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WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: The Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast: Interview Friday w/ Jim Ross on his new book, how announcing has evolved over the years, working with a blind color commentator

Wade Keller interview with Stan Hansen

Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast – Interview Friday

Release Date: October 13, 2017

Guest: Jim Ross

Recap by: Jason Darling

DIRECT  LINK TO LISTEN/DOWNLOAD

Newsworthy Items:

  • JR did not take an advance from the publishers on the book, he wanted a bigger share of the profit on the sales because he believes so much in his book.
  • Quotes from Slobberknocker
    • “I knew what I had to do, I did what any decent human would do in that situation. I slapped my boss repeatedly in the balls.”
    • “I wanted to sound real, because to me it was real. It had been drilled into my mind that you call everything like it was a real sporting event, that is how I was programmed,” Ross on his announcing style.
  • You learn from Slobberknocker who passes gas the longest, loudest, and smelliest.
  • Never talked about prescription medication issues before. Does in his book.
  • Jim says recording the audio for the audiobook of “Slobberknocker” was the hardest thing he’s ever done in his life.

Recap:

Show Intro:

Wade starts out calling an audible for this week’s interview. He had been hyping the interview with Ted DiBiase about his new movie The Price of Fame and decided it would serve better later as we approached the release date of the film. Instead, he had the opportunity to interview Jim Ross this week about his newly released book Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling as well as some other topics about today’s product and developing his announcing style.

Interview beginning:

Wade starts out the interview talking about the book and how well it has been received by fans. Jim starts with talking about his wife and how hard it was for him to work on the book after her passing, and that he wasn’t even sure if he would even finish it. He felt it was necessary to finish in honor of Jan, for how hard she worked on it, and to not put his mindset ahead of hers.

Despite how much time Wade has spent interviewing Jim Ross, he was surprised with how much he learned about him through reading this book. It also left a sense of wanting to learn more about Jim, instead of it being the full story that ends at the finale.

Immediately after he was let go from WWE in September of 2013, on the ride back from the offices in Stamford, Jim first came up with the idea of writing a book. He talked about being a businessman and saving money so therefore he could sit back a bit and reinvent himself. Writing a book could finally be an option since he had the time at this point in his life. Jim would spend days with Scott Norman, the original Author of the book, recording all kinds of topics for the book. Unfortunately Scott passed, and the author was changed to Paul O’Brien, and he would work off of what Scott had started with Jim.

Wade asked a question about what shaped the scope of what his book would be about and how it changed. Jim said it changed a bit, and when you are a man and live up to shortcomings then things change. He wanted it to be honest and upfront and because of that it changed the book as they went along.

Jim goes on to talk about being approached by people in public and messing with them a bit about knowing who he is but not being upfront about it. But that insecurities or lack of knowledge of wrestling prevents them from admitting they know who he is. However, once they figure it out they will talk his ear off about whatever storylines impacted them.

Book contents:

Back to the topic of the book, Jim talks about what is in it, such as his prescription medication problems and how the grind of being in WWE was impacting his issues. Despite it all though, Jim admits that the position he was in with WWE was his dream job.

Wade asked if Jim gets enough credit for the success of the Attitude Era, speaking more for the behind the scenes work he did. Jim says he doesn’t know and doesn’t want to dwell on it, but there are enough people that are aware of it. Whenever he does Q&A sessions with the fans that kind of a question is never asked, and that his on-air work is where fans connected with him and remember him. They didn’t know him as the office worker on the 4th floor of Titan Towers.

Wade lets us know the book is a march through the territory days to the expansion era, through the Attitude Era, and that includes the WCW time and being bought by Ted Turner and the hiring of Eric Bischoff. Wade felt a personal connection with the WCW time period because that is what he covered on the early days of the Torch. Jim says he wrote it this way because it is important for us to learn from the past, and use that to forge through the future.

