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Issue # 405

Date:  Sunday November 21st, 1999  9:32 am

The Wrestling Booking Sheet

WCW sinks low to parody Ross
By Mike Mooneyham
Sunday, November 21, 1999

Jim Ross hasn't seen it. Doesn't want to.

WCW reached into the bottom of a tasteless barrel last week on Nitro
when new booker Ed Ferrara impersonated Ross in a parody that mocked
not only Ross' announcing style, but also a disability that has plagued
the veteran commentator for five years.

Ross, who is the WWF's lead announcer and is widely regarded as the
best play-by-play man in the business, suffers from Bell's palsy, a
disease that paralyzes one side of the face. Ross, however, has been
affected on both sides since experiencing his most recent episode last
December.
"Obviously I was busy when it was on," said Ross, who was broadcasting
Raw when the Nitro segment aired. "I don't plan on checking it out. I
don't plan on responding to it. I don't know what benefit that would
have for me. I'm not going to go on any vendetta."

Ferrara's parody, complete with Ross' trademark black hat and spoofing
Ross mannerisms and catch phrases, included the return of "Dr. Death"
Steve Williams, a longtime friend of Ross who recently was released by
the WWF. Ironically it was WCW bookers Ferrara and Vince Russo, then
head of the WWF creative team, who saw no marketability in Williams in
that organization. But it was Ross who was assigned the unenviable task
of delivering the bad news. Ross said he harbors no animosity toward
his fellow Oklahoman for the display Monday night.

"The good thing out of it is that hopefully Doc will have a job. I
think he'll be a real good addition to their roster. I still think that
there is a lot of marketability left in him. I believed that when we
signed him, I believed that when he left here. That was only my
opinion, and that was not the consensus opinion of management and the
creative faction, which included Russo and Ferrara when they were here."

Ross, who is senior vice president of talent relations, said he
believed that Williams probably still had heat with him over his recent
release.

"Unfortunately in my role, not only do you hire people, but you have to
be the point person of letting people go. In this business sometimes
you're not forgiven because you tell the truth and you have to deliver
less than positive news. I was the one who had to deliver the news to
Doc that there were no creative plans for him here, and there was
nothing here for him at that point. Doc's not a bad person, he's a good
man. I think he was very frustrated about the situation he was in, and
I'm sure he holds some animosity toward me because of the way the
situation played out."

Ross, who acknowledges his role as Vince McMahon's "hatchet man" but
adds, "That's a job description and not a personality trait," expressed
disappointment with Ferrara and Russo for airing the segment that made
fun of a real-life physical ailment.

"Having not seen it makes it hard to judge. But I thought that because
they were both working here and had met my family and had known how
close we were, they knew about when I got sick the last time. I got
Bell's palsy just a few hours after my mother passed away. That was a
real sudden death, and I was a long way from home (at a WWF
pay-per-view in the United Kingdom) when it happened. The doctors think
that might have triggered it. But in any event, that whole last episode
of Bell's palsy kind of tied in part and parcel to my mother dying. So
for many members of my family, it was a very challenging time. I
thought those guys understood that better, because they were working
here when all that occurred. But I guess it just didn't make any
difference to them."

Several insiders speculated that a deep-rooted animosity was behind the
public humiliation on Nitro, and claimed that while in the WWF Russo
had tried to bump Ross from his main announcing spot in favor of the
younger Michael Cole.

"I think there's something to that," said Ross. "Russo would tell
people things that he wanted to get back to me about how big a fan he
was of my work. I believe at this point and time that he was not being
truthful. I think that Russo would have been very pleased had I just
faded away. It was the same mindset that (Eric) Bischoff had. It's that
J.R. doesn't look like a matinee idol, J.R. can lose a few pounds, J.R.
sounds like he's from the South and people from the South can't have
any intelligence and can't communicate. Apparently the public doesn't
have a problem with me."

The WWF's Jim Cornette, who has been an outspoken critic of Russo,
agreed that Ross has long been targeted by Russo. "He was one of the
leaders behind making J.R. a buffoon," said Cornette. "He doesn't
understand why anyone liked J.R. and that Southern accent, and it isn't
even Southern, it's Oklahoman. He has been a leader to make him look
bad."

