BAH GAWD, SAY IT ISN'T SO! Unfortunately, the news of legendary WWE announcer Jim Ross has announced his retirement from announcing for World Wrestling Entertainment. Here's the five fast facts you need to know about Jim Ross retirement from the WWE, his debut in the WWF/E and the outpouring of thanks from wrestlers/fans.
1. Jim Ross is Retiring After 20 Years of Service to the WWE...But He May Been Fired
WWE.com posted an update on their website that announced Jim Ross retirement from his post as a WWE announcer:
WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross announced that he is retiring from WWE today, after 20 years of service, to focus on his personal business endeavors.
Jim has had a long and storied career at WWE, both on the corporate staff as well as his television persona, calling some of the most memorable matches in WWE history as the voice of Monday Night Raw and SmackDown for more than two decades. He made his debut with WWE at WrestleMania IX in 1993 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007 by his long-time friend "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
Jim has made many contributions to WWE and the sports-entertainment industry, and we thank him for his many years of service and wish him well.
Several wrestling sites report that the real reason for J.R.'s retirement may have something to do with the 2K Sports panel that took place at WWE SummerSlam 2013. Ric Flair's troubling behavior rubbed WWE officials the wrong way and it pained the leader of the panel, Jim Ross, in a bad light with WWE. WrestlingInc.com offered more info on this rumor:
Dave Meltzer has reported that the reason Jim Ross was let go today was for Ric Flair's behavior at the 2K Sports symposium last month, during Summer Slam weekend. There was talk of Ross being let go from the minute the panel ended. The E felt that Ross, as a representative for WWE, should have controlled Flair once Flair started going off the handle. Meltzer also said that the part of the symposium that got the most heat was Flair talking about his late son, Reid. Good lord. They were also upset with Flair joking about Cena not being drinker before they met, and claiming that Cena now drinks a six pack of beer every night.
Meltzer also reports that the retirement excuse was a way for WWE to save face from a PR standpoint and to avoid an uproar. Meltzer also said that his reason for Ross' departure being over the 2K Sports symposium is 100% correct, and Melter figured earlier this week that it would be happening. Ross had stated as recently as a couple of weeks ago during his Q&A's in the U.K. that he never planned to retire from the company. It should be noted that officials at 2K Sports were happy with Flair's behavior at the panel.
2. Ross Worked as A Talent Scout Behind The Scenes
Jim Ross occasionally announced a few of WWE's TV shows over the past couple of years. One of his final appearances on WWE TV took place at WrestleMania 29 as he commentated alongside Dusty Rhodes, Kofi Kingston and Scott Stanford during the PPV's pre-show.
When he wasn't on TV, Ross worked as a talent scout for WWE's NXT developmental program. With his help, WWE gained a partnership with the NFL that will facilitate talent from the football sector to wrestling in the coming years.
PWTorch.com noted that Jim Ross has other business ventures besides wrestling that he tends to:
Ross recently ventured into public speaking engagements with the "Spoken Word Tour" in the U.K. in August. Ross, who also has the JR's BBQ product line, indicated that he is considering expanding his Q&A tour in 2014.
3. Jim's First Appearance With The WWF/E Occurred in 1993
Jim Ross's first official on-air appearance with the WWF/E took place in 1993 at WrestleMania 9. Check out the intro vid for the PPV event above to see a Young Jim Ross outfitted in a toga.
4. Jim Entered The Hall of Fame in 2007
Jim Ross became an official inductee in 2007. The promo that aired before his induction can be seen above. The interview you'll see below Ross as he talks about his dream matches, his Bells Palsy condition and more interesting topics.
5. Plenty of Wrestlers and Fans Have Bid Farewell to Him
The feedback I've received re: my @WWE retirement has been amazing. Heartfelt thanks to all. I'm ready 4 the next adventure. Stay tuned!
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) September 12, 2013
As soon as the surprising news of Jim Ross' WWE retirement hit the net, Twitter blew up with farewell wishes and #ThankYouJR tweets from fellow wrestlers and fans:
— Michael Sampson (@WWEDocSampson) September 11, 2013
— Triple H (@TripleH) September 11, 2013
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) September 11, 2013
Slobbering on my own knockers in honor of Jim Ross' retirement. (pours BBQ sauce down blue trunks, eats cowboy hat) HooOooOoo! USA! USA!
— Hacksaw! (@HacksawJDuggan) September 11, 2013
— Justin Roberts (@JustinRoberts) September 11, 2013
So long, Jim Ross. BAH GAWD, we're all going to miss your unparalleled performances.
— The Ultimate Warrior (@Ult_Warrior) September 11, 2013
— Sean Waltman (@TheRealXPac) September 11, 2013
Sorry to hear Good Ol' Jim Ross has retired. Would have loved to hear him commentate one more time at WrestleMania 30 next year.
— Harry Williams (@Harry_Williams) September 11, 2013
— Dameon Nelson (@DameonNelson) September 11, 2013
Haven't watched wwe for over a year, but hearing that Jim Ross retired makes me sad
— Marcus Lyon (@Marcus_Lyon) September 11, 2013
Jim Ross is probably the 2nd best wrestling broadcaster of all-time, maybe the best of all-time. He'll be back like everyone else at WWE
— Matthew (@hustledouble) September 11, 2013