WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: The Ross Report – Bobby Heenan tribute. A look back at one of wrestling’s most beloved legends with stories from Gene Okerlund, Tony Schiavone, and Gregory Helms

The Ross Report Recap w/ Gene Okerlund, Tony Schiavone, and Gregory Helms

Recap By: Dylan Bowker; Recovering Smark

Release Date: September 20, 2017


Top Stories:

-How Bobby Heenan was essential to JR’s smooth transition into debuting with WWE at WrestleMania IX

-Helms believing Jeff Jarrett/ residual heat for the Hardys departing lead to him no longer being with TNA

-Tony mentioning regretting not calling Heenan after Bobby was wrongfully fired from WCW

-The night Jim found Dusty Rhodes lying naked on a concrete floor impersonating Marlon Brando

-Bobby Heenan making silly faces off camera Tony Schiavone as Bockwinkel stumbled during a promo

-Bobby always maintaining that heel mindset when he would sprint to his car every post-Nitro

-Helms mentioning that 205 Live needs to be treated as if it’s important and how it needs more personalities

Recap: Show Intro

(0:12) Smart WiFi ad

(0:42) ZipRecruiter ad read from JR

(2:15) Intro element plays for the podcast and slobberknocker audio is back on the air. Jim starts the broadcast by discussing the death of the legendary Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Jim tees up the three guests on his show: Gene Okerlund,Tony Schiavone, and The Hurricane.   

(3:41) Jim begins to speak with “Mean” Gene Okerlund at this juncture. The two talk about how shocking Bobby’s passing seemed. During recent visits both had with The Brain, they both got the impression that things were going reasonably well, health-wise.

JR asked about Gene’s first interaction with Bobby and Okerlund mentioned he met Heenan in 1969. The two start riffing about Bobby’s intelligence, perceptiveness as it related to the business, and his innate comedic timing. Ross mentioned he felt that The Brain was the greatest all-around talent in wrestling.

Jim got into Mean Gene’s past travelling regularly with Heenan. Okerlund jokingly said that Bobby could sometimes get a little hectic after a couple cocktails during flights. Largely though, he described Bobby as a delight to be around/to travel with.

Jim mentioned debuting at WrestleMania IX with WWF and appreciated Heenan helping him transition easily. Jim and Gene began to talk about having to shoot for promos and both said Bobby liked to do one or two takes. The two begin wrapping up the conversation and Jim tees up Gene in case he has any announcements/ appearances to put out there.

(15:51) Smart WiFi ad

(16:05) Lilian Garcia podcast commercial

(16:35) Jim returns to the fold and reads copy for Fan Duel. He soon goes into his talk with Tony Schiavone. The two talked about how they found out about Bobby’s passing. Schiavone initially heard the news from Conrad Thompson (co-hosts Tony’s podcast; Something to Wrestle with…..Bruce Prichard).

Conversation soon segued into talking about how funny Bobby was both on-and-off camera. Tony and Jim talked at length about how Bobby mastered the psychology aspect of pro wrestling through garnering a wealth of territorial experience. Bobby had a knack for getting faces over by showing a certain level of disdain for them while articulating a strong trait the wrestler had.

Schiavone mentioned stories from the Nitro days about how Bobby could even bring intrigue to squash matches. Heenan maintained an old school mentality about how people reacted to heels. After Thunder and Nitro episodes, Schiavone and Heenan would run to the car with The Brain thinking the fans would jump him. Tony tried to stress to Bobby that fans loved him and thought he was a star now but Heenan’s mindset was still that of a heel in the territories.

Heenan’s versatility with bumping as it related to each particular situation was then discussed. Tony mentioned a story of Heenan bumping for a midget to great comedic effect. Ross also sold The Brain’s ability to bump in a serious/dramatic fashion for a top-level babyface making a comeback. Ross began to wrap up the talk and teed up Tony in case he had any appearances/ announcements to discuss.

Tony mentioned regretting not calling Heenan after Bobby was wrongfully fired from WCW. Schiavone and Ross started talking about Bockwinkel and Heenan. Bockwinkel began to stumble while cutting a promo, Heenan moved behind Nick to obscure himself from the camera and made funny faces to an off camera Tony Schiavone.

(50:35) JR goes into a read for True Car and advertises their brand.

