Friday, March 27, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 58

Shamrock was on the latest Ross Report
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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: 58 (March 25, 2015)
Run Time: 1:52:38
Guest: Ken Shamrock (32:49)

Summary: Jim Ross calls up MMA and WWE veteran Ken Shamrock. They start by discussing the nature of bare-knuckle fighting, talk briefly about Shamrock’s first foray into pro wrestling training in 1988 but spend more time on the portion of his WWF career that started at WrestleMania 13, discuss how he decided to return to MMA, look at the UFC prospects of CM Punk and past performance of Brock Lesnar, contrast Vince McMahon and Dana White, reflect on Shamrock’s inclusion as a charter member of the UFC Hall of Fame and end by looking at his current business of developing professional private security workers.

Quote of the week: “Vince has been challenged and has been put with his back against the wall and come through. And Dana White has not had his back put against the wall and has not been challenged, so we don’t know if he can come through. I believe that time’s coming, but we haven’t been able to see whether or not he could deal with adversity, where the company starts to fold, it starts to go under, they’re having issues and problems with buy rates, losing guys to different organizations, and how do you create and think of ways to keep your business in the forefront? … Vince has been seasoned and come through, Dana White has not been tested yet.”

Why you should listen: Shamrock is a timely guest with regards to Punk and Lesnar. Also timely are his remembrances of WrestleMania 13. It was interesting to get a little insight into why he left pro wrestling when he did, especially played against Ross’ insistence there was room for his star to rise. The balance of the interview tilts away from wrestling, so if MMA is your thing, enjoy the main course.

Why you should skip it: The Lesnar talk could have been timelier had the episode not been released just hours after he announced his new WWE contract. There’s zero talk here about Shamrock’s very difficult childhood, which was a big part of his huge appearance on the Steve Austin show several months back. Ross must have decided where he wanted to take the interview because he had plenty of opportunities to explore interesting topics like Shamrock’s late-80s training or Shamrock’s feeling he’d hit the ceiling on his WWF career, and the listeners are worse off for his predetermination.

Final thoughts: This conversation wasn’t bad, it just could have been so much better had Ross explored the more interesting aspects of his guest’s background and career. If you really want to unpack Shamrock’s life, go back and find his spots on the Austin show. There are some fun moments here, but they’ll mostly leave you wanting more — or wishing a more able host was in charge of this call.