Thursday, January 8, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report, Ep. 47

Dixie Carter is Jim Ross' latest guest
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: 47 (Jan. 7, 2015)
Run Time: 1:26:05
Guest: Dixie Carter (24:39)

Summary: Jim Ross opens the show with his usual monologue, spraying to all fields. When he finally brings on the woman who runs TNA, they talk about the promotion’s new TV home on Destination America and targeted demographics. The conversation, peppered with questions from Ross’ Twitter followers, then goes on to cover Bobby Lashely, future expansion to Canada or Mexico, the TNA name, upcoming TV tapings and changes at the announce desk, the production team, cooperation with other promotions, touring vs. broadcasts and AJ Styles and Vince Russo.

Quote of the week: Carter: “I’m trying to get people who’ve done this for a long time to look at this with fresh eyes and just say (wrestling) doesn’t have to be the way it’s always been. I think we’ve got some really exciting things that people are buying into, that they believe on and that they’re excited about. I don’t want to talk too much about it, I’d rather just kind of unfold this year and then you call me back and we’ll talk again and you tell me if you liked it or not.”

Why you should listen: To get as much direct-from-the-source information as possible about the future of TNA. Ross asks a lot of business-side questions (his comments on the creative side, at least between the bells, are positive bordering on effusive) and Carter seems to respond with accurate information that will be relevant to longtime TNA supporters.

Why you should skip it: Carter is unfailingly upbeat about the present and future state of TNA, and it more than once comes off as either dishonest or disconnected with reality. Beyond that, don’t tune in expecting JR to recap his WrestleKingdom 9 experience, he’s put that off a week. And for people who don’t watch any TNA whatsoever, there’s a good chance the entire interview is uninteresting, or at the very least unnecessary.

Final thoughts: This isn’t exactly Vince McMahon sitting down with Steve Austin. I give Carter credit for doing the interview, and obviously the timing is key. But the Ross who interviews Carter is not the same Ross we’ve heard give frank assessments of TNA in his monologues off and on over the past 46 weeks. Ultimately this chat boils down to a softball, PR session, though it’s hard to imagine Carter agreeing to anything else. Adjust your expectations going in and it might not disappoint.