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"Jerry Lawler was a slapper for years, nobody knew it" - Jim Ross shares honest opinions on leg slapping and WWE ban

Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, and Don Callis
Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, and Don Callis' new PWTees merch.
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 20 Mar 2021
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Jim Ross was at his honest best during the latest 'Ask JR Anything' Q&A session. WWE's reported ban on leg slapping has stoked another debate on the heavily-criticized practice.

Ross has always been vocal against leg/thigh slapping, and he spoke at length about the hot topic on his podcast with host Conrad Thompson on AdFreeShows.com.

Jim Ross said his past comments had been misinterpreted. JR revealed that he had no problems with a well-executed leg slap. However, the veteran announcer admitted that hearing them throughout a two-hour show was simply not acceptable.

"Well, here's the thing. I've been mischaracterized in this matter to some degree. Here's the issue. I don't have a major philosophical issue with a well-placed, occasional leg slap. When you hear them all the time for a two-hour show, of and on, of and on, of and on, it's not cool."

Jim Ross also explained his most significant issue with leg slapping. The AEW personality said that most wrestlers keep their arms quite far away from their bodies while executing a leg slap. He felt that the talents were being too obvious and that it wasn't good for the business.

"And here is the main bi*** I have about it, it's that, instead of taking your hand and starting closer to your body, some of our talents, and in the business worldwide, they reach way out here. So you see their hand way the hell out here separated from the body, and then they can slap. That's my problem. You are being too, as a talent; you are being too obvious. It's an exposé. So instead of doing a little sleight of hand."

Jim Ross cited Jerry Lawler's example and said that The King had mastered leg slapping. Ross said that his former commentary partner had been a slapper for many years, and no one knew about it.

According to JR, Lawler was subtle yet very effective with his slaps, and that's precisely how the wrestlers were supposed to do it.

"You know what? Jerry Lawler was a slapper for years. Nobody knew it. Yeah! Because he didn't advertise it. He didn't say. 'Here it comes. Here comes a slap.' So that's my issue there with that deal. It becomes unrealistic, and if the fans open up and start looking for it, dang! Then they are not looking at the right thing. They are not paying attention to what the talent is trying to accomplish. They are looking for the, 'Oh, a little leg slap, a little sleight of hand, you know. Hey Rocky, why don't you pull a rabbit out of your hat,' you know?"

Ross stated that sloppy leg slaps create an unwanted disconnect between fans and the flow of a wrestling match. JR added that the situation got even worse when tag teams were involved, as tag team bouts had two wrestlers executing synchronized slaps.

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"It's a disconnect. It can create a disconnect, and so, I don't know, man. I think it's just a matter of execution. Occasional, subtle execution is not an issue for me. But when you do it, overkill, more frequently. It's even worse when you've got a tag team in there. They're both slapping in synchronization. It's like, 'Jeez, what are we doing?'"

Throughout his lengthy career, Jim Ross has seen many wrestlers plan and lay out their matches backstage, and he found it absurd that there were talents who brought up leg slaps during the pre-match walkthroughs.

"I've watched people go over matches, walk through scenarios, and they are doing their leg slap or the chest slap in walkthroughs. I'm thinking, 'You've got to be shi***** me?' Are you that disconnected? Do you not have any training or background?'"

Jim Ross says that top wrestling schools don't teach leg slapping

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Jim Ross also said that respected industry veterans helmed many great wrestling schools across the country. Ross mentioned the Dudleys and Al Snow's wrestling schools, and while there were many other places out there to learn the ropes, JR noted that none of the well-established schools taught aspiring wrestlers how to do leg slaps.

"Because I don't think a great, you know, I have a lot of friends who've got wrestling schools. I saw Lance Storm was doing some stuff on Zoom or whatever. The Dudleys have a great school. Bubba is really a great teacher in that regard. I enjoy Bubba on Busted Open with David LaGreca. Al Snow has got some good stuff at OVW. There's a lot of them. A lot of good schools out there, man. But I don't think any of them teach leg slapping. Why would you? The guys aren't talking about it. The Al Snows, the Dudleys, and all these cats, they are not going to teach that!"

Ross reiterated that he liked it when a leg slap was done subtly, and the WWE Hall of Famer even made a hilarious comment to get his point across.

"So, I don't know. I don't like it. I don't like the obvious. I like the subtleties. I don't want you to take me out of my zone. If I see you, Conrad slap your big a** (Conrad laughs). How does that relate to your match? Well, that large man just slapped his a**. I wonder why. I don't know."

JR noted that leg slapping wasn't all that prominent during WWE's heyday. He recalled Shawn Michaels using the slaps and added that HBK only did them for the superkicks.

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"It wasn't as prominent. The only guy that really did it very much was Shawn Michaels on one move, the Super Kick."

Jim Ross concluded by once again stating that he had no qualms about a leg slap as long as it was done correctly and didn't force the fan 'out of a moment.'

"I get it. If it's executed right, I don't have an issue with it, but if you are going to peg your arm way out there where everybody can see, you know, you're gaged in physicality, and you're grappling, and all of a sudden that one hand extends the way the hell out here. Why is he doing that? Oh, you'll see. Slap! So, it's just, umm, that annoys me, obviously. Anything that we do in the wrestling business, bell to bell that takes you out of the moment, is not a good thing. It's just not."

JR didn't mince his words while providing a clear stance on leg slapping in professional wrestling. Do you agree with Jim Ross' latest take on the matter?


Please credit 'Grilling JR: Ask JR Anything' and give a H/T to SK Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.

Published 20 Mar 2021, 11:11 IST
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