Over the years, I’ve heard a surprising amount of people say that the only people needed to make a 5 star match are the participants itself. They say with the right in-ring psychology, nothing else matters. To them, I just have one thing to say.
“My god! He may have been broken in half!”
For those of you who may not remember, let me set the scene. In one, if not THE most violent encounters in WWE history, Mick Foley (as Mankind) faced off against The Undertaker back in 1998 at King of the Ring in a Hell in a Cell match. The match almost ended before it even got truly underway, however, when The Undertaker threw Foley off the top of the cage, where he crashed hard into the Spanish announce table. JR’s concern for Foley’s well being was real, as was the concern of millions of fans worldwide. That scream, as quoted above, is in my opinion the sum of all of the greatness that is Jim Ross.
Actually, there was another quote in that match, in which JR called Foley “The toughest S.O.B he has ever seen…IN THAT ENVIRONMENT” that sparked one of Mankind’s biggest heel turns. That in itself should show just how great of an announcer Ross was, because when you stop to think about it, how often do feuds start because of something that an announcer said? Foley’s issues with that remark were real, and when something a play by play commentator says deeply affects you like that, you know they have talent.
We all know, though, that it wasn’t just Ross’ voice that we grew to love, but his passion for this business as a whole, which shined in many different ways on camera, ignoring the constant stream of abuse and tasteless attempts to ridicule him. I won’t detail all of my favorite JR moments, as I would be here until Survivor Series, but some of my favorites include his beer bash with Austin, his Oklahoma Sooners entrance, and his willingness to put himself in the most dangerous situations, like when he interviewed Kane and was set on fire by the end.
There is no doubt in my mind that Jim Ross more than worthy of the Hall of Fame ring he wears. I’ve been watching wrestling for almost twenty years, and to this day, I still consider him the voice of the company, and I consider myself lucky to have grown up listening to the best in the business.
Mr. Ross, I don’t know if there’s any chance that you will ever read this, but if you do, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for your passion, for your heart, and for your many years of service to a business you obviously gave your all to. I hope that, wherever you decide to go from here, you have all the success in the world. I wish you well, and I know I speak for the WWE universe worldwide when I say we’ll miss you.
Boomer Sooners, everyone!