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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The End of the J.R. Era (a tribute to J.R.)
October 13, 2005 by Ray Clancy


What happened on Monday, October 10th, 2005 on Monday Night RAW was something I would have never seen coming. I guess millions watching the telecast, along with myself, were in for a rude awakening so to speak.

The concluding segment of Monday Night RAW saw one of the greatest voices in WWE history take the boot from Vince McMahon. Good Ol' J.R. is no more. Now, if the articles posted on wrestling web sites are true this is truly the end of Jim Ross as the voice of RAW. So just in case we never see or hear from Jim Ross again, this is my tribute to the greatest commentator in the history of the business. Don't get me wrong, there have been legendary voices at the table such as Gordon Solie, Gorilla Monsoon, and Vince McMahon...but there's something about Jim Ross that captured the heart of this long-time wrestling fan.

In April of 1993, Jim Ross made his debut as a commentator for the then World Wrestling Federation, when WrestleMania IX kicked off from Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, NV. I'm not omitting his WCW days, because he was simply great there, too. But I'd like to focus on his career working for Vince McMahon. After two years of giving what he could to the company, somewhere down the line Vince McMahon had fired him for whatever reason at the time, and took over the head of the announcer's position once again.

Eventually, Vince McMahon would re-hire Jim Ross as part of a three man announce team, along with Jerry "The King" Lawler, and Vince McMahon himself. Vince finally realized that once he put Lawler and Ross together that his services, either off or on camera, could now be different, and the ball was once again in the hands of Good Ol' J.R. What a great decision by Vince McMahon to step aside and let these two do their thing, because beyond a shadow of a doubt, in my mind, there is no better announce team than Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. They had a great run.

Now we skip ahead to 1998, when Jim Ross was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy. He was out for approximately half a year, and Michael Cole would take over on the RAW announce team. Jim Ross made his comeback at WrestleMania XV for the Stone Cold Steve Austin / The Rock main event (the first of many classics), and Stone Cold would win his second WrestleMania main event.

Now that Jim Ross had come back full-time, it was time for The King and Good Ol' J.R. to do their thing and do it better than almost any announce team in previous history. In my mind, J.R will always be the best...there will NEVER be anyone better than Jim Ross on that headset.

Jim Ross put so much emotion into his job, and made the fans feel the emotion as well...whether it be a serious moment, or one of excitement, listening to Jim Ross scream out "Stone Cold! Stone Cold! Stone Cold!", he always did his job to mere perfection.

So I am going to conclude this with my thoughts on Jim Ross. Jim Ross, as I have said, will always in my opinion be the best on the headset. The years he devoted to the business were the best years the business has ever endeavored. For people like myself who always had that dream job of wanting to become a WWE play-by-play announcer, I think of one person who's shoes will definitely be tough to fill...clearly those would be the shoes of Good Ol' J.R.! There will be no one better, and we as wrestling fans should be fortunate that we had the privilege of listening to Jim Ross do his thing, like no one else has or ever will again.

So to Jim Ross, I bid farewell, so-long, and thanks for the memories...IT WAS A SLOBBERKNOCKER!

by Ray Clancy..


