Thursday, June 18, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 70

Ross spends too little time about Big Dust on his own podcast
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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: 70 (June 17, 2015)
Run Time: 1:49:13
Guest: Bryan Alvarez (10:45)

Summary: Jim Ross and Bryan Alvarez start their talk reminiscing about Dusty Rhodes for about 10 minutes before moving on to discussing Money In The Bank. They don’t go in show order, but do look at most every match deeply, as well as the larger stories leading into and out of the show. Then they spend a good chunk of time on each of four other topics — TNA, Ring Of Honor, Tough Enough and UFC.

Quote of the week: “We had an opening match where a guy not in the match cost somebody the match to lead to somebody else getting it, followed immediately by a match with essentially a Dusty finish, a restart, followed immediately by a match with a DQ. It’s just kind of like, ‘Really? Three matches in a row with screwy finishes?’ I mean, I know there’s always an argument for, ‘Well, you know, we want to do this, and we gotta branch of Roman Reigns and we didn’t want Nikki to lose or we didn’t want Ryback to lose’ or whatever, but it was just too many screwy finishes in a row. And I just feel there could’ve been a better balance.”

Why you should listen: We’re almost certainly not going to get a Money In The Bank recap from Steve Austin this week, and Cheap Heat is always a mixed bag in that regard, so give Ross credit for really digging in to every match on the card. The deep dives on each match and story feel less like distracted tangents than usual, and Alvarez certainly has equal standing to Ross in regards to being able to contextualize and review the show.

Why you should skip it: In the big picture, the 10 minutes spent on Rhodes seems far too insignificant, everything after the MITB breakdown is almost certainly rote for both men and their podcast audiences, and Ross is in full on cranky old man in regards to the current product. In smaller moments, the praise for the Tyson Kidd-Cesaro tag team is nice, but the failure to mention Kidd’s significant injury is staggering, the praise for the Paige-Nikki Bella match is offset by Ross’ branding of them as girls, the dismissal of the tag team division seems unfair, there’s scarcely a breath of Brock Lesnar and, ultimately, neither of these men is especially fun to listen to without a decent partner.

Final thoughts: If you need to know how Ross really feels about Rhodes, listen to his Tuesday appearance on Austin’s show. Alvarez surely provided deeper thoughts on one of his podcasts. There is some decent WWE insight funneled through the lens of MITB, including interesting speculation regarding why Sheamus won the briefcase, but ultimately this episode isn’t essential. Ross takes 45 words to say what could be accomplished in 15, and when he’s in a sour mood he’s the opposite of charismatic. It’s not a winning recipe this week.