The future of legendary WWE announcer Jim Ross has been a hot wrestling rumor for weeks. Jim Ross finally put those rumors to rest by announcing that he is staying with the WWE as a consultant. Unfortunately, while J.R. will be sticking around a familiar voice of the last 20 years of pro wrestling won’t be.
I was going to entitle this blog, “There goes my hero” but changed it to keep it SEO friendly. I couldn’t have been anymore disappointed in hearing that Jim Ross won’t be announcing for the WWE which theoretically means that Jim Ross will likely never be announcing pro wrestling ever again. For someone like me who was comforted with the vocal music of Jim Ross during the good and the bad for over 20 years, it is indeed a sad day.
I can’t tell you enough of how much Jim Ross means to me as a pro wrestling fan and even more as a pro wrestling announcer. As a fan it all started with those crazy Mid South Wrestling tapes. I would trade for those tapes to see the names I read about monthly in PWI like Steve “Dr. Death” Williams, Ted DiBiase, the Rock and Roll Express, Hacksaw Duggan, and even the old Cowboy himself. Yet it was the announcing that grabbed me right away.
Hearing Jim Ross call a brawl on Mid South Wrestling was like nothing I had ever heard before as a wrestling announcer. I grew up in the northeast so all I heard every Saturday was, “What a maneuver!” Once the NWA expanded to Philadelphia I got, “We gotta go!” But this was different. Jim Ross was like a wrestling announcer who talked to me. As I was sitting on the edge of the couch excited to see a brawl between Steve Williams and Jim Duggan, Jim Ross was calling it like I was thinking it. Jim Ross was like no other wrestling announcer that I had ever heard in my years a wrestling fan.
The only good in my eyes of Jim Crockett swallowing up Bill Watts’ UWF was the acquisition of Jim Ross. Finally, I got to hear Jim Ross every Saturday calling Ric Flair, the Road Warriors, Dusty Rhodes, and Sting on the big stage. Unfortunately it took a few years for Jim Ross to find a partner like Michael Hayes. The Jim Ross/Paul E. Dangerously combination solved that for the short time it existed.
Over the next 20 years pro wrestling would go through drastic changes. From the NWA to WCW to a ton of different eras in the WWE, to ECW, to where it is now, pro wrestling was constantly moving forward (and backwards in some cases). Through it all the one voice I could count on was Jim Ross. As much as the WWE got away from the kind of wrestling I enjoyed and I wanted to turn off my television and watch something else, the announcing of Jim Ross was able to turn an entire show of chicken droppings into edible chicken salad. Whether it was J.R. and the King or J. R. and Paul Heyman, Jim Ross was there on cue with some of the best calls in the business.
I got into pro wrestling as a play-by-play announcer over ten years ago. I was terrible when I started and I knew I needed a lot of work. So what I did was look to Professor Jim Ross to help take me to another level. I watched and studied hours upon hours of Jim Ross wrestling tapes and videos. I had a six-hour of Mid South Wrestling matches that I watched over and over again. I listened to his cadence, his styling, what he said, when he said it, why he said it, how he said it, how he said it again differently in another match, took copious notes, practiced, and tried to suck in whatever bit of knowledge I could from listening to Jim Ross. I lasted over ten years, traveled the world, and made some good money as a wrestling announcer and I can’t thank Jim Ross enough for that.
Oftentimes whenever I did interviews I was asked why I became a wrestling announcer. I always explained that I felt that it was the biggest area of potential growth in pro wrestling. In my opinion, there was Jim Ross and everyone else as pro wrestling announcers. Most pro wrestling announcers sounded like obvious shills and insulted your intelligence at being a wrestling fan. Not Jim Ross. That was also something I always tried to remember as an announcer myself. Tune in to most pro wrestling announcers today and you will find out quickly that the barometer for success isn’t necessarily being good at what you do. Jim Ross was one in a million in that regard.
So while I am happy that Jim Ross will be staying with the WWE and easing himself into a nice future off screen, I am disappointed as a fan to never hear him again. He is not announcing wrestling because he isn’t good, he isn’t announcing because he isn’t what a television host is “supposed to look like” according to the WWE. Maybe he is too old, maybe he isn’t as photogenic, and maybe he has a slang in his voice, but he could run circles around any of his successors in his sleep. Maybe television executives and kids aren’t turning pro wrestling on when they see Jim Ross, but I have been turning it off more and more by not seeing Jim Ross.
Justin Henry is a freelance writer who enjoys putting his thoughts and opinions into text. His love of professional wrestling, as well as enjoyment of writing, has led to the creation of the Cynical Examination, his personal writing haven. Justin can be found on Facebook, Twitter, his website portfolio, or he can be e-mailed at [email protected].
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