THE ROSS REPORT ARCHIVES – EPISODE #1
HOST: JIM ROSS
GUEST: “STONE COLD” STEVE AUSTIN
RELEASE DATE: FEB. 19, 2014
DIRECT LINK TO STREAM OR DOWNLOAD EPISODE
Report by Thomas Grattini, PWPodcasts reporter
SUMMARY OF TOPICS (w/Time Stamps)
-Ross called Austin the biggest draw the business has ever seen. (9:20)
-Austin predicted C.M. Punk would return from his retirement and show up at WrestleMania 30, saying it began as a shoot but will end as a work. (17:00)
-When asked if he would have any problem at all of putting the strap on Daniel Bryan by Ross, Austin said emphatically “HELL NO!” (23:12)
-Austin also emphatically shot down the notion of having one more match at Wrestlemania 30
-When asked if he regretted not working a big money program with Hulk Hogan, which would have been a clash of the two biggest draws in wrestling history, Austin admitted he was probably being stubborn during that period and “it should have happened.” (53:36)
Podcast Review With Time Stamps
0:01-Opening, J.R thanks the sponsors
2:00-Podcast intro, Ross talks about having a different creative platform after so many years on the administrative side of the business of wrestling for so long and how much he is enjoying this new chapter of his life.
4:12-J.R discuss his background and career arc in the wrestling business and what to expect from his podcast-while briefly making note of his ousting by WWE.
5:29-He puts over Austin, says he will come at him with some tough, unexpected questions today and that they will be discussing Wrestlemania ALOT-noting he is interested in hearing from the perspective of someone who is given the responsibility to close the show of the company’s biggest event.
6:40-Ross mentions his current gig with Fox Sports1, including a current article he wrote about former ring great Ernie “The Big Cat” Ladd for Black History Month. J.R puts over both Ladd and Cowboy Bill Watts (be prepared to hear that name over these podcasts ALOT boys and girls) as two guys who really schooled him to the game when he was breaking in.
7:35-He briefly ran down some of his one man shows in New York.
9:20-Ross introduces todays guest “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as “the biggest cash cow inside the business.” and briefly goes over his close friendship with the Texas Rattlesnake.
12:04-The show comes back and Ross welcomes Austin, who calls Ross the greatest announcer of all-time. No argument from me there. Ross jokes podcasting beats putting up the ring or having to drive around wrestlers who “fart in his car”.
13:38-Ross asked Austin his thoughts on C.M Punks unexpected departure.Austin said off the top of his head he’ll be back. “Sometimes…sometimes you know you get in that system and being a guy in the road, you get fed up with the descions being made in the office.” Austin related. He called it very similar to his own departure over refusing to a job for Brock Lesnar on Monday Night Raw-what he now calls the worst descion of his pro wrestling career. Austin went on to add the biggest mistake Punk made was not finishing out his contractual obligations, which by doing so left him unable to earn future royalties, something Austin himself went thru. “I left alot of money on the table.” Austin lamented. “You screwed yourself there.” J.R added fearlessly.Austin added it was Ross who helped steer the ship and guide him back, during a not so great period in his life. Really good stuff here, especially Austin relating his own frustrations at the time to Punks current ones.
16:00-Ross explored the burnout situation further, stating its usually the two c’s (cash/creative) which cause it, adding Austin’s came from creative. Austin stated he had no problem doing the job for Lesnar “i saw potential all over him.”. He went on to tell Ross he had no business doing the job for Lesnar in an unadvertised match on Monday Night Raw for free instead of making people pay for it on PPV after a proper build-up. Hard to disagree with Austin here. Maybe he should have handled himself better, but one needs only to look at how many millions WCW flushed down the toilet by hot shotting Goldberg’s World Title win over Hulk Hogan, which should have happened on PPV after a serious build-up that could have earned them record shattering numbers given Goldberg’s buzz and Hogan’s name value at the time. Austin went on to talk about backstage politics and how they can play with wrestler’s mind stating “they were putting road blocks in his way to slow him down.” but not going any further. Infer from that what you will. “My head was in a totally different place.” he added.
