Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bah God! JR is Retiring

Good ol' JR, Jim Ross
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

The WWE has announced that long time announcer Jim Ross is retiring.  Although Good Ol' JR hasn't been a regular part of WWE programming for quite some time, this news is sad to me.  I've been following JR since his days in Mid-South/UWF and always found him to be the best in the business.

I watched him as he headed to WCW and brought their announce team up to par.  I have always been a wrestling fan, but the WWF was always my favorite company.  You can imagine my joy when I was watching Wrestlemania IX and Ross came out to call the show.  It was heaven.  This was right before the Internet and the spoilers that came along with it, so seeing JR there was a legit surprise.

His ability to tell a story and call the action of a match is amazing to me.  My former broadcast colleague during our days with All American Pro Wrestling, Chris Hagstrom has idolized JR for years too.  In fact, it was his tweet that I first saw announcing Ross' retirement.  Chris said it online and I agree, not only is JR the voice, but the heart of the WWE.

I had always hoped his current hiatus from the company was temporary.  Michael Cole has evolved and I must admit is so much more tolerable since dropping the heel character, but I don't think the company has anyone on the radar who will ever fill JR's shoes (or hat for that matter).

He's been mocked, fired, and mistreated through the years, but in my opinion JR always persevered.  That's just one more thing I admire about him.  His emotion and passion for his job behind the scenes and on air has inspired me for years.  I still consider him a hero in the business.

In closing, without a doubt, I'd have to say my favorite JR memory (at least the one that immediately pops into my head) is from the King of the Ring 1998, the classic Hell in a Cell match between Mankind and the Undertaker.  JR's emotion that night was off the charts.

JR, thanks for the memories and the inspiration.

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