Ousting of Ross a head-shaker
By Rennie Detore
FOR THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, October 9, 2005
Jim Ross' announcing days are numbered.
Ross, regarded as one of the greatest play-by-play announcers in
professional wrestling history, likely will be replaced as WWE's lead
WWE negotiated with longtime UFC announcer Mike Goldberg, and the sides
agreed to a deal that would bring Goldberg to WWE as Ross' replacement.
Ross, who debuted with WWE in 1993 at "Wrestlemania IX," is expected to
announce "Raw" exclusively for the WWE.com broadcast. WWE has yet to
decide whether either Jonathan Coachman or Jerry Lawler will join
Goldberg, who may start as early as tomorrow night.
Ross addressed the situation on his WWE.com "Ross Report," and didn't
deny that his days on "Raw" are numbered.
The ousting of Ross as lead "Raw" announcer would be a bit easier to
fathom had WWE opted to replace him with someone more inherently
knowledgeable about professional wrestling.
Goldberg is a competent, highly touted announcer, but he's not familiar
with WWE's product or the nuances of professional wrestling, a key
element that Ross not only understood but also exuded during his
Ross excelled in big-match situations and delivered high-energy,
emotionally charged play-by-play in one main event match after another.
Ross' consistency is a credit to his admiration and understanding of
As "Smackdown" announcer Michael Cole proves every Friday night, a good
wrestling announcer cannot be created. Cole tries hard, and McMahon
feeds him one scripted line after another, but the enthusiasm is
A more logical choice as Ross' replacement would have been ECW
announcer Joey Styles, a classic throwback announcer with the knowledge
of Gordon Solie but just enough wit and attitude to stay modern.
McMahon had his reasons for choosing Goldberg, but just not any strong
The phrase "professional wrestling" is a dirty word to McMahon, who
will tell ad nauseam to anyone who listens that WWE is sports
McMahon naturally opted to replace Ross with someone who doesn't follow
wrestling or have an inkling of interest in WWE.
"Raw" also is going head-to-head with UFC, and McMahon, doing his best
Ted Turner impersonation, lured Goldberg away from the UFC with a fat
The selection of Goldberg as Ross' replacement almost ranks secondary
to McMahon simply bolstering his ego and sending a message to his new
competitor that Monday isn't big enough for both of them.
Goldberg even reportedly said that he's only taking the job because of
the money. That statement alone should frighten even the most loyal WWE
The former WCW was built on wrestlers, agents and announcers who echoed
the same sentiments as Goldberg.
I don't have to tell you how that story ended.
How can fans expect anything more from Goldberg than the status quo if
he's only concerned about cashing a paycheck?
WWE's audience craves e***ment and realism, and Ross embodied those
attributes. What Goldberg brings to WWE is a plethora of play-by-play
experience, devoid of any real attachment to the professional wrestling
Naming a successor to Ross' "Raw" throne merits more significance than
simply hand-picking a replacement that appeases McMahon but doesn't
cater to what fans, and Ross' legacy as an announcer, deserve.
Rennie Detore's Pro Wrestling Insider appears Sundays in the Pittsburgh