Wrestler of the Day – July 17: Jim Ross

Today we’re looking at the best commentator of all time: Jim Ross.

We’ll open things up with Ross’ first in ring match in WWE, from October 11, 1999 on Raw.

Jim Ross/Steve Austin vs. HHH/Chyna

HHH jumps Ross before Austin gets here until Steve runs out for the save. The male wrestlers brawl up the aisle as Chyna, the #1 contender to the Intercontinental Title, beats on Ross in the ring. Austin suplexes HHH on the stage before they fight back down to ringside and into the crowd. HHH gets whipped into a barricade in the audience and they head out of the arena.

This leaves Chyna alone with Ross as the beating is on. A Pedigree lays Jim out but Jeff Jarrett comes out and nails Chyna with a toaster. This brings out Jarrett’s lackey Miss Kitty with a laundry basket, which Chyna is dropped into and taken to the back. Austin and HHH come back in to fight at a beer stand and HHH is left laying as Austin says he has a friend for HHH….and that’s it.

Rating: N/A. This was nothing and not a match for the most part. It was much more of an angle than anything else and a good way to combine the two big matches on Sunday into one. The best thing here was that Jarrett didn’t act like a face but acted as he should have for his story. That’s the kind of shade of gray you don’t get anymore but was a good thing back in the day.

Ross would get in the ring again to fight off Lance Storm and William Regal when they messed with the commentators. From Raw on December 23, 2002.

William Regal/Lance Storm vs. Jim Ross/Jerry Lawler

Lawler starts (of course) with Regal but it’s quickly off to Storm for a headlock. Jerry avoids an elbow and nails a dropkick, allowing Ross to get in a right hand for two. Regal comes in off a blind tag and works over Lawler before the double teaming begins. Storm accidentally forearms Regal down and Jerry cleans as much house as he can.

The middle rope fist gets two on William and the referee goes down. Lawler hammers on Regal but a low blow puts him down. That’s enough for Ross who tags himself in and picks up Regal’s brass knuckles. Storm comes in from behind though, drawing in the Dudleys for a 3D on Lance. Ross knocks Regal silly for the pin.

Rating: C. The match was nothing of course but what are you expecting from these guys? The reason for the high rating is this was in Oklahoma City and one of the only times in history where Ross was made to look like a big deal in his hometown. Really fun and a feel good moment with the Oklahoma marching band playing Ross’ theme song after the match.

Uncle Eric Bischoff was required to bring in Steve Austin or be fired. Here’s his preview match on Raw, February 17, 2003.

Eric Bischoff vs. Jim Ross

Bischoff breaks some boards and a watermelon before the match to show how awesome he is. JR comes to the ring in his announcing clothes and Eric makes it no holds barred because he can. He looks at Morely as he says this to really hammer in the idea. Lawler is really worried but of course he stays seated.

Bischoff does some karate poses but gets punched in the face. Morely comes in to beat JR down and puts a cinder block against Ross’ head so Bischoff can kick it in half. This finally brings Lawler down to take Morely down, but a Bischoff distraction lets Morely take the King down. JR is busted open. More kicks put Ross down and Bischoff covers him with a half nelson for the pin.

Rating: N/A. This wasn’t wrestling. I’m not sure what it was, but it wasn’t wrestling. I’d like to point out that we’re spending the last segment of a show showing how Eric Bischoff could be a threat to STEVE AUSTIN. At least with Vince he would have some major backup, but Eric is going to have who? Morely? That’s supposed to be intriguing?

Another day, another threat to Lawler and King on commetary. From Unforgiven 2003.

Jim Ross/Jerry Lawler vs. Al Snow/Jonathan Coachman

The winner to do the announcing for Raw. Yes, they asked people to pay $34.95 for this. There’s no commentary for this. I think I can get by without the extra jokes somehow. The wrestlers start and Lawler kind of botches a rollup. Ok then. The lack of commentary is weird here but then again I’m watching Ross and Coach on PPV. You can hear them shouting at each other a lot better which is weird to hear.

That might be Ross’ big mouth though so there we are. Snow “hits” a clothesline and I say that in the weakest sense of the word hit. Snow, being younger and better at this point, dominates as we’re just waiting on the other guys to come in and make it a comedy match. Coach is the team captain apparently. Oh dear. There’s the piledriver on Snow and JR does commentary from the apron. The foot gets to the ropes but Snow sold that like he had an anvil fall on his head so I can’t complain there.

And it’s Coach time, which has even Snow wondering what the heck he’s doing. As usual, Lawler’s offense is shall we say limited? The middle rope punch hits but Snow makes the save. Ross gets a blind tag and the referee is fine with it I guess. He beats up Coach for awhile and I see why he stayed in the booth for his career.

Coach keeps shouting not in the face which is funny. And here’s Jericho to kick Ross in the head and let Coach and Snow become the Raw announcers tomorrow. Ross would beat Coach in 8 days to get the sanity back. Jericho says this is to get back at Austin for no apparent reason.

Rating: F. Seriously, do I need to explain why this going on for 8 minutes was a bad idea? It was mainly Al Snow vs. Jerry Lawler and someone thought this was a good idea. Here’s the thing: no one really cares about announcers in a national company. Wait scratch that. They do care about them, but only the way they sound. We don’t want to see them in the ring other than a once a year match from Lawler in Memphis. That’s it. Now stop doing this nonsense.

Another mismatch, this time from Raw in MSG on April 18, 2005.

Jim Ross vs. HHH

No DQ. HHH offers a handshake but Ross won’t go for it. Instead HHH nails him in the ribs and the beating is on. Ross actually nails a right hand to the jaw and Lawler goes into an even bigger cheerleader mode. HHH hammers away and yells at the referee as Ross is busted open. HHH rips off the Oklahoma jersey and it’s time for a whipping. Lawler FINALLY gets off commentary as HHH is choking with the belt.

