Thursday, July 30, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report, Ep. 76

JR chats with recently-eliminated Patrick from Tough Enough
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: 76
Run Time: 1:29:47
Guest: Patrick Clark

Summary: Ross begins with his take on the Hulk Hogan situation. All he can really say is that in all of his professional dealings with Hogan, he never knew him to show any racist tendencies, so we can take that for what it’s worth. However, he does advise Hogan to “stay off the Twitter machine.” Ross then brings on 19-year old Patrick Clark, a competitor on Tough Enough who was just eliminated from the show last week. Given Hogan’s involvement in that show, Ross asks Clark of his opinion on Hogan, with Clark responding that he only knew Hogan to be a kind, helpful guy. They go through the sketches of Clark’s biography, hitting on his rough upbringing in Washington D.C., and discovering Smackdown at a young age. Clark has been hooked on wrestling ever since. They discuss his time on Tough Enough as Ross asks him about the judges, his fellow competitors and the reasons he feels caused him to be voted off the show. Ross believes Clark will be offered a developmental deal from WWE sometime soon, so he wishes him well and hopes for the best for him.

Quote of the Week: “Mick Foley said I made the mistake of thinking it was a wrestling competition, not a reality show. So in my mind, I came down there to be tough enough. I was going to sleep in the barracks, I wasn’t going to go anywhere…I felt like I was almost cheating myself if I left or if I felt like I brought family down, because that wasn’t in the contract.”

Why you should listen: Clark is very new to this type of media attention, so he clearly isn’t taking any of it for granted. He is excited to talk to JR and does his best to answer clearly and show respect. In all of the discussion about the business of wrestling, Clark shows that he has studied the craft and wants to be great. He brings up the style of Jake Roberts, particularly the unique way Roberts would sell a chop from Ricky Steamboat, by furiously rubbing his chest. Ross is impressed by this insight by Clark, and it’s neat to hear Ross connect with a young person still learning but obviously showing lots of potential.

Why you should skip it: Do you ever feel like JR is only interested in showing us how much he knows about wrestling and making himself look like a cowboy hat-wearing Buddha? This episode is evidence for your case. Ross clearly likes Clark, but this interview mostly functions as a way for him to teach a younger person about the business. Clark might as well be sitting on JR’s knee. This isn’t a terrible thing because Ross certainly has a lot of knowledge, but he doesn’t give Clark a whole lot of time to speak. This is especially apparent when he asks Clark about Hogan. Though Clark didn’t have personal experience with Hogan being a racist, he certainly could have offered a unique perspective on the situation, but that opportunity never came up.

Final Thoughts: Patrick Clark is a very young guy whose only significant credit in the wrestling business so far is being eliminated from a sham reality show that, according to smart people, he probably should have won. If you have followed Tough Enough, this one will probably be for you. If you couldn’t care less about that show, and don’t want to hear JR say things you’ve probably already heard him say, you might benefit by taking the week off from The Ross Report.