Jim Ross

Jim Ross

James William "Jim" Ross is a professional wrestling commentator (born January 3, 1952 in Fort Bragg, California), known professionally by his stage name Jim Ross or simply JR. Jim Ross is a restaurateur, professional wrestling commentator and former company executive currently signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) working on its Raw brand as the play-by-play commentator. To many peers, Ross is considered to be one of the best wrestling announcers in history and has been called the voice of World Wrestling Entertainment. He is known affectionately as "good ol'" J.R. or simply J.R. to his fans. In 2007 he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame alongside his long-time commentary partner Jerry Lawler.

In recent years he has developed his own brand of barbecue sauce, beef jerky and cookbooks, and has since opened a successful barbecue restaurant in Norman, Oklahoma, with plans to expand the business into a multi-location franchise centered in the Oklahoma City area.

Early career

During his time in college, Ross had spent some time commentating on college radio. With this experience, Ross was given a chance to be a sideline commentator when an announcer in one territory was unable to show up one night.

Shortly after Bill Watts bought out the Mid-South territory, Ross went to work there, becoming their lead play-by-play man in 1986. The first World Title match he called was between Ric Flair and Ted DiBiase. When Jim Crockett, Jr. bought the Mid-South (since renamed the Universal Wrestling Federation) and merged it with his Jim Crockett Promotions group, Ross joined the new company and eventually supplanted Gordon Solie and Tony Schiavone as lead play-by-play man for the National Wrestling Alliance. Ross continued to hone his skills and build his legacy as Jim Crockett Promotions became World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

Ross worked his way up the ladder, yet along the way had a contentious relationship with WCW executive Eric Bischoff. According to Ross, Bischoff, who reported to him, did a really good job of "selling himself" to executives of WCW's owner Turner Broadcasting. According to Bischoff, Ross mistreated him, and when Eric was promoted to executive producer in 1993, he "justly" fired Ross from the company.

As it happened, Ross had an air-tight three year contract with Turner Broadcasting, but he took an immediate buy-out for fear that he wouldn't get work elsewhere if he was taken off television for a long period of time. Mick Foley claims that Ross resigned from WCW's booking committee. Ross left WCW after being taken off the air by Eric Bischoff.

World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment


After his extensive work in the NWA and WCW, Ross was hired by the World Wrestling Federation (later known as World Wrestling Entertainment), making his debut at WrestleMania IX and taking over for Gorilla Monsoon on WWF Wrestling Challenge the next weekend. Ross worked alongside Bobby Heenan on that show until Heenan left the WWF in December 1993. Ross was originally the main voice of the WWF's pay-per-view events when he was first brought in, calling both WrestleMania IX and the King of the Ring with Heenan and Randy Savage in 1993. Vince McMahon took his position at payperviews starting with SummerSlam 1993.

Ross was then made host of Radio WWF, which lasted a little under a year. In this role, Ross was joined by co-hosts such as Johnny Polo, and talked to various WWF Superstars and fans. Ross and Monsoon called SummerSlam and the Survivor Series at the end of 1993 and the Royal Rumble for Radio WWF.

Ross was fired by WWF on February 11, 1994. He subsequently became an announcer for Smoky Mountain Wrestling and the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.

When Vince McMahon was indicted by the United States federal government in 1994, he was unable to continue commentating on Monday Night RAW. After a few weeks of Gorilla Monsoon on play-by-play, the WWF rehired Ross to fill in for McMahon alongside Randy Savage throughout that summer. When McMahon was acquitted, Ross was let go by the WWF again, but the Federation quickly rehired him in early 1995 in time for WrestleMania XI. Relocated to the syndicated WWF programming for the majority of the next two years, Ross would rejoin the primary announce team in the summer of 1996.


In September 1996, Ross turned heel in WWF storylines for the first time in his career. Following Diesel and Razor Ramon leaving the WWF for World Championship Wrestling and debuting there as The Outsiders, Ross began to proclaim on television that he was still in touch with "Diesel" and "Razor" and claimed that he would be bringing them back to the WWF soon. On the September 23, 1996 episode of Monday Night RAW, Ross delivered a worked-shoot promo during which he ran down WWF Chairman Vince McMahon (outing him as chairman and not just a commentator for the first time in WWF storylines) and debuted his "new" Diesel and Razor, claiming that while working in the WWF "front office" he'd been the man responsible for so many people leaving the company as part of his "revenge" against the WWF for how they treated him in the past.

