WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross to embark on a spoken word tour
WWE.com's Joey Styles recently sat down with Jim Ross to discuss the WWE Hall of Famer's upcoming spoken word tour. The two former Raw broadcasters talked about J.R.'s history in wrestling and what fans can expect at his shows.
WWE.COM: Why did you decide to do a spoken word tour?
JIM ROSS: I’d like to think that I have an interesting story to tell. Growing up as an only child in a rural, eastern Oklahoma, I had chores to do and responsibilities to take care of. I was an avid reader of the monthly wrestling magazines and we had one hour of wrestling on TV that came on Saturdays. As best I recall, it came on at 4 p.m. My mom and my dad didn’t get home until 5 p.m. or 5:30 p.m., so I would have that one hour that I could get all of my chores done and get in front of the TV. I think that my journey from starting out as a kid on that farm to getting into the [wrestling] business when I didn’t have any contacts is a real story. I’m hoping that this is going to be as motivational and inspirational as it's going to be informational. We’re going to have fun. It’s going to be entertaining. We’re going to get some laughs out of it, share some information and some stories. I hope that at the end of the night, everybody who attends is more confident in their own future and what they can become if they invest in themselves properly.
WWE.COM: Why did you decide to start this endeavor in the U.K.?
ROSS: There’s a successful track record of guys we know who have made tours of the U.K. I won’t say that one day I won’t do these sorts of events over in the United States or North America, in general, because that’s certainly in the plans at some point. I think it’s a good way to get my toe in the water.
WWE.COM: Being that you have 40 years of broadcast experience, what wrestlers that are included in your stories would today’s fans recognize?
ROSS: That depends on how long they’ve been a fan. There were people that I met like Lou Thesz; the original “Nature Boy,” Buddy Rogers; and my mentor, “Cowboy” Bill Watts. Through the 1970s and the '80s, guys like Ernie Ladd, Junkyard Dog and Ted DiBiase before he became The Million Dollar Man. All those guys in the Mid-South and the UWF territory that went on to greatness, like Jim Duggan, Terry Taylor, Magnum T.A., Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors — when they were relatively new — and two guys named Sting and Rock, who became The Ultimate Warrior. When I was the WWE's Exectuive Vice President of Talent Relations, our department signed many of today’s stars. John Cena, Randy Orton and Kane, to name a few. With The Monday Night War and The Attitude Era, I was in the right place at the right time.
WWE.COM: Who else on WWE programming today do you have a history with?
ROSS: I was Paul Heyman's first broadcast partner. Paul Heyman had never done broadcasting until he came to WCW. When I needed a broadcast partner, the powers that be asked who was available. When I suggested Paul Heyman, they asked, “How much experience does he have?” I said, “Very little, but that means he doesn’t have any bad habits. He’s very bright and we'll be fine. It will be a great contrast with my Oklahoma accent and his New York accent. It will be very distinctive.”
WWE.COM: What has working for WWE taught you?
ROSS: I’ve learned a lot from Vince’s philosophy. Making sure you’re eating right and doing the right thing for your health. Even though I don’t travel with him any longer and I’m not in meetings with him any longer, we still talk. I’m 61 years old and my mother and my father both died when they were 64. I have come to the realization that I want to live longer than they did. I have to be healthier and take better care of myself. After having some serious health scares in the last few years, I'm spending more time on my health. I’m watching what I eat and going to the gym on a regular basis. Things that I should have been doing all along, I’m doing now. I think those are some messages that I’m going to share on these spoken word tours. You’re never too old to make changes, nor are you too young to make changes — changes that are essential in our growth.
WWE.COM: Is that what you'll be talking about on your tour?
ROSS: A lot of those stories I’m going to be able to share. I think they’re all part of a changing time. I got in the wrestling business young; I was 22. Just chronologically getting into the business and being able to work the territory as a referee, and then a ring crew guy, and then ring announcing, and then broadcasting, and then promoting. I think this whole journey from when I started in the mid-'70s until today is going to be informative, and I think fans that are really fans are going to enjoy it, as well as the Q&A session, which will be a big part of the shows.
Tickets are available here for WWE fans and others looking to hear Jim Ross share his life experiences and the lessons learned from them.