The Ross Report
Guests: Shawn Daivari and Ken Anderson aka Mr. Kennedy
Release Date: April 19th, 2017
Recap by: Jimmy J Haggz
Top Newsworthy Items
-Shawn Daivari and Ken Anderson (Mr. Kennedy) have a school in Minneapolis, MN called The Academy.
-JR has a new WWE assignment coming up shortly which he was not at liberty to unveil.
-Muhammed Hassan had no prior experience to WWE.
-Daivari’s brother learned to wrestle off YouTube and gives William Regal credit for getting his brother where he is today.
-Mr. Kennedy stated his biggest WWE break was when he replaced Mark Henry to face Batista. After that match, Undertaker noticed him and wanted to do business.
-Mr. Kennedy has a podcast on iTunes called “Push The Button” about politics that drops every month.
-Mr. Kennedy stated if it wasn’t for “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, he wouldn’t be where he is today.
Subjects Covered (w/timestamps)
0:00 – Sponsor Ads
1:48 – Introduction
3:04 – What’s on Jr’s Mind?
15:12 – Sponsor ads
17:31 – Shawn Daivari and “The Academy”
27:06 – Mohammed Hassan
37:09 – William Regal and 205 LIVE
42:04 – Jumping Topics
48:58 – The Academy Details
53:27 – Conclusion of the Daivari Interview
57:14 – Sponsor Ads
59:00 – Interview w/ Mr. Kennedy
1:02:25 – Money in the Bank/Biggest Break
1:09:45 – Politics N Podcast
1:13:53 – Impact on Impact?
1:18:52 – WWE Departure
1:23:30 – Mount Rushmore of Wrestlers/ Steve Austin
1:28:05 – Conclusion of Mr. Kennedy Interview
1:30:35 – Ross Report Wrap-up
Introduction: Good ‘Ol JR welcomes everyone and states his guests this week will be Shawn Daivari and Ken Anderson (Mr. Kennedy). Jim tells us that they have a pro wrestling school in Minneapolis Minnesota called “The Academy.”
What’s on Jr’s Mind?: Jim starts off by sending his “get well” wishes out to Dash Wilder of The Revival (Dash suffered a fractured jaw). Jim believes the time off for Dash will be beneficial and having two months off will give him time to study his game and come back a more valuable talent. Ross then discusses Braun Stroman and the Big Show on Monday Night Raw and their “ring implosion” incident. Jim feels that one thing plaguing the business is the fact that wrestlers feel fans seen mostly everything already and they continue to try to up the bar to the point where their well-being is at stake. He follows that thought by saying Ric Flair had one move set for decades and stayed over. JR segues back to Braun Stroman. He feels it may be challenging for him to be a traditional heel because people nowadays are defiant by nature and Stroman’s character may be TOO strong that fans will want to live vicariously through him. Jim adds Stroman beating up Roman Reigns doesn’t make him a heel. Ross concludes that thought by saying Raw was a solid show.
JR starts discussing his live show in Chicago May 21st at Zanies in Rosemont at 2 pm WWE Backlash Sunday. Ross reveals he has a NEW WWE assignment (which he cannot unveil yet) and is very excited about it. Jim then thanks WWE for not over-booking him because of personal issues that have to be handled.
Ross then discusses NJPW and the issues regarding Katsuyori Shibata’s headbutt that left him hospitalized. He follows up by suggesting to “dial it down” a little, not to boredom, but wrestle smart and take care of your body.
JR then discusses the WWE brand split and gives it a solid B+. He states it’s providing more opportunities for the talent and feels that the talent also need to bring something extra to the table. Ross says it’s imperative that these rosters continue to grow. Jim claims if you’re in the wrestling business and not doing something daily to better yourself you’re cheating everyone; you can’t half-ass it. He jumps back to the brand split and states it has been successful and will continue to be. He claims once someone is hotter than the proverbial “donut grease” it will validate the split’s success.
JR concludes his thoughts by talking about injuries in wrestling. He feels the talents put themselves in more risks than necessary with their in-ring style and performance. Ross then cuts to the sponsors.
Shawn Daivari and “The Academy”: Good ‘Ol JR introduces Shawn Daivari to the show. He starts off by talking about his school called “The Academy.” Daivari tells us The Academy is located in northern Minneapolis about 20 miles from the airport. He states he has people all over the world attending the school. Daivari states there aren’t that many credible wrestling schools around. Daivari tells us the options he had when he started wrestling compared to today. He jumps into a convo about how much he learned in the ring/on the job training with one Tracey Smothers. JR discusses the lack of territories and the abundance of indy organizations. Jim and Shawn talk about the process of getting into the business and the talent relation departments. Daivari states, as it pertains to WWE, it went from a one-person job to a whole team of people working together in search of talent. Ross then asks Daivari what makes his school different from other academies. Daivari doesn’t directly answer the question but tells Jim they have good coaches and push their students to show them how to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack. He then gets on a brief talk about Ken Anderson.
