The Jim Ross Report – Live At Hilarities Cleveland With J.R. & The King
Release Date: 12/26/18
Running time: 1:40
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
0:00 – Intro (skip to 1:34 as the first 1:33 is a read).
We are back for another week of Slobberknocker audio with Jim Ross. On today’s show, J.R. will be broadcasting the Hilarities Show he did with Jerry Lawler a few weeks ago from Cleveland.
3:53 – Jim Ross And Jerry Lawler From Hilarities Cleveland
- Jim Ross comes out and introduces the King who he calls the best broadcast partner he’s ever had.
- The start off talking about their time in Cleveland and how well they were treated by the sports team they visited (Cleveland Browns).
- Jerry talks about his his family moving to Ohio. His father worked at Ford Motors in Memphis however transferred to Ohio to work there. The moved from Vermillion to Amherst and during this time, Jerry became a Browns and Indians fan for life and he loves coming back to Cleveland when he gets a chance.
16:50 – Q & A
Q: What did J.R. think of the cobra during the Jake Roberts vs. Sting at Halloween Havoc?
Ross: If J.R. was a booker, he would shy away from working with animals, incorporating religion, politics or intergender matches. The snake gimmick fit Jake but he was such a good worker and had good psychology that he didn’t need the snake.
Q: When Mick Foley got thrown off the cage at KOTR 1998, what were they thinking?
Lawler: When Mick went to the top of the cage, they expected he was going to come flying off because that was Mick Foley. He did some of the craziest things in a wrestling ring. The King and J.R. didn’t know what was going to happen. Even though he knew Mick was going to come flying off, he seeing it and being that close to it was amazing.
Ross: If you could have seen his thought bubble, it would have said ‘You gotta be sh*tting me?’
J.R. tells a story of being in the Dallas airport and someone got close to him and whispered ‘for the love of God, he’s broken in half’ and ‘for the love of God someone stop the damn match’. When J.R. turned around, the guys son apologized for his dad for doing that. This is a match that will never go away.
Lawler: The one thing that sticks in his mind, when Foley went through the table, he turned over and his tooth was coming out his nose. He thought Foley was truly dead when Foley went through the cage the second time.
Q: What’s it like to work with Vince McMahon and do they have any Vince stories?
Ross.: Vince would never yell at Jerry, however, he would chew out J.R. and tell him to pick up the pace if Lawler wasn’t having a good night. Vince wouldn’t yell at Lawler because Lawler couldn’t take it.
Lawler: He confirms that Vince never yelled at him on commentary but says Vince did yell at others like Mick Foley who commented that his father never yelled at him like Vince did. When they first put Cole with Lawler, Cole brought up that two wrestlers had past history outside the WWE which was a no-no on announce. Vince got into his ear and chewed him out with all the other announcers listening.
Ross: One time, something had changed in the show and Vince told J.R. not to mention the original direction of a story. However, Vince forgot and told J.R. in the headset to mention the original story which J.R. didn’t do. Vince kept yelling at J.R. to say it but J.R. wouldn’t. When they went to break, Vince came on the headset and was thankful J.R. didn’t say it because it would have been wrong. Overall, Vince was tough but was a great boss. In fact, J.R.’s father was harder on him than Vince was.
Q: Any good stories about riding with Vince especially if he was late?
Lawler: Jerry rode with Vince one time and all he did was make fun of Jerry Jarrett.
Ross: Jim travelled with Vince a lot. J.R. had fun travelling with Vince who always liked driving. One time they were in Ohio and there were cones on the road. Vince decided to run the cones and got pulled over. Even after getting the ticket, Vince still drove as fast as he did before getting the ticket. Vince said sometimes he would get three or four tickets on one trip.
Lawler: King was bad about tickets early in his career. Vince likes to rib people when flying and people who fly with him try not to sit close to Vince. One trip, King was sitting close to Vince and poured a bunch of hand sanitizer in Lawler’s hand as a rib.
Ross: Jim says Vince is responsible for the popularity of wrestling is in large part due to Vince and the strength of the WWE.
Q: Who were some of the stiffest guys in the Attitude Era?
Lawler: In Lawler’s case, Dolph Ziggler who literally gave Lawler a heart attack and ‘killed’ him. Bruiser Brody and Alex Riley who gave him one of the hardest clothesline ever.
Q: What do they think of the Miz’s success?
Ross: He’s come a long way and J.R. didn’t think he was going to make it. Early on, Ross thought Miz was playing the role of a wrestler. Miz has worked diligently and has upped his game. He’s very charismatic and could even be their biggest color guy if they decided to go in that direction. J.R. is proud of him.
Lawler: Miz and Lawler talk a lot about Cleveland sports and says Miz has come so far from where he used to be.
