There is zero arguing that Jim Ross will go down as the greatest play-by-play announcer in professional wrestling history. J.R. is beloved by fans across the “WWE Universe” and more importantly, across the world. The fans love him because of the spectacular job he does behind the headset, but not just that. Ross was a man who clearly loved professional wrestling, and WWE, with everything he had. Every fiber of his being, every inch of his heart, was dedicated to World Wrestling Entertainment. Yet, that love that he showed the company, was not always shown to him in turn. In fact, on countless occasion Jim Ross was not only not shown the love, and respect, he deserved. Vince McMahon seemed to think that it was funny to bully and push around good old Jim Ross. McMahon has a reputation for pushing people around until they push back. The problem is that Jim Ross loved the business too much to push back and with the risk of having to leave the company. If anyone ever did what was best for business, it was Jim. Time and time again, though, Jim Ross was humiliated, many times on live television.
One of the most obvious occasions was in November of 2001 when Vince made the great announcer join his “Kiss My Ass Club” in which the members would join by literally pressing lips to Vince McMahon’s bare ass. A humiliating experience, but at least vaguely understandable if it involves a wrestler and a current storyline. Unfortunately, Ross was not a wrestler and it’s not his place to have to bite that bullet. It was more because of his personal closeness with Stone Cold Steve Austin. Oh and what added insult to injury? They did this in J.R.’s home town of Oklahoma City. It is all a big high school locker room, Vince is the starting quarterback in his own mind and Ross is the water boy.
Another instance that I can personally remember was the WWE Draft in 2008. It was the annual WWE Draft and they kept emphasizing that “anyone could be drafted.” It is still unclear if some superstars knew they were being drafted or not, but it was certainly clear when J.R. was drafted from Raw to Smackdown that he had not been informed of this little switch. Ross was visibly upset on live television, he did his best to stay professional, but was obviously livid. He later debated quitting, but ultimately decided to stay with the company, and do what he could to make Smackdown a better show. Things like this are petty and childish, obviously Jim could have been told beforehand that they were moving him. He isn’t a superstar, he had been announcing on Raw for the majority of his career. I just have this image of Vince sitting backstage behind a monitor and nudging some of his buddies going, “Watch this! Jim is going to be so mad!” All the while giggling to himself. There was no professional courtesy shown to a man who dedicated his life to that same company.
In 2011 Jim was re-added to the Raw announce team for a short while. He was under the assumption that he would be announcing for SummerSlam, why wouldn’t he be? Up until a few hours before the event, when Ross was told that he was being replaced on the announce team by Booker T (who was a much worse announcer). The excuse given was that they needed a representative from the Smackdown broadcast team. Which, to me, begs the question why not replace Michael Cole or King? The answer being simply that J.R. will forever be bullied. You have to remember, not only was J.R. looking forward to announcing, but he drove or flew out to whatever city they were in, paid good money to get to a job where they thought it’d be amusing to not tell him until the last second that he was pulled from the show. It’s funny, it’s a joke, he’s a good sport about it. All excuses that I’m sure are tossed around, but the cold hard fact is J.R. is bullied.
For anyone who thinks these may be isolated incidents, there are many more. Here are just a few that show just how well treated J.R. is:
- Tiger Ali Singh and a fan Singh paid $500 to impersonate Ross (played by Ed Ferrara) mocking his Bell’s palsy in an angle in the spring of 1999 at a time when Ross was being portrayed as a bitter heel for being outraged at being permanently replaced by Michael Cole in his absence.
- Triple H giving him a black eye and damaged vision during a match together allegedly as payback for lowballing him on contracts and stiffing him on payoffs.
- Vince McMahon making fun of his real life colon surgery in a mean spirited skit.
- Being given a surprise birthday present of being soaked in champagne by a dancing Big Dick Johnson, ruining his suit which he had to fly back home in.
- Being removed from the WWE TV opening video without any warning as punishment for giving a gushing interview with Ariel Helwani at UFC 116.
- Somehow getting legitimately injured by an “overexcited” Jack Swagger on Raw when he was put in a basic ankle lock.
Now the company has finally done the last thing they can possibly do to bully J.R., they ended his career. They have forced Jim into retirement when he had no plans to. It makes sense though, they were finally bored with playing with their favorite toy, it was no longer amusing anymore so they ended it. Ross was no longer on TV as much, there was no more fun to be had, so they forced him into retirement. One last bully, they knew he loved this company, the fans, and the WWE Universe so why not take it away with no promise of ever being able to return. The worst part is, the fans love J.R., J.R. loves the fans. The only one stopping everyone from being happy is Vince because it’s amusing to him. Seems like a bully to me. Let’s all remember to Be A Star!