WrestleMania 33 provided many iconic moments and one of the most memorable will be Jim Ross' return to the WWE.
The 33rd installment of the “Showcase of Immortals” accomplished quite a bit of history with the crowning of a new Universal champion in Brock Lesnar, a new attendance record for the Orlando Citrus Bowl and the Hardy brothers climbing atop a ladder to capture the tag team title in their return to the WWE.
The deed to the yard, as Ross described it, also apparently changed hands. Roman Reigns speared The Undertaker into oblivion, as the much-maligned Reigns added a second blemish to ‘Taker’s once perfect WrestleMania record.
Yet the iconic voice of Ross returning to the WWE soundtrack was a genuine WrestleMania moment.
“I was really worried about getting emotional,” Ross admitted. “I’d been emotional several times during the day and cried a bunch, but the waterworks didn’t come.”
Ross is still grieving the passing of his wife, Jan, who died two weeks ago at the age of only 55 when she suffered multiple skull fractures after being struck by an automobile.
“The outpouring of support for Jan has been very humbling,” said Ross. “She was my rock star and she was my angel and people that met her certainly would concur. She was a very special person and all of the well-wishes have been very much appreciated.”
Ross had discussed the possibility of a WWE return with his wife and they planned on attending WrestleMania weekend together.
“My wife Jan said, ‘If we go to WrestleMania, the only two things I want are to walk the red carpet at the Hall of Fame and I want to enjoy your entrance,’” said Ross. “I couldn’t pull off the red carpet because of her death, but she was with me during the match. Her support and her love of me were so overwhelming. I was the luckiest man in the world for 24-plus years.”
Ross’ return occurred six-and-a-half hours into the broadcast, as the iconic broadcaster received a heartfelt ovation from the reported 74,635 in attendance and reclaimed his spot as the play-by-play man for the main event between The Undertaker and Reigns.
“The Undertaker has been a big part of my professional life since we got him from World Class Championship Wrestling to WCW in 1989,” said Ross. “Then, of course, when I was here in WWE as head of the talent relations department, The Undertaker was the captain of the team. He was even bigger in the locker room than he was in the ring, which may be hard for some people to fathom. He was the conscience of the WWE, and Mark Calaway is everything a professional wrestler should aspire to be.
“He took ownership of his TV persona, in-ring persona, and he knew he had to use his size and athleticism to make himself even more special,” Ross added. “He’s left pieces of his body all over the world, and I have so much respect for him. I was feeling strong nerves and prominent apprehension because I knew the ramifications of what the match could develop into, and it was very emotional in that regard.”
Last night marked Ross’ first ‘Mania appearance since WrestleMania XXVII and marked his first time ever calling a Roman Reigns match.
“Nobody gave me any announcer notes, so what you heard me say about Reigns was real,” said Ross. “He’s a big, athletic, young guy with so much potential. I like him and I don’t particularly care if fans think he’s a villain or a fan favorite. I believe he’s a star – simple as that. I’m not caught up in his creative – I don’t care if he’s a babyface or a heel. I just like to see big athletic guys that are tough and demonstrate that in the wrestling ring, and I thought he did that well. He took a lot of punishment, he sold well, and he kept fighting.”
“He and I had a very good talk before the show tonight, and I was very impressed with his maturity. This kid could be the future of WWE and he certainly will be a locker room leader.”
The 65-year-old Ross rekindled his relationship with WWE six months ago. He has not ruled out calling more matches in the near future and the possibility exists for Ross to call more matches.
“I only signed my agreement on Friday night,” said Ross. “WWE and I have not talked about my next assignment. I’m also going to continue to do my work for AXS and New Japan because I have a contract, and WWE was willing to work with me on that. They have faith in me and they gave me back my old jersey.”