After this angle, Ross went on to host various WWF programs such as Superstars, Action Zone, Monday Night RAW, Shotgun Saturday Night and SmackDown! Ross again became the main voice of the WWF beginning at the 1997 Survivor Series.

In 1998, Ross took a break from RAW, due to the death of his mother and the worsening condition of his Bell's Palsy. He eventually returned to RAW as part of a storyline alleging that Vince fired him because of his condition, but that he would not go down quietly and enlisted the services of "Dr. Death" Steve Williams as his personal "enforcer." The storyline went as far as to have Jim Ross set up his own announce table in front of the official announce table labeled "JR Is War." The storyline was soon dropped and Jim Ross took his seat back as "official" commentator of RAW starting with the main event of WrestleMania XV.

Ross' Bell's Palsy proved fodder for ridicule by WWF's competitor, World Championship Wrestling. Ed Ferrara parodied Ross, including doing a full impression including mockery of his medical condition. This was received negatively by fans and wrestlers alike, with Jim Cornette even threatening legitimate physical harm against Ferrara. The angle was soon dropped by WCW.


Jim Ross was the "voice of RAW" throughout the Monday Night Wars alongside Jerry Lawler and cemented his legacy as one of the great wrestling commentators as WWE became the sole major wrestling promotion in North America. After the WWE Brand Extension, Ross worked exclusively for the RAW brand, cutting down to doing play-by on RAW-only pay-per-views, while SmackDown!-only pay-per-views were announced by SmackDown!'s announce team.

For most of the next six years Ross was involved in very few storylines. Also during this time, Ross served as an Executive Vice President of Talent Relations for the WWF/WWE, a codified extension of his long-time role as a member of management backstage in charge of hiring new talent. By 2005, Ross had stepped down from his executive and management roles. According to repeated statements on his official blog, the move away from management proved beneficial in terms of decreased work-load, giving him more time to focus on his health, his family, and his entrepreneurial endeavors.

Still working as the voice of RAW, Ross was again "fired" (as part of a storyline) from his play-by-play job by Vince and Linda McMahon on October 10, 2005. Doctors had discovered a serious issue with Ross's colon, and his storyline termination provided an explanation for his absence. The next week, Vince McMahon performed a skit on RAW ridiculing Ross' condition, acting as a "doctor" performing surgery on a Ross dummy, and removing several objects from the dummy's colon in a much-maligned storyline. Soon after, WWE ran an angle where Ross' good friend Steve Austin would fight for Ross' job. However, WWE dropped the angle when Austin backed out over creative differences. While recovering from his colon surgery, Joey Styles (best known for his commentary work for Extreme Championship Wrestling) called the weekly RAW. After recovering, Ross helped produce the RAW announcers from backstage, and was brought back for Saturday Night's Main Event in 2006, then the RAW-brand matches at WrestleMania 22 in Chicago, before taking back his play-by-play job on RAW on May 8, 2006.

Jim Ross' contract with WWE expired in October 2006. At that point, neither side had signed a new contract and instead worked week to week under the terms of the expired contract. In November 2006, Jim Ross stated on his official blog that he had signed a new one year contract with WWE and would continue to work year-to-year.

On March 31, 2007, Ross was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Stone Cold Steve Austin. As of 2008, Ross continues to work play-by-play for WWE's RAW brand.

Personal life

Jim is married to his wife Jan and has two daughters (from a previous marriage) and two granddaughters. He suffers from Bell's palsy, which sometimes results in temporary paralysis of Ross' facial muscles. In late 1998, following the death of his mother, Ross took a break from RAW as the effects of his grief reportedly worsened his Bell's palsy, and Michael Cole filled in for Ross. Despite his condition, Ross has established himself as one of the all-time greatest wrestling commentators, often compared to Gordon Solie.

In 2007, spurred on by sales of his line of barbecue sauces and beef products, Ross opened up J.R.'s Family Bar-B-Q, a barbecue restaurant in Norman, Oklahoma. The restaurant has proven very successful, and, via his blog, Ross has announced plans to expand further into the Oklahoma City area. As of 2007, the next location is under construction in Moore, Oklahoma, and there are plans to franchise the restaurants nationwide. (Credit: Wikipedia).



Jim Ross official website



World Wrestling Entertainment

Wrestling Journalists