WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross was recently a guest on the latest edition of Stone Cold’s “The Steve Austin Show” podcast. Good ol’ JR discussed various topics including the difficulty of the current WWE announcers’ job, how his style of commentating doesn’t work in today’s WWE, and how he prefers Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler as a heel announcer.
Ross’s comments on the difficulty of a WWE announcers job as compared to that of a smaller company:
“I think those guys have a tough job. It’s just a different style. I’m kind of glad that I’m not (in that position). (WWE) have more to sell. They have a mall where these other wrestling companies have a storefront. They have a smaller inventory to sell, whereas the WWE has a ton of things to promote and sell and their own network, etcetera, etcetera. So the announcers are obligated to get so much of that content in and that’s built into the show.”
JR feels that his announcing style wouldn’t work well in today’s WWE as he is more of a play-by-play commentator while WWE is asking for more story-telling, product selling commentating:
“I do miss walking out there and sitting down and going to work, but I don’t know that my style in what I’m most comfortable in doing would be applicable in WWE these days based on how the guys are produced and the obligations they have to get the product over and all the stuff they (have) got to sell.”
While Ross misses announcing professional wrestling matches and would love to get back into it, he acknowledges that it is getting a lot tougher to find jobs in pro-wrestling that call for play-by-play announcing:
“I miss the red light going on. I miss the crowds. I don’t miss the TSA people. I don’t miss the hotel representatives or the rental car guys or whatever. I feel like I’m an old wishbone (offense) football coach that the game has passed me by (in) that respect. And until the wishbone got back in fashion, I don’t know that I could do as good as I would like to hope that I could. But I miss it. I miss doing it. And certainly, I miss trying and if I had the opportunity to call just a straight (professional) wrestling show, I’d be jacked to get that opportunity. But there ain’t much of those out there and there (aren’t) many gigs open, and so I’m happy to be like kind of what [Austin] said. The armchair quarterback (position) works for me. I could do that from right here in the house.”
JR talks about how he prefers Jerry Lawler as a heel announcer and if the WWE wanted to be bold they should flip the switch and turn him heel:
“I’ve always given (Lawler) the credit for the success of our team because he is just so naturally good. And quite frankly, if WWE wanted to be bold, there’s your great (heel announcer). He has a hell of a lot more fun being a heel broadcaster than a good ol’ lovable Uncle Jerry that survived a heart attack on the air. He loves being a heel, but that’s not his role right now. That’s not how he’s cast.”
You can click here to listen to JR’s interview on “The Steve Austin Show” in its entirety.
You can also listen to JR’s podcast here as well.
I agree that the WWE announcers today have an incredibly difficult job. I remember reading an interview Michael Cole gave earlier this year about how commentating for a three hour Raw leaves him sweating through his shirt and physically drained (Did a quick search for the interview and found it; click here if you’d like to give it a read). Cole and the rest of the announce team have a lot of voices in their ear’s and a lot of products to promote; so whenever the WWE announcing get’s on my nerves, I always like to think back to this Cole interview and remind myself that these guys really do have it tough.
JR called NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 9 pay-per-view back in January with former WWE announcer Matt Striker and the two of them did a terrific job. When it comes to calling wrestling matches, Ross is still very much on his game. Part of me would love to see him return to the announce team on Raw or Smackdown, but like he said, WWE’s announcing style doesn’t call for play-by-play commentating so I know we would just be seeing a watered down version of JR if he did return. However, maybe calling matches for NXT is an option. It seems like the announcing style on NXT is more play-by-play and he could help groom some of the younger announcers on that show who are trying to find their footing.
In regards to The King as a heel announcer, yes please! I Like Lawler but I can’t stand the constant flood of corny jokes. Turning Jerry heel would bring a refreshing feel to an incredibly stale announce team. Would you like to see The King as a heel announcer or do you prefer him as a baby face? Do you want to see JR as part of WWE’s broadcast team again? Should the WWE make a change in their announcing style? Keep the conversation going by leaving your thoughts in the comment section below.