17:00-Stone Cold gave his prediction on how the entire C.M Punk drama will unfold. “ It will start as a shoot and end up as a work and he’ll show up at Wrestlemania 30.” Ross declared “you heard it here first.” Hopefully Austin didn’t wager any dollars on his prediction. They discussed Punk’s in ring ability and Ross put over how instrumental his value is and was in getting the best matches possible out of Cena, Lesnar and Taker. I think that’s highly debatable, but moving on.
Austin compares his partying methods on the road to Punk’s straight edge behavior. Then seemed to take a shot at him, “When you’re mad about what’s being done you go to Wrestlemania
and steal the show.” He started. “ You show everybody i’m the man here.” Ross agreed stating when he recruited talent for WWF/WWE during his salad days he liked to recruit athletes who would bring their competitiveness to the locker room. Whoa! Battle-stations! Battle-stations! Lol.
21:20-The mood lightened a bit as Austin recalled an old gimmick match from his USWA days and joked their should be a “J.R’s BBQ Sauce” on a pole match at Wrestlemania 30.
23:12-Ross asked if Austin were booking, would he have a problem putting the World Title on Daniel Bryan. Austin responded “ Hell No!” without hesitation. Austin went over to put over Bryan big time.
23:40-J.R says he thinks WWE is running a slow burn with Bryan. Well, that’s one way of looking at it. Ross said Vince was way too smart not to see how over Bryan is with the fans. “Here is a guy who somehow got over with the audience and they want him to succeed.” Ross stated, adding he’s the greatest underachiever in WWE history. Austin agreed calling him the “every-man” and saying “you gotta reach people at a certain level.” then called Bryan a great kid and said he loves to see someone like Bryan who can work to the ability and depth that he can.
Ross said he’d like to see Bryan improve more on the promo side of things-to which Austin readily agreed adding he needs to get amped up. This is an interesting take on things after seeing what we saw and how WWE seemed to have to be dragged kicking and screaming with the idea of putting him in the Main Event of the biggest show of the year.
27:04-Ross and Austin discuss the disaster that was The Royal Rumble. Austin recounts running into Rey Mysterio shortly after and asking Vince why he put Mysterio in such an unenviable position. Ross said with a straight face the WWE should have sent out Bad News Barrett in the #30 slot instead of Rey and the nuclear heat it could have gotten his character. Austin loved the idea as well. Ross played up Bryan’s supposed pay off at Wrestlemania and the slow burn until Austin interjected that WWE must be careful not to make the fans wait too long, which could result in the fans losing interest. This was the first time either of them were critical of creative’s handling of Bryan-which certainly seems to have some sinister undertones to it, but fair enough.
29:38-Ross asked Austin if he had been asked to be involved in Wrestlemania yet, which Austin responded, “no” very flatly and added he won’t be making the trip just to see the hall-of fame ceremony or the show itself, unless invited otherwise.
31:00-Ross asked him in what manner he might participate , which led Austin to shooting down any thoughts of a final match.
32:18-They discuss Taker’s streak and Ross asks if Austin thinks its taken on a life of its own.They both agree they don’t ever want to see Taker lose at Mania’ and this leads Ross to do some fantasy booking of Cena-Taker in Texas stadium.
35:37-Ross again puts over Austin as the biggest ticket seller and PPV draw in wrestling history.
They discuss wether Wrestlemania 30 can draw 100,000 fans. Austin believes if they were able to do 93,000 in Auburn Hills, they could surely draw upwards of that number in Texas Stadium. Ross calls it an easy sell, stating all you have to do is simply book it around the Undertaker’s retirement. Stone Cold wondered if Taker might feel like doing the honors on his way out and pass the torch.
39:00-Ross asked Austin about his own matches with Taker, telling him he always felt they didn’t live up to expectations and wondered if Austin felt the same. “I never thought after they were over that they were the greatest in the world.” Austin added. “I think it was a chemistry thing then.”
Austin thought they were of very similar mind and that didn’t make for the greatest of matches. Interesting stuff here.
