Ah, good ol' J.R. I would say we'll miss you, but we've been missing you for years now.
As you probably know by now (click here if you don't), Jim Ross, the longtime blow-by-blow announcer for WWE, has retired from the company. He will no longer work as a talent scout, or provide an occasional voice to a match here or there, or even act as a talent to be marketed, promoted, and/or humiliated as the powers that be see fit.
He's done for. Off to travel the word as a public speaker while being a shill for his own BBQ products.
In his heyday, Ross was one of the greatest of all time. He brought that perfect blend of calling the action as he saw it while further advancing whatever story was being told inside the ring, something Michael Cole struggles to do after some 20 years in the game. Ross was a natural, whose gift of gab was only matched by his unbridled emotion for whatever match or angle he was calling on any given night.
Perhaps most importantly, though, he's provided so many incredible soundbytes, it would be impossible to count them down. So, instead, I'll list four of my favorites -- with a bonus added in -- and you Cagesiders can take it from there by posting your favorite J.R. calls in the comments section below.
4. "You're at home, son! Go up that ladder!"
During the very first Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match at the SummerSlam 2000 pay-per-view (PPV), choas and destruction reigned supreme. At one point late in the match (13:25 in the video below), Lita rushes out to push Edge and Christian off a ladder, clearing the way for her boyfriend at the time, Matt Hardy, to climb his way to the top to claim the tag team titles.
The crowd, in Hardy's hometown, swells in anticipation and Ross evokes the right emotional reaction at home for viewers to pull for the talented "other" Hardy. When he nearly gets there but is put through a couple tables outside the ring, Ross is again pitch perfect in expressing disappointment, shock, and awe at what he witnesses.
Also, although some may find it a flaw, I think it's endearing that he lets his emotions get the best of him when calling Edge a "son of a bitch" not long after this when he spears Lita.
3. "Helmsley looking for gold! Triple H, can he find it?!? Yes ... yes ... YES!"
When Triple H met The Rock in a ladder match with the Intercontinental title at stake at SummerSlam 1998, Ross was absolutely at his best. I don't really even need to single out one particular call here because he was just that damn good throughout the entire bout.
But for my money, at the moment Mark Henry throws powder into Triple H's eyes (the 28:40 mark of the below video), J.R. is awesome.
"Helmsley's been blinded. What else is going to happen to this poor son of a gun?"
Like he always seemed to do, he captured the emotion of one of the competitors overcoming great adversity to achieve an ultimate goal with such sweet satisfaction.
2. "STONE COLD! STONE COLD! STONE COLD!"
When Stone Cold Steve Austin cut his infamous "Austin 3:16" promo at King of the Ring in 1996, it was clear he was destined for greatness. But great things often only come to those who wait, and it would be nearly two full years before "The Texas Rattlesnake" would win the WWF championship at WrestleMania 14 over Shawn Michaels.
But, really, it was the culmination of a near decade long journey.
Before the highly anticipated match ever began, Ross masterfully set the stage:
"Nobody has ever, ever outperformed Shawn Michaels in a big match situation. And folks, it don't get no bigger than this. This is what our business is all about. It's about earning the opportunity to wrestle in a main event at WrestleMania."
When the time came (30:23 of the below video), and Austin hit the Stunner before Mike Tyson hopped the ring to count the 1-2-3, Ross somehow managed to add something special to a moment that was already going to be unforgettable.
"Austin, he got it! The Stunner! Mike Tyson in! Austin is the champion! STONE COLD! STONE COLD! STONE COLD! The Austin Era has begun!"
1. "Good god almighty, good god almighty, that killed him! As god is my witness, he is broken in half!"
This was the easy choice for number one because, well, it has somehow become one of the most famous calls in all of sports. Indeed, Awful Announcing included it in one of their own tournaments to determine the best call ever and it actually advanced past the first round.
That, by itself, is rather impressive.
It was for good reason. Mankind, one of the faces of the deranged Mick Foley, was taking on Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match at King of the Ring in 1998. Because "The Deadman" had engaged in a five-star classic in the very same gimmick match with Shawn Michaels in October of 1997, Foley decided he needed to do something special to up the ante.
So he had 'Taker throw him off the top of the cell, some 16 feet in the air, where he would land on the Spanish announce table. Ross's call will live on forever.
"Look out, oh no! Good god almighty, good god almighty, that killed him! As god is my witness, he is broken in half!"
Later, Foley would climb the cage again and this time, Undertaker would choke slam him through it down to the hard ring below. Here's Ross's call at that point.
"Good god! Good god! Will somebody stop the damn match! Enough's enough! The poor son of a... he's broken in half!"
It should be noted, Jerry Lawler's delivery of his one line -- "That's it, he's dead" -- was also flawless.
It's a testament to Ross's talent as an announcer that a moment like Foley nearly being killed in a match has somehow become less famous than J.R.'s call of it.
J.R. really loves Skittles, you guys.
Now it's time for you Cagesiders to give us your favorite calls from Ross's legendary career.