Digidax@aol.com wrote:
CORRECTION Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura have to be the best tandem commentating wise. Seriously do you really considering hearing "PUPPIES" "STONE COLD STONE COLD" the best commentating" JR usually wouldnt even be commentating on the match he would just be hyping up the next PPV like a good little clone. Whether it was a closeline or a right hand...JR would simply say "ITS A KNOCKDOWN and another" JR was just insterested in helping shamlessly promote the next PPV ....he wONT BE MISSED
GGlor369 wrote:
I agree It is sad to let someone as great as J.R go just because he was misjudged. He was a person that did not care what the wrestler like Triple h did he would still announce the matches. He also loved people who where fans and the business. That also means new beginnings for J.R like writing books and broadcasting with other broadcasting's. With that said we tell him farewell to the legacy of a great legacy.
MRMSTJ6 wrote:
Will Jim Ross, former WWE Raw Ring Announcer ever return" Will he move out of World Wrestling Entertainment" Will he move to WCW or ECW"" Jim Ross had a good heart and everyone hopes that he returns! One highlight or Jim Ross' career was defeating 10 time World Heavyweight Champion Triple H with the help of the current World Heavyweight Champion BATISTA! Even though Batista spinebustered the Game and then smashed him over the head with a chair, Batista pulled J.R. over to the game and lay Jim Ross' arm against Triple H's chest and made Jim Ross pin the 10 time World Champion, 1,2,3!
Brian Folan wrote:
This column clearly needed to be written. To me, J.R. and the King were the soundtrack of the Attitude Era. Even his days in Georgia Southern and Jim Crockett's WCW were memorable. Nobody put the kind of emotion into his commentary that J.R. did. You could feel how much he hated the heels. Probably his greatest call, I don't remember the exact circumstances, but basically Vince had ordered Stone Cold into a match with his title shot at the upcoming Wrestlemania on the line. After an impossible victory, J.R. capped the night off perfectly with "STONE COLD!!! STONE COLD!!!! STONE COLD, IS GOING .... TO WRRRRRRRESSSSSSSTTTLLEEMAAAAAAAAAAAANIA!!!!" I believe it was Mick Foley who said J.R. "could make a bad match good, and a good match great." He made every main event feel like a life or death situation, like the Super Bowl, World Cup, and World War 3, all rolled into one. He sold bumps like no other, "Good God! He might be broken in half!" or "How can he even stand right now"" While I think Monsoon/Heenan or Monsoon/Ventura were the best announce duos, and with all due respect to Gordon Solie, I think J.R. is the greatest single announcer of all-time.
Benjamin Trotter wrote:
I saw this this coming for a while, and my theory was confirmed when the Coach was added back to make a 3 person announce team. The usual classic formula is two commentators, one favoring faces and the other heel. There where rumors that Jerry Lawler was going to leave the show due to off-stage politics. I figured the Coach was really stepping in to help out JR. Figuring that his BP is becoming more bothersome to his commentating. If you notice as of late, Lawler has been favoring faces a lot more. And camera shots have been more off of the commentating team than usual.

But truly a legend in the world commentating will be missed. Hopefully Jim can make another return.
Dan. wrote:
First off, one of the greatest" Well, no...I would have to say..the worst ever. J.R. is by far, the most annoying voice, the absolute worst commentator I have ever listened to in the 16+ years I have been a wrestling fan. I have listened to some real bad guest commentators that were only around for one match. And even them I would rather listen to on a weekly-basis than J.R. I remember when Coach and Al Snow took over for a week I thought it was forever, I was ecstatic! So heres to J.R., the absolute worst commentator in history. Na-na-na-na! Hey hey hey, goodbyyye!! May you never ever come back and I hope to never see your face again on television. Bring back anyone thats ever been a commentator anywhere, they will do a better job than you have. Goodbye.
Andrew Betts wrote:
it has come to mt atennsion that the firing of jim ross was part of a storyline it has been reported the jim ross was hospitalized and underwent colon surgery so take it for what it is this maybe true or might just be another part of a storyline but i believe that jr unergoing surgery is legit i wish jr a speedy recovery
Winston G. Jordan wrote:
I liked J.R.'s style too, but it was all a work! JR is being taken off television to help out more backstage. Remember he is not just an announcer. He holds a very high position in the WWE. Vice President of Talent or something like that.
Roy Spencer (Stevensville, MT) wrote:
I honestly don't know if it was just JR's personal style or if he was doing as he was told, but I have to say his commentary in the WWE has been beyond terrible. I timed him once using a stopwatch. During a 4 minute and 38 second match (bell to bell), he spent a grand total of fifty-two seconds actually talking about the match going on in the ring. The rest of the time was spent talking about the Stone Cold main event, or bantering with the King about boobies.

Fifty two seconds. That's 18.7% of the entire match. Now honestly, if the play-by-play commentator can't act even remotely interested in the match at hand, what sort of message is that sending" Aside from that, it's completely disrespectful to the athletes in the ring.

