The Ross Report
Release Date: December 20, 2017
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
0:00 – Intro
This week, Wade Keller from the Pro Wrestling Torch will be on to discuss the Clash Of Champions, the ROH pay per view and noteworthy news. Additionally, Konnan will be on the show, who Jim calls one of the most creative and brightest minds in pro wrestling who will be talking about his new project including the pilot to a new lucha show.
2:04 – What’s on J.R.’s mind
Tickets for a new event called the Slobberknocker Sessions will go on sale Wednesday Dec 20. This will be an intimate, exclusive VIP and uncensored Q&A. The 100 people who buy a ticket get a free copy of the Slobberknocker book which can be signed or customized by J.R himself. Event will happen on Royal Rumble Sunday at noon.
J.R talks about the one man show show he had last Saturday in Boston with Jeremy Borash. The event was well attended.
8:35 – Wade Keller
J.R welcomes Wade to the show. J.R. asks if Wade ever gets tired of watching wrestling. Wade responds that he enjoys it when he’s watching it but there are times when there’s so much wrestling to watch, he gets pulled into other things in order to have some life balance. Because of the amount of current and retro content available, there’s no shortage of things to watch but there’s not enough time.
J.R. segues into the Clash Of Champions card and asked what Wade thought of the show. Wade thought there were some good aspects to the show but felt the show was middle of the road. It did not feel like a particularly important card in the ongoing storylines and didn’t feel there was great depth. He felt A.J. Styles had a good match but not a great match and Jinder looked as good as he has looked, but did not prove that he could headline pay per views. Wade also felt the match with Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn vs. Randy Orton/Shinsuke Nakamura did not have a big payoff and had a ‘to be continued’ vibe. Wade felt the show needed something else to bring it up to another level. J.R. thought the execution of the women’s lumberjack match took something away from the Women’s Title and the championship opportunities Nattie had.
J.R. feels Charlotte is the best woman wrestler he has ever seen. Wade thought Smackdown was going to the the Charlotte and A.J. Styles brand after the Superstar Shakedown, however, Charlotte ended up as part of the ensemble, which is not what Wade expected. Wade feels Charlotte has a star presence but would like to see her be less robotic in her ring entrance routine. Wade talks about speaking with Lance Storm about this. One of Lance’s critiques of NXT wrestlers’ entrances was that they looked like they were doing an empty arena rehearsal as opposed to feeding off the crowd. Charlotte is a product of the NXT system, which teaches people where to look and where to step. Wade would like to see the WWE let Charlotte be herself, however, J.R. thinks it’s Charlotte trying to get comfortable with in a live TV environment.
J.R. brings up Tom Zenk and asks Wade if he knows what the cause of death was. Wade has been trying to find out information but he has not been able to find anything. They discuss how Zenk had dropped out of the wrestling scene and thinks information about Zenk’s death should be coming up soon. Wade thinks Zenk isolated himself in recent years. J.R. feels Zenk had a chip on his shoulder and was unhappy about a number of things. He further speculates on what may have happened and is saddened by Tom’s death.
J.R. asks Wade if he keeps up with Twitter jousting between Jim Cornette (and others) and The Young Bucks (and others). For the most part, Wade doesn’t pay too much attention and only hears about it when other people bring it up to him. Wade thinks both sides see it as good for the their brand to feud with each other. From a wrestling style standpoint, Wade leans towards Jim Cornette but has also seen many different styles appeal to different fans. Wade says he is not always a fan of the Young Bucks’ style but says if people love what the Young Bucks do or other styles of wrestling then more power to them for making their style work for their audience.
Wade disagrees with Cornette in that nobody should be dictating what style of wrestling people should like. People should enjoy a different style if they want. J.R. talks about styles of wrestling and is more willing to let others express their opinions. As far as the Young Bucks are concerned, J.R. thinks they could teach the boys how to be marketers and entrepreneurs. Wade adds that the Young Bucks cater to an audience that is looking for something different than the WWE brand. He admires and encourages different styles than the WWE.
J.R. says he would like to see fewer risks taken and feels the risk-reward factor is out of proportion. Sometimes the high risks that could potentially injure you isn’t even the finish of a match. J.R. is also bothered by matches being over-choreographed and says he loves the spontaneity and ad-libs, which are things that got him hooked on wrestling as a kid.
