Jim Ross: AKA, “Good ol’ JR”, is one of the greatest wrestling commentators of my generation. Joey Styles is an extreme (no pun intended) close second, but Jim Ross just takes the crown. There were many times in my middle and high school years when I sat down, watched me some Monday Night Raw, and let JR take me on a journey into the wonderful world of Vince McMahon’s one ring circus that is WWE. Or WWF as it was known back in those days. Michael Cole, god bless him, just doesn’t have the same ora of pure personality behind his commentary by comparison. When Mankind fell off the Hell in a Cell, Jim Ross sold the shit out of it. partly because, according to his book, he wasn’t in on what they were going to do, but all the same, he sold the shit out of that fall. Cole, or the guy on Smackdown would probably settle for just going deathly quiet on the grounds this is super serious and requires us to be super professional. Michael Cole screaming “AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, THAT MAN IS BROKEN IN HALF!” is like hearing a cat bark at the mail man.
Seriously, I could go on for fucking ever about JR’s commentary. But then you’d have no insentive to read the book.
Suffice to say, there’s a lot of stories in this book I’d never heard before. Primarily around Mid South Wrestling: JR’s first job, and the king of the Oklahoma territory back when terratories were a thing.
Honestly, had I known about Leroy McGuirk: blind color commentator, I probably would’ve pursued my teenaged dream of doing color commentary for pro-wrestling a lot more passionately. I mean hell, to hear it from Slobberknocker, Leeroy had less vision than I did! If a 100% blind guy could do color commentary, than surely, my one-eyed ass could do it, right? Ugh, this is what I get for listening to my parents. Oh well: multiverse theory dictates there’s probably a version of me that gave it a try. I hope it turned out well for alternate me.
Some stories in Slobberknocker, though, are pretty unpleasant. IE, the story of Grisley Smith’s… Addictions.
There’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff that I’d never known about, either. IE, JR’s crippling depression brought on by his second bell’s palsy attack. It probably gives away the ending of the story, but it’s amazing to think that Wrestlemania15 was originally going to be his last commentary gig ever. Crazy.
I bought this book on a Saturday, and I finished it yesterday. There was never a dull moment.
The book is mostly read by Jim Ross himself. Admittedly, it’s very obvious that he has the book, or at least prompts in front of him as he’s reading. His style of commentary is something that’s stuck with me over the ages, but his reading style… Well, it doesn’t leave anything to be desired, but you can tell when a guy like JR is reading from a card. But in the end, it wasn’t bad. Hell, he didn’t even have to get on the mic and do the audiobook, really. But he did, and I appreciate that so much.
I think I’ve brought this up before, but it really makes it special when the author of an autobiography, regardless of the subject, goes out of their way to read their own story for the audiobook. Sure, they might not be the best reader on the planet (Cough cough Daniel Bryan cough), but at least they made the effort. More than I can say for some people, Hardcore Holly.
I highly recommend this book.