Q: What was it like for J.R. to be set on fire by Kane?
Ross: J.R. doesn’t know, it was a stunt double. All J.R. had to do was stand to the side and scream.
Q: Was it hard to work with other announcers?
Ross: Jim had good chemistry and J.R. knew what his role was. He was the point guard and had to distribute the ball to Jerry. Taz was challenging because even though he was good, he was insecure of himself. Foley was glib until Vince screamed at him and Heyman was ‘easy to hate’. He was a lightning rod. J.R. loved working with Heyman because he kept J.R. pissed off and Vince loved that conflict.
Lawler: Working with J.R. was easy and treated it like two buddies sitting on the sofa watching wrestling.
Q: How did J.R. come up with his iconic catchphrases ?
Ross.: Off the top of his head. Nothing was written down. J.R. says the wrestlers create the music and the announcers provide the lyrics.
Q: Was it originally in the plans for Austin to bleed in the Wrestlemania 13 match?
Lawler: Jim doesn’t remember that match because they’ve done so many matches. However, Lawler had a sheet of paper with one liners he may or may not use during a show. This particular sheet has Steve Austin’s blood on it. That said, J.R. and Jerry had no clue what was going to happen and this includes the Montreal Screwjob.
J.R. and Lawler break into a quick story about what happened at the Montreal Screwjob including Bret spitting on Vince, Kevin Dunn telling them to get off the air right away and Bret punching Vince. Additionally, Vince didn’t want to tell J.R. who was in talent relations at the time to give J.R. deniability.
Jerry and J.R., says Vince doesn’t allow anything good to happen to wrestlers in their hometown, for example, J.R. joining the Kiss My Ass club in Oklahoma. Vince thinks it’s funny and uses it to get heat on the heels. For example, when Austin turned heel, he got color on J.R. by using a scalpel. Jerry says the Kiss My Ass club was some of the funniest stuff he saw in the WWE.
Q: Can Lawler tell a story about the old independent days?
Lawler: Jerry started in the business in 1971 and at the time wrestling was going on all over the country. The country was divided into 32 different territories each with their local TV shows. Nick Gulas and Roy Welch promoted Nashville whereas J.R. worked in Mid-South which was owned by Bill Watts. Lawler and Jerry Jarrett became the owners of the Memphis territory in 1977. Back then the wrestlers would drive 150K to 200K miles a year. Jerry talks about working the Memphis territory where they would do four TV tapings in one day at different venues and only get paid $15.00 per show.
Ross: Ross talks about working in the Mid-South territory making $150 a week all in. Back then, even though you didn’t get paid a lot for being on TV, you had to be on TV to build your brand and hopefully make your money at the live shows.
Lawler: Cable TV changed everything. All the top talent wanted to work for a company that had national TV because they would be seen by the biggest audience and left the smaller territories. This is what ultimately led to the end of the territories, not Vince McMahon. The Memphis territory was able to last until 1997 because Jerry was still on top. When JYD and Jim Duggan left Mid-South, Watts was ready but what killed the Mid-South was the recession. At that time, they had the highest TV ratings but no one had money to buy tickets. One time, Lawler sued Vince over the King monicker.
J.R. and Jerry thanks the crowd for coming to the show and they sign off.
1:35:55 – Show Wrap
J.R. hopes everyone liked the show and notices that everyone asked about stuff that happened in the past (nostalgia) which isn’t necessarily a good thing. On next week’s show is part two of the Jim Cornette interview from last week’s podcast. Send any questions or comments to email@example.com and that’s a wrap.
Rating – 8/10
Even though I had heard many of the stories J.R. said on this podcast, I really loved this show. J.R. and Lawler are funny and tell some great stories. Also, J.R. is entertaining and when he’s in this type of live environment, he doesn’t come across as curmudgeonly as he might when he’s doing his podcast solo. There was some true laugh out loud moments especially, the story about Vince getting pulled over by the cop and getting a ticket. I also liked the fact this did not have all the normal segments such as What’s on J.R.’s mind, Pet Coon Goofy or Slobberknocker of the Week. They just introduced the show and got right into it which was also a nice change of pace. Finally, if you’ve been interested in checking out one of J.R.’s shows, this gives you a great intro in terms of what to expect. Definite recommend from me.
Joe is a long time wrestling fan from Toronto. He is a co-host on the Pull Apart Podcast with Jeff Rush and Caitlin Lavelle as well as a contributor to www.pwpodcasts.com. One of his life goals is to be a guest host on one of Wade Keller’s post-show podcasts. He doesn’t consider himself any sort of expert, he just likes wrestling. Check him out on Twitter and Instagram @ja113.