As noted on Thursday, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross appeared on ESPN’s Outside The Lines program and confirmed that he has been in talks with All Elite Wrestling. JR’s current WWE contract does not expire until March 29. You can see full video from the OTL appearance above.
Regarding his WWE departure, Ross said he only had two bookings in 2018 and that was it. “I had two bookings in 2018, so I kind of felt the writing was on the wall,” he said.
Ross technically had three dates in 2018 – the RAW 25th Anniversary show, the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal on the WrestleMania 34 Kickoff pre-show, and the Greatest Royal Rumble Kickoff pre-show panel. Ross said on his podcast that he recently spoke with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and the two mutually agreed that it was time to move on.
JR told OTL host Ryan Smith that it came down to a matter of wanting to remain active and stay working. He said it was simply time to move on from WWE with the hope of finding a more creatively fulfilling role with another promotion.
“I miss being around people,” JR said. “The main reason I’m leaving WWE is because they weren’t using me very much, and I feel like I’ve got some great years left. I needed to get out of the house, and I need to be involved. I need to be on the road, and I need to be around people.”
Ross noted that he did not want to sit at home stagnant and dwelling on the past. He had to deal with the sudden loss of his wife Jan back in 2017 as he was returning to WWE under the two-year contract.
“Two years ago this month I lost my wife in a car accident, about 30 seconds from our garage in Norman … there’s no grieving manual that I’ve ever read, or been recommended to, that tells you how to get through this stuff,” he said. “All I know is you’ve gotta keep getting up, and you’ve gotta keep taking steps forward.”
Ross still has nothing but praise for WWE and the McMahon Family.
“I had no issues, I wasn’t mad at anybody — there’s no major controversy here,” Ross said. “I believe WWE in general, as most television producers do, want to get younger. I’ve been around since the mid-70s doing this job that I truly love doing. When I was unable to get booked, to be utilized, I had to look for Plan B, and Plan B was, ‘let’s step away gracefully.’ Vince McMahon and his family have been amazing to my family.”
For those who missed our previous report, Ross confirmed that he’s been in talks with AEW, but nothing has been signed. He said, “I don’t know, we’re talking. I just haven’t signed anything yet. My people and their people are doing their thing. The only agent I grew up knowing was a State Farm agent in Oklahoma, I got a real agent now, man. So, they’re working on it. I’d like to get into some voice-over work, I’d like to do some… I wouldn’t mind having a radio gig doing college football.”