The Ross Report
Release Date: December 13, 2017
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
0:00 – Intro
J.R. welcomes us to the 200th episode of his show. He gives a shout out to Steve Austin who kept on him to do a podcast and thanks his producer and the Podcast One team for their efforts.
On the show today is Impact Wrestling’s Jeremy Borash talking about the new infrastructure of Impact Wrestling. Also on the show is John Hennigan (a.k.a. John Morrison, Johnny Mundo, Johnny Nitro and Johnny Impact) who will be answering questions from social media. Ross plugs his upcoming show in Boston with Jeremy Borash at Laugh Boston and says tickets are still available.
2:38 – What’s on J.R.’s Mind
Ross congratulates Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield for winning the Heisman Trophy this past Saturday. He’s hoping Baker will lead Oklahoma to a Rose Bowl victory against the Georgia Bulldogs. Baker was a walk on (i.e. no scholarship) so it’s amazing he won the Heisman. Jim puts over Baker’s parents and Baker’s heart but says to O.U. opponents he’s the the Heartbreak Kid of college football.
During a recent interview, J.R. made remarks we had not seen the last of Hulk Hogan in a WWE environment. A number of people took these comments to mean J.R. was condoning Hogan’s use of the N-Word. J.R. clarifies that he feels Hogan is a huge part of the fabric of the WWE. and that everyone deserves forgiveness but in no way condones the use of racial epitaphs. He feels that somewhere down the road Hogan and the WWE will have some sort of reunion or moment and reiterates that he does NOT condone any racial remarks.
J.R. talks about the WWE. being in Boston for the upcoming Clash Of Champions card. He also be there with his one man show. He talks about being in the first Clash Of Champions with Tony Schiavone. It was also his first time in the Greensboro Coliseum and the first time in years being the color analyst. In J.R.’s opinion, the Clash of Champions is a big deal. He talks briefly about the Jinder Mahal vs A.J. Styles match and says in his opinion, A.J. Styles is the best in-ring talent in the business today and is a big fan.
J.R. will be calling the Wrestle Kingdom 12 event for AXS TV with Josh Barnnet on January 6th. They will be featuring three matches: Okada vs Naito, Jericho vs Omega and Tanahashi vs Jay White. They will be doing voice overs in the AXS TV studios a few hours after the event ends. J.R. will not watch the matches before he calls them as he feels it’s better when he can be spontaneous and real.
J.R. talks about the R.O.H pay per view (Final Battle) on Friday night at 9:00pm. It’s a good card with the main event being Cody vs. Dalton Castle. J.R. is a big fan of both Dalton Castle and Cody. Other matches on the card include Marty Scurll vs. Jay Lethal in a non title match and Matt Taven vs Will Ospray.
J.R. and Jerry Lawler will be part of the RAW 25th anniversary on Jan 22nd in NYC. Jim is confident that he and Lawler have not lost a step.
11:52 – Surprise Guest
J.R. mentions he and Jerry Lawler will be hosts on the Chris Jericho cruise and brings on his surprise guest, none other than the man himself, Chris Jericho calling all the way from Japan. Jericho confirms that while there are a lot of cabins to fill and lots of room left, 400 cabins have been sold in 10 weeks and Jericho feels that the cruise will sell out.
Jericho talks about the work that he’s had to do in order to organize the cruise and reiterates that a cruise like this has never been done. Cruise dates are Oct 27th to Oct 31st 2018. J.R. mentions that during his book signings, some fans said they would see him on the cruise which meant a lot to Chris. Jericho also mentions the work he’s doing on social media answering as many questions as he can regarding the cruise. He says the talent will not be sequestered but will be mingling with the fans which will make it an amazing experience. Bottom line, so far, planning for the cruise is going well.
They switch gears and discuss Jericho attacking Omega. Jericho laughs that people thought he would not try to build the angle. He mentions promoters like Vince McMahon, Bill Watts and Stu Hart would do an angle to sell tickets. He loves the fact that nobody saw the attack was coming and also loves being able to surprise the fans. Jericho says that the most important thing isn’t the match but rather the story and angle building towards that match and being able to sell the biggest amount of tickets possible. This is old school booking and Jericho says that they sold some tickets because of the angle.
