Business Is About to Pick Up!” is a fun, emotional, and nostalgic trip through the years with Jim Ross, Good Old JR, where he picks 50 of his favorite commentary calls and tells a story, a wrestling or life lesson or just gives you the emotions of that moment. Alongside the story of the man, you will learn things about pro wrestling commentary and the job it entails.

The enjoyment of the book comes from the feeling it gives you. It is like sitting down with JR, opening up a beer, and just asking him something. Like you going “Hey JR, how did it feel to wear a toga at your debut at WrestleMania 9?” or “How was it working with Bill Watts?” or “How could you seriously commentate the Chamber of Horrors?” or “Did you really hate Michael Cole?” or “Katie Vick and the Higher Power in 1999 were fucked up, right?” And the man just tells you all about it in his honest voice.

The book literally covers his first call up to AEW Collision in August 2023, which is important to mention since there are events referenced in the book that were outdated by the time the book was released. When the book was written, Vince McMahon was still in WWE on his return after being ousted, and CM Punk was still in AEW. Of course, JR covers those topics with candor.

There are 50 commentary calls (one of those for boxing), which consist of JR talking about matches he loved and why he decided to commentate the way he did. He also does it for infamous moments where he is not shy about shitting on the creative. His calls go from a radio station where he started, to Mid South, Jim Crocket, WCW, WWE, and AEW (no, you won’t get any insight into his NJPW years, which I think would have added to the book.)

JR gives lessons on how and why he made some of the calls and, while some of the lessons might seem obvious, there are a couple of commentators out there that could sit down and write down some of the knowledge. JR was a man who really felt what he said, and that is why he created some iconic soundtracks in pro wrestling history. For him, it’s all about the emotions. He even explains his creative process and channeling his emotions to hate HHH, Eric Bischoff and McMahon…which honestly, did not require much work.

He is really open about his feelings on Vince’s eternal quest to replace him and never finding the right person. He is open about his feelings being hurt not only about this, but when Vince made fun of him constantly, even when he came back for a one-shot on an Old School Raw and Vince had heel Michael Cole just shitting on him while he tried to call the match. His feelings on Vince are uneasy and he lets know of his disappointment when he came to WWE fully in 2023. There’s a whole chapter about it.

Talking about heel Michael Cole, some of the most entertaining moments in the book are when JR talks about shitty creative and the lengths he had to go through to try to do something with it. He has a sense of humor about all of it and it is funny at moments. His chapter on the Higher Power had me giggling. He completely and openly talks about the failure of the Invasion and how stupid it was. Another topic mentioned is Vince getting so confident during the Attitude era that he started shaping the show even more obviously around his views and himself, without a care for the fan, which created a bad product that was not enjoyable unless you were Vince McMahon. Since he is the boss, everyone had to curtail the creativity around what the man wanted or might want. JR mentioned this point of view making his job as head of Talent Relations harder when he had to sell Vince on wrestlers like Eddie Guerrero and others that did not fit his mold.

Other cool things in the book are that he is a man who has been in the business for over fifty years, so not only do we get his experience in commentary, but about his other facets.

He worked TV production and talent relations for Bill Watts in Mid South and, most famously, talent relations for WWE. If you ever wondered how contracts worked in pro wrestling, or how WWF/E used to attract talent, and how to handle talent in difficult situations (a la Montreal Screwjob or contract disputes), he gives some advice on how he handled it. Hell, using this experience JR offers his solution for AEW’s Brawl Out, where he considered that everyone should have sat down and talk about the problems like adults and then as an extreme measure, if there wasn’t a solution, getting rid of the thing poisoning the well (again, the last chapter was written in August 2023.)

While I had a good time learning about JR’s life (and making me emotional when he talked about his late wife and why he decided to cut down on commentary in AEW), the book is not perfect.

The book covers over fifty years of a career, and we get way too much-regurgitated history. This is one of those things that I don’t know if it’s a me thing, but reading retellings of WCW, WWF, Attitude Era, Black Saturday, people jumping in companies in the 90’s, it has been done to death. Do we really need ANOTHER retelling of the Montreal Screwjob? (I’m sure that The Flagship Wrestling Patreon is dying to cover it one day.)

I understand some of that is needed for context, but like I said, it’s a me thing, or a nerdy wrestling fan thing. There is a lot of it and some could have been shorter. When it was all about JR personally, the book worked, but when it was retelling history, it was clunky. I would say it goes 60% JR and 40% history.

Also, I have not read JR’s previous books or listened to his podcast, so I don’t know how much of this material is repeated. It’s probable that he has touched these topics in the past (he even sends people for longer thoughts on subjects to his other books), so if you are a JR head, you can find out by reading the table of contents to see if it has been done before.

When I closed down the book, I was happy.

JR was the voice of my early wrestling fandom back when I started watching in 2000, and he has been the voice that introduced me to NJPW back in Wrestle Kingdom 9, the US PPV debut. He was the main voice of early AEW. Reading this, it made me appreciate the man, even if I’m not the biggest fan of his AEW work. His love for the business is palpable, and when he talked about his personal life and the importance of work/life balance, it made me happy. Hell, it even made me happy that he thinks that the business is in a better place due to the athletes taking better care of themselves and the less hectic travel. He might come off as an old man of another era at times, but at least he appreciates some of the work being done now and how the business is situated.

Most importantly, it made me want to take off my hat and give the man the respect he deserves and thanks for being the voice that got me initially hooked on this world.