41:22-Ross asked him how hypothetical matches with Lesnar or Goldberg might go. Austin replied he thought he could have a wrestling match with Brock, while with Goldberg he would put over his power and explosiveness. More importantly Austin added with both men he’d be calling the shots in the ring, where with Taker it was more of a 50/50 deal, which again probably caused disharmony.
43:31-Ross asked Austin about his memories from WM19 and how WWE chose to keep his retirement under wraps. Austin briefly talked about his neck and nerve pain, then curiously shifted gears to when he took off time for a year, which opened the door for the Rock’s meteoric rise, along with Triple H’s star turn. “Alot of people say that was the biggest year the WWE ever had-and it was without me.” Austin grumbled. He reminded listeners he pulled the wagon there and he deserves his due.
45:09-Austin talks about his talks with Vince when he originally thought of retiring-a couple years before he actually did. When he approached McMahon, Vince was in the process of taking his company public and understandably freaked out when found out the company’s biggest star was considering walking away. Vince asked him for a few more years, which Austin agreed to saying he just wanted to go deer hunting for the weekend at the time.
48:07-Ross and Austin talked about branding and non-stop promoting briefly, until Ross asked him if he ever got the itch to work one last match. Again, Stone Cold was confident in his response telling Ross “not really”, citing it was hard for the first three years or so, but he’s over it now. Ross said a lot of guys would come back for a lot less than what Austin would make, prompting Austin to state he is an “all or nothing guy” and his biggest fear would be coming back and putting on a B-plus match, which for him he said would be a failure. He went on to state he thinks he could get to 95% of what he once was, which would not be enough.” Wise words-are you listening Hulk Hogan?
53:36-Ross asked Austin if he had any regrets about not working a program with Hogan. “Its funny when you listen to two top athlete’s they’ll be complimentary of each other, but you’ll rarely hear them put each-other over” Austin began. “I recognize everything that guy did, but at the same time i recognize what i did, And i know how i like to work and how i like to fly in the ring and do my business…i just…he was open to the match, but me not so much.” Austin continued that he thought the styles wouldn’t mesh and-that he’s not about doing a high profile match just for a pay-off. Austin also felt while he could still “go”, Hogan would be a step begind which at the time he thought was unacceptable.-though looking back now he admits “it probably should have happened.”
56:03-Ross said if he was booking it would have been a one off as there was no point in trying to get two matches out of Hogan at the time as they would have been fortunate to get one good one at the time. :I didn’t think we could deliver.” Austin said when Ross suggested it would have to be a straight forward contest. not like the 30 minute legendary matches he had with the Rock.
57:18-”They did nothing.” Austin stated when discussing Hogan and Rock’s own legendary Wrestlemania moment. “But they had the fans eating out of their hands the entire match. Everything they did got the best possible response you could hope for. It was one of the most electrifying matches i have ever seen.” Ross called it a lifetime memory. Again, really interesting stuff here. You got the feeling Austin may have regretted not working the program with Hogan and having this moment, instead of his dreadful match with Scott Hall. But who’s to say that would have played out that way with Austin and Hogan the same way it did with Rock and Hogan?
58:00 Ross wraps up the show, thanking Austin for coming on his inaugural podcast, while Austin calls Ross a “true friend” and says his knowledge and experience in the business will make for a great podcast.
59:46-Ross closed the show with some more sponsor and a light reference of the slow Daniel Bryan burn.
SCORE & FINAL THOUGHTS
10 out of 10: A must listen to for any wrestling fan. Austin and Ross are obviously close buds but that doesn’t deter them from diving into several hot topics, particularly Austin’s comparison to his leaving WWE’s suddenly with C.M Punk’s and his seeming critique of Punk for handling business the way he did, to his feelings on why his matches against the Undertaker were never up to par and most interestingly, why he refused to work a program with Hulk Hogan and the twinge of regret he seemed to feel after watching the magic Hogan created with the Rock.
Just a great listen, full of laughs, thoughts and behind the scenes facts.