Muhammed Hassan: JR brings up Muhammed Hassan and Daivari’s final run in WWE. He asks Daivari what was going through his mind then and how does he feel now. Shawn tells him that he doesn’t really remember, but states Hassan got RED HOT right away. He tells Ross it was a very weird time period. WWE had lost a few top guys and was in the stages of rebuilding new top guys. He states it was just bad timing for Hassan because he had no experience elsewhere. Jim tells Daivari that some of his followers stated Hassan’s full potential wasn’t reached. Shawn tells us at that time it wasn’t needed. He states there were a ton of “ring mechanics” back then. Shawn says, unfortunately, for Hassan, the bar was set too high as far as talent went. Daivari then talks about the payroll and contracts back then. Ross suggests to Daivari that Hassan’s issue was that he pissed off the wrong people and wasn’t a good social fit in the locker room. He asks Daivari if the talent made his life miserable or if Hassan realized wrestling wasn’t for him. Shawn told Jim that it was that he pissed off the wrong people. The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle all gave Hassan respect, and because the “big guys” back then wanted to work with him, other superstars felt sour about that. Ross then tells us Hulk Hogan once stated he wanted to work with Hassan because he was red hot at that time as a heel.
William Regal and 205 Live: Ross segues off that topic and talks about William Regal’s eye for talent. He follows up by saying you can find people easier today than before because of social media. Daivari agreed and gave Regal all the credit for his brother having a career in WWE today. He stated his brother learned how to wrestle off of YouTube! Daivari reveals he reached out to Regal for his brother and he set him up to put over other superstars at first, and WWE ended up keeping him. Daivari and Jim switch up and talk about 205 Live and Ross says he is underwhelmed and that it hasn’t hooked him yet. He tells Daivari that Neville is the best superstar they possess right now. Jim states he hasn’t figured out most of the talents personas/characters yet. Daivari tells Ross he believes 205 Live are weaning people out and are trying to find its groove.
Jumping Topics: JR switches topics and asks Daivari if he thinks C.M. Punk is going to wrestle again. Shawn eventually tells us probably not. Daivari and Jim talk about the red-hot independent scene. JR brings up the fact that most up and coming wrestlers feel if they don’t make it in WWE that they are screwed. He asks Shawn how he addresses that mindset with his students. Daivari responds by stating he tells his students “it’s your idea of success.” Daivari takes us all over the map with random thoughts and then gets into a convo with JR about the Goldberg/Lesnar feud. Ross states many people feel how could the young guys grow if the older guys keep taking their spots and asks Daivari for his thoughts on that. Daivari feels it all depends on the guy, the spot and time of the match.
The Academy: Ross asks for Daivari to let the fans know how they can check out his school. Daivari gives their website Theacademyprowrestling.com. He follows up by telling Jim they don’t have an idea of success. He says they are very diverse and have a whole plethora of people that come in and help out including Shelton Benjamin, Colt Cabana, Mickie James, and more. Daivari describes all the equipment and amenities they have. Jim asks Shawn about the average size of a class, and he states his latest class features 42 students. Daivari says you need a variety of things and tells us some of the amenities they have including 300 square feet of wrestling mats, cloud-based web cameras/promo studio, mouthguards, headgear, crash pads, and much more.
Conclusion of the Daivari Interview: Ross segues off of wrestling and asks Daivari how much of a hassle has it been for him to travel because of his heritage. Shawn tells us it isn’t that bad now as compared to traveling in 2004. He follows up by explaining how people are making changes about it in today’s society and brings up President Trump. Ross and Daivari conclude the interview.
Interview w/Ken Anderson (aka Mr. Kennedy): JR introduces Ken Anderson to the show. He asks Ken how has life been. Mr. Kennedy stated its been fun and rewarding. He enjoys getting through to each of his students and guiding them step-by-step. Ken stresses that wrestling is so subjective and wants his students to understand that and learn new ways of doing things. Jim tells us that everyone has a unique journey and Ken states he wants them to learn from his mistakes as much as his successes in the business.
Money in the Bank/Biggest Break: Mr. Kennedy then transitions into the Money in the Bank moment he had. Ken tells us that Michael Hayes told him he wanted him to have his “Austin 3:16” moment. Kennedy brought the idea of him saying, “Nice guys finish last, thank god I’m an a**hole” to Vince McMahon but was rejected by Vince because they couldn’t say that at that time period. Ross suggests that was his biggest breakthrough in the business. Kennedy denies that and explains his biggest breakthrough was when he replaced Mark Henry to verse Batista due to Henry’s knee cap injury a few months before WM 23. Kennedy explains how after the match The Undertaker came to him and told him he wanted to work with him. Kennedy claimed he was married to Taker for about six months to a year. Ross proclaimed that working with Taker validates you and Ken agreed. Ross and Kennedy talk about Taker and his ring work and discuss match calling.
