AS I SEE IT 10/17: More on the Jim Ross situation

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

This week...more thoughts on the mess surrounding Jim Ross, how real life is intruding (I think) into an angle, and what might have happened to Jim Ross, even back on October 3.

First...the angle.

As anyone who watches more than five minutes of wrestling on TV per week knows, WWE "fired" Jim Ross on this past Monday Night RAW in one of the most inane angles in recent memory; one that included Vince McMahon "firing" the fans for egging on Stone Cold Steve Austin, then WWE CEO Linda McMahon doing a heel turn, "firing" Jim Ross, then "kicking him in the testicles".

Yep, let's turn a smart businesswoman who is the public face of the company to advertisers, stockholders, charities, and the press....the very same woman who can't act to save her life, and has publicly stated as much herself. Let's have her as the heel who "fires" Jim Ross.

REAL good thinking....

In even more fun...USA's promo for tonight's RAW features this: "....all four McMahons will appear together in a united front". Since Shane wasn't on-air for the angle, that leads to "Shane turns babyface on the family" possibilities, ala his "purchase of WCW".

In keeping with whatever part of this is an angle, Ross's biography has already been pulled. The Ross Report (which only recently returned to the website) has been pulled. Previous reports have suggested that Ross is in real life to be pulled from USA's RAW telecast, and put on commentary for the co-broadcast of the show. It should be noted that Ross has a contract with WWE until October 29, 2006, according to public filings.

As a part of the continuing angle, in another one of those tasteful WWE moments... to sell the angle, also has Linda McMahon criticizing Steve Austin's stunning her and Stephanie by a reference to his past charges of domestic abuse with "There is never a reason for a man to put his hands on another woman. From what I understand Austin has a history of doing this".

All the stupidity...

Then, real life intruded on Thursday.

In news that may or may not explain the reasoning behind this angle, Jim Ross was hospitalized on Thursday, undergoing a "medical procedure to his colon" in hopes of alleviating pain he has been enduring for several weeks, confirming the details of the story first reported on Ross acknowledged on "They found something massive in my intestines...They donít know what it is, but they will have to cut out part of my intestines.Ē Further surgery is scheduled to take place this week in Oklahoma, after which Ross will be hospitalized for three to five days. Some reports suggest it as a ruptured colon (which wouldn't explain references to "something massive").

The thoughts and prayers of everyone are with Jim Ross as he undergoes this surgery. I have to hope the "procedure" is something besides a biopsy.

Some see the Ross situation as an angle to cover for Ross's illness, which would have been understandable. If this was the case, kayfabe should have been thrown out the window; and the real reasons for what took place made clear by WWE in some public forum.

Others within WWE have reported, however, that Ross's illness is independent of the "firing" angle, and that Ross was to be replaced on RAW in any event. This theory would be supported by the Mike Goldberg negotiations, and by a rather interesting scenario reported first by Dave Meltzer, then in further detail by

The Wrestling Observer first reported that McMahon's original plan was to secretly sign Mike Goldberg before the WWE debut on USA (and UFC live special) on October 3rd, then have him stay incommunicado and no-show the UFC event without notice with UFC discovering that Goldberg had signed with WWE only by seeing him appear on RAW on USA.

Sources told that WWE was ready and willing to pay Mike Goldberg a one-time bonus of nearly $100,000 to no-show the UFC event. As Dave Meltzer stated in last week's Observer, "The only reason it didn't go down as planned by McMahon is because Goldberg was professional enough to refuse to no-show the UFC event." Goldberg not only refused to double-cross UFC, but further... notified UFC management of the attempt by McMahon.

Given Ross's illness, and the fact that he even came on air to do the angle while ill; it seems especially unnecessary for WWE to have gone on with the angle as constituted to seemingly humiliate Ross.

Even worse, it seems especially cruel to have had Jonathan Coachman go on Byte This to further bury Ross, particularly given Ross's illness. Heeling on someone is one thing. Kicking someone while they're down in real life is something else altogether.

Fans have already started sending in their opinions on the angle/removal of Ross from the show, all prior to the health news regarding Ross:

"Hi Bob,

I've been a wrestling fan for years and was disgusted by the firing of Jim Ross last night on RAW. Vince McMahon is an idiot and has shot himself in the foot with this move. JR and Jerry Lawler are (or I guess I should say were) the best announcers in pro wrestling right now. Michael Cole and Tazz are pathetic and I can't stand Jonathan Coachman either. Announcers like JR, Gordon Solie and Lance Russell ARE what have made wrestling fun to watch. Jim Ross has given years to WWE and then was sent off in a very low-brow manner. McMahon continues to screw up the WWE. I don't understand why he continues to have Smackdown and RAW as two different shows....Smackdown is lame too.

I don't even watch it except to see the Ortons' segments. He should send the Ortons, Undertaker and Batista to RAW and get rid of some of the newbies on we really need to see Chris Masters on RAW? The guy is a steroid popping 1 trick pony and a bore. Rob Conway? Buff Bagwell wannabe. Do I really want to see this guy in a feud with Eugene? Do I even want to watch Eugene? NO. What was up with this Doink the Clown crap? ... I didn't miss HHH at all when he was off the air. It's sad to watch the WWE deteriorate in quality. There are still a lot of good things about RAW and I keep watching each week for now. But I'm very upset about the firing of JR and how it was done. I can only hope Lawler won't be shown the door anytime soon. If I had to listen to Coach announce each week, I'd keep the TV turned down.

Thanks for listening!
Donna Frost
Hendersonville, TN

Then, thoughts from Thomas Williams:

"Here are my thoughts on JR's firings, hopefully you will post them on your site, no payments or anything of that sort required. I just want other people to see how JR has affected other people.

When I was in the ninth grade, my friend got me into wrestling. He showed me my first paper view, Summerslam 2003, the one with the Elimination Chamber Match. As I watched it, I noticed how the announcers, that guy with the crown and the guy with the cowboy hat made the match come alive.

After years of watching wrestling, I grew quite fond of JR's blasť way of saying things straight to the point. He didn't mess around, he said what he needed to say, and that was it.
When my friends would play a wrestling video game, I'd run commentary, trying to be just like JR. Every now and then, I'd imitate one of JR's little phrases like, this is turning into a slobberknocker, or I'd yell POWERSLAM when they'd do a military press. JR was is one of the greats. When I played Smackdown vs. RAW, I'd always change the commentary to King and JR, because they made the match seem real.

I've watched older matches in the WWE or WCW, and they weren't that good. But same quality matches were made 10 times better because of JR. That's what makes a color commentator good, to turn crap into gold. No one could do it like JR. After all he has done for the company, for the McMassholes to do him like that hurt. Now we are left with the likes of Coach. When he was fired, I almost cried. When I watched his farewell speech on, I did cry, this is a man who gave all he had for the business he loved. Let's just remember JR and SLOBBERKNOCKER. God bless you JR.

Thomas Williams"

Former WWE wrestler Lance Storm shared the following in his column this past week:

"I think replacing JR is a HUGE mistake. No one sells excitement or emotion like JR. He is the best announcer in the history of this business. He knows how to get stuff over.

WCW fired him once because they thought he was un-hip and too red neck, and that was a mistake. Fans donít need to like, relate to, or even want to look at an announcer, they need to be able to hear him and he needs to be able to translate what we are seeing and no one does it better than JR. Good announcing can save a bad show and bad announcing can kill a great one. JR is priceless in my opinion. "

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    Until next time....


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