Thursday, October 1, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 85

Carter is this week's guest on the Ross Report
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: 85
Run Time: 1:32:22
Guest: Ethan Carter III (19:15)

Summary: Jim Ross is on the phone this week with TNA World Heavyweight Champion Ethan Carter III. They talk about what Carter learned from training with Rip Rogers, then revisit his time in WWE, including recalling various injuries and his experience on Season Four of NXT. That leads to his transition to TNA and the positive influence of Kurt Angle. Carter talks about the pressure of being the company’s Champion, then gets into the intricacies of working as a heel. He offers perspective on locker room morale, explains his approach to working on the independent scene, discusses working with Tommy Dreamer and reflects on the importance of the upcoming Bound For Glory.

Quote of the week: “Every time I show up to a TV taping, or anything involving this industry — which is completely just a passion and something I love, to be able to be paid to do it, how freaking awesome is that? — anytime I show up and there’s a white piece of paper with my name on it and there’s a segment on television, that’s my opportunity to build myself and this company with it. You know, there’s no entitlement, you know? Work hard. Bust your ass. Stay in the game. Keep moving forward. And the rest will take care of itself.”

Why you should listen: Carter is a beloved pro wrestling figure, especially among folks who watched him as Derrick Bateman on the web-only, pre-Network NXT. You get a taste of the character traits that gave rise to that popularity in this call, especially the fleeting moments where he sort of wrests control of the conversation and it’s almost possible to sense Ross’ discomfort with Carter’s youth and quirks. Anyone deep in love with TNA will appreciate Carter’s stance on the company and its future, and TNA agnostics will be able to hear it as good-intentioned optimism as opposed to Dixie Carter, who might be most generously painted as willfully ignorant.

Why you should skip it: Before this episode, I didn’t know much about Carter beyond what I glean from reading Twitter, and after the show I feel the same way. As usual, Carter fans would be much better served with a second listen to his Art Of Wrestling appearance than the first run of this. Why Ross made a big deal about this interview being released just before Bound For Glory, when he knew he spent as little time as possible previewing the actual card, is a total mystery.

Final thoughts: Ross’ podcast so often lapses into him mansplaining something to his guest it’s getting harder to hear when he asks a real question. Intentional or otherwise, his tone of condescension yields an inescapable feeling he thinks he’s doing people like Carter a huge favor having them on his super important show, or that simply granting the young star a personal audience with Ross will imbue wisdom such that the interview will be seen as the turning point for a fledgling career. Hogwash. Remember: Just because the guest is a person you enjoy does not mean you’ll like hearing them on Ross’ show. He doesn’t ruin everyone, but it’s a spotty track record at best.