Jim Ross recently spoke with Tim Fiorvanti of ESPN.com while promoting his new book “Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling”; you can read a few highlights below:
Jim Ross comments on making his WWE debut at Wrestlemania IX, the feeling of being unwelcome by other WWE talent after he came from WCW:
“I was very much aware of the attention that the room paid to Vince when he spoke because everything that they needed to know, that affected their job. I thought that was pretty cool. He introduced me to the room and it was like there wasn’t an audible sound. It was an audible non-sound. Nobody gave a s—. I was not welcome there, and I could see it from that very first moment.
That’s not the greatest feeling to have when you’re getting ready to do your first assignment. It’s only going to be a live show with no net, and the biggest event of the year. So, that was a little unsettling, but you persevere, man, you work through it. Poor me. I’m going to broadcast WrestleMania IX. I’m a wrestling fan. It’s taken me 19 years to get here. And I’m going to bitch and moan that I didn’t get the Chamber of Commerce welcome wagon welcome? You kidding? The first night was an adventure, commentating alongside “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Bobby Heenan, but Ross pushed forward and did his job as well as he could do it, toga and all. Things could have gone sideways in a hurry if the iciness from the rest of the boys continued, but Ross found a pair of key allies in one of the most recognizable commentary teams in wrestling history.
“Luckily for me, [Gorilla] Monsoon and Heenan became my surrogate WWF uncles (at the time). They loved me. I loved them. We traveled together. And they were great liaisons for me to break the ice with some of the less trusting.”
JR comments on his relationship with Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, how they vouched for him to return from his bout with Bell’s Palsy to commentate at Wrestlemania XV:
“They are two of my signees. They’re two guys I had a very strong personal relationship with. And you know I just thought the world of both those guys. They were what we needed to revitalize the talent relations department. They were components of what we needed to re-jump-start the competitive feeling you get often times when you have a locker room that’s dotted with overachievers and ex-mainstream athletes.”
Ross comments on what people could learn from his book, his message of beating adversity:
“‘We can’t hire him because he’s got that Oklahoma accent, he’s a chubby guy and plus, unfortunately, he’s had facial paralysis called Bell’s palsy.’ If I got still long enough to think about all that information I just said, it would have had a profoundly adverse effect on me because of paranoia, and the anxiety, and the insecurities. I couldn’t stay still that long. I had to keep moving forward in any way that I could.
“It’s a story that you could live. It’s a story you may live. I got on a really unique road in a really wacky vehicle and for 40-plus years I’ve been riding in it through all these bumps and turns. Some major crashes, some minor crashes. But we always got back on the road — we always got back up with pride. We got back behind the wheel and we kept driving. And until my time is called, and my vehicle is out of service, I’m gonna keep drivin’.”