Ross at WWE No Mercy in 2007
|Birth name||James William Ross|
January 3, 1952 |
Fort Bragg, California
|Residence||Norman, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Jim Ross|
|Billed height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Billed weight||150 kg (331 lb)|
James William "Jim" Ross (born January 3, 1952) is an American professional wrestling commentator, referee, restaurateur, actor, occasional wrestler, and former company executive of WWE, where he worked as a commentator and as a talent relations consultant. He currently works for Fox Sports, where he writes commentary on professional wrestling for Foxsports.com and occasionally does play-by-play for boxing and mixed martial arts. He is the lead announcer for New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV.
Ross was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007. He is known affectionately as "Good ol' JR" and was widely regarded as the voice of the WWE. Outside of professional wrestling, Ross has developed his own brand of barbecue sauces and beef jerky.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 2.1 Mid-South Wrestling (1974–1982)
- 2.2 Jim Crockett Promotions/World Championship Wrestling (1982–1993)
- 2.3 World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment/WWE
- 2.4 New Japan Pro Wrestling (2015–present)
- 2.5 Independent circuit (2016–present)
- 3 Wrestling career
- 4 Boxing broadcasting career
- 5 MMA broadcasting career
- 6 Personal life
- 7 In other media
- 8 In wrestling
- 9 Awards and accomplishments
- 10 References
- 11 External links
While attending Westville High School, Ross played the first base position on the Westville baseball team. Ross was a two-time all-conference football player for the Westville Yellowjackets in 1968–69. His maternal grandparents owned a general store in Westville, Oklahoma and his paternal grandfather, Dee Ross, owned an off-sale beer store and was a carpenter. Ross was also President of the Student Body, a 4-year letterman in basketball, and State Vice President of the Future Farmers of America where he was State Speech Champion in 1968. Ross was also named Honorable Mention on the 1969 High School All State Football team by the Tulsa World as a center.
Mid-South Wrestling (1974–1982)
During his time in college, Ross had spent some time commentating on college radio. With this experience, Ross was given a chance to be a sideline commentator when an announcer in one territory was unable to show up one night. Jim first worked in the NWA Tri-State area as a referee in 1974. He stayed as a referee there until 1977.
Jim Crockett Promotions/World Championship Wrestling (1982–1993)
Shortly after Bill Watts bought out the Tri-State territory in 1982, merging it into his Mid-South Wrestling territory, Ross returned to work there, becoming their lead play-by-play man and Vice President of Marketing. The first World Title match he called was between Ric Flair and Ted DiBiase. When Jim Crockett, Jr. bought the Mid-South (since renamed the Universal Wrestling Federation) and merged it with his Jim Crockett Promotions group, Ross joined the new company and teamed up doing color commentary with David Crockett and Tony Schiavone as lead play-by-play man for the National Wrestling Alliance. Ross continued to hone his skills as Jim Crockett Promotions became NWA World Championship Wrestling (WCW). In 1991 the promotion left the NWA and became WCW. Jim was teamed with long-time NWA/Crockett broadcaster Bob Caudle for a couple of years. In 1992, he also spent one season as a commentator on Atlanta Falcons radio broadcasts.
Ross worked his way up the ladder to head of broadcasting, but had a contentious relationship with WCW's newest commentator (and future WCW executive) Eric Bischoff. According to Ross, Bischoff, who reported to him, did a really good job of "selling himself" to executives of WCW's owner Turner Broadcasting. According to Bischoff, Ross mistreated him and others (mostly in deference to Ross' then-supervisor Bill Watts), and when Eric was promoted to executive producer in 1993, Ross demanded and received his release.
Ross had a three-year contract with Turner Broadcasting, but he took an immediate buy-out for fear that he would not get work elsewhere if he was taken off television for a long period of time. Mick Foley claims that Ross resigned from WCW's booking committee. Ross left WCW after being taken off the air by Eric Bischoff.
