Thursday, August 28, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 28

Tony Schiavone, in the flesh, on the podcast
Screen Grab via the Big Lead
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: 28
Run Time: 1:39:13
Guest: Tony Schiavone

Summary: The interview starts at 30:20 after the usual Ross opinions on the state of WWE and TNA. He and Schiavone talk about Tony’s fandom before becoming a wrestling announcer, their early days with the Crockett family, his year with WWF and the Nitro era.

Quote of the week: “If he’s angry at me, I deserve it. And I feel bad about it because he truly was one of the great guys to work with. … I shouldn’t have been a company guy then.” Schiavone on his post-WCW releationship with Bobby Heenan.

Why you should listen: Schiavone is perhaps one of the most unfairly maligned wrestling personalities of the last 30 years. In addition to being a legitimate old-school NWA fan before getting his first job, he worked with nearly every big name in the business over a 20-year span. His early work often is overlooked because of how he presided over the waning days of WCW, but few are willing to concede how hard it was for him to work in that environment. Further, Schiavone just doesn’t do these kinds of interviews, and JR does a better job than usual of laying back and letting his subject tell his own story.

Why you should skip it: If you’re hoping to hear Schiavione badmouth someone, well, you’re out of luck. He has good things to say about nearly everyone he’s ever worked with, from Vince McMahon to Vince Russo and everyone in between. There are times Ross takes over to interject his own stories and opinions, which is aggravating as always. If any recent guest was worthy of a two-part interview, it’s Schiavone, though perhaps a return appearance will be in the mix.

Final thoughts: If you only have so much tolerance for Jim Ross this week, you absolutely want to spend it here instead of his appearance on Austin’s show. With future guests to include guys like Magnum TA and Stan Hansen, it seems JR is getting in tune with the best way to maximize his own background. The next time he says something original in his monologue will be cause for celebration, but it’s easy enough to skip that without an ounce of regret. Another interviewer might get even more out of Schiavone, but it doesn’t seem like he’s going to make the rounds, so this might not just be your best chance to catch up, it may be the only one.