Wrestling is a brand of entertainment that mixes athletic ability and soap opera acting. The two elements tied together help create a product that is unique and addicting. Whenever you have something like a soap opera, you always need a great story teller. Jim Ross is one of those people who can make you excited about the silliest things. His energy and excitement draws you more into the product. Jim Ross is the lead commentator for WWE RAW and one of the best story tellers in the business. I was recently given the opportunity to interview the legend about his opinions of WWE’s premier wrestling event WrestleMania.
I would like to give you some background information on Jim Ross. His career in wrestling first started back in 1986. Ross first began doing color commentary for a wrestling company called Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF). He worked for the UWF for several years until it was bought and merged with Jim Crockett Promotions to create World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Jim Ross was the lead play by play man for the company for several years. He was fired from the company for clashing with management one too many times. Ross saw his firing as an opportunity and moved on to the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Ross worked with the WWE for a little over a year before being fired once again. He was fired because Vince McMahon, the owner of WWE, took over Ross’s announcing duties. The firing was brief though because of legal problems occuring in the WWE. Vince McMahon was busy fighting allegations of steroid distribution and needed to hire someone good enough to fill his shoes. He knew that Jim Ross was the only one who could do this, so he hired Ross back. Once McMahon was acquitted, Ross was let go once again. Surprisingly though, the WWE called Jim Ross back a few months later and hired him back. Ross took the firings as business being business and was always a professional about the situation.
Jim Ross has gone on to commentate for nearly every WWE event. He has taken brief stints off television to deal with family and personal health issues. Each time that he was away from the commentator booth showed the fans how important he truly was. Without his unique brand of story telling, WWE events seemed to lose the sense of excitement and importance that they once possessed. Since his return, WWE has once again captured the imagination of its viewers and made WWE must watch television.
I was lucky enough to get to interview this wrestling business legend. He was busy with many other obligations, but was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. I hope that the following brief interview with Jim Ross helps you decide if WrestleMania 23 is worth checking out this year.
Q: Which WrestleMania do you think was the best of all time and why?
A: On a personal level, Wrestlemania 17 was my favorite. It was in my home part of the world (Oklahoma/Texas) in the historic Astrodome where I had watched the Houston Oilers play football on TV for years in the “8th Wonder of the World” lead by the great Earl Campbell and colorful
coach Bum Phillips. The event setting the attendance record, headlined by Steve Austin vs. The Rock, created a lifetime memory for me. All the Wrestlemanias are special, but this one seems extra special to me on a personal level.
Q: Who was the biggest celebrity to ever take part in WrestleMania?
A: For my money, the biggest celebrity to ever participate in a Wrestlemania was Muhammad Ali. Ali is the most universal, worldwide personality/athlete ever of any generation and his participation at Wrestlemania in the early days of the concept created a tremendous amount of awareness for the event. Who’s bigger than the “Greatest of all Time”?
Q: Finally, why should fans watch WrestleMania this year?
A: Fans should watch Wrestlemania because it is the Super Bowl, the Final Four, and Game 7 of the World Series all rolled into one. The spectacle of a ring in a huge domed stadium filled with fans from around the world with a wide variety of ethnicities and backgrounds all coming together with one common bond, to enjoy the WWE’s showcase event is a political statement without the political posturing and fanfare. It goes without saying that each athlete who participates in the event will raise their game to another level as many of them will build on to their already established legacies, while others will attempt to create a personal and professional memory that will last a lifetime. Fans of sports and entertainment will be thoroughly entertained by what they see on April 1 no matter who competes or wins or loses.
Jim Ross was a class act and joy to talk to. He has asked me to pass along his personal website so that you can check out his blog and find out his opinions on many other subjects. Please visit www.jrsbarbq.com.