Friday, August 22, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report, Ep. 27

The podcasters had good things to say about Bray Wyatt.
Photo Credit:
If you're new, here's the rundown: I listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: The Ross Report
Episode: 27
Run Time: 1:39:46
Guest: Sean Grande

Summary: Grande is the play-by-play announcer for Boston Celtics radio broadcasts, and he’s been interviewed about his wrestling fandom on the erstwhile Dave Lagana podcast I Want Wrestling as well as the B.S. Report of ESPN’s Bill Simmons, among other outlets. Starting about 23 minutes in, he and JR talk about how Grande became a fan, his thoughts on wrestling announcers and talk a good deal about the way wrestling used to be, what remains true today and how it might look in the future.

Quote of the week: “I don’t know that the business has quite gotten over not using (blood). And nobody talks about it. I’m not advocating that we endorse, you know, we’ve got HIV and Hepatitis C and all these tests are supposed to be done. Hey look, if I’m sitting at ringside with my family, I don’t want your ass bleeding all over me. I don’t care what kind of test they tell me you’ve had.” — Ross

Why you should listen: Grande is a great speaker and legitimate fan going back to the 1970s WWWF shows on TV and at Madison Square Garden. His career in big-time sports broadcasting, throughout which he has maintained an active pro wrestling fandom, allows him to give decent insights on the business. If nothing else, he’s not a phony or someone drawn in by the star power of one or two top guys. This is a guy who took a detour from a family vacation for a mark photo outside the Agricultural Hall in Allentown, PA. Ultimately, it’s refreshing to hear a guy who had his dad drag him to Bruno Sammartino matches still get excited about the career prospects of Bray Wyatt.

Why you should skip it: If you’re rubbed the wrong way when JR goes into detail about the problems with WWE’s current structure and approach, you want to steer clear. Though he does have a fair amount of good things to say about SummerSlam and some younger talent in his opening monologue, the ground he and Grande cover is fairly well trod by this point, unless you count the brief basketball discussion, which makes sense in context but has no value to most wrestling fans. Further, he and Grande simply agree too often — it’s more an echo chamber than a compelling discussion. You’re going to learn almost nothing, and might not be provoked to have more than a few new thoughts.

Final thoughts: At this point, Grande is a “celebrity” wrestling fan, and to some degree it can be neat to hear a guy known well for something else reveal he’s just as much a wrestling devotee as those of us who aren’t well known in a major media market. But it’s not as if he’s one of America’s great broadcasters — I’d much rather hear JR interview Keith Jackson, even if the latter knows nothing about wrestling beyond Gorgeous George. Perhaps Grande would be a more intriguing listen in the hands of another interviewer, but ultimately you may wonder if JR couldn’t have had a similar discussion with any other 44-year-old who grew up cheering for Bob Backlund.