(51:27) Raven’s podcast ad

(51:51) Jim comes back and mentions to listeners all of the platforms he can be heard on/all the ways people can subscribe to his content. Ross then welcomes his next guest, Gregory Helms. Helms mentioned how he had a match in Pennsylvania over the weekend and was now all caught up on his combat sports watching. JR mentioned that Gregory seemed to be the most well-read, fervent fan of anyone in the locker room. Helms mentioned being an amateur wrestler for seven years and loves the art of combat sports.

Ross and Helms started talking about the physicality of wrestling as well as how one only has so many bumps on their bump card. Jim mentions to Helms how welcoming Heenan was when Ross made his WWF debut. Gregory talked at length about how well regarded The Brain was by everyone. Helms mentioned his managerial run in TNA and how he used Bobby Heenan’s work to inform his approach there.

Jim began to tell a story about a hot summer arena in the territory days. Dusty Rhodes was the only one who had an air conditioned room that night. Dusty was found lying on the concrete floor naked while impersonating Marlon Brando.

The talk went back to Bobby Heenan’s amazing work ethic. Gregory mentioned Heenan’s ability to use humor in a way where he still maintained his heel heat.

Jim asked why Helms was no longer with TNA. Helms mentioned Jeff Jarrett coming in, wanting his guys to be backstage, and it resulted in too many agents. Gregory chalks it up to residual heat from the Hardys leaving under the terms they did.

Jim and Gregory then discussed how WWE is the industry standard in terms of notoriety and live event presentation in all of sports entertainment. They touched on the current wrestling landscape with NJPW, the indies, etc. Helms then began discussing how he came up in wrestling as compared to the path some indie workers have laid out for them nowadays. Gregory mentioned his early days of going overseas before his WCW tenure. Helms also reflected on how he used to send out his matches to promoters on VHS tape long with a “cheesy” 8 X 10.

JR brought up the Mae Young Classic and Helms mentioned he had been watching it. Gregory mentioned that the work rate among women has stepped up big time in recent years. Helms directed the conversation to how successful women in MMA have been. The two mentioned the recent WWE attention in Ronda Rousey and how she has an undeniable “it” factor.

JR asked Helms if working with The Rock was his biggest break during his WWE run. The Rock angle was only supposed to go for the one night. The high entertainment value turned it into a longer program with some well regarded, memorable promos coming out of it.

Jim asked about Three Count and Helms mentioned some upcoming appearances for Three Count. In mentioning how over they were, Jim asked Helms how the current 205 Live talent can get over. Gregory said that more personality was a key factor but also that it should be presented as important. JR wraps up the conversation and says he hopes to have Helms on the show again soon.

(1:33:19) JR begins to do his show wrap and mentions wanting to have a Gregory Helms on again for some MMA talk in the future. JR sells his YouTube channel, BBQ sauces, etc. JR does housekeeping for his upcoming appearances and once again sells his social media, show platforms, and how listeners can subscribe.

(1:42:23) Attack Each Day ad

Review (8.5 out of 10): This was a great tribute podcast to the late great Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Quality insights from peers who were close to him (Okerlund and Schiavone) and the perspectives of a worker on the come up when Bobby was already established (Helms). There was also interesting conversation to be had with Helms outside of remembering a departed icon. It was interesting to hear Helms talk about the current state of the cruiserweights being that he’s one of the more prolific stars of the last few years from the lighter ranks. Also, JR’s story of a nude, sweaty Dusty Rhodes elicited a good laugh even if it did seem somewhat out of place. Four government mules out of five.


(0:12) Smart Wi Fi ad
(0:42) ZipRecruiter ad read from JR
(2:15) Jim begins the Ross Report
(3:41) Jim begins to speak with “Mean” Gene Okerlund
(15:51) Smart Wi Fi ad
(16:05) Lilian Garcia podcast commercial
(16:35) Jim speaks with Tony Schiavone
(50:35) JR goes into a read for True Car
(51:27) Raven’s podcast ad
(51:51) Jim speaks with Gregory Helms
(1:33:19) JR wraps up the show
(1:42:23) Attack Each Day ad

About the Author: Along with being a pro wrestling lover, Dylan James Bowker is also a professional broadcaster and a combat sports personality. A passionate, professional music writer for libertymultimedia.com who has played guitar, bass, banjo, and ukulele for the better part of a decade. Pro Wrestling has been a passion from a young age but there was a brief hiatus from it. A promotion he was affiliated with put on a show that devolved into Iron Sheik being taken to the drunk tank. Over the last few years, he’s been back at it with a renewed vigor and is excited to be a part of the Torch family.

For more, check out our archives of The Ross Report


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