Friday, March 20, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 57

This gasbag chatted with another gasbag for two hours and Scott didn't kill himself, it's a miracle
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: 57 (March 18, 2015)
Run Time: 2:28:35
Guest: Jim Cornette (29:52)

Summary: After a mostly forgettable monologue — except the part where Ross takes a pragmatic stance on the Bill DeMott situation — he brings on longtime colleague Jim Cornette. They open with a look at WrestleKingdom 9 and the Royal Rumble/WrestleMania booking before Ross turns back the clock. That starts with Cornette’s memories of Mid-South and Mid-Atlantic and his infamous blade job at the Techwood Drive studio. The guys discuss match booking and then reminisce about Bobby Heenan, Jerry Lawler and, briefly, Chris Benoit. Ross asks Cornette to weigh in on the end of the Undertaker’s streak. Then he opens up about Ring of Honor and time-limit draws, compares and contrasts Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels, remembers announcers of note, reveals who he wishes he’d had a chance to manage and gives advice to aspiring managers. The guys rant about current booking challenges and shortcomings before ending with a few thoughts about New Jack and Lance Russell.

Quote of the week: “The best territory I think I worked, from an enjoyment — both a professional and personal standpoint, where you lived, the people you’re working with, the houses and the business — in the Carolinas, was Mid-Atlantic Wrestling. Because I take ultimate pride in, probably more than anything else, the records that we set in Mid-South Wrestling with the Last Stampede series, with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and the business that we did, but God it was miserable to live and work in that territory! Just geographically and just the constant riots and threats to your life, as you well know, made me — a lesser man would have developed some kind of nervous disorder, like an anger management issue or something. Fortunately I overcame all that. Remember, I was quite meek and mild when I first came there, I was a nervous breakdown patient when I left a year later.”

Why you should listen: There’s a lot less “get off my lawn” than you might expect given the personalities Ross and Cornette present online. And given the current state of WWE, what does sepe through isn’t entirely out of place. If you don’t listen to Cornette’s podcast it’s likely most of his stuff here is somewhat fresh, or at least in the case of his 1980s memories it’s not been beaten into the ground on Ross’ show. His looks into the past are easily the most interesting part of the episode.

Why you should skip it: Because 11 months later we’re still somehow asking people what they thought about the Undertaker losing to Brock Lesnar. That makes rehashing Daniel Bryan’s Royal Rumble elimination seem like breaking news. Likewise there’s no real reason to bring up Benoit, which is proven when Cornette adds nothing to the topic. Basically, this episode would be vastly improved if you could scrub out discussion of anything that’s happened since 1995.

Final thoughts: I wish you could redact podcast segments the same way you block terms on Twitter, because it would save me time and acrimony nearly every week with Ross. But I’ll say this: the two-hour Cornette interview went by more quickly than I expected. If you go in fearing the worst, you might be pleasantly surprised at how tolerable each guy is for the better part of the conversation. But the deep flaws I expected are not altogether obscured, and that might drive some listeners off the rails. Ultimately there are better channels by which to glean Cornette’s current thoughts as well as relive his past. With the absence of anything truly surprising, memorable or thought provoking, this episode is eminently skip-worthy.