WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross recently spoke with Justin Barrasso for Sports Illustrated Extra Mustard while promoting his new book, Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling, which is due in stores tomorrow, October 3rd. You can read a few highlights below:
Jim Ross comments on having Vince McMahon write the foreword to his book:
Vince was very accommodating, and I appreciated it. I never looked at that as an issue. I wanted him to write the foreword, and I never had any trepidation that he wouldn’t.
There is a letter in the book from Vince that he wrote to me when I was sick with Bell’s Palsy for a second time. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was battling depression. I didn’t want to come out of the house. Vince told me how badly he wanted me to come back to work, and he wrote, “Get the f— back up!” That might seem abrasive to some, but I knew he was being real and coming straight from the heart. Vince’s letter was a handwritten one that he had somebody from the office deliver to my door, and he let me know exactly how much I meant to him.
Vince was so great at the “Mr. McMahon” character that some people think he wouldn’t want to help people in real life, and that’s just not true.
JR on if there are comparisons with Steamboat / Flair and Rock / Austin:
There were certainly similarities because you had excellence in the ring in both those illustrations. I called the Flair/Steamboat matches in ‘89 with three different partners. I worked with Bob Caudle, Terry Funk, and Magnum T.A.
You’ve got to start with Ric. Being in the ring, bell-to-bell and cutting a promo to get you there, Flair is the number one guy. He’s the best ever. Flair really established himself as the best that ever was when he was wrestling in the latter days as the traveling NWA champion throughout the 80’s. In the era he was traveling, across the board, wasn’t the strongest in the history of the NWA. That’s not because of Ric, it was the territories. Some of the talents he worked with may not have been main eventers in any other territories, and I saw firsthand, Ric was able to turn it into something special. Then you have another era with Austin and Rock. Both those eras had different styles, but that was an announcer’s dream. Calling those matches? It was unreal.
That holds true to this day. This year, I’ve called Undertaker-Roman Reigns and three Okada-Omega matches, as well as the Mae Young Classic final. Watching these newer talents evolve is one of the most exciting things about still being in the business. It keeps me fresh.
JR on why people should take an interest and read his book:
I don’t know that you’ll find anyone in this business with my role. I’ve been fortunate to have been an administrator, a gopher, a driver, a whiskey buyer, VP, EVP, Senior VP, and the voice of a brand. My book is more relatable to the average guy than, say, Brock Lesnar’s book. How many Brock Lesnars are there walking around on the face of the earth? I’m a fan. I had a very humble upbringing, earned everything I got, and learned how challenging it is in the pro wrestling business. I was a long shot to succeed, and I’m still not supposed to be here. When I was born premature, I wasn’t supposed to be there, either. I’m a wrestling fan with a phenomenal journey. The book starts out that way and ends that way. I think people will be motivated by this book, will want to set goals after reading it, and remember that it is the kiss of death to put limits on yourself. It’s a very emotional book, and I am excited to see how people respond.