Whichever way it is looked at, Jim Ross has had some great highs and some real lows during his life. Ross has been involved with professional wrestling most of his life. He has been a wrestling announcer, referee, and an occasional athlete in the squared circle. He has acted and run restaurants. He has had many highs in his life, but probably the highest moment was in 1993 when he married Jan. That was the same year he took over commentating from Gorilla Monsoon with the WWE.
Listening to Good Ol’ JR, call matches was fun, but during the WWE’s Attitude era, when Ross called a Stone Cold Steve Austin match, you could tell he was in heaven. Wearing his trademark cowboy hat, and screaming at the top of his lungs, “Stone Cold! Stone Cold! It’s the Texas Rattlesnake!” Fans could tell there was something special in Ross’ voice. Behind the scenes, Ross considers Stone Cold Steve Austin as one of his closest friends. In 1998, while both Austin and Ross were part of the WWE, the announcer suffered a double whammy. Ross’s mother had died, and while announcing during a WWE show, he suffered a Bell’s palsy attack. He first saw symptoms of Bell’s in 1994. Following the attack, which was emotional, not only for Ross, but for the entire WWE, he took some time off, which was the beginning of the end for J.R. and the biggest wrestling brand out there. He was yanked around by the brand, who appeared to not really know what to do with him anymore. He guest hosted when his friend, Jerry “The King” Lawler was sidelined.
Another low was when he was let go by the WWE. During the WWE 2K14 roster announcement, people thought he was drunk. He was, however, suffering from fatigue and symptoms of his Bell’s Palsy. It did not matter though, and he was released by the WWE. Since then, Ross has called matches for New Japan Pro Wrestling, boxing, but wanted to spend more time with his wife. According to ComicBook.com, another good friend, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, introduced Ross to Jan, and they were married. After four decades of nightly wrestling, away from home, he was able to spend time with the love of his life.
But then the lowest low hit Jim Ross. On Monday night, while Ross was recording a podcast, his wife was out riding her Vespa scooter. On Wednesday, Ross reported, in detail, what happened on his blog. He said that his wife was riding her Vespa home from the gym when she was rear ended by a car driven by a 17-year-old. She was not wearing a helmet and suffered multiple skull fractures and a catastrophic brain injury. For over 21 years with the WWE, she was always by his side, and loved the business. She stood by him during three Bell’s palsy bouts, nursed him back to health after colon surgery that almost killed him. He said “this woman loves me more than I’ll ever deserve.”
Thursday evening, Jim Ross posted on Twitter that a priest had just given Jan her last rights and that, “My little Angel is gone.” While Ross was the star of the family, through WCW, WWF/WWE, XFL, and his podcast, since 1993, Jan was his everything. While Ross worked with the up and coming talent at the WWE, Jan would love to have them to their home. She has been part of the lives of so many wrestlers, she cooked for them and even helped them with laundry from time to time.
Commentary by Cletus Dillwood
Photo Courtesy Twitter