World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment/WWE
Early career (1993–2002)
Ross was hired by the World Wrestling Federation and made his on-screen debut at WrestleMania IX. He took over for Gorilla Monsoon on WWF Wrestling Challenge the following weekend. Ross worked alongside Bobby Heenan on the show until Heenan left the WWF in December 1993. Ross was originally the main voice of the WWF's pay-per-view events when he was first brought in, calling both WrestleMania IX and the King of the Ring with Heenan and Randy Savage in 1993. Vince McMahon took over his position at pay-per-views starting with SummerSlam 1993.
Ross suggested the idea of Radio WWF to Vince McMahon, the idea was given a try and Ross was made host alongside Gorilla Monsoon. In this role, Ross was joined by co-hosts such as Johnny Polo, and talked to various WWF wrestlers and fans. Ross and Monsoon called SummerSlam and Survivor Series at the end of 1993 and the Royal Rumble for Radio WWF.
Ross's contract expired on February 11, 1994, and the WWF chose not to renew it; two weeks later he suffered his first attack of Bell's palsy. He subsequently became an announcer for Smoky Mountain Wrestling and the NFL's Atlanta Falcons (the second time he was with the Falcons as an announcer). In Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Ross was reunited with former NWA/WCW announcer Bob Caudle. The promotion was owned by longtime NWA Manager Jim Cornette and featured many former NWA/WCW wrestlers such as The Rock 'n' Roll Express, Eddie Gilbert, and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams.
When Vince McMahon was indicted by the United States federal government in 1994, he was unable to continue commentating on WWF Monday Night Raw. After a few weeks of Gorilla Monsoon on play-by-play, the WWF rehired Ross to fill in for McMahon alongside Randy Savage throughout that summer. After McMahon was acquitted Ross was let go by the WWF for leaking inside information to journalists. Ross briefly returned to Smoky Mountain Wrestling. The WWF rehired him in December 1994. Relocated to the syndicated WWF programming for the majority of the next two years, Ross rejoined the primary announce team in the summer of 1996. In September 1996, Ross turned heel in WWF storylines for the first time in his career. Following Diesel and Razor Ramon leaving the WWF for World Championship Wrestling and debuting there as The Outsiders, Ross began to proclaim on television that he was still in touch with "Diesel" and "Razor Ramon" and claimed that he would be bringing them back to the WWF soon. Other announcers were skeptical, and WWF President Gorilla Monsoon said that Hall and Nash were under contract with "another organization", and ordered Ross to cease and desist mentioning them on the air. On the September 23, 1996 episode of Monday Night Raw, Ross delivered a worked-shoot promo during which he ran down WWF Chairman Vince McMahon (outing him as chairman and not just a commentator for the first time in WWF storylines) and debuted his "new" Diesel and Razor, claiming that while working in the WWF "front office" he had been the man responsible for so many people leaving the company as part of his "revenge" against the WWF for how they treated him in the past. While he was kept on the air by McMahon, Ross portrayed himself to be bitter and spiteful, with repeated potshots at McMahon. However, the "New Diesel-New Razor" storyline was poorly received by fans, and Ross' heel turn was quickly dropped.
