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Q&A: Jim Ross talks about a lifetime love of wrestling

WWE Hall of Fame announcer is in Oklahoma City attending the NCAA Championship with his friend and former Oklahoma State standout Jerry Brisco.
by Jason Kersey Published: March 20, 2014
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Jim Ross fell in love with amateur wrestling as a young boy growing up in eastern Oklahoma, then became a professional wrestling legend as an announcer and WWE executive.

The Norman resident will be inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena for all of this weekend’s NCAA Championship action, sitting alongside his friend, WWE talent scout and former Oklahoma State wrestler Jerry Brisco.

Q: Have you always loved wrestling?

A: When I grew up, the news outlets were limited. Back in the day when I was a kid, my grandfather subscribed to the Tulsa World and the Tulsa Tribune, and the Muskogee paper. He was a vociferous reader. He taught me how to read when I was 5, and one of the box scores that was easy to read through was wrestling. The Bedlam matches felt like minor bowl games, grappling bowl games. If you were a sports fan, that was just one of the sports you loved because it got viable, regular media coverage.

What is Jerry Brisco looking for in amateur wrestlers that can translate to pro wrestling?

Jerry scouts all the amateur programs. He goes to all the major duals. He has a network of coaches who work with him who know what WWE is looking for. He goes to the NAIA nationals, the Division II nationals. He’s looking for guys who have that nice look, a marketable look — he doesn’t have to be 6-3; he could be 5-10 — and some of these guys have a little showmanship in them. They’ve got a little swag about them. You need extroverted athletes. If you’re an extroverted athlete who is motivated to be an entertainer, you could go from amateur wrestling and the wrestling room, the sweat and the stench, to really making a lot of money. There’s been a lot of them in the amateurs that did exactly that.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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