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Jim Ross Opens Up About WWE Departure, What Sets CM Punk Apart

Josh Stewart of Newsday has a new piece featuring quotes from Jim Ross to promote his upcoming spoken-word tour that begins with two shows at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City on March 1, 2014. In it, JR sheds more light on the event that resulted in his departure from WWE.

The event was a "30 Years of WrestleMania" symposium by 2KSports to promote the new WWE 2K14 video game the night before SummerSlam on August 17, 2013. JR clarified it was 2KSports that hired him to moderate the Legend's panel, not WWE. Below is an excerpt from the Newsday piece:

"I knew that when it was over, a lot of the top WWE officials were very anxious to get Ric Flair out of the facility," Ross recalls. "So I knew there was some concern there, but I didn't know that the concern involved me. A story started out of misinformation that I had been drinking with Flair all day. And the issue was that if they [WWE officials] had checked their schedule, I had been booked all day with WWE activities and SummerSlam that had nothing to do with Ric Flair."

JR explained there was no script, no teleprompter and no producer. Making matters worse, Ric Flair, who was on the panel, was clearly inebriated.

"My job was to keep the rudder in the water," Ross said. "I didn't do that. And so, the decision was made that we part ways. And to be honest with you, and this is not looking back, or trying to cover somebody's tracks, or cover my own [behind], I was really looking for an opportunity to move on. I wanted to get into the podcast business, I wanted to get into one-man show stuff . . . I wanted to look at other opportunities, like this Fox Sports thing that I'm doing now. And I knew I couldn't do those things while I was under contract to the WWE. But to be honest, to be totally frank with you, I had such a loyalty to that company, and I still do, that after 20 years I didn't know how I was going to say goodbye."

Ross went on to discuss what separates CM Punk from the rest of the current WWE locker room and why he has been his favorite worker to watch in the ring over the last few years. Click here to read the article in its entirety.

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