Thursday, October 8, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report, Ep. 86

Corino is JR's guest this week
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
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: 86 (Oct. 7, 2015)
Run Time: 2:02:48
Guest: Steve Corino (24:37)

Summary: Jim Ross is on the phone with Ring of Honor’s Steve Corino. After a bit about Corino’s Winnipeg origins, they talk at length about Corino’s on- and (mostly) off-stage interactions with Dusty Rhodes. Corino recalls favorite matches from his childhood, tells stories about Japan and revisits his 1996 backstage meeting with Ross that did not lead to a WWF job. After discussing Mitsuharu Misawa, Corino talks about the philosophy of Ring Of Honor and its relationship with NJPW. Then he shares feelings on his son Colby, Cesaro, Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe, John Cena and CM Punk. The final segment includes Corino’s opinion of working with Kevin Kelly and his approach to commentary.

Quote of the week: “Watching what I watch in Japan and what I watch in Ring of Honor, stuff like that, it’s basically a North American version of samurai warriors. They’re just kicking out and kicking out, they’re going, until, there’s no more left. And I know from these guys at Ring of Honor, there’s no house show mode. These guys are going a hundred miles an hour on every show because I think that’s what they believe that the fans really want.”

Why you should listen: Honestly, I’m not really sure you should. This one might have put me over the edge. If I’m looking for silver linings, it was great to hear Corino talking about being in the front row of SummerSlam 1990, and the world probably can’t have enough Dusty Rhodes stories. Corino’s tales of Japan are slighted in his favor, but they’re interesting nonetheless. His honesty about his son’s wrestling career is endearing, and the collective praise for Cesaro, Owens and Cena is most welcome.

Why you should skip it: This is the Ross Report, which means it heavily features Jim Ross, which is all the reason anyone needs to take a pass. You get his greatest hits here: wresting control from his guest to tell stories about his own life, unfunny and unnecessary impressions of wrestling legends, lecturing the guest and audience about the state of the business today and the importance of selling, a gratuitous Bill Watts reference and this doozy of a quote at the end. “The guys that say that wrestling drove ’em to drugs are weak. They’re weak. And they’re just cowards.” All that’s before he makes at least one grossly inappropriate “joke” while promoting his upcoming female guests. Ross might have had episodes where he comes off as more of an asshole, but it’s hard to recall at the moment.

Final thoughts: Would anyone care if I stopped listening to these? The worst part is Ross muddles his own decent insight with such a ham-fisted delivery. The idea wrestling directly causes addiction is as absurd as implying there’s not a smidge of correlation, but if Ross isn’t willing to actually explore the subject, then I fail to see the value in spouting off as part of ending a conversation, especially when it precedes his weekly show-closing sanctimony. Over 260-plus episodes, Steve Austin’s podcast has endeared me to him in a way I never thought possible given my lukewarm reaction during the peak of his popularity. Conversely, Ross actively degrades his own reputation and standing 120 minutes at a time. Ironic that someone known so well for his mastery of words would be better suited, for the sake of his legacy, to shut the hell up.