UPDATE x 8: WWE's Jane Geddes sent out a memo (text message & email) to all WWE talent yesterday. The memo pushed the public story that Ross had retired from the company as opposed to having really been released from his contract.
UPDATE x 7: There were some very unhappy people in WWE after the news on Jim Ross' "retirement" (aka firing) broke. Some went on record as saying the stuff on TV has turned to reality. The basic gist of things is that if you represent the company in a bad way, you get fired for it because representing WWE negatively is "bad for business." Many also feel that the blame should be placed solely on Ric Flair and not Jim Ross ... but WWE's mindset is that JR didn't do enough to switch topics and move on when things started going off script. What was Jim supposed to do when Ric got emotional and was talking about the death of his son Reed - cut him off?! The company also feels Ross "wasn't his normal self" during the panel and that is certainty debatable although Ross denies the claims that he was drunk.
........ and for those who have asked or questioned JR's departure, no, it's not a "work" by any means. There are no plans to have him return and get involved in the current storyline. Several top WWE officials (Vince, HHH, Steph, etc.) were legitimately pissed off and have been since SummerSlam. It just took until now for them to do something about it. For what it's worth, Ric Flair has been fired as well but he was never under contract in the first place. A Flair cameo planned for SummerSlam was scrapped and the ambassador role they wanted him to be in is off the radar as of now.
You can expect Jim Ross to remain classy as he always does in tweets, blogs, etc. There are numerous people who are quietly rolling their eyes at the entire situation though.
UPDATE x 6: The following is a new blog from Jim Ross courtesy of JRSBARBQ.com:
It's been quite a day. September 11, 2013 was my last day in WWE.
Its hard to believe that It was over 20 years ago when i debuted in WWE at WM9 & my first ever WWE assignment was doing play by play w/ the great, Bobby Heenan and the unpredictable Macho Man Randy Savage.
Time flies when one is enjoying one 's dream job. Heck, it only took me 19 years ti make it to the NFL of sports entertainment. Overnight sensation, right?
So, at the age if 61 it's time to close this chapter of my life and begin exploring new, adventures while my health is great.
I wouldn't have changed a thing in WWE except I wish that I'd been able to avoid some health issues along the way. That was the hand that I was dealt and I simply refused to fold it.
Other that health issues my 'run' in WWE has exceeded my wildest dreams.
I was fortunate enough to have a key role in arguably one of the most interesting and compelling eras in our business's history.
Hmmmm....perhaps a book is in order some day. Time will tell. Now I actually have the time to write the autobiography many have asked about over the years.
For the record, I'm not purchasing a rocking chair so I'm not "going away." I have many interests & I plan on exploring them all.
In the meantime, I hope you'll continue to support my family's online shopping efforts at http://www.wweshop.com and in UK at http://www.americansoda.co.uk.
Follow the next chapters in my life, that are yet to be written, on Twitter @JRsBBQ.
You guys are the best....thanks!
UPDATE x 5: Jim Ross posted the following to Twitter regarding his departure from WWE:
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!
True to his form, JR is taking the high road and staying classy. Did you expect anything else? You knew he'd do just that. Good luck to JR in the future - he's clearly a great guy.
UPDATE x 4: TMZ has picked up on the Jim Ross "retirement" story. You can read their article on it at this link. The TMZ article mostly consists of the "retirement" announcement and a brief look at some of Ross' hallmark calls. You can expect many other news outlets to pick the story up as well. It remains to be seen how many of those outlets will refer to it as an actual "retirement" or report how things really went down. See below.
UPDATE x 3: Here are some additional bullet points on how the Jim Ross "retirement" ... aka firing went down yesterday.
* WWE is calling the Jim Ross departure a "retirement". Believe what you will but that doesn't seem to be the case.
* The entire thing stems from the WWE 2K14 symposium in Los Angeles at SummerSlam AXXESS. Right after the event, there was talk that there was major heat on Jim Ross (and Ric Flair) and both could be released due to it. Flair was pulled from a special SummerSlam cameo and they have no plans to use him in the near future.
* Following the SummerSlam WWE 2K panel, three weeks had passed and nobody thought anything of it. WWE sources thought things had blown over until this past weekend.
* The rumors of Jim Ross' WWE future started back up again over the weekend and it was the topic of discussion this week at the TV tapings. There was talk that they'd be meeting with JR during the week and that happened on Wednesday.
* Jim Ross arrived in Connecticut on Wednesday. Nobody could confirm why he was there but there was a ton of speculation that he was about to be fired. Triple H, Michelle Wilson, Stephanie McMahon and Vince McMahon were the very select few people "in the know". Everyone in Stamford thought "this was it" for JR as they had heard the rumors over the weekend.
* The release stems from Jim Ross "not reeling Ric Flair in" after... (Continues on next page)