Outside of a few absences here and there, Jim Ross has been a fixture with the WWE since the mid 1990s, but the former announcer and WWE Hall of Famer is currently in negotiations to work for a rival wrestling organization.
News broke this week that, after months of rumors, Ross is indeed talking with All Elite Wrestling about working for the upstart company. It's not yet known if that role would be in a broadcasting capacity or behind the scenes in creative.
Ross has done some work outside of WWE in recent years, notably broadcasting New Japan Pro Wrestling for AXS-TV, as well as a few stints broadcasting boxing and MMA. However, he has been under contract again with WWE since 2017. Previously, he had worked for the company from 1993 until 2013.
Ross' most recent departure from WWE seems to be because he felt he had more to give the wrestling industry than what he was being allowed to do.
"I had two bookings in 2018, so I kind of felt the writing was on the wall," he said.
Ross' current contract with WWE expires on March 29th, but during a recent appearance on ESPN's Outside The Lines, he confirmed that he has been in negotiations with AEW. Ross also noted on a recent edition of his podcast, The Ross Report, that he and Vince McMahon recently mutually agreed that it was time for him to move on.
"I miss being around people," Ross said on OTL. "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."
After spending more than 20 years of his life working for Vince McMahon, Ross had nothing but good things to say about WWE's boss and his 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."
[H/T to Wrestling Inc.]