Friday, July 3, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 72

Tenay is Ross' guest 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: 72 (July 1, 2015)
Run Time: 1:33:40
Guest: Mike Tenay (20:25)

Summary: Jim Ross and his colleague Mike Tenay recount their first meeting before Ross probes into Tenay’s sports book past. Then Tenay relives his 1960s wrestling fandom and the newsletter he ran for seven years. They talk about protecting the identity of masked wrestlers, working with Ernie Ladd, Tenay’s affinity for lucha libre and shooters like Gene LeBell, Danny Hodge, Billy Robinson, and Kurt Angle. They reminisce about When Worlds Collide 1994 and Tenay recounts the happenstance appearance on the Los Angeles radio show that launched him into prominence. After concluding part one of the Tenay chat, Ross remembers the late Buddy Landel.

Quote of the week: “I think back over the years as to how important, and it’s something that just in terms of laying it out there it might sound simple to some, but to anybody that’s done a broadcast, I can’t tell you how your confidence level rises when you’re good out of the starting gate. And I can’t tell you how your confidence level is probably gonna take a hit if, coming out of the starting gate, you feel like you haven’t done your best work. And it can affect the whole broadcast going forward.”

Why you should listen: Tenay is an underrated wrestling personality. He’s nowhere near as full of himself as Ross or some of Ross’ regular guests, his fandom stretches back six decades and the story of how he kind of stumbled upward into very prominent roles is endearing because of his modesty. The brief mentions of When Worlds Collide should inspire fans to investigate one of the unsung important events of the 1990s, and Ross has some decent words about Landel.

Why you should skip it: This interview is like a poorly written nonfiction book. The information is interesting, but it lacks in presentation. And while Ross’ inability to come off as sincere is part of the problem, the biggest flaw is the way things jump around and the lack of drama. Ultimately, it’s unclear why this interview is happening or what is meant to be communicated other than Jim Ross knows Mike Tenay from way back. Further, this was recorded before TNA’s most recent missteps, so don’t look for any breaking news on that front.

Final thoughts: The only reason there should be any anticipation for part two is to get to the portions of Tenay’s career that were barely mentioned, but there’s no reason to believe any of that discussion will be of any more broad interest than the topics in part one. It’s a shame because Tenay could be a great subject, but as often is the case with Ross, too much familiarity between guest and host leads to a chat that relies on the context of the relationship instead of being illuminating for a general audience.