Thursday, August 20, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 79

Schiavone and Ross chat on this week's Ross Report
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: 79 (August 19, 2015)
Run Time: 1:45:06
Guest: Tony Schiavone (18:20)

Summary: Tony Schiavone makes his second call to the Jim Ross show. They start by revisiting the very end of WCW, then do a quick overview of Schiavone’s pre- and post-wresting broadcasting career overview. Reminiscing about Dusty Rhodes turns into thoughts about the way outsiders views of wrestling announcers, then Ross starts in on Crockett Promotions acquiring Mid-South from Bill Watts. Listener questions cover a potential return to wrestling announcing, thoughts about Twitter, Schiavone’s current gig, more reminiscing about the old days, including partying with Ric Flair and working with Ole Anderson, and the call ends with a brief look at the future of the wrestling business.

Quote of the week: “All of a sudden, Jim, I was covering the Atlanta Braves, I was covering the Georgia Bulldogs … we had the NCAA Final Four around here at one time, so I was covering all these events and just really enjoying it … it all turned out for the best. It’s been a pretty good life since wrestling’s gone down. There’s a lot about wrestling I miss, don’t get me wrong, but it’s been a pretty good life.”

Why you should listen: Is this the first time Ross let it slip he was asked to work the Lucha Underground finale? Outside of that, Schiavone is able to talk about the ups and downs of his career without any overwrought emotion, which sets him apart from most any other wrestling figure. Whenever he and Ross get going about the pre-Ted Turner era, there’s good stories around every corner. Plus, it’s just nice to hear him happy, you know?

Why you should skip it: After a promising start, there was a point about halfway through when the chat just devolved into Ross-led reminiscing and opining while Schiavone was reduced to interjecting with “Yeah” and “Mm-hmm.” It was a colossal waste of a great guest, and while Ross thinks it’s a testament to his great friendships that he can just hit record and chat up an old buddy, Schiavone is all too willing to politely defer to Ross, and it ruins a good chunk of the talk.

Final thoughts: Schiavone is one of my favorite personalities from a bygone era because he has neither an ax to grind nor any overblown nostalgia. Rather than let a high-profile career define his life, he simply chalks it up as a chapter and carries on with the present. That said, his first interview with Ross was much more complete and two-sided, this installation adds little. I’m left wishing Schiavone could guest on the Steve Austin show because Austin obviously would attempt to adhere to some semblance of structure and also give the guest room to shine. If you love Schiavone you’ll fight through Ross to get the good stuff, but I can’t think of anyone besides Ross himself who could listen to this without being at least a little disappointed.