Thursday, March 12, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 56

The former WWE Women's Champion dishes to JR
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: 56
Run Time: 2:02:27
Guest: Melina Perez (32:06)

Summary: Jim Ross’ guest this week is former WWE Diva Melina. She explains how she’s currently a full-time college student, tells Ross how she ended up leaving WWE and remembers her childhood wrestling heroes. They talk about the past and present state of Ohio Valley Wrestling and rave about Kharma. The topic shifts eventually to romance among wrestlers before moving to Perez’s experience on Tough Enough and the evolution of MNM. Ross asks about Perez’s WWE memories and explains Total Divas and Lucha Underground to her. To wrap up, Perez laments about unfounded rumors, relationship difficulties wrestlers experience and addresses career regrets. She also promotes her podcast, which has nothing to do with wrestling.

Quote of the week: Perez, on negative comments about current WWE women: “It takes a lot of heart, and you sacrifice a lot, whether you’re female or male, you give up a lot to be a wrestler. And because (critics) have this certain perception doesn’t mean it’s true. And these women, I’m more than sure that they do have a lot of gratitude for what they’re being given. And it’s difficult to be in front of the public and have people assume certain things about you, whether it’s true or not. It’s very difficult to do that. I’d like to see how strong other people would be if that was their life. These women should be appreciated themselves, and I hope for the best for them. Nothing but the best for them.”

Why you should listen: Perez represents a different kind of guest for Ross. He’s interviewed women before, but those guests had either a much higher profile or a much longer wrestling career. Most fans tend to feel more connected to wrestlers who have lifelong fan backgrounds, and hearing Perez wax nostalgic about Sherri Martel and her favorite tag teams helps provide context for her stated appreciation of her career opportunities. Further, she has good insight on the challenges of being a high-profile wrestler in the age of social media.

Why you should skip it: Ross hasn’t done his research on Perez, who herself isn’t ready to discuss anything from the current wrestling scene. Perez identifies as the quiet, retiring type, and that doesn’t blend well with Ross’ domineering personality, to the point that at some parts of the interview you get the sense Ross has either lapsed into monologue mode or is simply lecturing his guest on history and his business approach. Further, if you come looking for any extra context on Ross’ recent controversial blog post regarding Bill DeMott, you will leave empty-eared. Look for that in next week’s monologue and, in the event he recorded it recently, the interview with Jim Cornette.

Final thoughts: I almost always listen to Ross’s show at double speed. I heard part of this one in real time, however, and it was beyond unbearable. I honestly can’t imagine anyone wanting to spend two hours listening to the entire thing, and even if you skip the monologue (which you most certainly should), Perez is simply not engaging enough to hold anyone’s interest for that long, at least not as interviewed by Ross. She seems like a very nice person and this gives me a newfound appreciation for her career (most of which I missed as it happened), but that was accomplished in the first 15 minutes.