Thursday, October 13, 2016

Podcast Deep Dive: The Ross Report, Episode 139

Oh god another Ross Report? See it's still heinous as usual
Photo Credit:
Show: The Ross Report
Episode: 139
Run Time: 1:20:03
Guest: Jason Powell

Jim Ross often brings on pro wrestlers to have them retell the same life story they've already told on other podcasts, and also to let him give 'em a good ol' Oklahoma-style lecture about how to properly conduct yourself in the wrestling business. (He also told Terri Runnels that when he and Vince McMahon were spitballing ideas for the Marlena character, they contemplated giving her a fake penis. So Jim is plenty comfortable telling people whatever he wants.)

Ross breaks from that routine by bringing on Jason Powell of Pro Wrestling Dot Net fame ("fame" is being used quite liberally here). Powell is a Dave Meltzer-lite wrestling reporter who closely follows the business and reports on backstage happenings. This is one of those episodes devoted to the Here and Now of WWE. Everything that's going on right now (and dear god, there is so much of it) will get broken down and unpacked for the faithful Ross Report listener.

The murkiness of Paige's situation becomes apparent when Powell has not a hint of a clue as to what is going on with her. She could be taking legitimate painkillers, she could be whacked out on heroin - no one has any idea. It's easy to believe Ross when he says he's very worried for her and that he cares a lot about her. He apparently crossed paths with Paige when he was helping Dusty Rhodes in NXT, and he sees enormous potential in her. Ross hopes she doesn't fall by the wayside. It makes one cringe to imagine the dozens of wrestlers that Ross has already had to see become casualties.

But in breaking away from that bummer of a topic, Ross and Powell give a full review of No Mercy. They both agree that Dolph Ziggler and The Miz put on the match of the night, but Ross hesitates to join Powell in his criticism of WWE's decision to put the Bray Wyatt/Randy Orton match on last. He says you have to put someone with Orton's star power in the main event, and there was no way to know that Dolph and Miz would put on such a killer match. The second point is just flat out incorrect, but the first point regarding Orton having more star power is a telling one.

Later in the show, the guys bring up the all-but-sure announcement of Brock Lesnar taking on Goldberg at Survivor Series. It should be agreed upon by all wrestling fans with eyes and brains that this match is going to be godawful. But if you ask Jim Ross, this match is a slam dunk. Why? Because it is a fantastic business decision to put these two guys together, especially since it's promoting WWE 2K17.

And this is where we have to realize that the average wrestling fan is woefully disconnected from the thinking of WWE brass. Ross spent years in the WWE office in talent relations, but really as a guy who helped decide what would make them the most money. The last thing he was concerned about was putting on a match that would make wrestling purists clap their hands and chant "FIGHT FOREVER." Ross and anyone else at WWE who makes business decisions has to put money first, and product quality second.

Maybe that's why it's tough for me to connect with Jim Ross these days. He loves wrestling just like me, but he loves it best when it "puts an ass every 18 inches," and not necessarily when it makes your soul feel like it's on fire.