J.R. mentions that Jericho and Omega have finally touched for the first time and asks Jericho what he thought. Jericho said that it was excellent and Omega is an excellent performer. To Jericho, this is the biggest match in pro wrestling today. The angle between Jericho and Omega has made it even bigger. Jericho feels good about the angle due to it’s surprise and the intensity of the attack. Jericho also says a number of coincidences and incidences have lead this to be a once in a lifetime match.
30:10 – Jeremy Borash Interview
Jim plugs his show with Jeremy Borash in Boston this weekend and introduces him on the phone. Borash mentions a lot has happened and that he’s been to Canada, Japan and Mexico lately. They talk about the transition to the new ownership in Toronto and Borash mentions that he worked a lot with Scott D’Amore in the past. He also had met Don Callis a few times and feels Don will be good on the corporate side of things due to his experience in the boardroom. Borash says this isn’t necessarily hitting the reset button but rather a whole new outlook from a business standpoint on where this business is going and how they will survive. Borash says that Canada is a great place to shoot TV and as things transition, he is trying to stay ahead of the game. Lately, he has been working a lot on the digital side and the numbers are fantastic. Jim feels the new ownership is doing a great job putting a great team together to help produce content. But he hopes that the administration realizes they should leave the wrestling to the wrestling people.
Jim also mentions this new team needs to find a niche to build the Impact brand. He asks Borash if it is possible to build a brand in today’s digital age. Borash feels there is room to build a brand but the question is how does it stay profitable? Borash talks about how Digital Companies and investors look at Youtube numbers and subscribers. Impact has over 1 million subscribers and are in a good position when negotiating with digital companies.
Jim puts Borash over and says he can’t think of anyone better than Borash to sell a company. He also feels that Borash is one of the most talented and multifaceted people at Impact. Borash feels that getting to do everything in the company has been the biggest reward and in many cases, he had to do different roles out of necessity. Borash mentions how a number of today’s promoters are learning about all aspects of the business and J.R. adds that a number of the talent are creating content.
Jim asks Borash if he will be spending a lot of time in Canada. Borash says he will most likely stay in Nashville and will be travelling a lot. Jim and Jeremy talk about a rumor that the Hardy’s wanted him to go to the WWE with them. Borash says they wanted to keep working together as they had good chemistry. They had a number of options open to them however, the Hardy’s decided to go back to the WWE.
Borash gives props to Ed Norton for lifting the traditional copyright/intellectual property issues that have plagued wrestling and mentions he is happy that Matt Hardy is able the Broken character in the WWE. Jim is happy that the Hardys are back in the WWE and feels it gives the new guys in Impact an opportunity to get over.
Jim asks who Jeremy feels will be hot sooner. Borash mentions he asked creative if they could bring back LAX. Konnan came back and they found two guys who had no exposure that they could use. JR thinks Konnan is an underrated mind in the wrestling world. Jim also talks about stars leaving being a chance for someone else to move into that spot. Borash uses Eli Drake as an example of someone who is in his current spot due to recent departures. Borash says Drake is his favorite wrestler in the industry and is an example of someone stepping from the mid-card into a main event role.
Jim and Jeremy also talk compare logical booking with a season for any sports organization starting from pre-season to playoffs with the big event as the payoff. They discuss in more detail the interview Jim Ross had regarding Hogan coming back to the WWE and how comments he made were misinterpreted by the media. JR once again plugs their Boston show for this Saturday and JB signs off.
1:01:20 John Hennigan Q&A (continuation from John Hennigan interview from last week).
Question: What was your favorite storyline from any promotion?
Hennigan says his favorite storyline is his next one but then says it’s hard to narrow down to just one. He mentions working with Prince Puma, the M&M feud against Eddy and Rey. This leads to a discussion about Joey Mercury, who Hennigan teamed with a few weeks ago. Hennigan says that Joey knows more about wrestling than anyone he’s ever met. JR agrees and adds Joey is great at teaching ring psychology. Hennigan adds that Joey can teach you to work so that the crowd will chant your name as opposed to Holy Sh*t or This is Awesome. Hennigan says that’s the difference between doing high spots and being over. Jim and John also discuss the heel/babyface dynamic and agree that it’s better when fans like one wrestler and dislike the other.
Question: If you were given one opponent to wrestle at WrestleMania who would you like to face?
Johnny answers the Macho Man Randy Savage as he’s a guy that Johnny looked up to and imitated. The briefly discuss Randy’s match at WrestleMania III and Hennigan says he has watched that match 100 times.
Question: Does Johnny follow his old partner the Miz?
