WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: The Ross Report w/ Rory Karpf on the Ric Flair 30 For 30 documentary, what it’s like to film a wrestling legend, Ric’s relationship with David Flair, how WWE responded to the film

The Ross Report

Guest: Rory Karpf

Release Date: October 25, 2017

Recap By: Dylan Bowker; Recovering Smark


Top Stories:

-JR seeing star heel potential in Jason Jordan at a later point in his development

-The complex relationships with Ric and David Flair as well as David’s child

-Dusty, Steamboat, and Sting rivalries being featured prominently in the 30 for 30 feature

-The Undertaker’s close bond with his child

-Rory mentioned that Ric’s parents only saw him wrestle three times

-Karpf’s nervousness with playing the Flair feature for Triple H and WWE executives


(0:12) Smart Wi-Fi ad

(0:42) The Ross Report intro plays and another installment of slobberknocker audio is a go. Jim intros his guest Rory Karpf who directed the ESPN 30 for 30 feature on Ric Flair.

(2:42) The imaging plays for the segment “What’s on JR’s Mind.” Jim mentions some upcoming signings and also recaps some appearances he’s done recently. Jim talks about the success of his recent book both in written and audio forms. He eventually gets into talking about his thoughts on WWE’s TLC.

Jim enjoyed the placement of Asuka on the show and has enjoyed what the unbeaten streak brings to the overall package. JR enjoys Elias’ character but feels WWE is doing him a disservice by featuring him multiple times on the same show. The more someone gets brought out, you get diminishing returns. Jim also noted his enjoyment of the involving of 205 Live talent on both Raw and Smackdown. He enjoyed the women’s title match but isn’t keen on the old age aspects of the storyline.

Jim touched on how over Enzo was among casual wrestling observers and Amore’s pop culture appeal. He enjoyed the Balor/ Styles match and saw the post-match “too sweet” as a nice touch. Jim also sees star heel potential in Jason Jordan at a future point in his development. He enjoyed the booking of the TLC match and thought the main event served the roles of each individual involved quite well. JR voiced an excitement for the Survivor Series card and will be in town for it. 

Jim riffs on some current football happenings, family life, and also impersonated Mauro Ranallo. He heaped praise on Mauro and how his call of the upcoming War Games match should be excellent.

(24:40) Smart Wi Fi ad

(24:55) Not Just Sports podcast ad

(25:54) JR does a copy read for his BBQ sauce and also does a shout out for Pro Wrestling Tees.

(28:45) Jim begins his talk with Rory Karpf, the director of Ric Flair’s 30 for 30 film. JR asked Rory about if he grew up a wrestling fan and wondered what drew him to the Flair project. Rory mentioned growing up in Philly a huge pro wrestling fan and went to see live wrestling with his dad at the age of 8. His fandom carried over from his youth all through college.

Rory became interested in figuring out what makes someone the GOAT in pro wrestling, which Flair is often described as. Both men began to riff a bit with Rory mentioning how relevant Ric Flair is nowadays. Many athletes, musicians, etc., all reference Flair’s idiosyncrasies and heavily respect the Nature Boy. Karpf mentions the fairly regular contact with Flair all throughout and visited Ric in the hospital when his health wasn’t great.

Both men talk about the charming, kind disposition of Ric Flair. Karpf mentioned being surprised at the dichotomy of him. How Ric can go from supremely confident to the most insecure guy in the room depending on the surrounding situation. Jim has already seen the 30 for 30 piece a few times and brought up how compelling he finds it.

The two talked about the complex emotional dynamics at play with a personality like Ric Flair. Ric’s son David plays a key role in the film. The relationships of Ric and David as well as David and his own son reveal a lot. The residual negativity from Ric being an absent parent to David manifests itself into David being a more present father for his own son. Karpf then mentioned interviewing The Undertaker for the film project and he saw a similar tight knit bond with his kids.

Rory talks about screening the Flair film to Triple H and several WWE executives. Karpf was quite nervous during the experience initially. He wasn’t sure if they would want him to remove certain content, put gloss over some details, etc. All was fine though and the film was well received by all.

