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Beloved pro wrestling announcer Jim Ross is leaving WWE

Wonderwall logo Wonderwall 3/7/2019 Mark Gray

Jim Ross wearing a hat: Jim Ross attends © WireImage Jim Ross attends Legendary wrestling announcer Jim Ross is leaving World Wrestling Entertainment after 26 years.

"Good Ole JR," as he's commonly referred to, made the stunning announcement on "The Jim Ross Report" podcast on Thursday.

"My WWE contract after 26 years will expire on Friday, March 29," the beloved Jim said. "And, after talking a couple of weeks ago with [WWE CEO] Vince McMahon, we have mutually agreed I need to move on."

JR hinted that several of WWE's top brass hoped that he wouldn't get a new contract offer, but indicated that he holds no animosity toward the company, saying he'll leave "with great thoughts, very positive."

"I still think I can do play-by-play even though others that may surround Vince think I can't," he said.

Jim's departure marks the end of an era, and nearly all wrestling observers feel that he's the best announcer to ever call a match.

"I've made a lot of money, Vince is amazing to Jan and myself. He set us up for life financially, of which I can never repay him," Jim said. "I'm 67, I still feel I can get the job done doing wrestling play-by-play, and I want to explore that opportunity and possibility."

Jim Ross in a suit standing in front of a stage: Jim Ross attends the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania's WWE Hall of Fame at the Toyota Center in Houston on April 4, 2009. © WireImage Jim Ross attends the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania's WWE Hall of Fame at the Toyota Center in Houston on April 4, 2009.

There is already speculation that Jim will end up at the newly formed AEW wrestling organization, which will have its first pay-per-view in May, after Jim departs WWE.

In addition to calling WWE matches, Jim also helped call XFL games for the brand in early 2000s.

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