They turn to new Japan and discuss Jericho vs Omega. Wade felt they were really smart in promoting the match last week and loved the angle. He likes the way they have re-framed this match into a grudge match as opposed to trying to have a 5 plus star match. Wade feels this is very savvy because it gives the fans something that feels different than a classic wrestling match. J.R. mentions that he spoke to Chris Jericho last week and says that Chris is all over the creative for this storyline. Once they get into the ring, Jericho should call the match as he’s the heel and has more experience in big match situations. J.R. and Wade discuss how this is a once in a lifetime type match but also discuss scenarios where they could do a return match without losing credibility. J.R. mentions he and Josh Barnett will be calling this match on AXS TV.
J.R. switches topics and asks about Wade’s thoughts on Vince McMahon and Alpha Entertainment and what it means to the WWE. Wade brings up the XFL and says the wrestlers were upset that Vince was concentrating more on the XFL at the expense of the wrestling product. There was also a perception that Vince was using profits from the wrestling product to finance the XFL. J.R. confirms that did not happen but can understand why people would think that. Wade feels that what Vince is doing with Alpha Entertainment is smart because it shows WWE wrestlers, employees, and stockholders this is a separate venture from the WWE. Wade is not surprised that Vince would want to get into sports ownership or being a league president. J.R. makes a comment that Vince grew up in North Carolina and that the North Carolina Panthers may be up for sale after this season. He wonders if there could be something to that.
J.R. brings up the team that Vince has with Kevin Dunn, Triple H, Shane, and Stephanie. He feels Vince has a lot of confidence in Triple H, and who he thinks will be given a bigger role in the overall picture. Wade feels Triple H has done a great job with NXT and is not worried if Triple H takes over more of the creative side in the WWE. Wade says that Vince has a knack for turning WrestleMania into a big show, which is something Triple H hasn’t been tested with yet.
J.R. asks Wade what he thought about the Ring Of Honor pay-per-view. J.R. says one of the toughest things to do is to main event and close a Ring Of Honor pay-per-view. J.R. and Wade were both surprised by the finish of the main event. They discuss how matches in a card are not separate but are part of the bigger card and there should be an ebb and flow to a show. They also feel there should restrictions on the wrestlers to not overdo certain things so the crowd is not burned out by the main event.
J.R. plugs Wade’s twitter account and the PWTorch twitter account. J.R. thanks Wade and says he’s been reading Wade’s stuff for 30 years. He wishes him a good holiday and Wade signs off. Coming up next is Konnan.
48:04 – Konnan Interview
J.R. introduces Konnan and asks him how he is enjoying podcasting. Konnan was originally working with Court Bauer at MLW. Chris Jericho heard him and asked Konnan if he would like to join his network on Podcast One. Konnan said that one of the things that separated him from a lot of people in the early days of podcasting was that he talked about other things besides wrestling such as politics, sports, and pop culture.
Konnan brings up that he is a big fan of Miami U and college football (although not as big as J.R is). J.R. and Konnan talk about some college football. Konnan says he loves the the tradition of college football and mascots, especially the animal mascots.
Konnan mentions that he works for two promotions, Impact and Arolucha, which recently had a sold out taping. Konnan is responsible for booking the talent at Arolucha. Konnan asks J.R. what he thinks of modern wrestling and the current product. J.R. makes the comparison to food and he likes a lot of different food. He also respects others right to express what they like or don’t like. He goes on to say that he hopes everyone in the business can be successful and feels this is the best time to be part of the business and a fan of the business. J.R. doesn’t like seeing wrestlers taking a lot of big risks and is not a fan of over choreographed matches (which he also said in the Wade Keller portion of the podcast). Konnan says it’s difficult to tell a young wrestler to slow down. But he also feels that as they get older, they learn to work smarter due to age, injuries and learning main event style. J.R. agrees that you can’t restrict the younger wrestlers but would like to challenge talent to put together a match with certain restrictions. Konnan says there’s nothing better than well layered storylines, which is how he wants to book Aroucha.
J.R. asks if Konnan was at the Impact tapings in Canada. Konnan was there and says there were a lot of fans that knew the product. J.R. asks if the office will be moving up to Canada and Konnan says this may be a possibility due to the tax breaks the company receives taping in Canada. J.R. asks if Konnan likes working 4 to 5 days in a row. Konnan finds it challenging because he hasn’t been doing it lately compared to his younger days. But, he has a fun time because he doesn’t have to worry about booking or writing, he just goes in and cuts promos. Konnan says he has a lot of freedom with his character. J.R. and Konnan discuss how difficult it is to be a babyface in today’s environment. J.R says a lot of heels today want to be cool heels. Konnan says they are having this issue in Mexico where the heels are asking the audience for applause. Konnan says that two wrestlers that have heat today are Jinder Mahal and Baron Corbin.
