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Jim Ross Feeling Good About His Place in Life

Aug 5, 2010 – 5:31 PM
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Brian Fritz

Brian Fritz %BloggerTitle%

It was last October when Jim Ross was flying to Columbia, South Carolina for a WWE television taping when it happened again. For the third time in his life, he was having a Bell's Palsy attack, a paralysis of a facial nerve. The attack forced the Hall of Fame broadcaster off the air.

Since then, the 58-year-old Oklahoman has been on the road to recovery. He's undergone a major change to his lifestyle, changing his diet and even cutting out some of his favorite fried foods and going to the gym almost every day. He's lost nearly 25 pounds and is feeling the best he has in a decade.

But there are no plans for him to return to the broadcast table, a place where he excelled for more than 20 years.

"One of the theories that some neurologists have is that Bell's Palsy is stress induced," says Ross. "So I think WWE was looking out for my health in that regard to say 'hey, we're not going to put you back in the hot seat, back on the road every week'."

Now, he's working behind the scenes with the WWE under a lighter schedule. And because of that, he has some more free time to spend on a variety of things including his blossoming online business selling his JR's Family Bar-B-Q (online at www.jrsbarbq.com).

Plus, he's always writing on his blog about a slew of things from wrestling to MMA to his beloved Oklahoma Sooners. He has become a bit of a social media regular between his website and with his Twitter account, using them to stay in touch with fans.

"I think the reason why I've always had a close relationship with the fans is because I'm still a fan of the genre," explains Ross. "I grew up being a fan and I got lucky enough to get into the business at a young age and have been around in wrestling since 1974. I'm still a fan of the game so to speak."

He'll be around a lot of wrestling fans on Aug. 5-8 as a part of the NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest in Charlotte, NC. For him, it's the first time he's be able to appear at a wrestling convention due to what once was an extremely busy schedule.

"I will enjoy meeting the fans that are there that were fans of my work in various promotions over the years. That's always fun and they bring up things I may have forgotten and creates more good memories."

As part of the weekend festivities, Ross will be inducting childhood idol Danny Hodge into the Hall of Heroes which was an added bonus for him. He strongly believes that if Hodge were in his prime today, the three-time National Champion wrestler would be dominating in MMA and Dana White would salivate at the thought of having him in the UFC.

"If he was living in today's time, when a guy is a two-time Olympian, a silver medal winner and got cheated out of the gold legitimately, won the Golden Gloves boxing championship, he would be a Nike guy. He would be a household word. It just happens he was a household word ... in my household back in Oklahoma."

JR has found a good place in his life. He's healthy, he's happy and he's still keeping busy with the WWE. Now, his main job is helping scout new talent for the company. Part of that role is traveling to Tampa once a month to visit Florida Championship Wrestling, the WWE's developmental group.

"That was one of my visions way back in the day that WWE needed to have developmental camps and territories so to speak to develop the stars of the future. And I really believe the developmental program is the heartbeat of the company because without new stars and athletes and performers to promote, the company would be at a disadvantageous position."

While he enjoys the new role, it's still an adjustment for Ross after spending so many years at ringside calling the action. Even though he is not there, his passion for broadcasting has not changed one bit.

"You can't do it for so many years and not miss it but I understand the reasons I'm not on the road every week. I appreciate their concern for my health. As far as anyone thinking I've lost my desire to broadcast would not be accurate. With Oklahoma perhaps forming their own sports network, my dream job has always been to be the voice of the Oklahoma football and basketball teams. Whether or not that comes to fruition, it still remains to be seen, but I still have that goal."

Many wrestling fans are also undergoing an adjustment since they are so used to hearing good ol' JR on the broadcast with his trademark calls in his vintage Southern draw.

"I appreciate so many people writing me on our website saying when are you coming back on the air, we miss you on the air. There are no plans right now for me to return to weekly TV and I'm good with that. If I was needed and I need to fill in for somebody, I could warm up and come out of the bullpen and carry my share of the water for a show. But that's just not the plan right now and I'm fine with it."

He does have a goal of making a cameo at WrestleMania 27 next year in Atlanta, GA but admits that depends on how he feels at the time and how things are going with the company. But where he's at right now is still very good and with JR, you know business is about to pick up.

"I think my life right now has a great perspective and I'm very blessed with what I'm doing. If I was in my old role, the chance to go to Charlotte this weekend would not be possible. It's just one small example of how things have changed for the better and we're going to have a great time."
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