After this angle, Ross went on to host various WWF programs such as Superstars, Action Zone, Raw Is War, and Shotgun Saturday Night. At the end of 1998, Ross took a break from Raw Is War, due to another attack of Bell's Palsy he suffered whilst broadcasting a PPV (Capital Carnage) in London, England. Earlier in the day Ross had been informed his mother had died. On March 15, 1999, he returned to Raw Is War as part of a storyline alleging that Vince fired him because of his condition, but that he would not go down quietly and enlisted the services of "Dr. Death" Steve Williams as his personal "enforcer". The storyline went as far as to have Jim Ross set up his own announce table in front of the official announce table labeled "JR Is Raw". Shortly after that, Jim Ross confronted his replacement, Michael Cole, in the ring. After minutes of Cole trying to convince that he was not trying to steal Ross' job, Ross kicked Cole in the crotch and left the ring. The storyline was soon dropped as the attempt to turn Ross heel failed (the fans ended up cheering Ross and booing Cole) and he took his seat back as "official" commentator of Raw Is War starting with the main event of WrestleMania XV. Ross' Bell's palsy proved fodder for ridicule by WWF's competitor, World Championship Wrestling, in late 1999. Ed Ferrara parodied Ross, including doing a full impression including mockery of his modified voice due to his medical condition. This was received negatively by fans and wrestlers alike. Ferrara ceased mocking the medical condition after the first week. The angle was soon dropped by WCW, but not before "Oklahoma", Ferrara's parody of JR, won the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
During this time, Ross was commissioned to announce regional telecasts of the XFL, a professional football league co-owned by WWF. Ross, who had experience announcing for the Atlanta Falcons, was initially placed on the regional broadcasts, with his WWF partner Jerry Lawler as color commentator, even though Lawler admitted knowing and caring little about the sport, for the first regional telecast. After an incident in which the head play-by-play man on the national broadcast team, Matt Vasgersian, openly criticized the production on-air, Ross was hastily promoted to lead play-by-play, with Jesse Ventura as color commentator, for the next four weeks of broadcasts. Ross returned to the regional telecasts halfway through the XFL's lone season, with Dick Butkus as his color commentator after Lawler left the company.
Ross was the "voice of Raw Is War" throughout the Monday Night Wars alongside Jerry Lawler and cemented his legacy as one of the great wrestling commentators as WWE became the sole major wrestling promotion in North America. After the WWE Brand Extension, Ross worked exclusively for the Raw brand, cutting down to doing play-by-play on Raw-only pay-per-views, while SmackDown!-only pay-per-views were announced by SmackDown!'s announce team.
For most of the next six years Ross was involved in very few storylines. Also during this time, Ross served as an Executive Vice President of Talent Relations for the WWF/WWE, a codified extension of his long-time backstage role as a key individual in charge of hiring new talent. By 2005, Ross had stepped down from his executive and management roles. According to repeated statements on his official blog, the move away from management proved beneficial in terms of decreased work-load, giving him more time to focus on his health, his family, and his entrepreneurial endeavors.
Still working as the voice of Raw, Ross was again "fired" (kayfabe) from his play-by-play job by Vince and Linda McMahon on October 10, 2005. Doctors had discovered a serious issue with Ross's colon, and his storyline termination provided an explanation for his absence. While recovering from his colon surgery, Joey Styles (best known for his commentary work for Extreme Championship Wrestling) called the weekly Raw. After recovering, Ross helped produce the Raw announcers from backstage, and was brought back for Saturday Night's Main Event in 2006, then the Raw-brand matches at WrestleMania 22, before taking back his play-by-play job on Raw on May 8, 2006, after Styles quit Raw in the storyline, declaring his hatred for "sports entertainment".
Ross' contract with WWE expired in October 2006. At that point, neither side had signed a new contract and instead worked week to week under the terms of the expired contract. In November 2006, Jim Ross stated on his official blog that he had signed a new one-year contract with WWE and would continue to work year-to-year.
On June 23, 2008 during the 2008 WWE Draft, Ross was drafted from Raw to the SmackDown brand while Michael Cole was drafted from SmackDown to Raw, trading positions as commentators on each brand. This ended Ross' position as Monday Night Raw's play-by-play commentator after a nearly 12-year run. The following day Ross posted a blog on his official website saying initially he was not happy with the move and considered quitting the company since he was not told beforehand about the move, but that he would work "to make SmackDown the best program the WWE produces".
On April 8, 2009, Ross announced on his WWE Universe blog that with the departure of Tazz from World Wrestling Entertainment, he would assume the role of SmackDown's color analyst, with ECW announcer Todd Grisham moving over to the brand as the play-by-play announcer. October 6, 2009 was his last broadcast as a full-time announcer for WWE.
