Wrestling By The Numbers: Jim ‘J.R.’ Ross
World Wrestling Entertainment has announced the release of legendary Hall Of Fame announcer and former influential backstage executive ‘Good Ol’ J.R.’ Jim Ross. The 61-year-old Fort Bragg California native had 20-years of service with the WWE over 3-separate stints with the organization. Ross first debuted back in 1993 as the play by play commentator at Wrestlemania IX working alongside both Bobby Heenan and Randy Savage. He was removed from television 4-months later and worked alongside Gorilla Monsoon on Radio WWF broadcasts. In February of 1994 Jim Ross suffered his first Bell’s Palsy attack and two weeks later was released by the WWE. He was rehired in the summer of 1994 to be the lead play by play announcer for WWE Raw after Vince McMahon was removed from the show to deal with his United States Federal Government steroid indictment. After Vince McMahon was acquitted Ross was again released from his contract.
The WWE rehired Jim Ross in December of 1994 and he became the voice of WWE syndicated television shows. In 1996 Ross returned to the WWE’s primary broadcast team and remained in the role until late 1998 when he suffered his second Bell’s Palsy attack during the live 1998 WWE Capital Carnage pay-per-view event. It was during this time in 1997 when Jim Ross was hired as the WWE Vice President Of Talent Relations after J.J. Dillon left the organization, he held the role for 8-years. Jim Ross returned after a short absence in March of 1999 and remained the voice of Raw for the next 12-years before being moved to the Smackdown brand in the spring of 2008. He worked as the play by play announcer for Smackdown until October of 2009 when he suffered his third bout with Bell’s Palsy. Over the past 4-years Ross has made sporadic apperances announcing pay-per-view events and television broadcasts. Last year when Triple H. took over the company’s Talent Relations Department, Ross was hired as an adviser and scout and also worked with announcers at the WWE Performance Center.
Over his 39-year professional career that started back in 1974 as a referee with NWA Mid-South, Jim Ross is widely considered to be one of the greatest wrestling announcers in the history of the business. Ross worked for 3-years as a referee with NWA Mid-South before leaving the territory in 1977. He returned in 1982 shortly after the territory was purchased by Bill Watts. He worked as the company’s lead play by play announcer and also became the Vice President Of Marketing behind the scenes. In 1987 when Jim Crockett Promotions purchased Mid-South, Ross was also brought in as their lead commentator. He went on to become the company’s Head Of Broadcasting and was also a member of the WCW Booking Committee. Jim Ross left WCW after he demanded and was granted his release in 1993 after being removed from television from WCW Executive Producer Eric Bischoff.
After getting released by the WWE twice in 1994 Jim Ross spent time as the lead play by play announcer for Smoky Mountain Wrestling and also returned as a radio commentator for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. He also worked as a play by play announcer for Vince McMahon’s now defunct Xtreme Football League. Outside of the wrestling industry Jim Ross graduated in 1975 from the Bill Kinnamon Umpire School and went on to have a successful umpiring career in college baseball. While attending umpire school he was roommates with long-time MLB Umpire Tim McCelland who he has remained friends with over the years. Jim Ross has also had success selling his J.R.’s BBQ Sauce and beef products. He opened a restaurant in 2007 in Norman Oklahoma named J.R.’s Family Bar-B-Q Restaurant. Jim Ross was first inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall Of Fame in 1999 and was later inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall Of Fame in 2007 by friend Steve Austin.
Below we look at the professional televised wrestling career of ‘Good Ol’ J.R.’ Jim Ross by the numbers…
World Wrestling Entertainment:
* 166 Events As A Commentator (2nd Most All-Time) on WWE Pay-Per-View. (First Event: Wrestlemania IX Last Event: 2012 Hell In A Cell Commentating Partners: Bobby Heenan, Randy Savage, Gorilla Monsoon, Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler, Mr. Perfect, Owen Hart, Jim Cornette, Sunny, Michael P.S. Hayes, Tazz, Paul Heyman, Michael Cole, Jonathan Coachman, Mick Foley, Todd Grisham, Josh Matthews, Booker T. & John Bradshaw Layfield)
* 5 Events As An Interviewer on WWE Pay-Per-View.
* 2 Matches on WWE Pay-Per-View.
* 1 Match Managed on WWE Pay-Per-View.
* 7 Matches on WWE Raw.
* 4 Main Event Matches on WWE Raw.
World Championship Wrestling / Jim Crockett Promotions:
* 28 Events As A Commentator ( 4th Most All-Time ) on WCW Pay-Per-View. (First Event: 1987 Starrcade Last Event: 1993 WCW New Japan Supershow III Commentating Partners: Tony Schiavone, Bob Caudle, Magnum T.A., Jim Cornette, Terry Funk, Paul E. Dangerously, Dusty Rhodes & Jesse Ventura)