'm not a big fan – there's certain things in wrestling that creatively, somebody can say 'all is fair, it's just wrestling'. But you've still gotta have some sort of integrity, some sort of creative continuity. I often wondered this in response to your question.
"How does a mom and dad explain to a kid what the hell HLA is? If I've got an eight-year-old kid, I might not be ready to talk to them about the birds and the bees. It just didn't fit. We were trying so hard to emphasise the entertainment aspect of sports entertainment and de-emphasise the sports side of this equation. I wasn't a big fan of it".
On the Katie Vick saga - which revolved around then-World Heavyweight Champion Triple H tormenting Kane, after it was revealed the Big Red Machine had accidentally killed a former girlfriend in a car accident - the WWE Hall of Famer said:
"I don't know [if that was always the plan]. I don't recall any more decent ideas. There may have been. Somebody may have said, 'Well, that's not outlandish enough, that's not sensationalistic enough'.
"But it was an attempt to become more entertainment. For Raw anyway, the entertainment side of that show became the HLAs and all that sh*t. Lawler and I did our best to make some sense out of it, narrate it, or lay out. I found us laying out of it more than anything because sometimes when you're not sure what to say, or an angle is being introduced and you don't know how the audience is gonna take it, you lay out…some of that content was hard to lay out.
"What do you say sometimes? The only thing I will say about that stuff is it was different, it was unique, it was new. But none of those things were good. It wasn't good new. Nothing. This show was a great example of us getting way out of our lane".