Ross missed the SmackDown tapings on October 13, 2009, as he asked for a day off due to an anniversary. Seven days later, on October 20, Ross suffered his third Bell's palsy episode en route to Columbia, South Carolina for a SmackDown taping. After initially planning on working the tapings and reuniting with Lawler, Ross instead flew back to Oklahoma, missing the show—Lawler and Cole commentated SmackDown—and leaving his plans for Bragging Rights in the air. On October 21, 2009, Jim Ross announced that he would not be commentating the WWE Bragging Rights pay-per-view, but Grisham mentioned that SmackDown would give Ross the Bragging Rights trophy as a "get well" gift.
Sporadic appearances and departure (2010–2013)
On the November 15, 2010 Old School Raw special, Ross made a guest appearance on commentary with Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole, calling a match between Daniel Bryan and Jack Swagger. Cole insulted Ross throughout the match, which resulted in Ross hitting Cole over the head with his hat after the match had finished. Ross returned on March 14, 2011 to confront Cole, who had entered into a feud with Lawler. After being insulted by Cole, he challenged him to a match but was attacked by Swagger. Ross called the final four matches at WrestleMania XXVII, including the Cole vs Lawler match. On the post-WrestleMania Raw, Ross joined commentary, only to walk out later in the night after Cole squirted him with barbecue sauce. Ross and Lawler defeated Cole and Swagger on the April 11 and April 25 Raws but were defeated by Cole and Swagger in a Country Whipping match at Extreme Rules. As Lawler's feud with Cole ended at Over the Limit, Ross showed up to gain revenge on Cole by squirting him with barbecue sauce.
On July 25, 2011, the new COO of WWE, Triple H re-hired Ross to a full-time commentating position on Raw. The new Raw Interim General Manager, John Laurinaitis, fired Ross on October 10 for walking out on Triple H a week earlier. Ross later revealed that he was given no prior notice that he was to be publicly fired. Ross returned on October 17, joining John Cena to defeat Michael Cole and Alberto Del Rio in a tag match. A week later, Cole challenged Ross to a "Michael Cole Challenge", with Cole's job on the line. The challenge took place on November 14; Ross won two of the three challenges, the first being a dance contest, the second being a rap battle (during which Ross legitimately forgot his lines) but lost the final challenge, which was who weighed less. Ross remained off television as a result of losing the contest.
At WrestleMania XXVIII, he returned to call the 'End of an Era' Hell in a Cell match between Triple H and The Undertaker. Prior to the start of the match, Ross shook hands with Michael Cole, effectively healing any old wounds they had between them. Ross also made an appearance at Raw 1000, commentating the opening match. On June 20, 2012, Ross took over as a commentator on the revamped NXT alongside Byron Saxton and William Regal. Also during 2012, after Paul Levesque (Triple H) took control of Talent Relations he hired Jim Ross to work as an Adviser and Scout within the department. Following Jerry Lawler's heart attack on September 10, 2012, Ross returned to Raw to work as an interim commentator while Lawler recovered. Ross was honored on the October 1 edition of Raw as it was dedicated JR Appreciation Night and was held in his hometown of Oklahoma City. While CM Punk interrupted the segment as it aired, Ross was acknowledged by Vince McMahon and Triple H as well as local wrestling legends Bill Watts and Danny Hodge after Raw went off the air. Ross also served as presenter for the Match of the Year award at the 2012 Slammy Awards.
In 2013, Ross began to coach and produce new announcers at the WWE Performance Center in Florida. He returned to television on the 20th Anniversary edition of Raw on January 14, 2013, where he called the steel cage main event between John Cena and Dolph Ziggler. On March 1, 2013 he appeared on WWE Smackdown! to interview his long-time friend Jack Swagger, and Swagger's new advocate, Zeb Colter. During the segment, Swagger turned against Ross, ending their friendship.
