The voice of professional wrestling, Jim Ross, knows about WWE matters like nobody else. His humble beginnings started as a referee to eventually becoming Vice President of WWE. So if there’s anyone that knows about the mindsets of people backstage, it’s him.
On the latest episode of his podcast, Grilling JR, Jim Ross took a trip to memory lane. He remembered the classic Monday Night Raw from February 1997, the night when Shawn Michaels renounced his WWF championship.
Ross opened up about the reaction backstage to the news of Shawn Michaels retiring and dropping the belt that night, saying that he himself was a bit sad. Ross stated:
“It’s a work, he’s trying to get something, he’s manipulating the old man because he knows Vince loves him,”
“Vince sees himself as a young Vince in Shawn, all of those things.”
Jim Ross went more in-depth about the reaction of talent as he continued to talk about Shawn Michaels’ infamous “lost my smile” promo. The major concern of the Head of Talent Relations at the time was that Shawn might say unscripted things in his promo. Ross said:
“There was a lot of confusion, wonderment, of what’s going on, Unanswered questions. When wrestlers can’t get the straight answer or the straight answer is not ready to be presented to them, they get very unsettled. I think that’s what we got here on that day; it was just a day of being unsettled, and all of that stuff, nobody knew exactly what the hell we were doing.”
“A lot of stories floating around, and how is this going to come off? Some guys were concerned that Shawn was going to have a live mic, and he might say some things that are off-script. It was an interesting day of trying to get through that day and come out of the other side.”
Coming back to the topic of Shawn Michaels, he would later come back in the 1997 Survivor Series to fight Bret Hart. Jim further revealed how stress from this time contributed to the trigger of his Bell’s Palsy condition. During the same year, Bret Hart would leave WWE. In an interview last year, Hart stated that 1997 was when his career peaked.
Ross, when talking about if this time period caused him to be upset:
“No but Bell’s Palsy did,” “The stress and all of that from my life at the time affected the Bell’s Palsy and created it. So, in a way, it did, and I’ve never smiled again. My two granddaughters are in the 10th grade and freshmen in college, and they’ve never seen grandad smile. So I lost my smile. It was the hand I was dealt.”
It appears as though Ross was having too much at the time than he should or just the situations took unexpected turn of events. Regardless of that, his physical health was deteriorating, which caused him to never smile again.