Thursday, June 4, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 68

The Hitman is JR's guest 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: 68 (June 3, 2015)
Run Time: 2:07:11
Guest: Bret Hart (25:00)

Summary: Jim Ross is on the phone with a hall-of-famer this week. He and Hart have a long, ambling chat touching on, among other things, Hart’s dream opponents, the challenges of working as a heel, head injuries and the Goldberg kick, changes in current ring style compared to the evolution of the 1980s, how the wrestling businesses shifted in the early 1990s, WrestleMania 13, the WWE tag team division and women’s wrestling, how mixed-martial arts and WWE continue to influence each other, learning the ropes himself in Calgary and his early WWF days, how WCW failed Hart, the upcoming WWE Owen Hart DVD and the fateful night in Montreal. They also take some time to plug an upcoming legends appearance in England where they’ll be joined by several other veteran performers.

Quote of the week: “We’re not crash test dummies. We’re professional wrestlers, but we’re human beings, too. You can’t just kick somebody as hard as you can in the head and expect them to be OK. There’s got to be measure to those things. I think Goldberg never understood that it was all the guys going in there making him look good every night that is why he was over; it wasn’t about him, it was about the guys that he was hurting, and he was hurting a lot of guys. Even with me and Bill, the last words I said to him before I went out to the ring with him that night was I said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t hurt me.’ And he went in there and he hurt me. He hurt me bad and it cost me millions of dollars that was just out of my pocket, it changed my life forever. For sure it was a direct lead-in to me having a stroke a year later. But I don’t have any bitterness towards Bill at all. I really think that Kevin Sullivan and some of those nuts that were hanging around telling everyone what to do, those guys were more irresponsible because they’ve been around, they were supposed to be in charge, and they weren’t schooling Bill in what he needed to know.”

Why you should listen: Having listened many months ago to Hart’s appearance on the Steve Austin Show, this interview came off as a more complete picture of contemporary Hitman. There are times when Ross seems to want Hart to join him in going in on today’s product, but Hart repeatedly counters with personal experience about the way wrestling has continued to change over the years. Any peek into the complex Hart family dynamics is at least somewhat interesting.

Why you should skip it: You have to go about 100 minutes into the episode before Ross asks Hart about Owen, which is, as usual, in contrast to how Ross teases the content. Further, Hart has well earned his reputation as being his own No. 1 fan. Although Ross comes close to matching, Hart’s love of himself is indeed unequaled. Fans unwilling to give him the benefit of the doubt and write it off as honesty are likely to be turned off a few times.

Final thoughts: As far as Ross Reports go, this is a strong offering. Nearly full credit goes to Hart, of course, but it must be said Ross does display a decent feel for his guest, when in other instances he merely rams forward on his own agenda. If you want to get riled up about the folly of WCW, smile at a few Owen stories and conjure up images of the Hitman’s glory days, dive in and enjoy.