Friday, September 5, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report, ep. 29

Even if you hate Ross, Hansen is a reason to tune into his podcast this week
Photo Credit: Pro Wrestling Illustrated via
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: 29
Run Time: 1:59:53
Guest: Stan Hansen

Summary: The interview starts at 35:30 following Ross’ thoughts on RAW (a week late) and the WWE in general. He also touches briefly on TNA, ROH and Lucha Underground. When he finally gets around to chatting with Hansen, they talk first about his amateur football background before getting into his earliest days in pro wrestling. Naturally, there is substantial discussion about Hansen’s work in Japan, where he estimates he’s traveled more than 200 times. They cover his Toyko Dome clashes with Hulk Hogan and Vader, a dalliance with WCW and Hansen’s definition of strong style.

Quote of the week: “I had a lot of great opponents. I mean, I had some great partners, but let me tell you, you’re nothing without an opponent, and I had some great opponents that were hungry and they fought and they weren’t scared to be business about everything. But they fought.”

Why you should listen: Because it’s Stan freakin’ Hansen. Seriously, "The Lariat" is wrestling royalty, and his legacy actually is enhanced by the success he earned outside the NWA and WWF. For a guy who’s been beaten up around the world with such regularity, Hansen is a lucid speaker with great memories of other famous folks, notably his tag team partner Bruiser Brody, and a few names that might otherwise be lost to history.

Why you should skip it: Ross manages to bring up stories he’s told several times over. There are times, as with nearly every JR show, where the focus shifts away from the interesting tales his guest might have to tell and toward the side of two old guys complaining about how things used to be. As usual, Ross rarely probes his subjects to go into depth on any given topic, so there’s surely a better source out there for those who really want to learn about Hansen’s life and career.

Final thoughts: This podcast alone won’t make you a fan of Stan Hansen. You need to come into it with an understanding of his career and ring style. The more names you recognize the more you’ll appreciate his recollections, and if you’re not familiar with most of them then his interview serves as a nice list of veterans, foreign and domestic, worth your time and attention. That said, don’t expect any Earth-shattering revelations or jaw-dropping moments. This is just a legendary worker recounting his career, guided by an old acquaintance. It’s interesting but not essential. Next week’s guest is Vince Russo, and it remains to be seen if JR can get anything out of Russo he didn’t already share in a two-parter with Steve Austin.