Looking back in history, let's take a look at Gorilla Monsoon. 90% of the time he sounded like a complete goof. At the very least he needed to learn the definition of the word 'literally' as in "Hulk Hogan has literally exploded!", or "They're literally hanging from the rafters!". But the second that bell rang he was completely into the match. If it was a long one and the wrestlers were in a rest hold, he might make a quick aside or two and then get right back to the match at hand. It didn't matter if the guys in the ring were complete unknowns, every single match was important. If he didn't know anything about the wrestlers, he'd make something up and howl it at the top of his lungs like it was the most exciting thing he'd ever heard.

That was the failing of JR's commentary style. Nothing but the main event is ever put across as even vaguely important. I'd personally say that's self-defeating at the least, not to mention disrespectful as hell.
Jaffer Hussain wrote:
i believe that j.r. was one of the best if not the best colour commentator in the wrstling business. he and the king made raw what it is today - a nfat moving show. without their contribution raw would have no speaking which really would be quite dull. j.r is under going an operation for his colon and i hope he has a sfae operation. i aslo hope that i see j.r. in his black seat after his operation. raw will not be the same without j.r. GOODBYE J.R!
Matt Kopp wrote:
Just like Chris Jericho was "fired" J.R's firing was all storyline. The only reason that they fired him is because about one week before he was fired on TV, he discovered that he needed to undergo colon surgery, and needed some time off to recover. So, in order to boost the McMahon's heel rating, they had J.R fired by Linda McMahon. J.R will be back once he recovers, and probably be involved in some sort of crusade against the McMahons. It seems that with the looming presence of TNA around, WWE is trying to become more successful by going back to the Attitude Era.
Dave Clark wrote:
I understand Jim Ross was sick and alledgedly needs to have surgery so was looking to hang it up for awhile or retire after 30+ great years but I feel it is an absolute black mark on the industry as to write a storyline such as firing him and kicking him in the groin.Jim Ross DESERVES a BETTER send off.Jim Ross DESERVES to be able to say goodbye properly and be said goodbye to by the wrestlers, his peers and most of all THE FANS!!!!
Vince (NOT that Vince) wrote:
Digidax and Roy Spencer said it best, and there's not much more that I think needs to be said. Except I dont think JR was the worst, just close to it. And Gorilla and Jessie were the best.
DR wrote:
I agree that good ol' JR was probably one of the best announcers of all time. The class, character, and dignity that he brought to the headseat will be unmatched for years to come. The energy that he brought to his role made the matches he announced even that much more exciting.

However, in terms of commenting teams, the best so far has been Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura. These guys could take a boring match and make it exciting with their commentary and their "arguments" with each other. It was so funny when Jesse accused Gorilla of eating many hotdogs at Wrestlemania VI. Jesse also claimed that he had an entire floor of the Toronto Skydome Hotel all to himself. hehe. This Wrestlemania was probably the funniest that I've ever heard these two go at each other.

My compliments to JR and the fun that he provided to everyone. He honestly deserved better treatment than what he got on Raw.
Nate Lindberg wrote:
I believe that taking JR off of RAW was probably one of the biggest mistakes that Vince McMahon has made in quite some time. JR and the King are by far the best announce duo. Notice when JR isn't around, Lawler isnt on his best game, and vice versa. These guys ARE what announcing is all about. Coach does have some good skills, but they are not comparable to Jim Ross's. JR needs to come back once he has recovered from Colon surgery.

Which makes me wonder... is this all an angle so he could have that surgery"""

Probably not, and just coincidence. I mean, Today Shane O'Mac offered Mike Goldberg from UFC $500,000 per year... and they contacted other announcers. Hopefully they'll realize their major mistake, and bring Good Old JR back. I mean, who wants to see the best announcer, in my book, on WWE.Com's announce team" Definitely not me. Definitely not the other wrestling fans I know. JR, Come back!!!
jody scott wrote:
i think jr was a hall of fame announcer he made the show more interesting and he loved his job more than anybody i know. i bet thousands of people stopped watching the show since coach got hired he is the best i agree.
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