The major story currently in development is the abrupt retirement of Jim Ross from WWE. By all accounts the retirement was not of JR's choosing and this was a move on the company's part to cut ties with the Hall of Famer. In fairness, I am not able to confirm that but JR's words are what draw strong suspicion.
At one of his meet and greet events at the Glasgow Hilton in Glasgow, Scotland on August 27, 2013, JR was asked about retirement. He said that he would never retire from the wrestling businessand he will be there when called upon. This could be for one match, three matches or a full pay-per-view but he planned to be available for WWE. JR said the day he would retire is the day they bury him.
From what I've been able to gather, WWE was very upset with the Legend's panel for the WWE 2K14 video game over SummerSlam weekend. While executives from 2KSports and fans in attendance were said to be entertained by the entire thing, the WWE reaction was quite the opposite.
The feeling was that Ric Flair embarrassed the company and that rather than help quell the situation as moderator, JR only added to it with his comments. He was asked about the incident during his meet and greet last month in Scotland.
JR calmly addressed the situation and informed the crowd he was not drunk. He explained that he was slurring his words because he was tired and his Bell's Palsy was the culprit. Ross explained that Flair is in the grieving process and probably shouldn't have been there. He said that Ric wants to keep working to keep his mind off of things and asked the crowd how they would react if they found their pride and joy lying motionless in a hotel room.
In total, it's being reported that Vince McMahon notified JR about his situation with the company some time this week. I have no details about a meeting and do not want to want to read too much into what I have yet to confirm. However, it's at least reasonable to conclude that JR's retirement has to do with the public events that took place over SummerSlam weekend. Further, the entire line that JR "retired" from the company seems to be a move to save face and prevent a PR hit.
Richard Reacts: Vince McMahon for the lack of a better term has bullied Jim Ross for years. I remember when they switched him from Raw to Smackdown, we actually heard (and reported it) before he was told. Vince loves to kayfabe Ross and would often get amusement of letting him "sweat things out." One incident that comes to mind was his involvement at Wrestlemania a couple of years ago when Vince had already made the decision to use Ross but didn't let him know until the last minute. JR made it clear it was not his decision to leave weekly TVs and he wanted to be there. This is also why he would be there when called upon because he still wanted to announce.
I personally feel this entire situation stinks. While I don't feel that I withheld coverage, I refused to drag Ric Flair's name in the mud over the Legend's panel during SummerSlam weekend. Everyone I spoke with in attendance had a blast and I heard from sources within 2K Sports they were 100% fine with it. I took it as the typical WWE overreaction and wasn't about to start bashing Flair as he is clearly going through an unimaginable season of grief. I heard the Flair heat was expected to blow over and Triple H was still hoping to bring him in. We posted details on that here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium.
Back to Ross, this seems like Vince McMahon's way of having the last laugh and just another very unfortunate way to treat a man that loves this business with all that he is. Jim Ross is as good as it gets in terms of play-by-play and has one of the best minds in the wrestling business. My fear is that Vince knows the type of people he can treat like this and once someone shows him they'll take it, he'll keep giving it. At this point I do not know if WWE will continue to sell JR's BBQ products but I have reached out to Jim for confirmation. If I hear back, I'll be sure and pass along the word. I personally wish Jim nothing but the best and know that he will find success in whatever that he does.