Legendary in-ring announcer Jim Ross is retiring from WWE after nearly 20 years, per an article posted on WWE.com.
The site writes:
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 made many contributions to WWE and the sports-entertainment industry, and we thank him for his many years of service and wish him well.
This is an intriguing development.
Of course, you could say this isn't really much of a surprise. Ross is getting older and has been plagued by health issues in recent years. He's been winding down on his commentating duties. Furthermore, WWE has clearly been positioning Michael Cole to be the new "voice of WWE."
But for the sides to cut ties completely? Isn't that a little unusual? Why wouldn't you just keep Ross around as a part-time performer and bring him back for special occasions like WrestleMania?
Is there more to this than meets the eye?
Interestingly, over at a (subscribers-only) post on F4Wonline, Dave Meltzer suggests that there may be more to story.
Meltzer claims that Ross garnered heat from Vince McMahon and management after Ric Flair notoriously went off-script last month at the press conference for the 2K14 video game (you can see footage of Flair's riotous performance here), with the feeling being that Ross should have done more to keep the star in line.
The decision, which was made by McMahon, was first told to us by a source in the company that it was possible, if not likely on the day of SummerSlam, stemming from the now-infamous 2K Sports symposium where Ric Flair spoke at length about a variety of subjects. ... Ross took heat from management for not cutting Flair off and keeping the symposium to what it was scripted to be.
If true, this doesn't exactly seem fair. Looking at the footage, Ross was hardly encouraging Flair and made several attempts to get back to the script. I mean, what was he supposed to do? Single-handedly drag the guy offstage?
And, of course, if Ross is getting this much flak simply for allowing "The Nature Boy" to ramble on, it makes you wonder just how irate management must be at Flair right now. We may be able to rule out a return for him any time soon.