By Mike Mooneyham

Jan. 9, 2005

It’s been a tough week for good ol’ JR.

Jim Ross, who complements his day job as a WWE executive vice president with being the best wrestling announcer in the business, started off last week on an ominous note. Most folks get toasted on their birthdays – unless they happen to work for World Wrestling Entertainment. In that case, they get ribbed or roasted, and Ross was no exception.

Since his birthday just happened to fall on a Monday, the company “celebrated” Ross’s special day on Raw by having him and announcing sidekick Jerry “The King” Lawler square off with the Arab-American tandem of Mohammad Hassan (Mark Magnus) and Khosrow Daivari (Shawn Daivari) in a debate.

Unfortunately (but not unexpectedly for Ross), the debate turned ugly, resulting in the 53-year-old announcer being choked out by the heels. It must be noted, however, that Ross was able to return to the announce table later that evening, slightly devaluing an otherwise superbly executed old-school angle, but salvaging what loomed to be an uneventful call of the main event by substitute commentator Jonathan Coachman.

Jim Ross

Jim Ross

Ross’s luck took another turn for the worse just 24 hours later when his beloved Oklahoma Sooners were humiliated by Southern Cal in the Orange Bowl.

“I always believe that until the fat lady sings her song, we have a chance,” Ross is wont to say about the Sooners. Much to the native Oklahoman’s chagrin, she was singing loud and early Tuesday night as the top-ranked Trojans cruised 55-19 to win the BCS title and their second straight Associated Press national championship.

During the season Ross is a fixture on the Oklahoma sidelines cheering his team on.

“It’s a lot like sitting at ringside for Raw,” Ross recently told the WWE Web site. “You’re so close, you can hear it, feel it, and smell it – it’s just a whole different environment. And you’re so close to the inner workings, that you can see a team’s game plan unfold. You can see the emotions on the guys’ faces.”

Ross hopes to turn his luck around when he serves as Lawler’s second for his match tonight with Hassan at WWE’s New Year’s Revolution pay-per-view in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

– Yet another “Boomer Sooner” who took Oklahoma’s loss particularly hard was Ross’s former Mid-South Wrestling boss, Cowboy Bill Watts, who said after the game that the shellacking was an embarrassment to the Sooner Nation.

“Never in a million years would I have dreamed we could be so completely dominated in every single category like USC did last night. Never. And never would I ever have believed that the highest-paid college football coach in the nation (Bob Stoops), our coach, would be so completely out-coached for the second consecutive year in a row.

“Some will take issue with me saying that, but the buck stops at the top. That is why he gets the big bucks. He gets the accolades and credit for the wins, so he also gets the blame for the losses. It goes with the territory.”

The shell-shocked Watts, a former University of Oklahoma football player who was one of pro wrestling’s headline attractions during the ’60s and ’70s and later a successful booker, said he was especially thankful that he didn’t call any of his friends from Oklahoma State and Texas A&M and “really verbally gig them for how their teams’ bowl performances this year had embarrassed the Big 12.”

“And now I know just how bad a stomach burn eating humble pie causes, and I never want to get used to it as a regular diet,” said Watts.

Watts added that he’s not abandoning ship.

“I’ll still be Sooner born and Sooner bred, and Boomer Sooner will still be our rallying cry. And our coach and our team is still awesome. In fact, the NFL better be glad USC is not eligible to compete for this year’s Super Bowl … But wait – isn’t this ‘just a game?'”

– The lineup for tonight’s sold-out New Year’s Revolution pay-per-view in San Juan: Elimination Chamber match for the WWE title with Triple H, Randy Orton, Batista, Edge, Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho; Kane vs. Gene Snitsky; Maven vs. Shelton Benjamin for the Intercontinental title; Lita vs. Trish Stratus for the WWE women’s title; Mohammad Hassan vs. Jerry Lawler (with Jim Ross in the corner); and Christian and Tyson Tomko vs. Eugene and William Regal for the WWE Raw tag-team title.

– George’s Sports Bar, 1300 Savannah Highway, will air the New Year’s Revolution pay-per-view tonight beginning at 8 p.m. Cover charge is $5.

– Carolina Pro Wrestling Association will hold a show at 5 p.m. Sunday at Matthews Sports Bar and Grill, 613 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mount Pleasant. Admission is $5. For more information, call 532-9924.

– Brock Lesnar made a brief appearance at New Japan’s Tokyo Dome show on Jan. 4. Lesnar appeared at ringside with fiancée Rena “Sable” Mero and wrestling trainer Brad Rheingans. Lesnar told the Japanese media that he and the former Mrs. Marc Mero plan to wed this spring on the island of Palau.

– Booker T (Booker Huffman) and longtime girlfriend Sharmel Sullivan (the former Paisley in WCW) also plan to tie the knot soon in Booker’s hometown of Houston.

– TNA performer Hector Garza was arrested Monday on misdemeanor charges of drug (steroids) possession.

Bail has been set at $1,000 for Garza (Hector Segura Solano), 35, although he has been advised not to pay it for fear of being deported, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Garza was en route to TNA’s Impact tapings in Orlando when he was detained by immigration agents at Houston’s Bush International Airport. He was being held in a Harris County, Texas, jail.

“TNA Entertainment does not condone the use of any illegal substance by an independent contractor or employee of the company,” public relations manager Brad Bernstein told the Chronicle. “Hector and his attorney are anxious to proceed with the case and prove Hector’s innocence. We look forward to his return.”

Garza’s brother, Humberto, told the newspaper El Norte that a prescription for the drugs was being sent immediately from a doctor in Mexico. The prescription was being used by Garza to regenerate injuries and fortify muscle tissue, his brother said.

– TNA star Abyss appears to have severed ties with the promotion due to a contractual slip-up and may be WWE-bound. Johnny Swinger also has asked for his release.

– WWE announced Thursday that Philip Livingston was stepping down as the company’s chief financial officer and as a member of the company’s board of directors.