We noted before that WWE recently purchased the Mid-South Wrestling tape library from the family of Hall of Famer “Cowboy” Bill Watts. WWE will be using the footage on DVD releases for various Mid-South Legends as well as air it over the WWE Network when it launches.
Jim Ross recently spoke to The Miami Herald about the days of Mid-South, content in the library and more. Ross also talked about WWE’s negotiations with the Watts family and his role:
“I was involved in it in the early going several years ago. The dialogue between WWE and Bill Watts ex-wife Ene and his family have been on-going for several years, and for whatever reason we just couldn’t come to terms that both entities were comfortable with.”
“After we got so deep in the negotiations, at a certain point, I removed myself from the negotiations because I really felt like it was a conflict of interest for me. Bill Watts was my mentor. He gave me my first job in the business. I was close to his family.”
“So at a certain point, when it got real serious, I felt like I had done my due diligence. The company was aware of how I perceived the [Mid-South Wrestling] brand. They knew that the brand had been maintained, and the master tapes had been protected. So I’d done my job there, but when it got down to really seriously talking about the money, I felt like it would be best for me to back out of that aspect of it.”
“That was me. It wasn’t WWE or the Watts family. It was me saying, ‘Hey, look. I’m too close to this brand to be as objective as I need to be from a WWE standpoint.’ Somebody else needs to step in here now that doesn’t have the emotional investment in the brand and the history of it. It made sense for me to let somebody else pound out the dollars and do the deal.”
“I think I’d done my work. I think my work was explain and communicate to WWE what was there in the [Mid-South Wrestling] library and the many things that could be mined out of the library. As far as the Watts family was concerned, I think I’d done my job with them. WWE was seriously interested in it. I thought it would be a great way to preserve the legacy of all the hard work that was being done at that time that I was a part of, first-hand knowledge of knowing how hard we worked to make that brand successful. It wouldn’t be forgotten, and it would be a way that the world could enjoy what we did, enjoy our work.”
“So I’d done my share of lifting and left it to the WWE’s people to finalize it. I was real happy that they finally got it done.”