Thursday, January 29, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Ross Report Ep. 50

Madden's back on the Ross Report
Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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: 50 (Jan. 28, 2015)
Run Time: 1:51:36
Guest: Mark Madden (15:58)

Summary: Jim Ross reconnects with Madden, the former WCW commentator and current Pittsburgh radio personality, to review the Royal Rumble. They start with a look at the current state of women’s wrestling and move on to the Philadelphia crowd and Roman Reigns, the evidence of WWE underestimating its talent, the future for Daniel Bryan and the construction of the WWE Title match. After a break they discuss TNA, Ring of Honor and ways to fix WWE’s television product before discussing Wrestle Kingdom 9 and the NJPW show on AXS as well as Lucha Underground. They look at CM Punk’s MMA prospects, then discuss the WrestleMania main event and the upcoming Super Bowl before doing a drive-by of the NXT roster.

Quote of the week: Madden: “There are some guys, JR, they’ve just ruined. They ruined Dean Ambrose. That Lunatic Fringe stuff, they made him into a harmless, babbling fool. When he was beating the guy with a Christmas tree, what did they expect fans to think? … They underestimate the talent. They don’t respect the talent. The talent so often, and we’ve seen this throughout the years when they were allowed to, the talent so often has a better grip on their own character than the company does. And who’s better proof of that than 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin?”

Why you should listen: A common theme this week, but if you need help processing the Royal Rumble outside the Twitter community and message boards, this is another decent source, especially if you’re seeking an alternative to those who think Sunday’s match was an absolute abomination. You might not agree with either man’s assessment of the status quo, but each does a great job explaining how they came to their current opinions. Further, unlike other podcasts, Ross and Madden’s talk goes beyond the pay-per-view and outside the realm of WWE.

Why you should skip it: Sometimes spraying to all fields isn’t a great plan. Ross and Madden seem to know enough about ROH, NJPW, Lucha Underground and NXT to be dangerous. They struggle to identify Prince Puma and Madden has to check himself on Prince Devitt’s NXT name. They do have high praise for the stuff they like, but it’s clear neither is an expert. On a micro scale the same is true for their Rumble breakdown. After brief talk about the problems with the way WWE and TNA present their female talent, the Rumble talk focuses almost exclusively on Reigns and the title match.

Final thoughts: I’m leaving each show this week with a similar conclusion: You’re either fascinated by WWE booking decisions and want to explore the process from every conceivable angle or you’re completely fed up with discussing what happened Sunday in Philadelphia. Figure out which camp describes you and that lets you know whether or not this episode is worth your time.