Aug 30, 2009 - by Steve Gerweck
Real name: James W. Ross
Weight: 210 lbs.
Date of birth: January 3, 1952
Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK
Pro debut: 1972
- Ross served as the play by play announcer for Bill Watts’ Mid South/UWF promotion, until the company was sold to Jim Crockett Jr.
- Ross did commentary with “Cowboy” Bill Watts and Freebird Michael “P.S.” Hayes on the UWF’s syndicated program.
- When Crockett absorbed the UWF, Ross became an announcer for NWA/WCW television.
- In WCW, Ross worked with the likes of Tony Schiavone, Paul E. Dangerously (Heyman), and the flirtatious Missy Hyatt.
- In 1990, Ross did play by play commentary on WCW’s then top program, WCW Saturday Night. Jesse “The Body” Ventura provided the color analysis.
- Ross did play by play for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons on radio in 1992. JR also hosted the weekly “Jerry Glanville Show.”
- In 1993, Vince McMahon hired Ross.
- Upon his arrival in the WWF, Ross worked extensively behind the scenes.
- Ross made his WWF debut at Wrestlemania IX in Las Vegas, NV. Ross, as did all the WWF announcers, sported a toga.
- Ross regularly substituted for McMahon on “Raw” during his 1994 steroid distribution court case.
- In 1996, Ross conducted a series of interviews with the diabolic Mankind. In the end, Mankind gave Ross the Mandible Claw.
- Ross started suffering from Bell’s Palsy in 1996.
- After Scott Hall (Razor Ramon) and Kevin Nash (Diesel) left the WWF in favor of WCW, Ross boasted he had signed “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel, and “The Bad Guy” Razor Ramon to return to the company. As it turned out, “Razor Ramon” was Rick Bogner, and the “fake” Diesel was Glen Jacobs (Kane).
- McMahon, Ross, and Lawler provided the commentary for “Raw” until the end of 1997, when Ross became the regular play by play voice.
- In the summer of 1998, Ross was instrumental in the WWF’s acquisition of his longtime friend “Dr. Death” Steve Williams.
- Bell’s Palsy struck the respected announcer while announcing the WWF Capital Carnage PPV from London, England on December 7, 1998. Ross also received word that his beloved mother had passed away. As a result, Ross was granted a leave of absence from the company.
- Ross returned in time to call the Austin-Rock main event at Wrestlemania XV.
- On April 12, 1999, Ross returned to his full-time commentating position on Raw.
- In 1999, Ross appeared in the motion picture “Man on the Moon.” Appropriately, Ross played a wrestling announcer.
- Ross took public responsibility for Jeff Jarrett’s departure to WCW in October 1999.
- In 2000, Ross’s cookbook “Can You Take The Heat? — The WWF Is Cooking!” was published. In addition, JR’s barbecue sauce was distributed nationwide.
- In the summer of 2000, Ross worked an angle with Tazz, which led to a match between JR’s colleague Lawler, and the former ECW champion.
- During one such angle, Ross was actually hospitalized after a piece of glass lodged in one of his eyes during a “Smackdown” taping in New Orleans, LA.
- In addition to his wrestling duties, Ross became a play by play announcer for the inaugural season of the XFL.
- On February 27, 2001, Ross had the undesirable task of informing his broadcast colleague and close friend Jerry Lawler that his wife The Kat (Stacy Carter) had been released. In protest, Lawler quit the WWF in protest.
- During the April 3, 2001 “Smackdown” taping in Oklahoma City, OK, Ross interviewed a hostile Steve Austin, who brutally attacked him.
- On the December 23, 2002 edition of “Raw,” Ross teamed with “The King” to defeat Lance Storm and William Regal, thanks to some outside interference from the Dudley Boyz.
- On the April 7, 2003 episode of “Raw,” Ross “quit” the show in protest of Eric Bischoff’s actions.
- Ross defeated Jonathan Coachman on the September 29, 2003 edition of “Raw” to regain control of the show’s broadcast booth for himself and Lawler.
- On April 9, 2004, Ross left the talent relations department and was named Executive Vice President of Business Strategies.
- On the October 10, 2005 edition of “Raw,” Ross was fired as lead announcer for the program by the McMahon family.
- Ross was inducted into the 2007 WWE Hall of Fame by Steve Austin on March 31, 2007 in Detroit, MI.
- On June 1, 2008, Ross was inducted into the GERWECK.NET Hall of Fame on June 1, 2008.
- Ross was drafted to Smackdown on June 23, 2008.