In recent WWE news and rumors for 2013, it appears Jim Ross is set to retire from WWE. The legendary announcer is currently a member of the WWE Hall of Fame, and is considered among the best in the pro wrestling business when it comes to calling a match.
According to a Sept. 11 report via PWTorch.com (from Wrestling Observer), the retirement was partly decided by WWE's Vince McMahon. McMahon and Ross reportedly met earlier today and discussed Ross's future with WWE, and that meeting led to the decision to retire. There's rumors that Ross was blamed for Ric Flair's behavior during WWE's recent promotion of the 2K Sports video game, "WWE 2K14," during Summerslam weekend in August. During the incident, Flair reportedly went "off-script" and started to make remarks about the WWE that were considered controversial. WWE management is rumored to have felt that Ross, as host of the event, should have cut off Flair when he started to do so.
WWE noted on their website with regards to Jim Ross retiring:
"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."
Ross has been active in the professional wrestling world since the early to mid 70's, first working as a referee for NWA Mid-South. He would go on to work as a "play-by-play" guy in 1982, calling bigger matches including a World Title match involving Ric Flair and Ted DiBiase. As of the early 90's, Ross was working with National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), which eventually turned into World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Ross worked alongside Eric Bischoff eventually, but there was bad blood between the two and when Bischoff was promoted, Ross demanded to be released. That was granted, and Ross moved on to the WWE in 1993.
In 94, Ross was fired by Vince McMahon, right after suffering his first-ever Bells' palsy attack. Ironically, Ross got re-hired when Vince McMahon was indicated by the U.S. government in 1994, and then Ross was fired as soon as McMahon was back to his commentary duties. Ross was part of a "heel turn" at one point in his career, unleashing a rant against Vince McMahon, and bringing Diesel and Razor Ramon over to WWE from WCW. In all, Ross worked with WWE on-air as a commentator, interviewer and personality from the early 90's through this year. In 2012, he helped fill-in for Jerry Ross for the episodes after Lawler suffered a heart attack during the live episode of Raw. Ross also came back for various interview segments, or to call high profile matches, either on Raw, or during Pay-Per-View events.
Jim Ross, who resides in Norman, Okla., used to own and operate J.R.'s Family Bar-B-Q, but the restaurant was closed in May 2010. His various products, including BBQ sauces, cookbook, and beef jerky, still sell on the WWE website's shop. Ross also continues to run a website which has a blog where he discusses pro wrestling and other topics including Oklahoma football. It's unknown what might be next for Ross, but he'll definitely be missed by WWE fans who enjoyed hearing his entertaining play-by-play coverage of WWE's matches.