Thursday, July 23, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report, Ep. 75

Jim Ross talks to a Fight Network honcho 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: 75 (July 22, 2015)
Run Time: 1:30:00
Guest: John Pollock (6:57)

Summary: Jim Ross’ guest this week is John Pollock, of Canada’s The Fight Network. While ostensibly reviewing WWE Battleground, they end up discussing comedy wrestlers, modern heel work, the NXT women, Ronda Rousey, WrestleMania 32, what went wrong with Roman Reigns and the Undertaker’s return before transitioning to a look at the Ring Of Honor/new Japan/NXT situation and the future of TNA.

Quote of the week: “They believe that their audience is now a more astute audience when it comes to match performances, and guys have more of a focus now on going out and having a good match as opposed to ‘What kind of match should my character be having?’ I really noticed this specifically in the Bray Wyatt match. I mean, here is a guy that kicked out of the Superman Punch, he does all of these little things that they’re generating a positive reaction — this was a crowd that was, at worst, split at the beginning of that match and by the end they were chanting ‘Let’s Go Wyatt’ with noting in favor of Roman Reigns. A lot of these great performers have to break down these characters and say ‘Why am I doing this maneuver, and what reaction is it going to generate from the audience?’ ”

Why you should listen: If you like John Pollock, he’s on this show. Pollock seems a nice enough fellow who tries to at least balance his opinions. The slightest compliment I can give Ross here is he does clarify his complaints about modern wrestling are not specific to WWE. Oh, and the Battleground review includes the preshow match, which Steve Austin overlooked.

Why you should skip it: Call me crazy, but if you’re going to review a wrestling card, might you consider reviewing the entire card? The discussion of the women’s match was actually about their RAW invasion angle and quickly became a chance for Ross to blow his own horn in regards to his WrestleMania plans for Rousey. There was no discussion whatsoever of the tag team title match and only the most cursory look at anything that actually happened in the main event. Ross’ condescending attitude toward fans bled through a few times, and most of the show ended up coming off as a current events breakdown with another talking head, which by now is of little value since Ross’ opinions rarely seem to evolve.

Final thoughts: Pollock was all too willing to join Ross in broad-stroke criticism of the industry at large instead of doing what Austin and Wade Keller did on Tuesday’s Austin podcast, which is to actually look at the Battleground matches and segments and cite specific examples and decisions that illustrated their talking points. Anyone coming to this show hoping to have a better appreciation or deeper understanding of Battleground will leave sorely disappointed, with the added bonus of hearing Ross’ miserable impressions of legendary wrestlers. Please do not listen to this show, it might make you a less good wrestling fan.