Saturday, April 12, 2014

Good Ol' JR (and more)

Before the start of the King of the Ring pay-per-view broadcast on June 28, 1998, Ross was unaware that The Undertaker would launch Mick Foley off the top of the Hell in a Cell (an enclosed 16-foot tall steel cage covering the ring). He was also unaware that he would deliver his most iconic call, pro wrestling's equivalent to Al Michaels' screaming out, "Do you believe in miracles?" during the 1980 U.S. Hockey team's upset of the Soviet Union, or Russ Hodges' call after the Giants beat the Dodgers in their 1951 playoff, "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"

The match began with Foley, one of wrestling's most unlikely success stories — a chubby Long Island masochist missing half his ear who went from journeyman to main event player — and the 7-foot tall Undertaker (a real-life redheaded Texan named Mark Calaway, but according to the storyline, an undead soul impervious to pain) atop the roof of the Cell pummeling one another with fists and a steel folding chair. Foley soon made his way near the edge, teetering like a wino. From his ringside seat, Ross assumed Foley was simply teasing the unthinkable. Of course, he's not going to come tumbling off the cell, he thought. My God, he can't survive that. But suddenly Foley was in flight, plummeting approximately 22 feet before crashing through the Spanish announcer's table. The crowd gasped. Jim Ross opened his mouth.

"GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY! GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY! THEY'VE KILLED HIM," he howled. Ross then paused as the camera lingered over the carnage. "AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, HE IS BROKEN IN HALF!" With one sound bite, Ross, pro wrestling's Vin Scully, its John Madden in a cowboy hat, turned a spectacle into an event.

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