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Review – Jim Ross/Paul O’Brien – Slobberknocker

Photo courtesy of Amazon.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

Whether he wanted it to or not, the raspy Oklahoman growl from a modest man in a jet-black cowboy hat named Jim Ross has become synonymous with numerous signature moments in professional wrestling’s heyday.

Ponder back to Mankind’s descent from the roof of the meshed mayhem that was the still-new “Hell In A Cell” structure by The Undertaker and tell us Ross’ “As God is my witness, he’s broken in half!” call isn’t etched in your memory.

Or his repetitive-yet-emotional screams of “Stone Cold!” as The Texas Rattlesnake hurled Kane over the top rope to seal his third Royal Rumble victory in 2001.

In fact, many consider “Good ‘Ol JR” the voice of pro wrestling, bar-none. His ability to focus on talent’s strengths and paint a storyline’s picture with heart made it feel like you needed to be there with him for the match he called, that anything else wasn’t worth the bother.

It was only a matter of time before JR penned his own autobiography and with help from Sports Publishing, Paul O’Brien and the late Scott E. Williams, “Slobberknocker” was born in 2017.

Let’s face it – if there was going to be a book on JR, “Slobberknocker” has a better ring to it than “Government Mule Dude.”

Right off the bat, if you seek input from Ross about World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Owner Vince McMahon’s “less than celebratory” segments that degraded his Bell’s Palsy disability, you won’t get it here. Ross speaks only highly of his old boss for the opportunity to take the ball and run behind the desk and curtain. McMahon actually pens the foreword, appropriately enough.

Ross does makes it sound as if Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock wouldn’t had gotten over without his input to Vince and for what it is, that may be true. They certainly needed it at the time to overtake World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and their stronghold grasp of the industry via “The Monday Night Wars.”

A chapter highlight is his confidence in the Mankind character and how that eventually pays off despite his concern for Mick Foley’s “hardcore” work ethic. It shows you his expertise in talent relations, just a glimpse of the backstage magic he provided.

With WCW in mind, JR goes in-depth about his childhood upbringings and how he worked humbly with the likes of “Cowboy” Bill Watts in Mid-South territory days behind the scenes by offering to do what he could to help the company whether through advertising, ring announcing or even to set up the ring.

JR’s biggest advice seems to be that he landed luck in the industry through paid dues and an almost obsessive fixation with the business, part of which he regretted from lack of family time. Through it all, he never lost who he was and it was that aspect that gave him success in talent relations.

His struggles with Bell’s Palsy dominate the last few chapters and set up the “finish” (return to the booth at WrestleMania XV in Philadelphia) in dramatic fashion, yet provide a keen sense of closure you might not get otherwise.

As “JR” as the book is, there are some elements that aren’t there. He has a strong social media presence on both Facebook and Twitter as well as a well-known podcast called The Ross Report, yet none of it is ever mentioned. Hell, not even a whimper of Barbecue sauce supremacy graces one page. Given his stature, it would’ve been interesting to get his perspective on how to stay relevant in the “digital age” when information on professional wrestling is ever present.

That said, “Slobberknocker” delivers what it promises and gives wrestling fans some insight behind one of the best minds in the business. Respect goes a long way, but it builds the foundation to personal success. JR’s story is one that needs to be heard for anybody that wants to pursue their passion but aren’t sure where to begin. All it requires is heart and the mind will follow.

With God as our witness, this book will break you in half. Don’t do this. You’ve got a family at home, dammit.

Nah, we’re just kidding.

Check it out. It’s quite the slobberknocker.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1992 Reaction

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

World Championship Wrestling and the early 1990’s are about as gimmicked as professional wrestling could be.

Check out our review of Starrcade 1991 for an example of this.

With this particular event famous for its “Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal” concept (just imagine Raw Roulette for more current readers), Sting and Jake “The Snake” Roberts would settle their longtime feud with 12 possible “unsanctioned” scenarios.

On top of that, WCW United States Heavyweight Champion Rick Rude would “compete” in two matches, Flyin’ Brian-Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat would face off in an exceptional match (by early 90’s standards) and there was a moment between Paul E. Dangerously (or Paul Heyman for those current peeps – how ya doin’?) and Madusa that wouldn’t be forgotten.

Coming from Philadelphia, we got snippets of what “hardcore” would soon look like. This crowd helped to make this show more bearable.

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