Thursday, April 16, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 61

JR has HBK on the show this week
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: 61 (April 15, 2015)
Run Time: 2:00:14
Guest: Shawn Michaels (40:00)

Summary: Jim Ross recorded this week’s interview with Michaels before WrestleMania 31, probably around the same time Steve Austin interviewed him in conjunction with the release of his new book, which is where the talk with Ross begins. They also discuss his current limited role with WWE before going to Twitter questions. Topics include if Michaels ever considered a jump to WCW, chances he’d ever want to be on the creative team, plans for and reality of the WrestleMania XIV aftermath, John Cena and Daniel Bryan, the current fan attitude and social media. Ross and Michaels then talk about watching footage of their own performances, highlight Michael’s reality TV project, preview Sting’s WrestleMania appearance, recount experience with stiff workers and again touch briefly on Michaels’ book.

Quote of the week: Michaels, on the enduring use of John Cena in the main event scene: “You can be hugely over with the 5,000 people in the building, but if the other guy draws 10,000 people, and half of ’em boo him and half of ’em cheer him, what’s it matter? Ten is still more than five, they’re gonna go with the guy that brings in 10,000. And so that’s what I think is going on a lot of the times. Again, clearly understand everyone, I’m a guy that knows very little, I’m not getting any information, I just know from the last time I ever asked about something like this, (Cena’s) still the only guy that does a noticeable jump in the numbers, and those numbers will downturn when he’s not on the show.”

Why you should listen: It’s Jim Ross interviewing Shawn Michaels. It’d be like Gordon Solie spending 90 minutes talking to Ric Flair. If you want to remain convinced Michaels is done as an in-ring performer, there’s plenty of ammunition. The plugging of the book is minimal, so it’s definitely no clone of the Austin interview. Ross is fairly benign as a host here, which is something you have to count as a positive given how many episodes he’s somewhat marred just by his natural demeanor.

Why you should skip it: If you were hoping to actually learn about the book, you’re out of luck. The best (only) story he tells was told much better on the Austin show several weeks back. The WrestleMania preview chatter is obviously dated. Michaels is a legendary figure, but most of the topics covered are fairly familiar to even halfway interested fans. Ross borders on lecherous in his effusiveness for Michaels’ wife. Though not far removed from his active career, the fact he retired before the social media explosion, and that he’s not really embraced it in his new role, has him coming off as something of an antisocial luddite. That’s probably not true, but HBK doesn’t exactly help himself in that regard.

Final thoughts: More and more I find myself disappointed by what these episodes could be, yet as someone who listens to every single second, it would seem I should know better by now. But I guess the point here is to reach out to people who see the guest on a particular episode and are unsure about committing to a full listen. This was by no means a bad interview, but if you’re hungry for Shawn Michaels content, there are most certainly better options.