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.
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“A Path Of Destruction… A Night Of Vengeance” was the tagline attached to the next to last Pay-Per-View by World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 2001 before the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) bought them out, which ended what was widely known as the “Monday Night Wars.”
While 2000’s WCW is synonymous with storyline absurdity and embarrassment, 2001 showed graces of promise with the faint smell of overbooking evident.
Gone now were Goldberg and Hulk Hogan, but stars like Lex Luger, Ric Flair and Kevin Nash were still prominent as ever.
Flair plays the role of “evil boss” quite well actually. What also helps this show move along is the breakthrough stars like Diamond Dallas Page (DDP) and the evolution of WCW World Heavyweight Champion Scott Steiner into “Big Poppa Pump,” almost unrecognizable from his look just a few years prior.
Picture Chad Gable becoming Braun Strowman and that was Steiner in a nutshell.
This poster actually plays into Steiner’s “I rushed the legends out” heel character as he boasted victories over Sting, Booker T, Goldberg and Sid Vicious.
The last edition of Superbrawl won’t have anything you’ll find if you’re on the search for WCW’s mark on the industry, but it was a nice tease of what could’ve been had they stuck around a bit longer.
*Courtesy Of The Wrestle Talk Podcast With Joe & Réne*
Check out the latest episode form our friends at the Wrestle Talk Podcast With Joe & Réne, which features Guests Dave Unger (Attitude Of Aggression) and ACH (Ring Of Honor, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, AAW).
Ungar has been a lifelong professional wrestling fan. Ungar has attended many memorable professional wrestling events, including WCW’s Capital Combat, WCW’s The Great American Bash, the WWE’s Royal Rumble, and two WWE WrestleManias. Ungar has also been a regular contributor for the Bleacher Report and a featured columnist for the Washington Capitals hockey team. Presently, Ungar is the driving force behind the Attitude of Aggression website. Attitude of Aggression is a website, blog, and podcast about professional wrestling with a specific focus on the WWE and the WWE Network. The Attitude of Aggression also discusses current events, fantasy booking scenarios, and upcoming local, national, and international events, in order to give professional wrestling fans a comprehensive look at professional wrestling at the highest level possible.
Born and raised in Austin, Texas, ACH trained for professional wrestling under the guidance of Jerry Reyes, Scot Summers, and the Kobra Kai Dojo. Also known as “The Last Dragon,” ACH has competed in professional wrestling rings all over the world, including St. Louis Anarchy, Beyond Wrestling, Absolute Intense Wrestling, AAW – Professional Wrestling Redefined, Anarchy Championship Wrestling, Chikara Pro Wrestling, Dragon Gate USA, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Evolve Wrestling, the National Wrestling Alliance, Pro Wrestling NOAH, Impact Wrestling, The Crash, Ring of Honor Wrestling, and Asistencia Asesoria y Administracion (AAA). ACH has competed in many prestigious tournaments, including the Combat Zone Wrestling’s “Best of the Best,” Ring of Honor Wrestling’s “Top Prospect Tournament” and “Survival of the Fittest,” Pro Wrestling Guerilla’s “Best of Los Angeles,” Impact Wrestling’s “Super X Cup,” and New Japan’s “Best of the Super Juniors.” A five-time Pro Wrestling Illustrated “PWI 500” honoree, ACH is recognized as the Inspire Pro Pure Prestige Champion and the VIP Heavyweight Champion. Presently, ACH is a part of the Taguchi Japan faction and member of the “Super 69” tag team with Ryusuke Taguchi in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Other topics include the return of the XFL, Seth Rollins/Jason Jordan as WWE Raw Tag Team Champions, ROH Final Battle and the NJPW video game.
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) was once signified as the “Be All, End All” of professional wrestling.
By now, that statement has been detracted with talent like The Young Bucks, Colt Cabana and Kenny Omega, all of whom have achieved financial efficiency and without any WWE stints (or pushes in Cabana’s case) to boot.
Ron Snyder’s “Wrestling’s New Golden Age: How Independent Promotions Have Revolutionized One Of America’s Favorite Sports,” released by Sports Publishing, succeeds in its goal to inform and explore just how independent wrestling came to be from its eerie territorial beginnings.
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan’s huge signing to World Championship Wrestling in June earlier in the year was a sign that perhaps things would change.
To an extent, that was correct.
Hogan’s arrival brought more money and sponsorships to WCW and his creative pull allowed him to bring in various faces of his past and recreate some magic.
Still, for every feud he had with Ric Flair, there was a Butcher match in the wings. If you told us that he’d be the main event of the biggest show of the year instead of doing the “Loser Must Retire” match there, we would’ve laughed too.
Star power doesn’t always provide a star product. That’s evident up and down through this card, though the quick wits of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan on commentary make it easier to sit through.
WCW tried to pass off “What’s Old Is New Again,” but alas, we just feel like it was done better somewhere else before.
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“Unsanctioned, Unauthorized, Unbelievable.”
If a tagline ever fit a World Championship Wrestling show, this was it.
Uncensored – WCW’s attempt to bend the rules and present an “extreme” Pay-Per-View with only gimmicked matches, was an experiment in the beginning.
Headlined by a Leather Strap Match between WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan and WCW United States Heavyweight Champion Vader in the midst of a hot feud between Hogan and “A Man Possessed,” Ric Flair, it was enough to salvage for the rest of the malarky.
What malarky? Put in a “Boxer Vs. Wrestler” Match, a “King Of The Road” Match and a “Martial Arts” Match.
Oh and because of recent creative changes, no blood was allowed at all.
* A RSN Wrestling Podcast Exclusive*
Check out the latest episode of The RSN Wrestling Podcast where PWO’s own Nick, “Big Guy” Rich and “Mastermind” Sal discuss the best and worst pro wrestling pay-per-views in history!
By Anthony Zevoteck
If you read the article title and hoped for me to talk about Garrett Bischoff, you may leave now.
The Bischoff of topic is Eric.
Arguably one of pro wrestling history’s greatest minds, the man worked his way up from the corporate office to become the face of World Championship Wrestling (WCW), an organization that almost put Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) out of business in the late 1990’s.
He first made an impact as a backstage interviewer and announcer in the American Wrestling Association (AWA), which allowed him to get a job for WCW, where he’d eventually change the wrestling world. After he positioned himself as Executive Vice President, he turned into a pivotal character and introduced the genius concept of television as he mixed the mainstream “New World Order” storyline with fast-paced ring action from international stars in Mexico. Before long, he’d be directly involved in the nWo storyline as their manager.