The Ross parody, however, was just one of the low points on last week's
Nitro. Russo, who has openly expressed his dislike for Mexican-style
wrestling and Mexican wrestlers who can't cut good promos in English,
has been on a campaign to publicly embarrass the Luchadores and
resorted to racial stereotyping by holding a "Pinata on a pole" match
involving Juventud Guerrera, El Dandy and Psychosis.

To make matters worse, Williams hospitalized the Mexican wrestlers
during a run-in while Ferrara, as Ross, called the action. Guerrera
suffered a separated shoulder, El Dandy a broken collarbone and
Psychosis a reinjured knee. Williams' overly stiff style had been a
major reason the WWF was reluctant to put Williams in the ring with
Steve Austin.
Ferrara impersonated Ross earlier this year on Raw when Ross was being
portrayed as a deranged announcer, and took a stiff German suplex at
the hands of Williams at the time.

Mike Mooneyham can be reached by phone at
(843) 937-5517 or by e-mail at mooneyham. More
wrestling news with Mike Mooneyham is available every Monday on The
Wrestling Observer Hotline. The number is 1-900-903-9030. Calls are 99
cents per minute, and children under 18 must get parental permission
before dialing.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
"RYAN SHAMROCK" DEBUTING ON NITRO?
Reported by Georgiann Makropoulos at: http://www.1wrestling.com
Makropoulos reports that the woman formerly known as Ryan Shamrock will
be debuting in Auburn Hills, MI., for the 11/22 Nitro. "Shamrock's"
(or Alicia Webb) role is at this point is unknown, along with her new
stage name.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
ADVERTISEMENT
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Lair" has been featured in a major pro wrestling magazine! Be sure to
check it out at:
http://sfwolair.freeservers.com
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
ADVERTISEMENT
http://www.pwbts.com
You have all heard the hype surrounding the new CD-ROM, "WWF
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PWBTS 2000 and Ken Goldstein have reached a promotional agreement so
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+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
THE TEN BELL SALUTE
Written by reader: ViperV2
I just have one quick thing to say about the controversy of the ten
bell salute issue. Many people believe it degrades the meaning behind
the ten bell salute when it's used to further an angle; I, personally,
am not one of those people.

Just think of it this way -- if it was a TRUE ten bell salute, wouldn't
all the workers in the company be standing outside/around the ring,
paying their respects (Like when Owen's ten bell salute rang)? When no
one's lining up, it should kind of tip you off...
~>RVC<~
++++++++++++
Steve Appy responds:
RVC,
While I don't know that having all of the performers lined up around
the ring is necessary to qualify it as a "legit" ten bell salute it
certainly does help impart how important/tragic the passing really is.
I don't know that there are firm rules involved, though.
===========================================
The staff of The Wrestling Booking Sheet
Editor: Steve Appy
Columnist: Mark George
Columnist: SamJerry
Columnist: Fritz Capp
Columnist: Rick Phelps
Columnist: Cindy Barnes
Columnist: Josh Hewitt
Columnist: Swami
Columnist: Tom Misnik
Columnist: Nate Pelley
Columnist: Robert Troy (Osiris)
Columnist:
Tom Kirkbride
Columnist: Ryan S. Oaks
Columnist: Darren Kramer


Any submissions sent in by readers or columnists become the property of The Wrestling Booking Sheet, and are subject to editing due to grammar, spelling, or content. Any information taken from The Wrestling Booking Sheet must be credited properly, with our E-Mail address listed. We have no problem if you want to use our stuff; just credit it properly.

Copyright- Steve Appy of The Wrestling Booking Sheet ©1998, 1999, 2000

 

"When you're young and you pick up a guitar, it feels so powerful. It feels like you pulled the sword from the stone. I used to believe that it could save the world. But I don't really believe that anymore." - Bruce Springsteen

"The greatest challenge of adulthood is holding on to your idealism
after you lose your innocence and believing in the power of the human
spirit after you come crashing into the limits of the real adult
world." - Bruce Springsteen

 

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