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Bah Gawd, That's Ghostride The Whip's Music!
April 2, 2014 11:56 AM   Subscribe

Legendary wrestling announcer Jim Ross adds a flourish to any occasion, even when it's not wrestling. After four decades in wrestling, he's moved on. SBNation takes a look at the man and his career.
posted by Ghostride The Whip (17 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Also not to be missed is this dub of Jim Ross commentary over UFC action. (So good.)
posted by Dark Messiah at 12:50 PM on April 2


JR did an AMA on /r/SquaredCircle/ a few days ago.
posted by milquetoast at 12:57 PM on April 2


He also makes a fucking fantastic chipotle ketchup, and the best beef jerky I've ever had.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:00 PM on April 2


To those who may not be big pro wrestling fans, it is really difficult to accurately convey just how good Ross was at his job. He was absolutely without peer at making these predetermined matches seem like legitimate athletic contests and adding drama, excitement, passion and humor at just the right moments. I don't think it is at all coincidental that when I look back at some of my favorite matches of all-time it is Jim Ross' voice I hear in the background calling the action.

If anything, I think I preferred Ross' work in Mid-South/UWF and WCW to his more famous WWF/E years, if only because he tended to be calling a more serious wrestling product which seemed better suited to his skills than some of the sillier stuff he had to deal with in WWE.
posted by The Gooch at 1:39 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


He was absolutely without peer at making these predetermined matches seem like legitimate athletic contests

This is one of the things that's most depressing about the current WWE product, to me. The commentary does nothing to enhance the in-ring action and, in a lot of cases, detracts from it. I don't know if you caught NXT Arrival when it aired, but the announce team was stupendous. They did everything in their power to make every match seem important and real, every strike and hold meaningful.

If the main-roster team tried even half as hard, the product would be a whole lot more engaging. JR was a real asset.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:59 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


I don't know if you caught NXT Arrival when it aired, but the announce team was stupendous. They did everything in their power to make every match seem important and real, every strike and hold meaningful.

Amen and hallelujah to this. Byron Saxton and William Regal (with the occasional assist from Renee Young) are the best announce team WWE has had in literally years. "Jason Albert" is showing real promise as a color commentator as well.

Alex Riley sucks, but you can't have everything, I guess.
posted by mightygodking at 2:08 PM on April 2


Also, as an aside, Jim Ross has only "moved on from wrestling" in the sense that WWE fired him. I'd give good odds that within two years, Ross is announcing for another promotion - either Toby Keith and Jeff Jarrett's nascent Southern-style wrestling promotion that's due to arrive in the next year or so, or (and this would be amazing) the planned English-language PPV broadcasts for New Japan Pro Wrestling.
posted by mightygodking at 2:10 PM on April 2


He was absolutely without peer at making these predetermined matches seem like legitimate athletic contests and adding drama, excitement, passion and humor at just the right moments.

I don't disagree, but you made me really nostalgic for Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan. Ross did an excellent job following in their wake, however.
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:26 PM on April 2


Jesse Ventura's shtick has not aged well.
posted by box at 7:03 PM on April 2


uncleozzy, that's one of the reasons I'm pretty much only reading recaps of Raw these days. Cole, Lawler, and JBL are pretty much the worst thing about WWE right now, but the problem is that, essentially, every talking point is being piped into their ears from backstage. Whether that's McMahon's voice in their ear or HHH is the sticking point. If it's HHH that's telling them to drag everything to the bottom of the lowest level, then it's not going to get any better whenever he does end up completely in charge.

The inability of the announcers to build a match through commentary is staggering. They sit there and blather about pretty much anything that comes to mind (as per Brandon Stroud "Twerrging Mahggle!"). Given how little attention or time is paid to building stories for anything but the top wrestlers, the announce team could easily be filling in backstory, explaining, for example, why the hell Big E Langston is wrestling Alberto Del Rio out of nowhere, when they just had a tournament to see who would face Big E the week before. The idea of JBL, or Lawler, a former wrestler who can add insight to the by-the-numbers commentary is sound. Cole, he's just too far gone, and even when he does try to call the match, he ends up recycling the same crap ("Vintage Orton!") for which he gets mocked by the other two.