On August 16, 2013 while hosting a WWE 2K14 roster announcement panel with guests, Ross was suspected of being intoxicated, as he began swearing on several occasions and acted in an unprofessional manner throughout the event. At one point he appeared to be legitimately angry with Mick Foley. Ric Flair, who was a member of the guest panel was also suspected of being intoxicated at the event, calling John Cena a "hardcore drinker" at one point amongst other off-color remarks and stories which were never stopped by Ross. A few weeks later on September 11, 2013, Jim Ross officially announced his "retirement" from WWE as his contract had expired and was not to be renewed. It was suspected that he was fired due to his actions at the WWE 2K14 roster announcement. In an interview in 2014, Ross claimed that an insult to the sponsor of the event was what led to his release. However, in the same interview, he confirmed that he was not drunk, but rather fatigued due to Bell's Palsy was likely the reason he may have been perceived as being intoxicated. Vince McMahon addressed the situation in a December 2014 interview, claiming that while he disapproved of Ross' behavior at the event, it was ultimately Ross' decision to leave WWE as he wanted to spend more time at home than working for WWE. McMahon stated that there is no heat between the two parties.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (2015–present)
On January 4, 2015, Ross and Matt Striker served as the English language commentators for Global Force Wrestling's presentation of New Japan Pro Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom 9 in Tokyo Dome pay-per-view.
Independent circuit (2016–present)
Although Ross' career has predominantly been as a commentator, Ross has participated in matches, with some notable success, including a victory over Triple H in a no-DQ match (albeit with help from Batista).
Ross' most notable wrestling appearance was in a tag team match with broadcast partner Jerry "The King" Lawler against Al Snow and Jonathan Coachman at the 2003 Unforgiven pay-per-view, with their Raw broadcast jobs on the line. They lost the contest to Snow and Coachman due to interference by Chris Jericho, however two weeks later Ross and Lawler regained their jobs when Ross defeated Coachman in a Country Whippin' match, using a stunner finishing maneuver. Ross has participated in more contests alongside Lawler and has appeared in a few extreme stipulation matches. In 2011, Ross competed against Michael Cole on the April 25 episode of Raw, where he defeated Cole by disqualification after Cole's manager for the match, Jack Swagger, attacked Ross while he had Cole mounted and was landing punches on him.
Jim Ross has been involved in multiple conflicts as well with superstars such as Triple H, Val Venis, Jack Swagger, Vladimir Kozlov, Mankind, Steve Austin, bloodied in a Match by then-Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff, and was even set on fire by Kane. Ross even main-evented the WWF's first-ever show from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA, an episode of Raw is War that took place on October 11, 1999. Ross teamed with Steve Austin to take on WWF Champion Triple H and his partner Chyna.
As part of storylines, Ross has been regularly targeted by Vince McMahon in rather harsh circumstances throughout his time with WWE: most notably in 2005 when Vince McMahon's character, Mr. McMahon, featured in a series of segments which made fun of Ross' legitimate colon surgery.
Boxing broadcasting career
MMA broadcasting career
Ross is married to a woman named Jan, to whom he was introduced by Ric Flair. He has two daughters from a previous marriage and two granddaughters. He cites Steve Austin and Jerry Lawler as his closest friends.
Ross suffers from Bell's palsy, which sometimes temporarily paralyzes his facial muscles. The symptoms first occurred on January 30, 1994. In late 1998, following the death of his mother, Ross took a break from WWE Raw as the effects of his grief reportedly aggravated his palsy; Michael Cole filled in for him.
Ross is an avid Oklahoma Sooners fan and a regular football season ticket holder; this is reflected in his entrance music, which is "Boomer Sooner" (the Sooners' fight song). He can be spotted at every Sooners home game, and when the Sooners play top teams around the country. In 2014, he became FoxSports.com's Contributor for NCAA Football and Oklahoma Sooners.
His autobiography Slobberknocker will be available in Fall 2017.