J.R. asks if Konnan thinks there is anyone better than A.J. Styles. Konnan says he is a big fan of A.J. but also likes Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Lesnar, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. However, Konnan says the most over guy on either Raw or Smackdown Live and his favorite character is Elias. J.R. says that A.J. Styles is his current favorite wrestlers.
Konnan talks about how he grew up on American Wrestling, however, he went to a show in Tijuana, which blew him away. He talks about wrestling Lucha Libre then having to be deprogrammed when he came to North America. He also explains that some Lucha matches don’t always use psychology, selling or have a storyline but are rather just athletic exhibitions.
J.R. brings up Konnan’s friendship with Rey Mysterio. Konnan talks about how Rey Mysterio revolutionized wrestling by introducing the high flying Lucha style that is popular in NXT and 205 Live. He also revolutionized wrestling for smaller guys. J.R. says Rey was really good at selling in a match without dying. Konnan adds that Rey broke the blueprint to what a professional wrestler should look like and opened up the floodgates to what we see now. Konnan also says that anyone from America who wants to learn how to work in Mexico should watch Love Machine and Eddie Guerrero. Konnan tells a story about meeting Art Barr and introducing Art and Eddie and how he convinced Eddie to stop wrestling under a mask.
J.R. asks Konnan what he thinks about the old school booking philosophy that Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega have used to build their Wrestle Kingdom match. Konnan loves it because it’s the kind of wrestling he grew up watching. Konnan goes on to say that he loved old school wrestling from the territories and the old school promos that were directed to a specific market.
Konnan talks about Jimmy Jacobs, who said that there were 25 writers on the WWE staff, which prompted Konnan to ask why are the shows so bad. Jacobs said it was hard to do 3 hours of TV a week. Konnan says he gets frustrated with the WWE because they don’t listen to the crowd and that’s it a party of one (Vince). Konnan thinks that Vince may not be in touch with his demo and should let other people get more involved. J.R points out that NXT shows Vince is willing to let something grow with new ideas.
J.R. says Rey is one of the top Luchadores of all time and asks Konnan where Rey ranks with the top Lucha stars. Konnan says that Rey was never a big ticket seller in Mexico because he was just starting out. In WCW, Rey had a huge growth period in the ring and was able to learn the American style and mix it with the Mexican style. In terms of popularity, nobody will ever be at El Santo’s level or Blue Demon, who is also an icon of Lucha. Konnan thinks that when all is said and done however, Rey will be number three behind those two.
J.R. asks if Jericho and Omega will do bigger business than last year’s Wrestle Kingdom? Konnan thinks they will because he feels New Japan doesn’t think Jericho will be back giving this a one-time-only feel. J.R. says New Japan’s goal is to sell 30 thousand tickets, which J.R. finds troubling as that’s only half the house. J.R. feels they should spend money on the marketing to make this an event. Konnan says today’s fans are into the dream matches like Jericho vs Omega so this should do good business.
J.R. and Konnan talk more about the Oklahoma vs Georgia game. Konnan says that if he and J.R. ever meet up that they will go to either an Oklahoma game or Miami U game.
J.R. puts over Konnan’s knowledge and wishes him a Happy Holiday. Konnan gives respect to J.R. and puts over Ross’ knowledge before signing off…BOOM.
1:25:47 – Show Wrap
J.R. thanks both Konnan and Wade Keller for being on the podcast. He also thanks the people who were at his Boston show and Jeremy Borash who was co-hosting that appearance. Next week, Josh Barnett will be on the podcast to discuss the upcoming Wrestle Kingdom show, Connor McGregor and Ronda Rousey. Kevin Nash will also be on the show who is coming off a major knee surgery. J.R. talks about the Rose Bowl game and signs off.
Show Rating – 8/10
I really liked this show. Wade always gives good insight on the pro wrestling. Admittedly I didn’t entirely agree with him regarding Clash of Champions…I thought it was a fun show but then again, I don’t watch as much of the product as Wade does so I missed a ton of stuff leading up to the card. Also, I thought Konnan was great and agree with J.R. that he is one of the more underrated minds in professional wrestling.
0:00 – Show intro
2:04 – What’s On JRs Mind
8:35 – Wade Keller
48:04 – Konnan
1:25:47 – Show Wrap up
Joe 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.