The wrestling world is still reeling from Vince McMahon forcing Jim Ross into a premature WWE retirement over his inability to keep The Nature Boy Ric Flair from going off the rails at the WWE 2K14 symposium he hosted on Aug. 18th, 2013. It wasn't like he didn't try to get the runaway train back on the tracks, but his futile attempts weren't enough to keep the man in charge happy.
Under normal circumstances Good Ol' JR may have gotten away with this faux pas with a mere dressing down by Mr. McMahon, but apparently he was already on thin ice and Vince was looking for any excuse to kick him to the kerb.
According to Dave Meltzer in his latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the relationship between the two soured once again when Ross started lobbying hard to announce a top match at WrestleMania XXIX in the run up to the event. He spoke to both Triple H and The Undertaker about calling their bouts on the show, and when word got back to Vince, he was pissed off, as this was viewed by him as JR openly rebelling against his decision to can him as a broadcaster for good.
Hunter knew his days were numbered, which is why he used him as much as possible behind the scenes in NXT whilst he still could. This paid dividends as Ross quickly brokered a deal with the NFL Player’s Association to steer athletes cut from NFL rosters with an interest in becoming pro wrestlers in their direction.
The McMahon / Ross dynamic was weird throughout JR's run with the company, as he was one of the few insiders who told Vince how he really saw it and would make it be known when he disagreed with the WWE owner's decisions. Although this was always done in a diplomatic fashion and McMahon claims he likes differing opinions, of course, his actions speak otherwise.
So what's next for Jim Ross? The safe bet is that he'll quietly wait on the sidelines until he inevitably gets the call to return from WWE. That could come within the next six months, as WrestleMania XXX is in New Orleans, the heart of the Mid South territory, where he first made his name as one of the best play by play wrestling announcers in the business in the mid 1980s
Good Ol' JR is also a guy you'd rather have inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in, given that he knows where all the McMahon family's dark skeletons are kept from being in the WWE inner circle for two decades, so they have to take care of him in the long run.
Anything else happening is a long shot. Even though he's thought of as an announcing legend in the sports world, his age, haggard looks from his bouts of Bell's palsy and being so linked to pro wrestling works strongly against him.
Ross would love to announce American football or for the UFC, but for the above reasons it's a pipe dream. Given that a large proportion of the MMA media are closet wrestling fans, the possibility of using him in some capacity has been brought up in recent Q&A sessions with Dana White, but it's clear from his polite, noncommittal response that he's not interested in his services.
Obviously TNA would love to have JR, but he would really need his head examined to burn his WWE bridges once and for all by signing with their opposition, with the chaotic, wretched state the company is currently in.
If he's still a free agent in three months time, then AAA will surely make a play for him when they debut on television in the United States on the El Rey Network that launches on Jan. 1st, 2014, as Konnan is a big fan of Good Ol' JR as an announcer, but I can't see Ross taking a job with a foreign promotion that is unproven across the border.
We'll just have to sit back and see what happens, Cagesiders.