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Wrestling / Jim Ross

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Good Gawd almighty
You gotta be kitten me.
"It's a Slobberknocker!"

James William Ross (born January 3, 1952), a.k.a. "Good Ol' JR" or just "JR", is one of the greatest (and most beloved) commentators in the history of Professional Wrestling having provided commentary for the WWE for almost 20 years (and having worked for several other promotions, including WCW prior to starting with WWF/E, and New Japan Pro-Wrestling after his unceremonious firing from WWE). He is also close friends with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

Outside of wrestling, he sells his own brand of barbecue sauce, has written cookbooks, and opened a barbecue restaurant.

He's semi-retired from commentatin' — though he does come back every now and then. Ross returned to the broadcast booth part-time in 2016, calling matches for NJPW on AXS (a tape-delayed show that's intended to showcase NJPW matches to American audiences). In his spare time, he also runs a website that peddles his own brand of condiments and barbecue products, and he also offers a regularly updated blog about current events in wrestling and even boxing, MMA, football and other sports.

After his final WWE contract expired in late March 2019, Ross signed a 3-year deal to become a "senior advisor" for All Elite Wrestling. It wasn't initially clear whether he'd return to the commentary table, but he would later be revealed as the lead play-by-play announcer for AEW's first major event, Double or Nothing, in May 2019. Ross also brings a world of other backstage experience, especially in talent relations.

He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.

"Slobberknockin' tropes!":

