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   October 24, 2014



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Jim Ross hits road for one-man show
By JIM SLOTEK - Toronto Sun


Jim Ross. Photo courtesy WWE


Through 20 WrestleManias and all the years of Monday night Raw, Hall of Fame wrestling announcer Jim Ross piled up the frequent flyer miles.

That ended in September when the WWE’s Vince McMahon let the legendary “JR” go.

There may be things Ross misses about his role as “the lyricist to the wrestlers’ music,” but flying isn’t one of them.

“How could anybody miss the TSA (Transportation Security Commission)?” the gentlemanly Oklahoman says in a phone interview to promote his no-holds-barred public Q&A in Toronto May 9.

“How about being pulled out of line for a hand-search because the person that’s hand-searching you wants an autograph? That’s flattering once or twice, but not repeatedly.”


Though he’s no longer the WWE’s lead announcer and Executive VP of Talent Relations, JR remains busy, with a highly-rated sports podcast and an online column for Fox Sports. Those he does from home. The only thing that takes him on the road these days are his public appearances, which have taken him as far away as the UK. “I kind of expected it’d be me and eight other people, and we’d be on a first-name basis by the end,” he says of recent sold-out appearances in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff.

“I’m far from a standup comedian, but maybe I’m a philosopher humourist,” he says of his shows, which consist of, “a little bit about my journey. But the real meat and potatoes of this matter is the Q&As. They’re priceless.”

His sound bites are a trip through the history of contemporary pro wrestling. “Tyson and Austin – All hell has broken loose!” he intoned as Mike Tyson and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin had at it in 1998.

And then there was the infamous cage match between Mick Foley and The Undertaker, which saw Foley tossed 16 feet from the top of the cage, surprisingly merely separating his shoulder.

Ross’ reaction - "GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY! GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY! THEY'VE KILLED HIM" – has been grafted online over top of everything from hockey fights to “epic fail” videos.

Indeed, his popularity (including a million or so Twitter followers) transcends his “retirement.” As for the durability of the Mick Foley call, Ross chalks it up to utter surprise. “I was never a good actor. So I always did a better job when I didn’t know what was going to happen. Normally, you didn’t have to be a Mensa member to figure out the general direction a wrestling storyline is going. But no one expected that.”

Ross says his Canadian fandom is strong, and he can predict some of the questions. Inevitably, talk will turn to Foley and Chris Benoit (who, in 2007, killed his wife and son before committing suicide). And there’ll be questions about Canada’s first family of wrestling, the Harts. He’ll relate details about Bret’s infamous “Montreal Screw Job,” and, more emotionally, talk about the stunt-fall death in Kansas City of brother Owen in 1999.

“Someone I cared for, a great friend, died 20 feet from me. It was horrific,” he says. “And the day I sit down and really put pen to paper is the day I’ll have to go back and watch it, which I’ve never done to this day.”

Jim Ross plays The Danforth Music Hall May 9.

RELATED LINKS

  • Jim Ross bio and story archive
  • jrsbarbq.com
  • Twitter: @JRsBBQ

    Follow Jim Slotek on Twitter: @jimslotek.