Legendary WWE broadcaster Jim Ross, sometimes referred to as the “voice of wrestling,” is taking his talents to All Elite Wrestling (AEW).
Ross will be a “senior advisor” there under what AEW is calling “the most lucrative deal in pro wrestling commentary history.” No other details — including financial ones — about Ross’ contract were shared. TheWrap asked an AEW rep to put a dollar amount on that terminology, but we have not immediately heard back.
Ol’ J.R.’s first in-ring appearance for AEW will be at the indie startups next big event, “Double or Nothing,” which takes place Saturday, May 25, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“He will also work closely with the senior leaders at AEW on their roadmap to shift and reinvent the wrestling landscape,” the company said on Wednesday.
AEW is a new professional wrestling organization founded by former WWE Superstar Cody (Rhodes) and the Young Bucks tag-team, Matt and Nick Jackson. The trio belongs to a wrestling faction called The Elite, which also includes Kenny Omega, Marty Scurll and Adam Page. All except Scurll are currently on the AEW roster.
Some big AEW signings early on include former WWE Superstars Chris Jericho and Neville, who now goes by Pac. Omega was also a substantial “get” — just not a surprising one.
Billionaire Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan and his son Tony Khan have bankrolled the WWE competitor.
Ross, whose WWE contract expired on March 29, made the announcement Wednesday on his podcast, “The Jim Ross Report.”
“I’ve been part of the wrestling community since I was seven years old, and there’s no greater thrill than welcoming the voice that I grew up with, Jim Ross, to our AEW family,” said Tony Khan, president of AEW. “We all share a common goal to make this the true golden age, to make this the greatest time ever to be a professional wrestling fan. And, as a business, we also seek to make this a new golden age for the performers and our staff members. Our entire team is thrilled to have Jim onboard and we can’t wait to shake things up together.”
“We’re all excited about having the legendary voice of our childhood come here and help the new generation of talent with his expertise,” said Nick Jackson, EVP at AEW.
“I’m moving on in a very positive way to this timely opportunity to be on the ground floor of one of the most exciting moments in the history of pro wrestling,” said Ross. “I’ve known Tony, Cody, The Young Bucks and Kenny for a long time, and I know they’re going to change the world of pro wrestling. Their roster is already packed with top-level talent and up-and-comers. They’ve got a huge show coming up in May. They’ve brought in game-changing partners like KultureCity. And they’ve got an all-inclusive, welcoming culture like I’ve never seen before. I’m ready to change the world with them.”
Last month, Ross announced he was leaving WWE.
“I need to move on,” Ross said at the time. “I still want to play in the game. I still want to stay busy. I still think I can do play-by-play even though others that may surround Vince [McMahon] think I can’t.”
“At this stage in my life where you’re an empty nester, and you lost your best friend, she’s no longer there — I need to stay busy,” the 67-year-old continued. “I need to get back on the road. I needed to get back out there and do what my passion leads me to. So that’s what I’m gonna be doing.”
Though Ross did not share his next move at the time, he predicted, “I don’t think I’ll be out of work long.”
His guest on that show was Brandi Rhodes, the chief brand officer of upstart league All Elite Wrestling. Connecting the dots?
The WWE Hall of Famer (Class of 2007), who first left WWE in 2013, has mostly been used to call special events for McMahon’s company, like when The Undertaker wrestled Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33. That marked Ross’s return and was supposed to be ‘Taker’s final match, but both have stuck around in limited capacities.
Minus a few years, Ross has been with McMahon since 1993.
Ross’ wife Jan died in 2017 following a Vespa accident — she is the “best friend” he’s referring to in the above quotes.