AS I SEE IT 10/10: Thoughts on last week, and the Jim Ross/RAW situation

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

It seems some of you missed the point of my column last week, as I was accused (as sometimes happens) of shilling for Vince McMahon; and picking on Jim Hellwig.

Those complaining should remember that the first thing that I said in last week's column was that the Ultimate Warrior DVD was a slam job. The footage on the trailer for the DVD that was leaked out to the Internet made that fact very clear from moment one.

It needs to be said that I don't particularly understand Vince McMahon's thinking behind this DVD. Think about it... WWE spent money producing and marketing a DVD telling WWF/E fans that a wrestler that Vince McMahon and company placed in numerous high profile and main event matches for several years...well...sucked. Several of his current or former workers got on the tape and basically told us that Jim Hellwig sucked with footage of Hellwig designed to prove the point.

It seems rather strange, doesn't it? It's as if Coca-Cola did a commercial reminding people about "New Coke", and reminding their customers of how much the company created a product that millions didn't like and had to jettison in a hurry in one of the worst marketing moves in so bad it's studied to this day in marketing classes within colleges and universities.

Dave Meltzer reported in this past week's Wrestling Observer that a similar fate would have befallen Bret Hart, had he and WWE not come to terms to cooperate on the DVD and other future projects, which included Hart's presence on the RAW Exposed "best of" show airing this past Monday night.

I ALSO said this: that Jim Hellwig had the right to respond to the DVD...

The final and most notable point I made, and the only one that some people noticed... was criticizing Hellwig for the WAY in which he responded to the DVD. Hellwig attacked Bobby Heenan, not for comments Heenan made about him, but for being a cancer victim; and made disgusting comments relating to Heenan's cancer. Hellwig also attacked Darren Drozdov and his paralysis, suffered in a WWF ring; rather than attack any comments that Drozdov made on the DVD.

Speaking of dumb things Vince McMahon's done (or is being rumored to do) that I don't think much of; it's been widely reported that Vince McMahon is ready to replace legend Jim Ross as host of WWE's flagship RAW TV show. The most recent rumors saw WWE sending Ross to commentate the feed of RAW, and replacing Ross with eight year UFC announcer Mike Goldberg.

Whatever positive reaction there would be among fans in WWE's return to RAW, it might well have been overshadowed by any move to replace Jim Ross; which would be guaranteed to be panned by most longtime wrestling fans and most online wrestling fans; many of whom view such a move as one more step toward sports entertainment and one more step away from anyone who has any real connection with wrestling or ability to sell the product as wrestling.

While Goldberg is viewed by many as a skilled UFC announcer, he had ZERO history in announcing or past publicly expressed interest in professional wrestling. Goldberg began announcing for UFC in December 1997. He has also served as the play-by-play announcer for the NHL's Minnesota Wild on KSMP/Minneapolis and Fox Sports Net. He also spent three years with FSN doing play-by-play voice of ACC basketball; as well as serving as a national correspondent for Fox Sports News and FSN’s NFL This Morning.

Yes, I know that Gordon Solie never called a wrestling match in his life (he called races in the earliest days of what became NASCAR-style racing) before being started on professional wrestling by Eddie Graham...but Gordon Solie was never asked to replace a legend who has been involved as the public face of wrestling promotions since the 1980s.

Jim Ross himself isn't confirming or denying the story, with the following quote from last week's Ross Report:

"...The rumor is prominently making its rounds. Usually where there is smoke there is fire. Time will tell and I am sure we will all survive no matter the outcome and RAW will remain, by far, the No. 1 TV property in WWE.

This matter may be best addressed at another time. I expect there to be more on this specific matter coming soon.

I plan on kicking ass this Monday in Corpus Christi come hell or high water.

Further, the website made mention of the story, with a link to this week's Ross Report entitled "IS JR BEING REPLACED?"

What appeared to be happening in terms of a storyline write-out of Ross seemed foreshadowed on last week's RAW with McMahon's cryptic mention of "wanting to fire someone" after the angle where Steve Austin stunned every member of the McMahon family. Additionally, Smackdown featured a promo for RAW saying that "Mr. McMahon will be firing someone on the show". It wouldn't take much thinking to guess that McMahon would get in Austin's face, Ross would say something, and McMahon would "fire him".

However, that all may have changes for the time being, as Mike Goldberg decided to turn down the WWE offer as of 48 hours ago, according to Dave Meltzer.

One thing is unquestionably true: Vince McMahon has made a PR mess of this situation as it appears that Vince McMahon doesn't want Jim Ross as lead announcer any longer.

Hopefully, fans will react appropriately if Ross is removed from WWE's flagship show, and let WWE know how they feel about the move. Perhaps anyone headed to RAW tonight can let WWE know how they feel about the way that the company is treating this legend. IF it had come out long before any of this appearing online that Ross wanted to cut down on his duties, that would have been one thing. The problem is, if Ross makes that statement now as to the reason for any future re-assignment (even if it happened to be the truth) one's going to believe it...nor will I believe it.

To conclude...I'd like my readers, wherever they may live, to take some time and consider how they might help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The various charities listed below can receive donations online through the Network for Good portal.

To donate cash by telephone:

  • American Red Cross (800) HELP NOW/(800) 435-7669 English; (800) 257-7575 Spanish
  • America's Second Harvest (800) 344-8070

    To donate cash or volunteer:

  • Adventist Community Services -- (800) 381-7171
  • Catholic Charities, USA -- (703) 549-1390
  • Christian Disaster Response -- (941) 956-5183/(941) 551-9554
  • Christian Reformed World Relief Committee -- (800) 848-5818
  • Church World Service -- (800) 297-1516
  • Convoy of Hope -- (417) 823-8998
  • Lutheran Disaster Response -- (800) 638-3522
  • Mennonite Disaster Service -- (717) 859-2210
  • Nazarene Disaster Response -- (888) 256-5886
  • Presbyterian Disaster Assistance -- (800) 872-3283
  • Salvation Army -- (800) SAL-ARMY/(800) 725-2769
  • Southern Baptist Convention -- Disaster Relief (800) 462-8657, ext. 6440
  • United Methodist Committee on Relief -- (800) 554-8583

    Until next time....


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