Appearing on an edition of the WrestleZone Radio to promote his Slobberknocker Sessions tour on April 6, the living legend that is Jim Ross responded to the backlash he received from fans of New Japan Pro Wrestling regarding his commentary at the promotion’s Strong Style Evolved event on Sunday.
Ross’ vocals were called into question several times during the four-hour broadcast, as he repeatedly referred to moves by their wrong names. The mistake angered loyal fans who called for the return of Kevin Kelly and Don Callis.
Responding to those who questioned his skill on the headset – why would you? Jim Ross is arguably the greatest announcer in the history of the business – the voice of WWE for well over a decade did not mince his words:
“I read some of the criticisms about my work and the broadcast in general but essentially people want, the die-hards who follow New Japan World, they want their team. They want Kevin Kelly and Don Callis to do the show. I don’t blame them. I don’t even get mad about it. The only thing that gets frustrating is when you’ve got wrestling fans who’ve got like 40 followers on Twitter that tell you, “your career sucks,” and that you should be dead or not allowed to be on television. That’s kind of crude, I think. Does that really feel necessary for not knowing the certain name of a certain hold?
“I have a pet peeve about that deal, to be honest with you. A bodyslam is a God damned bodyslam. You can give it 18 different names to sell t-shirts, that’s fine and I don’t care but to me it’s a bodyslam. We find ourselves talking about this variant or that variant and worry about not pissing off the talent because we didn’t give their hold a name or use the name they use in their niche marketing. I find it almost embarrassing to be quite frank about it.
“I enjoyed the show, I enjoyed working with New Japan, I love working with the guys who produce AXS TV.”
The retort is fair. Jim Ross has been doing this for longer than some of us have been alive. He may have reverted to basics, but that does not warrant the abundance of hate he’s received. I will state categorically right now, that for me, Jim Ross is the greatest of all time.
‘Good Ol’ J.R’ has been the voice of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s weekly AXS TV show in the United States since 2015. WWE fans will hear his iconic voice next at the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia on April 27, when the company reforms the partnership of Ross and Jerry Lawler – an alliance which defined an entire generation for some of us.
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