  • The Ace: Regarded as the best commentator in the business by many inside and outside the business.
  • Action Survivor: Has actually wrestled several times. He even beat Triple H at one point. Of course, he didn't exactly "beat" Triple H so much as survive him.
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: Granted, this seems to apply to a lot of wrestling announcers, but Ross has a tendency to say "Martial Arts chops" and "Martial Arts Kick" without referring to which martial art is being utilized at a given time.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • A covert case, but not obvious to the casual wrestling fan who assumes everything is scripted. During the 1998 Hell In A Cell match between The Undertaker and Mankind (a match now considered legendary), Mankind was thrown off the cage, through a table to the floor. He is stretched away, but gets off the stretcher, climbs the cage again and restarts the match - at which point, he was chokeslammed through the cage roof to the ring below. Ross shouted: "Will somebody stop the damn match? Enough's enough!" This was out of legitimate concern for Mankind, who had already taken quite a beating up to this point. There's also some debate as to whether Ross said "they've killed him" or "that killed him" after Foley's first bump. If Ross indeed said "they've," it could be a reference to the booking of the match, which would also be breaking the fourth wall.
    • In addition, Ross was so calm whilst telling the audience of Owen Hart's fatal accident at Over the Edge 1999 that it's often hard to believe it was live. Jerry Lawler, on the other hand, looked like a ghost. Ross's reiteration of that fact it really happened whilst trying not to outright say wrestling is fake was something to be absolutely commended. While he seemed slightly exasperated that the event would continue after Owen's death, he didn't appear to be too concerned for long.
  • The Cameo:
    • Present at All-American Wrestling and Dragon Gate's joint show in Chicago for autograph signings.
    • On TNA Impact, he's never physically showed up, but they have used his picture and recorded statements regarding Bully Ray putting Dixie Carter through a table.
  • Catchphrase:
    • The aforementioned "slobberknocker" quote.
    • "BAH GAWD!"
    • "The hell you say?"
    • "[X is being beaten] like a government mule!"
    • "[Wrestler name] is running like a scalded dog!"
    • "[Insert Wrestler Name (Usually "Stone Cold" Steve Austin) Here] IS STOMPING A MUD HOLE AND WALKING IT DRY!"
    • "...and business has just picked up!"
    • "Bowling-shoe ugly," used interchangeably to describe either a wrestler or a terrible match (most famously to describe "That Jackie Gayda Match").
    • "He's a human being!" (usually accompanied by the aforementioned "Bah Gawd" or "Good Gawd Almighty!")
    • "That man has a family!!"
    • "Those stairs are not made out of chocolate!"
    • "That unforgiving steel!"
    • "That's [x]'s music!"
    • "Kane, bringing hellfire and brimstone!"
    • "What a sick, twisted human being!"
    • And let's not forget, "STONE COLD!!! STONE COLD!!! STONE COLD!!!"
    • "[Wrestler] went once too often to the well."
    • "Wait a minute!"
    • [after a particularly devastating-looking spot] "Meanwhile, some redneck in a trailer park is sitting in his La-Z-Boy with his gut hanging out and a beer going 'Oh, they just know how to fall right!'."
  • The Chew Toy: An unpleasant example. During his time with the WWF/E, Ross has suffered an incredible level of degradation and hazing onscreen, and all for no apparent reason. Vince McMahon just seems to want to wipe JR off the face of the earth. The time he joined the "Kiss My Ass Club" might be one of the most public humiliations of all time, as were the jibes at Ross' deceased mother and Bell's palsy, to the point where Ross remaining with them sometimes comes across like a bit of a battered spouse, making excuses for his abuser. One theory is that J.R. enjoys George Jetson Job Security, having been fired numerous times only to be "invited" back once the WWE realized they had no one to replace him with (The push of East Coast-bred Michael Cole could be seen as a deliberate effort to distance themselves from J.R.'s iconic twang, if not for the later addition of Bradshaw). Ross has also frequently promised — threatened? — to write a tell-all biography about his time with the company, only to clam up once he's been re-hired.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Between his frequent releases and bouts with Bell's palsy.
  • Consummate Professional: The fact that he kept a straight face while announcing the infamous WCW/RoboCop crossover attests to this.
  • Cool Old Guy: He doesn't make nearly the same effort that Jerry Lawler does to keep up with the trends, but he's got multiple younger generations of fans anyway.
  • Cool Teacher: Jim Cornette credits Bill Watts with turning JR into the best commentator in the business.
  • Covert Pervert: While not as bad as Jerry Lawler, JR has made more than a couple statements about the attractiveness of the female wrestlers, mostly Trish Stratus. And here's one from Raw 11/19/2011 regarding someone else:
    Jim Ross: Huh, Melina may have had a wardrobe malfunction, or maybe I was just hoping?
    Jerry Lawler: What, I missed it?
    • It's gotten more overt in AEW, with people online joking that he needs to be locked up in "horny jail."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Whenever he's not yelling or getting worked up, he acts as this trope on occasion. Especially when dealing with Jerry Lawler.
  • Deep South: Actually, Oklahoma isn't traditionally "deep south", unlike Memphis or Kentucky where his broadcast partners Jerry Lawler and Jim Cornette are from. Nonetheless, Ross was the one who tended to get singled out for being "too southern".
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: From The Rock-"Mr. Ass" Billy Gunn match at SummerSlam 99:
    Jim Ross: The Rock just shoved Billy Gunn's face in that large woman's ass! I just said that, King!
  • Evil Knockoff: JR was the one that brought out the knockoff versions of Diesel and Razor Ramon to terrorize the WWF during the company's failed attempt at having him do a Face–Heel Turn.
  • Face–Heel Turn: WWE tried this (and failed spectacularly) a couple times, including assaulting Michael Cole in early 1999 because he thought Cole was stealing his job. It backfired as the crowd pretty much agreed and cheered. Turns out that beating on a Creator's Pet isn't the best way to gain heel heat.
  • Fat Best Friend:
  • Flanderization: Many fans might not realize that Ross started out as a far more reserved, cerebral announcer in the mode of his mentor Gordon Solie, before playing up his Oklahoman roots upon joining the WWF, and becoming increasingly reliant on catchphrases and wild outbursts in lieu of thorough play-by-play.
  • Freudian Slip:
    "That one eyed monster, Kane!"
    "Mark Henry is handling the big Johnson!" (Royal Rumble 1998)
    "Lita's here! Jerking Edge off...the ladder!" (WrestleMania 17) note 
