It didn’t come as much of a surprise when I did my daily tour through the dirtsheets, and found the breaking story of the week. Unless you’ve been living under a digital rock, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The retirement of Jim Ross is official. The voice of WWE. The voice of professional wrestling. Retired.
At first I was ok with it. He hasn’t really been allowed to do what he loves in years. He’s old (for pro wrestling, at least) and had an indisputably amazing career. I was happy he was getting a chance to go out on his terms, and enjoy his future endeavors.
I should have known better.
Not long after the initial reports came out, came the behind-the-scenes dirt on JR’s “retirement.” Apparently, JR didn’t choose to retire. That decision was made for him – and it was really made weeks ago. It seems Vince McMahon is pissed at Good Ol’ JR for three things:
- Told fans at Summerslam Axxess that he’d love to be announcing regularly, but it’s not his decision.
- Not interrupting the Nature Boy’s inappropriate rants during the WWE-2K Games panel discussion.
- Being still Jim Ross.
This is the company that just got done telling all its talent that it’s time to step up and reach for the brass ring. In Cena’s absence, you can become a star! Unless you suffer from facial paralysis and have a southern accent. In that case, the glass ceiling is bulletproof.
As for the Nature Boy… JR is NOT going to interrupt Naitch. Period. He’s a living legend and was stealing the show – even if he was breaching topics WWE officials REALLY didn’t want him hitting. Turning golden-boy John Cena into a six-pack a day drinker? His son’s heroin overdose and death. I’m not shocked that WWE brass weren’t happy, but come on. This is the same guy who talked about spilling virgin blood on Raw. You expect Captain BBQ Sauce to rein him in?
At the end of the day, I think this was just an excuse. It was a way for Vince McMahon to FINALLY justify firing the best play-by-play man in the history of professional wrestling. Vince hates JR. He hates that he was good in NWA/WCW. He hates that he’s from the south. He hates that JR likes WRESTLING.
Vince has wanted JR to up and quit for years – especially since he doesn’t have any pesky competition to worry about. Including Impact. Remember all the insulting skits? Every visit to Oklahoma? Michael Cole’s existence? Vince’s mission to get rid of Jim Ross.
JR deserved better. The man was passionate about his job. He was passionate about the product. Hell, he constantly put the product over on his own website! He came through for whatever bullshit tasks they asked of him, and asked for nothing in return.
Now he’s history. Vince got exactly what he wanted. And whether you know it or not, we’re all going to suffer for it.