Ross at the Summerslam weekend – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment
Welcome back to The Real Mid Card and we hope you will stay for a cup of tea, and maybe even a smoke. It’s that time of the week when I unleash an opinion based article upon you. If you’re quite sure your ready, let’s see what I have to talk about today.
Good Ol’ J.R retired from WWE last week, to a chorus of boos and weeping.
I for one was leading the choir. Jim Ross produced an outstanding career in the world of wrestling, and to many fans of my generation, he will be considered the greatest announcer of all time. I’ve watched a lot of old wrestling, I’ve heard the other guys and I’m sorry to tell you, that they are not as good. I’ve had a few other favourites over the years (JBL, Attitude Era Jerry Lawler, Bobby Eaton) but in terms of play-by-play, he stands in a class of his own as the most distinctive voice in the business.
He knew when to be serious, he knew when to be light hearted. He knew how to put over talent, he knew when not to bury talent. The man was the voice of the biggest company in the world, during professional wrestling’s most successful period. He called some of the biggest matches of all time, and some of his expressions will go down in history. The man had a bunch of great catchphrases to make the show entertaining and memorable. He also had a wealth of knowledge of our business, and of a range of other sports. Like JBL, he had the ability to legitimise wrestling, and bring to it an air of credibility.
Now, the man will be missed under the headphones, but he has been pseudo-retired from that game for many years now. He has however still been continuing in some of his other roles behind the scenes. I don’t know a whole lot about this, but from all of the documentaries I’ve watched, shoot interviews I’ve enjoyed and books I’ve read, it seems that Mr. Ross was also quite adept at spotting and correctly managing talent. He is a highly regarded member of the staff behind the scenes, and has occupied many roles during his time in the company.
Jim has always been a company guy. He did whatever he was told for the good of the product, even if it meant putting himself in delicate or embarrassing situations in the ring, or in a backstage segment. There are a lot of boys and girls who are currently in that place, or were for many years in the past, who commend Jim Ross as a true great of the business, in the boldest terms. He is to be treated with the utmost respect and remembered in such context.
J.R has gone on to become a Hall of Famer, a legend and a man respected most of all by wrestling fans. True wrestling fans see this man as not only a capsule of fond memories from their childhood days, but as a legit pro who brought so much to the sport that we love, over the most successful of careers. He has left a legacy behind him and set the benchmark to which new announcers can aspire to reach. Will any of them get to his standard of excellence on the microphone calling a wrestling match? Probably not, but they will damn sure get better while they are trying.
Now ever since this news came out, there has been a lot of speculation about J.R heading over to TNA to help sort out that pool of sharks. I for one would love to see him be given a real chance at turning the thing around, but I just feel that with the power struggles going on there, it can’t be fixed. If he was made Booker and given full control, I feel he has the knowledge and longevity in the business to turn that place around. If he did go there though, he’d probably just be shoved at the announce desk and asked to half-heartedly call The Sting and Hogan show.
There are also a ton of rumours flying around that Ross was perhaps pushed out, as opposed to having retired. I have no evidence to back this up, but the thoughts of many online are that his inability to reign in Ric Flair when he took over the WWE 2K14 discussion panel may have been viewed as worthy of dismissal by top brass. If that’s the case, that is a total joke! By all accounts, Flair’s eccentric, outlandish storytelling session was actually very entertaining and got a lot of people talking about the game. So he mentioned TNA and Ross didn’t cut him off. It’s not like he mentioned Chris Benoit! If that is true (which I don’t for one minute believe it is) then that’s very disappointing treatment of an icon indeed.
On the whole, I’d just like to thank Mr. Ross for his terrific contribution to the business of professional wrestling, wish him the best in his other endeavours and hope he remains in good health for a long, long time. I hope this isn’t the last time we see him making appearances for WWE. He made stories come to life for me as a child. He made those characters I loved inspire me even more. He did a lot of good things that I wouldn’t have even understood. To the character, and the man, I say goodbye and thanks for the memories.