An interview with Jim Ross about why he continues to be a wrestling announcer after decades of work, how he’s dealt with setbacks, what he’s learned from wrestlers, what makes for a compelling story and his best career advice.
Welcome to the 78th episode of 5 Questions with Dan Schawbel. As your host, my goal is to curate the best advice from the world’s smartest and most interesting people by asking them just 5 questions.
This episodes guest:
My guest today is wrestling hall of fame announcer Jim Ross. Born in Fort Bragg, California, Jim played high school baseball, was a two-time all-conference football player and was president of the student body. During college, he was given his very first broadcast position filling in for a local NWA wrestling event. Jim ended his tenure by calling his first NWA World Heavyweight Championship match between Ric Flair and Ted DiBiase. In the next six-year period, he joined Jim Crockett Promotions, which was purchased by World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where he became the head of broadcasting. After his contract ended, he was hired by World Wrestling Federation (WWF) debuting at WrestleMania IX. Jim was fired by the WWF two weeks after suffering his first attack of Bell’s Palsy but was eventually hired back. He became the voice of WWF’s “Raw Is War” and was promoted to serve as EVP of Talent Relations for WWF, which was becoming WWE, before once again being fired. In 2007, Jim was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Steve Austin. He returned to WWE multiple times after until 2019 when he signed a 3-year deal with All Elite Wrestling to be a commentator and senior advisor. Currently, Jim has his own line of BBQ sauces, hosts the Grilling JR podcast and is the author of “Under The Black Hat”. It was great to speak with Jim after interviewing DDP for a previous podcast episode because he’s had a forty-year career and has learned so much from his experiences both personally and professionally.
The 5 questions I ask in this episode:
- Your voice was part of my childhood growing up watching wrestling and you’ve maintained your career as an announcer ever since. What fuels your desire to continue to do what you do?
- How have you dealt with the grievances, health issues and setbacks you’ve encountered throughout your life from losing your wife to your Bell’s palsy and loss of eyesight?
- Over the years, you’ve had the opportunity to connect with a variety of wrestling stars, most notably Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Stone Cold Steve Austin and John Cena. What personal and professional advice did you both give them and receive from them?
- The wrestling industry was built on compelling storylines. What do you think separated the stories that captured the hearts and minds of your audience versus the ones that came up short?
- What is your best piece of career advice?
Follow Jim’s journey: