WWE announcer and color commentator Jim Ross retired after over 30 years of calling sports broadcasts. He may not be a hero in conventional circles, but for some there was no one better on the mic. Here, we offer a retrospective of some of his best calls.
Today some are calling him "one of the best announcers in any sport ever," while others prefer something simpler: "legend." Jim Ross was a wrestling announcer, sure, but he worked during wrestling's in the mid-to-late 90s when the business was never bigger. And it was during that time that Jim Ross' voice ingrained itself in the minds of children, teenagers and 20-somethings alike.
No Jim Ross moment is more well known than his infamous call during the 1998 pay-per-view King of the Ring when the Undertaker, a soldier for the undead, threw Mankind, a deranged mental patient type, off a structure tastefully-titled the "Hell in a Cell":
That video, and that call, would live on in Internet reverie forever. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of people have remixed it over top of other videos. It provides the perfect reaction to anything shocking and short. You remember Miguel legdropping some poor girl at the Grammy's this year? Of course that got the Jim Ross treatment.
Listen here, from a match between his close friend "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Dude Love at 1998's Over the Edge pay-per-view, as Ross reacts to a shocking kick-out from Austin leading into a storming comeback. He has all the excitement of Gus Johnson on his best day with a better ability to call what's happening in front of him. Watch the rest of the video when the Undertaker (who was lurking at ringside) starts inciting chaos. Ross captures the excitement and confusion of the moment beautifully. Start the video around 28 minutes, 20 seconds:
And when things suddenly changed in front of the audience's eyes, like a beloved character became evil, no one was better at making a shocked call that Jim Ross. Here, at Wrestlemania X-7, man of the people Steve Austin turned on his fans and teamed up with evil, corporate boss Vince McMahon to win the championship belt. Ross famously said Austin "sold his soul to the devil" (start the video around 28 minutes, 28 seconds):
Ross has also received glowing praise for his work on the 2009 Wrestlemania 25 pay-per-view match between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker, two legends long past their best years. Careers were on the line, and Ross's commentary helped build the final moments of the match up so much that even the most jaded fans were jumping out of their seats. Here, beginning around the 31 minute mark, is the end of that match:
He was also never afraid to hide his love for colorful candy, either, making him even more beloved to the teenagers watching at home:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.