    "He's either crazy as hell of the toughest SOB I have ever seen... in this type of environment." (a Freudian Slip because Ross was honestly calling Mankind the toughest SOB period, but "Toughest SOB" is one of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's Red Barons)
    "Jericho looking right at you, Triple H". (Mistaking Chris Benoit for Chris Jericho during the former's entrance on an episode of Raw)
    He accidentally said "WWF" on RAW 9/19/2011, which was censored. He apologized for it the next day on Twitter.
    "WWE Champion Kenny Omega..." (AEW Dynamite 2/17/2021)
  • Genre Savvy: Of wrestling, of course, and also of horror movies. Before the match between The Undertaker and Papa Shango on the 1993 VHS Undertaker...His Gravest Matches, he mentioned Stephen King, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, "Freddy Krueger for a more current time" to set the tone for a match between a gravedigging zombie and a voodoo master.
  • George Jetson Job Security: He's been fired from Monday Night Raw a lot. Eric Bischoff, Linda McMahon and John Laurinaitis being the most famous cases where he was dismissed only to return with much fanfare.
  • Happily Married: Whenever Jerry Lawler or Paul Heyman drool over whichever Diva is wrestling in the current match and mention it to JR, the latter calmly replies that he's a happily married man. Of course, his clever retort would be, "I may be on a diet, but I can still look at the menu!" Sadly, his wife Jan is no longer with us, as she died as a result of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Joining the walk out resulting in Triple H's replacement firing him from commentary.
  • Hot-Blooded:
    • JR tends to yell a lot during big matches, but he never quite got as worked up as much as he did during WrestleMania 22 when Shawn Michaels gave Vince McMahon a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Playing off of when Vince forced JR to kiss his ass and off of Vince's continual mind games with Shawn, Ross went absolutely ballistic during the match. Even the usually over the top Jerry Lawler was (kayfabe) surprised when Ross stated that Vince deserved getting the crap beaten out of him more than anyone alive: "More than anyone alive, JR?!"
      Jim Ross: [as HBK grabs the large framed Muscle & Fitness cover at ringside and prepares to hit Vince with it] "That's right! Yeah, Hit him in the head with it AND THEN SHOVE IT UP HIS ASS!!!!"
    • He was the same way at No Way Out 2003, when Steve Austin faced Eric Bischoff. Not only was Stone Cold coming back from a ten month absence, but Eric Bischoff had kicked a cinder block through Ross's head. Suffice to say, JR was as pumped for Bischoff's comeuppance as the red-hot Montreal crowd. JR was at his JR-est that night.
    • Ross absolutely flipped out at the end of WrestleMania X-Seven, when Stone Cold did a Face–Heel Turn.
    • And then there was the time the Rock forced Vince McMahon to kiss Rikishi's ass, giving JR and Trish Stratus some long-overdue payback:
  • It Will Never Catch On:
    • When Eric Bischoff took over WCW and started executing his plans to make it the national juggernaut it became, decided that Ross was too fat and southern to be on TV. When Ross was hired by WWE, Vince McMahon played up these traits by giving him the name J.R. and giving him his ten gallon hat, both of which he hated at first. Eventually, he became beloved as "Good Ol' J.R.", the voice of professional wrestling.
    • Jim Ross said as much of Samoa Joe when scouting for talent in UPW. The Samoa Joe who came to be regarded as one of the best wrestlers in the country, if not on the planet. The one who had a hand in training John Cena, oops.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: He's accused many a baby face of having "more guts than brains" and has frequently called for matches to be stopped. To an extent, this is Jim Ross and WWE's relationship in real life. He might have to endure a lot of indignities, but they do pay him well.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Ross famously did this in regards to the abundance of weapons under the ring.
  • Large-Ham Announcer: He gets very excited and over-the-top when commenting on matches. It always sounded like he was about to die at any minute.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Ross would occasionally refer to Real Life events that weren't part of Kayfabe. For example, he made a couple of references to Honky Tonk Man being the cousin of Jerry Lawler, a fact which was never otherwise acknowledged on WWF television.
  • Man on Fire: He was once set ablaze by unmasked Kane. "Kane Sucks" signs started appearing in the audience almost immediately afterwards.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • His commentary is well known for making matches exciting when they would otherwise be average without him.
    • His best Stone Cold line was when SCSA was walking down the ramp, angrily muttering to himself like always.
  • The Nicknamer:
  • Only in It for the Money: JR has implied this is one reason he's kept working with WWE and says he has a positive relationship with Vince McMahon. He's mentioned on his podcast that working for the WWE has earned him enough money to live comfortably and in particular to send his daughters to college.
  • Perpetual Frowner: On account of the Bell's Palsy. He used to have quite the expressive face.
  • Product Placement:
    • Comes with the territory. He and King are particularly remembered for zealously shilling Skittles and Subway sandwiches. There's also JR's own barbeque sauce, though he doesn't promote it nearly as much.
    • He'll put anything over. Once on Raw in 1997, he was promoting that night's episode of La Femme Nikita and mentioned that some character "turns against The Section. Damn him!"
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He was always more straight-laced than broadcast partner Jerry Lawler, who always held up the "heel" side of the commentator equation by (among other things) leering at all the Divas.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The more subdued blue to Jerry Lawler, Jim Cornette and Paul Heyman's red. The louder, more passionate red to Mick Foley and Todd Grisham's blue.
  • Say My Name
    • And not much later, "TYSON! TYSON! TYSON!" You can tell his voice is almost gone by this point (if you didn't notice with the previous line).
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: He and Jerry Lawler fit this trope to a T.
  • That Came Out Wrong: During the Stacy Keibler-Torrie Wilson Lingerie Match at WWF No Mercy 2001, October 21, 2001, during one sequence when the ladies were rolling around on the mat, he said that they were "jockeying for position," and then apologized for it. (Victoria's Secret-ing?)
  • Theme Naming: All of the products in his store are named after Professional Wrestling tropes and terminology.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Inverted. Calling a suicidal Tommy Dreamer right before WrestleMania 17 and informing him that the WWE were bringing him to the roster managed to convince Tommy not to murder Paul Heyman at the event.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Jerry Lawler.
  • Vocal Evolution: Young Jim Ross was neither as forceful nor as deep in voice.