Politics N Podcast: JR and Kennedy talk briefly about Donald Trump at WM 23 and talk politics. Mr. Kennedy reveals he has a non-wrestling podcast talking about politics entitled, “Push the button,” which can be found on iTunes and Sticher. Ken states his show drops only once a month. It started once a week but he has been so busy with The Academy and his children he had to make it once a month.
Impact on Impact?: JR then talks about Impact and asks Ken if he thinks the new regime/management can stop the ship from sinking. Mr. Kennedy tells Ross he hopes. He states there were a lot of frustrating things when he was there like performing in front of only 130 people. He explains that something would happen and everyone assumed they were going under, but managed to keep making it through. Ken and Ross agree they want all the promotions to do well as they are universal wrestling fans.
WWE Departure: JR then asks Kennedy what happened on why he left. Mr Kennedy said there were circumstances beyond his control and incidents where he had a direct hand in. He follows up by talking about the Chris Benoit issue and the Signature Pharmacy scandal. Mr. Kennedy stated he always put his “two cents” into everything which was his downfall. Ken talked to Jim about how the Smackdown superstars respected him whereas, the Raw superstars didn’t because he believed he was on the level of those like Triple H and Shawn Michaels and yet didn’t respect them. He admitted that he didn’t show the respect he should have showed to certain superstars and talks about a time with where John Cena was trying to talk to him on a plane and he told Cena he was busy playing his Gameboy and ignored him. JR tells Ken that the beautiful part about this is that he knows what he did wrong, when he did it, and how he did it and that he learned from his mistakes and won’t retrace his steps if giving the opportunity.
Mount Rushmore of Wrestlers/Steve Austin: Ross then asks Mr. Kennedy if Undertaker would be on his “Mount Rushmore” of wrestlers and who else would be on there. Ken responds “Absolutely” for Taker being on there along with Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, and Steve Austin. He reveals that he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for Steve Austin. He gets into a convo with JR about Austin. Ross states that Steve has a great mind for the business. Ken chimes in that Steve is so creative and brings up an episode of Austin’s podcast where it was Steve versus a fly. Mr. Kennedy follows up that Steve is a guy that has done everything in wrestling and still has a ton to offer to the business.
Conclusion of Mr. Kennedy Interview: JR then mentions to Kennedy that there is a lot of talent out there in WWE but no one is breaking down the door. Mr. Kennedy then states that people are playing wrestler. He feels that the creative freedom has been restricted (which I agree). Mr. Kennedy plugs his academy and Ross thanks him for being on the show.
Ross Report Wrap-up: Good ‘Ol JR states he loves doing this podcast because he can catch up with old friends. He plugs Shawn Daivari’s and Ken Andersons Academy one more time. He tells us that NEXT WEEK REY MYSTERIO will be on the show. He talks about the infamous BBQ sauce and thanks all the fans for the support since his wife passed. He talks briefly about his wife Jan and two cats that passed. Ross tells everyone to do nice things to people and that our tomorrows aren’t guaranteed. Good ‘Ol JR signs off!
Score and Review (8): This week Jim had 2 guests on the show. As always Jim spilled his knowledge and wisdom to us. I feel the Daivari interview was all over the map and he didn’t even respond to some of Ross’s questions. Mr. Kennedy had a much better “to the point” interview which I enjoyed. I give this episode a solid 8. Ross delivered as always, but I wasn’t that engaged to the Daivari interview. Hey, everything is subjective people…
About the Author
Jimmy J Haggz was born James Joseph Haggerty IV in Queens, NY. He is of Italian and Irish descent. Jimmy lived all over NYC’s 5 boroughs. He has been a wrestling fan since he could remember which was the 1990 Royal Rumble where “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan threw out Mr. Perfect to win it all. He was a huge Hogan fan, but later transitioned into a Shawn Michael’s, Razor Ramon, and Undertaker. Jimmy is, like many, a huge Attitude Era fan and idolized Steve Austin. In one particular incident in middle school, he stunned a TEACHER (I am not condoning such behavior kids)! Jimmy also enjoys other sports like football and boxing. He attends some independent wrestling shows as well (Ring Of Honor, House Of Glory, House of Hardcore, and North East Wrestling). He has a podcast he recently started up entitled, ” The Ringzone” that drops every Saturday on iTunes and Podbean which goes over WWE Raw, SDLive, other weekly wrestling podcasts, and his own personal views/impersonations. His dream job is to one day work for WWE as a commentator. If you want to contact Jimmy shoot him an email at Jhagg719@gmail.com and follow him on twitter under @Jhagg719 !