Thursday, April 30, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 63

Ross talks Extreme Rules with PWI's Mike Johnson
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: 63 (April 29, 2015)
Run Time: 2:17:30
Guest: Mike Johnson (18:10)

Summary: Johnson, of, joins Jim Ross to analyze Sunday’s WWE Extreme Rules. For the second half of the episode, they discuss Ronda Rousey’s WrestleMania appearance and WWE future, the upcoming ESPN WWE documentary and the current events surrounding Ring Of Honor, TNA, Lucha Underground and Samoa Joe.

Quote of the week: Johnson, on Lucha Underground: “If WWE tried to do the same thing, I don’t think it would work. But it’s worked because it was a self-contained universe, they started it from scratch and they created the rules. … You don’t need to know anything about wrestling to watch Lucha Underground and enjoy it. The way they develop characters, the way they’ve done vignettes, all of it has been awesome.”

Why you should listen: Ross and Johnson cover every Extreme Rules match (except for the Ryback-Bo Dallas encounter) and focus more on certain show aspects, like the Kiss My Arse match, than Steve Austin and Wade Keller discussed on Austin’s podcast, which means that although all four guys have similar feelings about the show, this episode isn’t fully redundant. ROH fans will enjoy the praise Ross and Johnson heap on its current and former stars.

Why you should skip it: The Extreme Rules review is inside out. They get to all the elements, but there’s no logic to which match gets discussed when. While the back half of the episode gets almost entirely away from WWE’s main stories, there’s hardly any insight. It’s about as mundane as Ross’ monologues tend to be. So if you skip those (and you should), it’ll at least feel somewhat fresh. But don’t expect to learn anything or be made to think more deeply than you can on your own.

Final thoughts: I let this episode rattle around in my brain for a day before writing the recap. I finally decided I preferred Austin’s Extreme Rules review not because he is more enjoyable than Ross and Keller is more insightful than Johnson (though both of those are very true), but because Austin’s chronological breakdown both paid more respect to each performer and their worth to WWE as well as helped me, as a fan, think more critically about card construction, how one component of the show builds to another and so on. And that’s precisely the kind of area where Ross should excel, but he just doesn’t for whatever reason. Also, Ross overestimates his ability to lead a compelling interview for 45 minutes with a guy he’s already been talking at for 60. It’s just too much talking and not enough thinking.