People wonder why I’m a wrestling fan. How could I enjoy a form of entertainment that at first glance seems so simplistic?
Wrestling thrives on emotions. While the stories told can be simple, you can’t deny that when done right, the audience gets sucked in due to the emotions the wrestlers and stories give us each and every week. One element that contributes to the emotion are the announcers on wrestling shows. One of the greatest announcers of all time is a man by the name of Jim Ross.
Slobberknocker: My Life In Wrestling is Jim Ross’s new book detailing his life up to Wrestlemania 15. For folks that don’t know, Jim Ross to wrestling fans would be comparable to someone like Vin Scully or Ernie Harwell for baseball fans. When you look back at some of the greatest moments in wrestling history over the past thirty years, most likely Jim Ross helped add to our favorite memories.
The book is a great read. I was fascinated by the stories he related of breaking into the business and dealing with such figures as Cowboy Bill Watts and Leroy McGuirk. Before the 1980’s, wrestling was a regionalized business. Someone growing up in Michigan, for example, would not necessarily hear about the exploits of wrestlers in other territories. Hearing some stories about these figures from a great storyteller like Jim Ross will plant seeds in the reader to find out more about these people and what made them great.
One issue I had with the book had to do with the feeling that there was a lot more that could have been said. That is not a bad thing mind you. While I did feel disappointed that the stories he relates felt truncated, it speaks volumes to how entertaining the book was because I wanted to hear more. I want his life story to be told in twelve volumes, with each book coming in at over one thousand pages.
Extra praise should be heaped on the ghostwriters for the book. Paul O’Brien is the ghostwriter credited but as stated on Jim Ross’s podcast The Ross Report as well as the acknowledgements at the end of the book, he started the journey of creating the book with Scott Williams. To me, the role of a successful ghostwriter is to write the memoirs of their subject in such a way that it feels as if the subject in question is actually writing the book. As wrestling fans know, Jim Ross is a great storyteller so I have no doubt that he could have written this book on his own. Yet someone in his position is also a very busy man, hence the necessity of a ghostwriter. Paul O’Brien and Scott Williams did an amazing job of crafting the book in a way that made me feel as if Jim Ross was telling me the story himself.
Wrestling fans need to buy this book. If you’re a student of the history of pro wrestling, this needs to in your collection and studied for the vast wealth of knowledge of the business that Jim Ross offers. It’s a fast read, which will leave you wanting more. With the years that Jim Ross has been in the business, there are definitely more volumes in his life story coming and I for one can’t wait.