Jim Ross confirms that he was released by WWE executives due to the infamous “WWE 2K14 Panel incident.” In an interview with The Masked Man, Ross reveals that the primary reason behind his release from World Wrestling Entertainment during the Summer of 2013 was due to his inability to control the progress and panelists (specifically an inebriated Ric Flair) featured during the now infamous WWE 2K14 Panel, which took place before August’s SummerSlam Pay-Per-View.
Ross claims that the event helped to push him out of the company, saying,
“I don’t think you have to be a Mensa member to figure out that it had an influence on decisions that were made. I was working with the developmental kids [in NXT] and enjoying that, and got called in for that job.
It was a very unique night, to say the least. Ric was coming off maybe the most traumatic time of his life. [Flair’s son had recently died of a drug overdose.] In hindsight, it might not have been the most timely booking, to get him in that environment. And then you can look at the other side and say maybe it’s a good thing to get him out around friends. As it worked out, you’d probably lean more to the former than the latter. But here’s the deal: I was conductor of a runaway train. I was supposed to keep it on the tracks and that didn’t happen. So I don’t have any issues taking responsibility. Did I envision that it would help facilitate my exit? No. But I could see the thinking behind it.
But honestly, people might not believe this, and I don’t want to give one of those eye-rollers, but it really came at a good time. My health is good, I just celebrated my 62nd birthday, I got a lot of projects going. I’m going to start a podcast soon with the same company that does Austin and Jericho. I’m excited about that. I got Live Nation working with me on one-man shows and, of course, we start out the way we want to start out, in New York City, Saturday, March 1, at the Gramercy Theater.”
Ross claims that the event did “help facilitate his exit,” but this was not the story that Ross was selling back in August of 2013. Initially, WWE.com reported that Ross had retired from the company after a 30 year tenure. However, the rumors of Ross being forced out of the company due to the incident involving Flair and the WWE2K14 Panel instantly began to spread throughout the Internet Wrestling Community.
After five months of speculation, it seems as if the rumors are true. Ross was “asked” to retire and forced out of World Wrestling Entertainment, and did not do so on his own terms. You can read The Masked Man of Grantland’s complete interview with Jim Ross here.