In other media
In February 2014 Ross began hosting his own podcast The Ross Report. He has also written two WWF/WWE themed cook books Can You Take The Heat? The WWF Is Cooking and J.R's Cookbook released in 2000 and 2004 respectively.
- "(Good Ol') J.R."
- "The Voice of the WWE"
- Wrestlers managed
- Entrance themes
- "Boomer Sooner" by The Pride of Oklahoma '98
Awards and accomplishments
- Cauliflower Alley Club
- Art Abrams Lifetime Achievement Award (2010)
- National Wrestling Alliance
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- Ross, Jim (January 5, 2008). "J.R.'s Blog " Happy New Year Everyone! Lots of Feedback Answered Today... Life Goes On... and So Does Work..". JRsBarBQ.com. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
I was born on January 3, 1952 in Fort Bragg, CA.
- "Jim Ross' WWE profile". WWE. Retrieved 2011-03-29.
- "Store | J.R.'s Family BBQ".
- Encarnacao, Jack (23 March 2007). "Recap of Jim Ross' speech at MIT". Wrestling Observer. Retrieved 2007-03-25.
- "Jim Ross' former WWE profile". WWE. Archived from the original on 2004-11-27. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
- Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.145)
- Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.238)
- Ross, Jim (2006-11-23). "J.R. responds to Contract Signing Feedback". Retrieved 2007-03-25.
- Sitterson, Aubrey (2008-06-23). "A Draft Disaster". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
- Ross, Jim. "Draft Thoughts". JR's Blog. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- Ross, Jim. "Upon Further Review". JR's Blog. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- Ross, Jim. "Smackdown this September 25, 2008". JR's Blog. Archived from the original on September 29, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- "JR's Homes from WrestleMania with random thoughts". WWE Universe. April 8, 2009. Archived from the original on April 11, 2009.
- "WWE RAW 10/17/11".
- "WWE RAW 10/24/11".
- "WWE RAW 11/14/11".
- Stephens, David (October 1, 2012). "Raw Results - 10/1/12". WrestleView.com. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
- Martin, Adam (October 1, 2012). "WWE posts video of Jim Ross Appreciation Night". WrestleView.com. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
- Staff, WWE.com. "Jim Ross to retire". WWE. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
- Video on YouTube
- "Vince McMahon addresses CM Punk on Stone Cold Podcast". WrestleView. December 2, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- "It's official: Jim Ross returning to broadcast booth". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
- "What Jim Ross' AXS TV deal means for NJPWWorld streaming events". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
- "World of Sport Wrestling to return to ITV". Evening Standard. 2016-10-20. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross grades his own boxing commentary debut
- Jim Ross, Chael Sonnen Excel at Battlegrounds O.N.E.
- "WWE Corporate".
- "J.R.'s Blog " Life In The Bar-B-Q Fast Lane.. Sooner Football.. Steve Austin.. Legends Roundtable.. Autographed Cookbooks Selling Like "Q".. J.R. to OU-Colorado Game.. Your Fe...".
- "Amazing But True.". WWE Magazine (16): 13. October 2007.
- "Bill Rosinki on Twitter".
- Jim Ross: No prima donnas in Oklahoma locker room
- Middleton, Marc (12 November 2016). "Jim Ross releases Slobberknocker biography". Wrestlinginc. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
- Johnson, Steven (2010-04-22). "Ross, DiBiase lead parade of honorees at CAC banquet". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2010-04-22.
- "NWA announces 2016 Hall of Fame class". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Award Winners". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
- Meltzer, Dave (January 30, 2012). "Jan 30 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Gigantic year-end awards issue, best and worst in all categories plus UFC on FX 1, death of Savannah Jack, ratings, tons and tons of news". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Campbell, California. ISSN 1083-9593.
- Meltzer, Dave (January 23, 2013). "The 2012 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Annual Awards Issue". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Campbell, California. ISSN 1083-9593.
- Foley, Mick (2000). Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. HarperCollins. p. 511. ISBN 0-06-103101-1.
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