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World Wrestling Entertainment visits Oklahoma



On Monday, "WWE Raw" will bring all the twists, turns, rivalries and backstabbing of WWE to the Ford Center, with Oklahoma's own Jim "J.R." Ross " one of pro wrestling's most recognizable announcers " in tow.

Scheduled to appear in the city's first WWE event in almost two years are John Cena, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Jeff Hardy and Vince McMahon, among others.

Ross' John Wayne-inspired persona is drenched with Eastern Oklahoma country charm, with numerous Okie-isms developing into catchphrases, such as "slobberknocker" and "goofy as a pet coon." With "Raw" televised live, announcers are there to help advance story lines rather than just explain headlocks from hammerlocks. It's a far cry from when Ross began his career in 1974, as a color analyst.  

"When I first started doing it, it was all about the wrestling. Now, my company doesn't even say they are in the wrestling business; they are in the sports entertainment business," he said. "I never dreamed when I started, I'd have to become aware of Nielsen ratings and target demos " all those sorts of things. Now, the WWE wants us to be more storytellers."

According to Ross, the construction of the Ford Center was a welcome relief for him, as the larger facility made it possible for WWE to return to Oklahoma. WWE's production had grown to the point, he said, that the Cox Convention Center was obsolete. Not enough seats were available to offset the costs of bringing the event there, especially after "seating kills," where available seating is reduced once the set is built.  "Charles Martin


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