WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: The Ross Report w/ Paul O’Brien on co-writing JR’s book, telling stories of his personal life and struggles, why some wrestlers have a self-imposed glass ceiling

The Ross Report with guest Paul O’Brien

Release Date: October 4, 2017

Recap By: Dylan Bowker; Recovering Smark


Top Stories:

-How O’Brien and Ross connected even while being many miles apart

-Paul’s cognitive therapy work through the scope of analyzing the mental game of top WWE talent

-O’Brien’s interview with Paul Heyman and the realization of how highly Heyman respects JR

-JR smoking weed in Pat Patterson’s basement back in the day

-The self-imposed glass ceilings that new talent unwittingly place on themselves

-Some of Jim’s prior struggles with alcohol and prescription medication abuse

-Jim not buying into the internet narrative that WWE is trying to bury Enzo Amore/doesn’t book him favorably


(0:12) JR does a copy read advertising DDP Yoga

(2:03) The produced intro element plays for the Ross Report and Jim gets into the latest episode. JR teases his guest Paul O’Brien, who is the co-author of his latest book Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling.

(3:45) “What’s on JR’s Mind” segment intro plays and Jim starts by talking about his book. He discusses the media coverage for his latest effort from local radio, Meltzer and Alvarez’s show, etc. Jim shouts out the fruitful podcasting and writing landscape for pro wrestling personalities. Individuals like Steve Austin and AJ Lee get mentioned in a positive light.

Jim previewed the Hell in a Cell card a bit. He briefly touched on the Bullet Club showing up to WWE shows. He feels like this is something Vince would largely brush off but JR seemed to enjoy BC’s promotional stunt. He would be shocked if the Young Bucks didn’t go to WWE someday.

JR then mentions all of the reports about Enzo Amore being someone WWE doesn’t want to do business with. He finds that idea puzzling because WWE has positioned Amore in the main event of Raw more than once as of late. JR tees up his guest Paul O’Brien again and moves the show towards that conversation.

(18:32) Attack Each Day podcast

(19:10) Jim’s talk with Paul O’Brien begins and he mentions the time difference with Paul being in Ireland. Paul co-authored Jim’s recent book and he asked O’Brien to detail how they came to meet each other. Paul had a book out there he was trying to hustle and it eventually caught the eye of JR. Jim eventually had Paul on his podcast a couple years back. After the show, the two talked a fair bit with Jim asking Paul if he would read his book. Paul made a few changes and eventually it lead to Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling.

Paul is appreciative of the opportunity and humbly describes himself as a pro wrestling fan who happens to be able to tell a story. Jim mentions how difficult it was to read the book back. The personal passages that dealt with sensitive material (i.e. his wife’s death) hit Jim fairly hard. JR touches on the fandom Paul brings to his work. O’Brien describes himself and his family as lifers in the realm of loving pro wrestling.

Jim asked Paul if there was a key rivalry or star that really hooked Paul into pro wrestling. Summerslam 1991 resonated with Paul in a significant way. He felt that each match told a great story and things clicked on an altogether new level for him. He likened his fandom at this point to going from listening to a radio single to hearing a record front-to-back.

Paul mentions his work in cognitive therapy and outlines certain dynamics in wrestling. The mental aspects of someone getting themselves over as a star was discussed. The two talked about the different landscape nowadays where things like social media marketing exists. Paul discusses getting a bit burnt out by wrestling at one point. He took some time away, though, pulled back from it, and returned to pro wrestling with renewed enthusiasm as a viewer. Paul enjoys father/daughter time while watching wrestling. His daughter picks his brain while watching shows with Paul being happy to explain the wacky world of wrestling to her.

JR brings up the misconception some fans have that “TV-14” style wrestling would automatically result in big ratings. Paul understands why the booking style changed but sort of misses the “anything can happen” vibe of the attitude era. Jim eventually segues to a quick commercial break.

