Thursday, December 4, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 42

Holly is JR's guest this week
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: 42
Run Time: 1:53:04
Guest: Bob Holly (22:48)

Summary: JR starts with a monologue still focused on Survivor Series and a bit of a plug for his upcoming New Japan Pro Wrestling gig. Then he gets Holly on the phone to plug the veteran’s book, The Hardcore Truth: The Bob Holly Story. They start by discussing the writing process itself before transition to how Holly broke in to the business and trained, his ill-fated short stint in Memphis, WWE backstage politics, the high-profile deaths of his colleagues and specifically his connection to the last days of Chris Benoit’s life, the Tough Enough Matt Cappotelli incident and Steve Blackman before a detailed look at 1999’s Brawl for All as it relates to Holly’s written recollection.

Quote of the week: Holly on his reputation as a backstage bully: “If I was that bad, I would not have been with that company as long as I was.”

Why you should listen: As a writer, I found the bit about the ghostwriting process refreshingly candid. From a wrestling standpoint, Holly is somewhat unexplored, at least in the podcast realm. After hearing Mick Foley and Ric Flair talk for several hours, it’s interesting to learn about the life of a self-described veteran midcarder. The Brawl For All stuff is fairly compelling, and if you’re not fed up hearing about arguably the most heinous incident ever to involve a professional wrestler, well, at least Holly has a personal story I hadn’t heard before.

Why you should skip it: Remember that stuff I said about Holly being a midcarder? Well, that also means he’s not discussing much in the way of memorable moments or historic feuds. Certainly the Benoit stuff will be too much for some folks — he says nothing controversial, but many people prefer to let the subject rest — and if you’ve read the book already I can only presume almost everything covered in this show is discussed at more length in the text, with the exception of Ross responding to the Brawl For All comments.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed this more than I expected to based on my experience watching Holly perform. It doesn’t match up with Ross’ recent interviews with bigger names (Tony Schiavone, Bill Watts, JJ Dillon), but it does reveal a continued evolution in Ross’ podcast style. It’s certainly nice to have a break from talking about CM Punk, and it’s nice to hear a chat in which JR does not dip into his reliable questions (“How do you feel about Brock ending the Undertaker’s streak?) for a change. Next week’s guest is X-Pac, and given my experience listening to him on podcasts, I’m presuming the Holly episode will be superior to that offering.