AS I SEE IT – Remembering Jim Ross in the WWE

AISIAS I SEE IT – Remembering Jim Ross in the WWE
Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

Meanwhile, if the McMahon-Helmsley Era v. 2.0 wasn’t bad enough, now WWE fired Jim Ross over the WWE 2K14 press conference, at which Ric Flair went into an off-message and possibly alcohol-assisted story-telling session where WWE blamed Ross, feeling he didn’t keep Flair in line.

For those of you who haven’t seen this press conference, here are highlights:

Oh, I know…officially, Jim Ross “retired”. Ross’s blog even took the high road.

If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

He got fired by Vince McMahon in another installment of the sadomasochistic relationship that the company has had with Ross over the last 20 years.

For years, Ross has been periodically treated like crap on and off-air by WWE, including on air segments seemingly designed to humiliate him, including the 1999 storyline, where (in storyline) he has been “fired” because of his Bells Palsy. Two similar storylines were done in 2011 related to “inflammatory bowel disease”.

No matter how much fans respond to Ross, WWE seems to view him as a throwback to the “wrasslin” era, and prefers the Michael Cole “sports entertainment” style of parroted McMahon commentary that all too often doesn’t get over storylines and characters in the way that Ross still can to this day.

If that’s not bad enough, how about the HHH Twitter congratulating him on his “well-earned retirement”. News bulletin, folks: anyone over the age of six with a computer realizes Ross did not want to retire. So you’re not fooling anyone.

Reader Dave Cottom sent his thoughts on this fiasco to me. It said a lot of what I wanted to say better than I did (even if I just did), so here it is:

<i>”I just had to get this off of my chest…

I have been a wrestling fan for as long as I can remember. Truthfully, I have never been able to get over the days of old school wrestling–the interviews with announcers before and after matches, the introductions in the ring (a la Michael Buffer) and the days of kayfabe (protecting the business and blurring of real vs. fake)–treating it as a real sport. Loved that stuff.

I heard today that Jim Ross has been fired from the WWE. I felt I had to say this, if no one else would….

Jim Ross is the single greatest wrestling announcer in the history of the sport, period.

He is the best that has ever done it…

Yes, I know Gordon Solie was great and legendary, Vince McMahon of the 70’s and 80’s had a distinctive and most recognizable voice and Tony Schiavone is inseparable from the glory days 1980’s NWA Championship Wrestling. Jim Ross would tell you that Gordon Solie was the best and as far as Jim’s enjoyment as a fan goes, he’s probably right. The difference here, is I have experienced both from a fan perspective and I think Jim Ross is untouchable as an announcer.

Jim Ross, at his best, always made wrestling must-see TV. I can’t remember anyone announcing so many important matches in the span of a career. On TV and pay per view, Jim Ross made ME believe and understand that I was watching a big time sporting event. I never, ever questioned his passion for the game and legitimacy that he brought to the matches he announced and to the sport (yes, sport) in general. Heck, I could listen to him announce just about any sport all day long. XFL anyone?

I heard today that this might be the end for him in wrestling. It is a sad thing. I don’t care too much about the politics behind the scenes. I care even less about what goes on behind the curtain DURING a show–it cheapens the product to see so much garbage behind the curtain anyway, in my opinion, but that’s a conversation for another day…

Professional Wrestling has always been about two guys “hooking up” and seeing which one could get the best of the other—playing by the rules or not. The best matches tell a great story and NO ONE has ever done it better than Jim Ross.

As a big, long-time professional wrestling fan, I just felt and somehow wanted him to know that I KNOW he was the greatest…..and that’s all that matters.

Dave Cottom

Until next time….

— Bob Magee

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