WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross kicked off his live speaking tour today in New York City at the Gramercy Theatre. I happened to be in attendance and so I wanted to share some thoughts.
First and foremost, this was a MUST-SEE show for any wrestling fan. JR was hilarious, heartfelt and just outstanding as the pro wrestling storyteller and crowd-pleasing host of his “no holds barred” Q&A session.
–Special guests included Joey Styles, Tommy Dreamer and Judah Friedlander.
–The first part of the show was JR talking about his early life, his beginnings in wrestling and his stories ranging from childhood through his time in WWE.
–He said his father told him if he did all his chores he could watch the local wrestling show at 4:00 pm on Saturdays.
–His first wrestling gig was for $150/week and he would make extra money doing everything from setting up rings to refereeing to driving wrestlers around.
–He talked about working for Bill Watts, announcing with Leroy McGuirk despite McGuirk being blind and told some great stories about the craziness of the road.
–He told the Vince McMahon “sharting” story that made waves during his press interviews this week. Basically, Vince wanted to pass gas but did a whole lot more than that just before his music hit to go out on TV. He fearlessly marched out anyway.
–He said that his biggest can’t-miss that missed was Sycho Sid and his biggest surprise remains Mick Foley. Vince let Ross hire Mick so he could have JR experience what it’s like to have his heart broken, but then it turned into magic.
–He said the best tag team he ever saw were The Assassins from the 1960s.
–When asked about CM Punk, Ross reiterated it was a simple case of burnout and that he still think Punk will regret leaving one day. He thinks Punk will be gone longer but others like Steve Austin think Punk will be back before WrestleMania XXX.
–He talked about overcoming Bell’s Palsy three times, and also overcoming intestinal issues that nearly ended his life before leaving WWE full-time in 2005.
–He took the blame for the SummerSlam panel discussion with Ric Flair going off the rails and said he’s doing just fine since being let go from WWE.
–The most emotional part of the show came during the Q&A when JR was asked about having to stay on the air after Owen Hart’s fall at Over The Edge 1999. JR said he saw Owen’s fall in his peripheral view and that as soon as it happened Jerry Lawler ran over to Owen and came back and shook his head no. Ross said no one told him Owen was dead until producer Kevin Dunn broke the news to him … 10 seconds before he had to update the world about it. He said he hasn’t gone back to watch the footage of his commentary in that moment and never will unless he writes a book about his career and needs to see it to recount his feelings in that moment.
–He wrapped up by thanking everyone for coming and got a rousing standing ovation.
Overall, this was a great experience and Jim Ross was honest, authentic and just awesome.
That’s all from me — CB.
Tags: Jim Ross, JR's Blog, WCW, WWE, wwe logo