(45:43) JR goes into a copy read advertising True Car

(47:15) Ad for Raven’s podcast “The Raven Effect”

(48:09) The episode returns to the conversation between JR and O’Brien. The two began talking about how nothing good ever comes easy. O’Brien was quite surprised at how much Paul Heyman loved JR. O’Brien had a lengthy phone call with Heyman and he spoke at length about Jim’s skill, how much JR did for his career, etc. Ross described working with Heyman and touched on his ability to evoke feelings from him that no other commentating partner was able to.

This then lead into O’Brien talking about the adoration and appreciation that fans have for JR. Jim spoke about some of the live dates he has done and how much the fan appreciation meant to him at a tough time for him personally. O’Brien spoke about the challenges with writing JR’s book since he’s predominantly a fiction writer. Jim mentioned his own struggles with alcohol and prescription medication issues over the years. O’Brien and Ross got into how they handled some of the more touchy material in Jim’s life with a brave frankness in detailing it.

Paul talked about trying to create a cohesive flow with Jim’s life story, the wild wrestling tales, and the grittier personal struggles as well. Jim remembers Pat Patterson’s basement fondly because all of the boys were having a fun time. JR mentions the fun he had smoking weed in Pat’s basement even though Patterson wasn’t much into burning.

Jim mentioned how certain years it was difficult to come home for Christmas after life on the road. JR details being bothered by this thought nowadays but was open about his mindset back then. He sells Paul’s first book Blood Red Turns Dollar Green, a fictional wrestling novel. It’s a crime-based drama with the backdrop of an old school wrestling territory for the story to unfurl within.

JR mentions an I-TV project that’s ambitious and airs on New Year’s. He feels there’s something there and it can do well if given the right opportunities. Paul feels getting the right partners in on the project is key too. This topic of new wrestling ideas segues into discussing the newer crop of WWE talent.

Finn Balor is a name brought up right away. Paul also mentions Becky Lynch and describes the two aforementioned wrestlers as having great brands. Paul sees the current age as a great time for that next huge wrestling talent to step up and shine. He feels like a lot of new talent is too derivative of prior generations. There’s more of a preoccupation about being the next Eddie Guerrero as opposed to being the first you. Paul feels certain talent unwittingly have a self-imposed glass ceiling.

JR and Paul talk about the poignant love story within JR’s latest book. Jim’s accounts of his dear, recently departed wife Jan were cathartic on multiple levels for him. Paul described how thrilling it was for Jan to read through some of the Slobberknocker chapters and to see her reactions to it. Ross and O’Brien sell the multiple outlets/platforms where the book can be purchased. Jim and Paul wrap things up by discussing the unlikely nature of their bond being that they’re so far apart geographically.  

(1:26:16) JR begins his show wrap and gets some housekeeping announcements out there. He details some of his upcoming live dates and how much he enjoys doing them. He also touches on some of his future commentary work for NJPW with Josh Barnett.

Review (9 out of 10): I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. The backstory to how O’Brien and Ross came into contact with one another was a cool listen. To build up such a strong rapport with someone you’ve seen face-to-face for all of two hours shows how certain positive outcomes can materialize in the social media/instant connectivity age. JR touching on some old road stories is a treat for any hardcore wrestling fans too. It was also touching to hear about the cathartic process of detailing some of his painful memories. A varied podcast that covered a lot of bases in a neat, enjoyable listen. Highly recommended to all listeners of pro wrestling podcasts.


(0:12) JR does a copy read advertising DDP Yoga
(2:03) Ross Report intro
(3:45) “What’s on JR’s Mind” segment
(18:32) Attack Each Day podcast
(19:10) Jim’s talk with Paul O’Brien begins
(45:43) JR goes into a copy read advertising True Car
(47:15) Ad for Raven’s podcast “The Raven Effect”
(48:09) The episode returns to the conversation between JR and O’Brien.
(1:26:16) JR begins his show wrap

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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