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Ross in 2007 at WWE No Mercy
|Ring name(s)||Jim Ross|
|Born|| January 3, 1952 |
Fort Bragg, California
Ross in 2007 at WWE No Mercy
|Ring name(s)||Jim Ross|
|Born|| January 3, 1952 |
Fort Bragg, California
James William "Jim" Ross (born January 3, 1952) is a retired professional wrestling commentator, referee, restaurateur, occasional wrestler, and former company executive of WWE, where he worked as a commentator on NXT, a commentator on Raw, and as a talent relations consultant.
Ross was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest announcers in wrestling history. He is known affectionately by wrestling fans as "Good Ol' JR". Outside of professional wrestling, Ross has developed his own brand of barbecue sauces and cookbooks.
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.
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 Mid-South area as a referee in 1974. He stayed as a referee there until 1977.
Shortly after Bill Watts bought out the Mid-South territory in 1982, 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.
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 was fired by Vince McMahon on February 11, 1994, two weeks after suffering 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. When McMahon was acquitted, Ross was let go by the WWF again. Ross 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 passed away. On March 1, 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.
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 will 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 broadcasting 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.
On the November 15, 2010, live three hour special Old School Raw, Ross made a guest appearance on commentary with Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole, calling a match between Daniel Bryan and Jack Swagger. This was Ross' first television appearance in over a year. Cole insulted Ross throughout the match, which resulted in Ross hitting Cole over the head with his hat after the match had finished.
On the March 14, 2011 episode of Raw, Ross returned to talk some sense into Cole, who entered a feud with Lawler, only for Cole to insult Ross. Ross would then challenge Cole to a match, only for Swagger to come out and attack both Ross and Lawler. Ross would call the final four matches at WrestleMania XXVII, including the Cole vs Lawler match. The following night on Raw, Ross would join commentary, only to walk out later in the night after Cole would squirt him with his own barbecue sauce product.
Ross would continue to commentate on Raw part-time, as well as support Lawler in his feud with Cole and Swagger. On the April 11 episode of Raw, Ross and Lawler defeated Cole and Swagger in a tag match. Following their victory, Lawler announced that he and Ross would challenge Cole and Swagger to another match at Extreme Rules. On the April 25 episode of Raw, Ross and Lawler once again defeated Cole and Swagger, this time by disqualification. At the pay-per-view, Ross and Lawler were defeated by Cole and Swagger in a Country Whipping match.
At Over the Limit on May 22, Ross showed up to gain revenge on Cole for squirting him with his own barbecue sauce a couple of months before on Raw. Ross brought his own bottle of sauce to the ring with him and proceeded to pour it all out over Cole's face, hair and clothes, followed by Bret Hart making a surprise appearance and locking Cole in the Sharpshooter, while Lawler made Cole kiss his foot. After that, he joined the announcer's table alongside Josh Mathews and Booker T to call the "I Quit Match" between John Cena and The Miz.
On July 25, 2011, the new COO of WWE, Triple H re-hired Ross to a full-time commentating position on Monday Night Raw to reform the partnership between himself and Jerry Lawler (alongside Michael Cole). On September 19, Jim Ross interviewed Mark Henry on winning the World Heavyweight Championship from Randy Orton at Night of Champions, but only to be attacked by him. Jerry Lawler tried to stop him but he received a World's Strongest Slam. Ross and Lawler were replaced by Josh Mathews for the rest of the night.
On the October 10 episode of Raw, Ross was fired by the new Raw Interim General Manager, John Laurinaitis, for walking out on Triple H the week before. Ross later revealed that he was given no prior notification that he was to be publicly fired like he was. On the October 17 episode of Raw, Ross returned in a tag team match with John Cena in a win over Michael Cole and Alberto Del Rio. A week later, Cole would challenge Ross to a "Michael Cole Challenge" match, where if Cole would lose, he would quit. Despite this, on the Halloween special episode of Raw, Ross "no-showed" the "Michael Cole Challenge" due to inflammatory bowel disease. The Michael Cole challenge was rescheduled for the following week, but again was cancelled. The challenge was yet again scheduled for the November 14 episode, and was slated to kick off that night's episode. In the episode Ross won two of the three challenges which were arm wrestling and dancing but lost the final challenge which was who weighed less. Subsequently, he was "fired" again.
On April 1, 2012, at WrestleMania XXVIII, Ross, sporting a new beard, returned to call the 'End of an Era' Hell in a Cell match between Triple H and The Undertaker per Undertaker's request behind the scenes. it should also be noted that he ended his long time feud with Michael Cole as the 2 shook hands healing any old wounds they had between them.
Ross also made an appearance at the 1,000th episode of Raw on July 23, 2012, commentating the opening match.
On the September 17 and October 8 episodes of Raw, Jim Ross joined Michael Cole & JBL at commentary filling in for Jerry Lawler.
Following Jerry Lawler's heart attack on September 10, 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.
On December 17, 2012, during the WWE Raw, Jim Ross appeared alongside Gene Okerlund and Ricky The Dragon Steamboat to announce the winner of the Slammy Award for Match of the Year. Ross also returned 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. Michael Cole allowed Ross to replace him to call the match alongside JBL and Jerry Lawler.
On March 1, 2013, Jim Ross made a return to Friday Night SmackDown to interview his long-time friend Jack Swagger, and Swagger's advocate, Zeb Colter. Swagger began provoking Ross, saying he wasn't a "real American". Alberto Del Rio ran down the ramp and into the ring and gave Jim Ross his cowboy hat back, which Jack Swagger originally knocked off. Del Rio then said to his WrestleMania XXIX opponent that he wasn't a Jack Swagger, but a jackass, and then Ross left the ring. On April 7, Jim Ross appeared to host the WrestleMania 29 pre-show and post show alongside Dusty Rhodes, Kofi Kingston and Scott Stanford.
In 2012 when Paul Levesque (Triple H) took control of Talent Relations he hired Jim Ross to work as an Advisor and Scout within the department. In 2013 Jim Ross also began to coach and produce new announcers at the WWE Performance Center in Florida.
On September 11, 2013, Jim Ross officially announced his retirement from WWE as his contract had expired and was not to be renewed. 
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.
Ross suffers from Bell's palsy, which sometimes results in temporary paralysis of his facial muscles. In late 1998, following the death of his mother, Ross took a break from Raw as the effects of his grief reportedly worsened his Bell's palsy, and Michael Cole filled in for Ross. Despite his condition, Ross has established himself as one of the all-time greatest wrestling commentators, often compared to Gordon Solie. J.R.'s influence was Gordon Solie and Bill Watts.
In 2007, spurred on by sales of his line of barbecue sauces and beef products, Ross opened up J.R.'s Family Bar-B-Q, a barbecue restaurant in Norman, Oklahoma. The restaurant was closed as of May 2010.
He is an avid Oklahoma Sooners sports fan and is a regular football season-ticket holder; this is reflected in his entrance music, which is "Boomer Sooner" (OU's fight song). He can be spotted at every OU home game and when the Sooners play top teams around the country.
Jim Ross cites "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Jerry "The King" Lawler as his closest friends.
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