Blow up the whole thing. Bring in the NXT announce team, or put Wade Barrat in as the color commentator with someone who can accurately explain what's happening in the ring, but drop the idea of an announcer being a heel or a face. Have them be our interpreters, have them explain that, last week, backstage, Del Rio was incensed that Langston didn't pay him the proper respect he was due, and demanded a match, which he was justifiably granted because of his long career and several championships. Hell, own up to Fandango botching a move (but, yeah, don't call it that, maybe say it was a cheapshot) on Golddust, and say the reason they're wrestling again is so Golddust can get some revenge (and have him destroy Fandango). It's not that hard.

In other words, bah gawd, I miss JR.

As far as I've ever read, one of the main reasons for his repeatedly being pulled off the air was attacks of Bells Palsy, and McMahon essentially decided he didn't want Ross on air. That's another brick in the wall of the monument to how much of an ass Vince is.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:34 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


What a talent. I consider Joey Styles to be his equal, though he obviously has not had a career of comparable duration...
posted by Sedition at 3:46 AM on April 3


Whether that's McMahon's voice in their ear or HHH is the sticking point

Given that NXT is allegedly HHH's pet project, I'm operating under the assumption that it's Vince. Because the alternative is too terrible.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:56 AM on April 3


That's what I'm hoping, that NXT is how things will supposedly go, and that, at some point, things will actually reach their potential. If HHH is the reason for the awfulness at the announce table, then that's just how things are going to be, sadly.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:18 AM on April 3


On the other hand, HHH has pretty much perfected the art of being a heel.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:41 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


What does it say about his heel work during the runup to Wrestlemania that I almost think they'd be better off not "sending em home happy?"
posted by uncleozzy at 4:46 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


As much as I want to see Bryan holding both belts above his head while the crowd goes absolutely nuts, yeah, HHH has managed to make the leap from "ugh, this crap is what's wrong with WWE" to "holy shit, this is how being evil should be done." Together with Stephanie, their "we built the ring, hung the lights, rented this stadium, negotiated the contracts that make Daniel Bryan possible. We're the reason Yes is a thing" routine is a master class of heel as the boss. It's light years beyond crap like the kiss my ass club nonsense that Vince so clearly loved. Vince was cartoonishly evil and vindictive, often for no reason at all. The Authority, they've actually got reasons for what they're doing, and the case could be made (as Brandon Stroud frequently does) that the heels are the only ones on the show behavingly rationally, that the baby faces (cough, Shamus, cough) are acting like godawful bullies who think the only thing better than demeaning their opponent is unprovoked physical violence.

Of course, Batista pretty much has to walk out as champion for the Guardians of the Galaxy promotional tour (which is enough to make me almost kind of sort of but not really think about not watching the movie). In a dream world, though, just as Bryan is getting stomped by Batista and Orton, Cult of Personality hits, and out comes CM Punk who races to the ring and... hits Bryan with the GTS before walking back up the ramp and shaking hands with HHH and Stephanie McMahon. Then he gets introduced on Raw the next night as Phil Brooks, problem solver for the Authority. He feuds with Bryan until Orton has had his rematch with Batista, then Bryan goes on to feud with Batista until he wins at Summerslam. Meanwhile, the Shield are turning face and causing the Authority no end of trouble. HHH tells Kane to stand down, he's got the only guy whose ever beaten the Shield by himself, and Phil Brooks takes turns dismantling the members of the Shield, leading to a feud that elevates Roman Reigns to top tier status while keeping the three together.

A man can dream.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:22 AM on April 4


I have to be honest, I haven't really thought about Punk since he disappeared, but I do think it would be refreshing for him to return--if he does--as a corporate shill. Condescending heel Punk is miles ahead of wise-talking face Punk.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:54 AM on April 4


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