John is a big fan of the Miz and says one of the keys to his success is that the Miz is always himself which makes him authentic. Miz has done a really good job at being true to himself on and off camera. Jim likes Miz as he’s worked diligently to become a better in-ring performer which was a shortcoming earlier in his career. Side note, Miz was recently on Sam Roberts Podcast and said one of the best pieces of advice he got was from the Rock who told him to be natural (be himself).
Question: Does Johnny still keep in touch with the people he met at Tough Enough?
John mentions he still keeps in touch with Matt Capitelli but not the rest of the cast. He also mentions that Matt is one of the most positive people he’s ever known. Matt has dealt with more hardship than most people and recently found out his brain cancer has come back. Jim mentions Matt is undergoing treatment and says that he has a huge heart. Hennigan says that if he’s having a bad day, he thinks about Matt and suddenly his problems don’t seem that big
Question: What is Johnny’s opinion between the six sided ring and the four sided ring
John says that there are minor differences but he prefers the four sided ring. Fans are watching what’s going on inside the ring and feels the six sided ring seems unnecessary. Jim agrees that the six sided ring confuses him and says that wrestling should be essentially mindless entertainment (in the best way possible). John says wrestling should be escapism and the six sided ring can cause confusion to that. Jim adds that if you have to stop and process an escapism feel then what you’re doing is not working.
Jim and John also discuss New Japan. John says the NJPW style is the coolest wrestling that exists right now. They talk about why fans are into the New Japan product even though they are on limited platforms in North America. Hennigan feels that it comes down to the wrestlers and the organization. With Okada, The Bullet Club, Tanahashi and Omega, they have a roster full of characters that are captivating who know what they’re doing in their specific style. He also says that every once in awhile you catch fire and it it feels like that the popularity of indy wrestling along with sentiment that WWE is a bit stale and fans looking for different things outside of WWE makes New Japan the perfect alternative.
JR congratulates Johnny on his engagement, he is getting married in June 2018 to Taya Valkyrie.
Jim plugs Boone: The Bounty Hunter which is available at Walmart. He is impressed not only that John did his own stunts but that he also created the storyline. John talks about being a film major in his university days prior to starting Tough Enough. In his senior year, he wrote, produced, directed and edited three action shorts. In the WWE, he felt his creative outlet was occupied in a good way by wrestling, thinking about storylines and pitching ideas. Since he’s left the WWE, he feels project like Boone: The Bounty Hunter are a prefect outlet for his creativity. John asks for anyone that has seen it to post a positive review on sites like Amazon, iTunes or Rotten Tomatoes…unless you didn’t like it in which case don’t post anything.
The discuss the anti-Impact sentiment, which Hennigan doesn’t understand and finds weird. Jim goes on to ask why any fan would want Impact to shut down. He says that if you don’t want to watch, then don’t watch but don’t wish them out of business.
Jim thanks John for the conversation they’ve had. Johnny says that as physical as wrestling is, there’s a lot of mental stuff to figuring the business out.
1:23:09 – Show wrap up.
Jim once again mentions the Jericho Cruise and the Boston show with Jeremy Borash this Saturday. He wishes Happy Holidays to the late Dusty Rhodes and asks Dusty to say hello to his wife Jan.
Show Rating: 8/10
I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of the Impact program, however, one of the few things I did like about Impact was Jeremy Borash and he did not disappoint in this interview. After this interview, I’m a lot more interested in seeing how Impact does under new management and hope that they can be successful. Also, the Q&A with Johnny was interesting. He wasn’t a wrestler I followed too closely but I always respected his athleticism ,and after hearing him on this (and other) podcasts, also respect his wrestling knowledge. I loved the the surprise interview with Chris Jericho, especially when he was talking about the angle between him and Omega leading up to Wrestle Kingdom this January. Finally, there was a lot of detail that was hard to record but if you’re a fan of Impact definitely check this podcast out.
“0:00” – Show intro
“2:38” – What’s on J.R.’s Mind
“11:52” – Surprise Guest (Chris Jericho)
“30:10” – Jeremy Borash Interview
“1:01:20” – John Hennigan Interview
“1:23:09” – Show Wrap Up
This is Joe’s first (and hopefully not last) recap. He lives in Toronto, Canada with his wife and two boys. He’s been watching wrestling for about 40 years (give or take) but doesn’t consider himself any sort of expert, mark, smark or whatever term they use out there. He just likes wrestling. Check him out on Twitter and Instagram @ja113.