Friday, July 10, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 73

Part two of the Tenay interview is 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: 73 (July 8, 2015)
Run Time: 1:22:24
Guest: Mike Tenay, part 2 (18:11)

Summary: Jim Ross finished his phone call with longtime colleague Mike Tenay. They talk more about Tenay’s lengthy WCW career, including his thoughts on Bobby Heenan, which bleed into praise for Jerry Lawler, as well his run with TNA. Ross runs through some quick-hit topics like face/heel alignment, social media, how many men should be in an announce booth and enhancement matches before diverting into women’s wrestling, the MMA careers of CM Punk and Ronda Rousey, Samoa Joe’s future, return to part one’s topic of shooters and end with a look at GFW.

Quote of the week: Tenay, on what he tells people who want to get in to wrestling commentary: “Write out how many people make their full-time living as wrestling announcers. Now, with the addition of Ring of Honor the last couple of years, the numbers have grown by a couple. But I don’t think that you’re gonna get much past double digits, or 15-20 people, maybe. Then think of the longevity of the people that have been in that position. Think about the other options, the other sports. … You’ve got so many people that could make their living by being a baseball announcer, a basketball announcer, a football announcer. There’s just not that many jobs available to be announcers in the wrestling business as a full-time position.”

Why you should listen: For the most part, this half seemed to move along a little better than last week’s episode. The praise for Heenan is well deserved, and hearing Tenay describe his past and current relationship with The Brain is heartwarming. (The praise for Lawler is properly contextualized, too.) Tenay seems to really understand his place in the world and realize the many strokes of luck to get him to this point.

Why you should skip it: It happened so quickly I didn’t even notice, but somehow Ross turned him asking Tenay about WCW into a chance to relive — and complain about — his own life story from the early 1990s. This was recorded far too long ago to be of any interest to people anxious for TNA news. The quick-hit session just gives Tenay a chance to agree with Ross’ well-worn statements about the state of the business. And I really didn’t need to hear Ross relive the time he sold Vince McMahon on Gail Kim because men like Asian porn.

Final thoughts: Rarely does the second part of a two-part Ross interview justify the second segment, and this episode doesn’t help his success rate. As with much of his career, I felt Tenay came across as a guy with good stuff waiting to burst out if he wasn’t dragged down by the venue. Much as he’s been wasted in TNA all these years, so too is this a lost opportunity to actually get to know a guy and hear some fun stories instead of just let Ross drive the truck right off the road.