Flair comes in and distracts Jerry, allowing a Pedigree to put the King down. Cue Batista in the back after having been sent on a chase by HHH or something. The brawl is on with the World Heavyweight Champion (Big Dave) cleaning house but Flair brings in a chair, allowing HHH to lay Batista out. The Pedigree is countered and a HUGE chair shot knocks HHH silly. Batista drags JR over and it’s a huge upset.

Rating: D+. Again not really a match but it gives more fuel to HHH vs. Batista II at Backlash. Batista was awesome at this point and the fans in New York ate him up. HHH was always one to put himself over, but he made Batista look amazing around this point. Ross winning was a nice smile.

Ross and Michael Cole would have a feud over Cole being a jerk, setting up this match on Raw, April 25, 2011.

Michael Cole vs. Jim Ross

Booker T is on commentary now which I believe is the 9th consecutive week that the announce team has changed during the show. Lawler gets up to be in JR’s corner. Ross is in dress pants and an Oklahoma football jersey. The seconds are on the apron instead of the floor. Cole makes fun or Ross’ weight and they circle each other a lot. A minute in and we’ve had no contact.

Cole, in his orange singlet, dances around a lot as Ross throws right hands. Cole hits the floor as we’ve had no serious contact after two minutes. Cole puts JR’s hat on then takes it off and stomps on it. Cole has a lot of tattoos. Swagger towels Cole off and he does some pushups. We’ve now reached the length of Sheamus vs. Kofi with no contact yet. Ross finally grabs Cole and shoves him down.

Cole calls for timeout and Swagger puts a stool in the corner. There’s a spit bucket and water. Cole actually tries to slam him so Ross hammers on him with some ground and…..with some ground and……no I just can’t say it. Cole tries to run and Lawler throws him back in. Swagger takes down Cole and then comes in for the DQ at 4:35.

Rating: F-. Oh just…..no. We get it: Cole is a jerk that everyone hates. This needs to END. It’s played beyond belief and I have a bad feeling that it’s going to keep going after Extreme Rules.

Here’s the in ring blowoff for the Cole feud, from Extreme Rules 2011.

Michael Cole/Jack Swagger vs. Jim Ross/Jerry Lawler

Country whipping match here, which means they all have straps. Cole, I kid you not, is wrapped in bubble wrap. Ross has a legit broken hand after beating Cole up Monday. Cole gives us his resume as a reporter and insults all of Florida by saying everyone is old. Lawler vs. Cole to start as Lawler can’t hurt him. Lawler goes for the only unprotected part: Cole’s face. There goes the bubble wrap and it’s off to Swagger.

Basically this is Lawler vs. Swagger for all intents and purposes as they have a one on one match for a few minutes. Lawler gets him down but takes a chop block as he goes after Cole. Ankle Lock goes on for like 30 seconds as Ross WEAKLY hits Swagger to break the hold. Off to JR who puts an ankle lock on Swagger! Swagger escapes and I think accidently tags Cole. Ross wastes WAY too much time for a clothesline and whips Cole a bit. Ankle lock goes on Cole and even takes Swagger out with a low blow. He turns to whip Swagger….and gets rolled up by Cole to end it. Dang it this is going to keep going isn’t it?

Rating: F. Hey look, Cole wins again and gets to run his mouth a bit more. Not as bad as Mania but still, DO SOMETHING ELSE! This has been done and it’s been done multiple times already so why do they keep going with it? Cole can still be a jerk but give us SOMETHING for a change instead. Match sucked too.

We’ll wrap it up with JR in a tag match on Raw, October 15, 2011 in Mexico City.

John Cena/Jim Ross vs. Alberto Del Rio/Michael Cole

The announcers start us off and Cole talks a lot of trash until JR clocks him. Off to the wrestlers for a wrestling match. What a concept. Alberto and Cena smirk at each other and speed things up. The fans are booing Cena…I think. Off to a chinlock by the champ and the fans are cheering for Cena. Now it’s Cena with the chinlock as Josh says Cena weighs 251lbs. That means he gained 20 pounds since his entrance.

Del Rio takes over and we’re waiting on the hot tag to Ross it seems. Cole gets some pikes in at Cena and Del Rio gets two. Alberto hits a top rope shot to the head and some kicks. Cena can’t see Alberto. Back to the chinlock and the fans cheer Cena but aren’t really booing Alberto. The Mexican gets a German on the American for two. Cena fires off some stuff but a running enziguri in the corner stops him for two.

Alberto goes up but misses a senton back splash and Cena engages his finishing sequence. Del Rio runs from the AA and tags in Cole. Cena gives him kind of a belly to belly to bring him in and makes the hot tag to JR. Is JR a big deal in Mexico? I mean, wouldn’t he be on the English commentary team which most people in Mexico don’t hear? An AA ends Cole and JR gets the win with an ankle lock at 11:40.

Rating: D+. Man this was boring. The Spanish/English/JR thing is still confusing but again it’s WWE which at the moment is pretty stupid. I wasn’t into this match for the most part because it was just Del Rio vs. Cena and then a screwy ending. Not much to see here and another weak main event from Raw, which is becoming a tradition.

While I like Heyman getting in the ring, there’s just something wrong about Ross being out there. There’s something I don’t care for about it and I can’t put my finger on it. Ross is as much of a commentator as you can find but he’s far less of a character than most other commentators. Thankfully he never tried to wrestle and his appearances didn’t happen all that often.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book of on the History of ECW Pay Per Views at Amazon for just $3.99 at:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LWSOTGK

And check out my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

1 comment

  1. Gunther_224 says:

    I still prefer Monsoon but no one ever called a match with more emotion than good ol’ JR.