Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Ross Report: Episode 32

Dave Meltzer's podcast rounds have him on Jim Ross's show
Photo via @ObserverQuotes
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: 32
Run Time: 1:32:41
Guest: Dave Meltzer

Summary: There’s no monologue this week, so JR and Meltzer get right down to a match-by-match analysis of WWE Night of Champions. That takes up the bulk of their talk before a segue into the future use of Brock Lesnar, the WWE/NXT roster (including women) and a fleeting mention of TNA, MMA and New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Quote of the week: Meltzer: “It’s not like we’re going to try to copy an MMA fight. That’s stupid. That’s not what pro wrestling should be. Pro wrestling should be a dramatic portrayal of a realistic fight, not a real fight. But you can certainly learn from: A, what’s real; and B, thinking a lot of the audience has seen some of this stuff, and work it. I’ve seen knees to the body that would have meant nothing 30 years ago that mean something now because people have seen it in a real fight.”

Why you should listen: Meltzer is as knowledgeable as they come, and his insights on the nuts and bolts of a WWE supercard are welcome. He’s not as down on the company as some folks might assume, and he clearly has explicable, logical reasons behind his criticisms. His discussion with Ross offers some good things to ponder as the WWE creative team starts drawing the lines toward WrestleMania, and it’s nice to hear some real (if brief) discussion about some of the stars of NXT.

Why you should skip it: If you’re staunchly anti-Meltzer, this chat is unlikely to change your opinion. Ross, as usual, doesn’t let his own views go unsaid, which means he’s presenting this as a dialogue more than a conventional interview. JR recorded the call Monday afternoon, and since WWE pay-per-views are inextricably linked to the followup RAW, their discussion is forcibly incomplete.

Final thoughts: I generally have no real opinion on Meltzer. Though I’ve enjoyed his podcast hits with Colt Cabana, Steve Austin and now Ross, I’ve never been a consumer of his news or criticism. Which is to say I don’t fully understand the passionate love and hatred he seems to inspire among fans. His balanced approach seems to hold Ross in check to some degree, though there is the inevitable complaining about the flaws JR sees in the current WWE style. You’re probably not going to gain any deeper appreciation or understanding of Night of Champions, but I’m glad this chat happened following one of the lower-tier supercards because it won’t get lost in the massive coverage of a larger event. Ross has been on a good run of interview subjects that break his earlier template of talking to an old wrestler and reliving well-known stories. It’s a refreshing twist and hopefully it helps hone his voice and style.