Thursday, May 21, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 66

Madden is JR's guest this week
Photo Credit: Bill Wade/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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: 66 (May 20, 2015)
Run Time: 1:57:27
Guest: Mark Madden (3:20)

Summary: Jim Ross calls old friend Mark Madden to break down WWE Payback. First, through, they talk about the WWE Network in general. After the show review, they speak about the WWE women’s division, TNA’s future and the appeal of Lucha Underground. Madden asks Ross about his work for WrestleKingdom 9, which leads into discussion about Global Force Wrestling and Young Bucks. The wrap up looking ahead to the Steve Austin-Paul Heyman interview, WrestleMania 32 and Samoa Joe’s future. Also Ross asks Madden football questions.

Quote of the week: Madden: “I think the Bellas are both very talented, obviously very beautiful, but they’re kind of an old act now, especially with all the exposure they’ve gotten on Total Divas. And with Stephanie McMahon reacting to criticism by saying they want to give women a bigger role and make their matches longer and have them be a bigger part of the show, if they’re gonna do that they need to move up all the NXT girls, because that’s where the action is. They’re better workers.”

Why you should listen: Whether you liked Payback or not, Ross and Madden have plenty of things to say worth processing, perhaps the most important being the classification of such shows as “Sunday Night RAW.” The full-on praise for the women of NXT is both unexplained and completely justified in the context of the conversation. Maddon goes in hard on TNA — he goes hard on everything, but it seemed most fair in this segment — and Ross’ ideas for WrestleMania 32 are nothing if not interesting, perhaps primarily for the way it illuminations the kind of thinking that informers long-term WWE narrative decisions.

Why you should skip it: This isn’t so much a review of Payback as it is a breakdown of the U.S. and World Heavyweight Championship matches. There wasn’t a breath about the barnburner Tag Championship fight, which is absurd. Of course, when Madden eventually reveals he’s not a WWE Network subscriber, it starts to clear up a lot of things regarding his opinion of current WWE shows. Beyond that, he’s an unrepentant, egotistical blowhard. It’s clearly beyond shtick, he’s just that abrasive, and it’s barely tolerable in small doses, let alone a 105-minute interview.

Final thoughts: It was really good to hear Ross (and, to some extent, Madden) heap praise on the female NXT stars. Aside from those moments I’d say skip the entire thing. The fair breakdown of the two singles title matches lost a lot for me once I realized Ross and Madden weren’t going to review all of Payback, as Steve Austin surely will. Shame on Ross for not getting Madden to cop to his lack of awareness of day-to-day WWE stories earlier in the episode. Surely he could find someone more qualified to review WWE content. And when is he going to start waiting to record these episodes until after RAW?