Friday, March 06, 2009
Why We Watch, Exhibit P
Boys and girls, it's time for some rasslin' related positivism delivered with Arabian Facebuster's trademark astuteness, sporadic authenticity, selective and often warped sense of history, jaded markishness, and mid-morning elevated blood-alcohol level. That's right fans, not unlike the visually stunning, druid abundant, and pyrotechnic excessive return of The Undertaker every time he takes six months off to heal his body and chauffeur his wife Sara Undertaker to the mall for one exorbitant shopping spree after another, yours truly Malibu Sands is resurrecting the dormant "Why We Watch..." series/blog bit, highlighting the proverbial cream of the professional rasslin' crop.
Over the past couple of years, Arabian Facebuster has chastised WWE mouthpiece/shill Good Ol' JR for his barbecue sauce peddling, cowboy hat wearing, hoss admiring, Jezebel accusing, car collision rubbernecking [insert number of local town's major thoroughfare here] ways.
And justifiably so.
With that said, Jim Ross circa mid-1980s-mid 1990s -- as opposed to the Good Ol' JR character of the past decade -- in my opinion is the finest play-by-play announcer in the history THE professional rasslin'...although I readily admit that I have had a bit less exposure to the likes of Lance Russell or Larry Matysik to make a fully informed comparison and that I tend to (unfairly) view Gordon Solie as more of a cultural artifact of the 1970s-mid-1980s southern based territory system. Jim Ross' ability to properly call the action, tell and advance storyline, put over the talent, AND convey raw and seemingly genuine/unscripted emotion is both singular and sorely lacking in the contemporary, mainstream product and fan base (I am not going to get into the "chicken and egg" nature of this situation at the moment). Like Solie, Jim Ross' roots are in and approach to his craft are a product of the southern based territory system. Unlike Solie, I would contend he was largely responsible for nationalizing this style and making it mainstream through his late 1980s/early 1990s work in the National Wrestling Alliance and later World Championship Wrestling (i.e the Double U See Double U).
Obviously the bell's palsy and prolonged exposure to the disheartening sports entertainment orientation with regard to storyline, character, and in-ring product have taken their toll on his capacities and sapped much of his passion. But I think the brief clip above of certified hoss Dr. Death Steve Williams taking on the Tulsa Welding School's most renowned graduate Captain Redneck Dick Murdoch in the Universal Wrestling Federation circa late Spring/early Summer 1987 and featuring run-ins by Big Bossman/Bubba Rogers, anti-honky tonkin' crusader Skandor Akbar, "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert, and the giggly breasts of "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes narrated by Ross embodies the man's inimitable play-by-play style and approach and captures what makes him such a compelling, entertaining, and endearing figure.