A summer job is how Jim got his start, and it ended up lasting 40 years. He didn’t want to be a wrestler but once he got into the business he became immersed. Jim’s story is unique because he doesn’t have a background as an athlete but as a kid who wanted to go see big matches, which Wade related to. Wrestling announcers are a key part of the business and very important for framing a match or hyping the show. Jim wrote in his book about a few incidents in his life but wanted to share it so fans and readers learn from his stories and get something to benefit themselves. Wade brings up a point about how announcing is incredibly hard and requires a lot of practice. Jim’s father helped him as a kid be clear and concise in his announcing and talking that carried over into his announcing career.

Wade talks about one way Jim got better at announcing is because his color commentator in his early career, Leroy McGuirk, couldn’t see. He also mentions in the book that Jim talks about listening to baseball announcers and learning a lot from the way they call the action and that most announcers today probably don’t think about how much goes into what they are saying.

Jim expands more on his time with Leroy McGuirk as how he needed to be very descriptive to give the illusion at home that the color commentator wasn’t blind. Leroy had lost an eye in elementary school and his other eye at 51. When they worked together Jim would create the most visual inducing commentary he could to help Leroy do his job.

Today’s announcing job:

A discussion began which involved critiquing modern announcer’s job and Jim suggested that it might not be common knowledge that every announcer has a producer. The end result of what you see is the announcer’s attempt at working with what they are being produced into saying or adding to the conversation. Wade related it to watching a movie and hearing a particular dialogue, we don’t get upset at the actor playing the role.

Jim spoke some more on how the announcer’s job is to make the product feel real. Wade added not to remind fans its not real, and for the announcers to become invested themselves in the action and that not calling the action like it is real, is detrimental.

More Book Contents and Ending:

Jim went on to describe that his book has a lot in it, parenting, goal setting, being an entrepreneur, and being a free thinker. He was glad that Wade learned a lot from his book, which was surprising considering he lives and breathes the wrestling business.

The book ends when Jim’s mother died and he was plagued with another spout of Bell’s Palsy, during his “next run” in WWE. He went on to say that he believes ending the story there leaves a lot left in the tank for a second book, and that for now he isn’t thinking about the sequel. He is still working with the book by promoting and doing signings. He didn’t want to write a big book, he said he would read some books from others and would need someone to carry it around for him it was so heavy, he wanted to keep it concise and well thought out like his commentary work.

If Jim were to be writing the sequel today he would end it with calling the match at WrestleMania calling Undertaker’s last match, and right before that the death of his wife Jan. He’s not thinking about writing that book for now and just hopes his health holds up and can write a second one in the coming years.

Closing:

Wade went on to ask how Jim was doing after all this time, and finishing the book, after the death of Jan. “More days are good than bad,” is the first response Jim gives, which is great to hear. He does his best to control the negativity, he has no room for it in his life, in his words he has no room for it in his truck, his bed is full. Jim elaborates that the day of this interview was their 24th anniversary. This was also a challenging week because October 11th was Dusty Rhodes Birthday, October 12th was their anniversary, and the second saturday in October is the Oklahoma and Texas football game. Now that he has been through all of those events of losing Jan and Dusty, it’s an odd week for him now. He will never complain and has lived a charmed life and each day is better than the last.

Part 2 of the interview with J.R. will be available next week and his Ted DiBiase interview will be available the following week.

Review: 9/10

Hearing how Jim Ross was doing was a fantastic way to end the podcast and overall the conversation about the book was excellent. Jim mentioned Jan had a lot of time, interest and say in the book. The work she contributed would have given the podcast a more personal touch. Very small issue from an otherwise fantastic interview from Wade!

Timestamps

9:58 – Start of Interview w/ Jim Ross
15:20 – Mentions of being released from WWE sparking the drive to write his book
25:38 – Talks about Prescription Medication Issues
27:15 – Break from Interview
30:00 – Returned to Interview
55:45 – Social Media proves wrestling is “stronger then ever
60:00 – New day praise
67:24 – Jim Ross’ quote about life and how precious it is.
70:42 – Jim Ross’ current mental state

About the Author

Jason Darling is from Frederick, MD, part of the DC-Metro area. His first vivid memory of wrestling was on his 15th birthday, the triumphant return of Triple H to then WWF television. Since that day he has been a fan and hasn’t missed a Raw or Smackdown. Follow him on any social media platform with the username @Wheenus

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