Thursday, May 7, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 64

Joe talks to JR this week
Photo Credit: Lee South/
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: 64 (May 6, 2015)
Run Time: 1:47:37
Guest: Samoa Joe (20:00)

Summary: The hottest free agent wrestling is on the phone with Jim Ross this week. The first topic is the time the two met very early in Joe’s career, which leads into a question about if Joe has any interest in a WWE run. The guys discuss Joe’s in-ring style, his background as a childhood performer and judo student and growing up Samoan before moving on to Joe’s feelings about TNA, the importance of his time in Japan (including mutual displays of Shinsuke Nakamura affection) and his thoughts about Ronda Rousey, Sting and his good friend CM Punk.

Quote of the week: “The old adage in professional wrestling that you would hear from any salty veteran, no matter where you are in the world, any locker room, professional locker room, is, ‘Less is more, less is more, kid.’ And my mantra’s always been, ‘No no no, it should be you get more out of less. Make everything mean something, make everything have meaning and impact and weight’ … In doing that, you empower yourself in the eyes of the crowd.”

Why you should listen: Joe is an interesting cat to say the least. Ross does his audience a solid by spending very little time on Joe’s TNA career, and does an excellent job selling fans on his worth as an in-ring performer (with a notable pimp job for Shinsuke Nakamura about 62 minutes into the show). The story of how he ended up performing at the 1984 Summer Olympics is delightful, and it’s great to hear Ross speak with a current star instead of another “kids these days” bull session with one of his 60-something contemporaries.

Why you should skip it: If you’re hoping for Joe to unveil his WWE plans, you’re out of luck. If you’re listening to hear a bitter TNA veteran shoot on his longtime employer, this isn’t the show for you. If you expect secret details on the life of CM Punk from one of his closest associates, head on down the road. Actually, if you want anything other than a measured Joe calmly giving the basic details of his life and career, this is not the podcast you’re looking for.

Final thoughts: Much like a good Art Of Wrestling episode, this interview left me interested in a deeper dive into Samoa Joe’s career and a sincere hope he gets a shot at WWE glory. Ross both cuts short his monologue and buries his most annoying tendencies and gets a decent, if not spectacular, interview for his efforts. Sometimes The Ross Report can be brutally long and boring, and while this episode isn’t close to his best work, it’s certainly better than most. Faint praise, I guess, but when you expect the worse it’s nice to be pleasantly surprised.