(52:33) Jim does a copy read advertising True Car

(53:55) Advertisement for Jericho’s Cruise

(54:21) Jim’s talk with Rory Karpf resumes. Jim jokes about carrying Rory’s bags around so he can rub elbows with the sports personalities Karpf mingles with. This leads to Rory talking about Jim’s iconic calls and how JR’s voice is tied to positive memories for so many. The pop culture recognition of Flair is discussed. Comparisons to Conor McGregor get brought up and Rory had a story of working with UFC. He got to witness Conor meet a Make A Wish child and McGregor’s demeanour resonated with Karpf.

Ric’s sex drive is featured in the film. His notorious claim of sleeping with ten thousand women and his masturbation habits were mentioned to Karpf. Dusty, Steamboat, and Sting rivalries were prominently displayed in the film. Karpf mentioned how selfless Flair was in the ring. Rory highlighted Flair’s knack for making people stars in the ring. Jim touched on Flair’s torrid pace in the territory days of 60 minute broadways each night where he would make stars in each town he went to.

Jim and Rory riff on how success can undermine/compromise why you’re endeavoring to do something. To gain notoriety in an entertainment/media field can cause one to overthink things and lose perspective.

Karpf mentioned partying with Ric Flair but also spoke to the generosity and warmth The Nature Boy shows to people who get close to him. Rory mentions how Ric is currently sober for the first time in his life. Recent happenings have finally caused him to come to terms with his drinking issues. The duality of Ric’s partying lifestyle is covered in the film. Not just the charming debauchery but also the emotional wear and tear that it could create for loved ones.

Rory mentioned that Ric’s parents only saw Ric wrestle three times. Karpf saw this as a striking admission being that Flair is regarded by many as the GOAT in his chosen medium of expression. Despite this, Ric sees his bond with his parents as being quite strong. Karpf mentioned an interest in doing documentary features on other wrestlers going forward. Hulk Hogan was a figure that he saw as compelling and would enjoy putting together a comprehensive piece on The Hulkster.

The two begin trading stories of humble, naturally curious pop culture figures they’ve met like Tom Cruise and The Undertaker. Rory asked Jim’s thoughts on the XFL film. Jim enjoyed it but was a tad disappointed he wasn’t called to be interviewed.

Rory harkens back to the Attitude Era and how it was must watch TV for everybody. The Monday Night Wars created an environment far less niche than it is today. Karpf took time to compliment Matt Hardy’s broken run in TNA and articulates how it just takes that one thing to spark another boom period in the business.

Jim wonders what happens to clips that don’t make the final edit for a project like a 30 for 30. Rory says that would normally be reserved for something like an ESPN DVD release. The waning sales of physical film efforts have kind of halted that though. Jim tees up Rory to mention any upcoming projects that he has and the two say goodbye.

(1:39:01) Jim begins his show wrap at this point. He touches on certain comments he made in the film upsetting Ric Flair. He did say the two remain super close and they would address that situation ASAP. Jim tees up his guest next week, Mick Foley and says so long to everybody. The show closes with an ad for Shaq’s podcast.

Review (8 out of 10): As a broadcasting graduate who appreciates high level productions, it was intriguing to hear from an ESPN 30 for 30 director. Not only is Rory an articulate, fun guy to listen to but you can tell he has a passion and knowledge of wrestling. Getting to go behind the curtain with Ric Flair resulted in a tight knit bond being formed. That was compelling to listen to but The Undertaker’s involvement in the piece was also revealing. To see The Undertaker in a touching, out of character situation with his child made for an engaging listen, especially considering the reclusiveness of Taker when not performing. Another great episode with a unique kind of guest that Jim secured. Definitely recommend giving this a listen to get even more hyped for when Flair’s 30 for 30 drops.


(0:12) Smart Wi-Fi ad
(0:42) The Ross Report intro plays
(2:42) “What’s on JR’s Mind”
(24:40) Smart Wi Fi ad
(24:55) Not Just Sports podcast ad
(25:54) JR does a copy read for his BBQ sauce and also does a shout out for Pro Wrestling Tees.
(28:45) Jim begins his talk with Rory Karpf, the director of Ric Flair’s 30 for 30 film.
(52:33) Jim does a copy read advertising True Car
(53:55) Advertisement for Jericho’s Cruise
(54:21) Jim’s talk with Rory Karpf resumes.
(1:39:01) Jim 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.


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