Written Podcast Recap: The Ross Report – Josh Barnett and Kevin Nash
The Ross Report
Release Date: December 26, 2017
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
0:00 – Intro
Short open for the podcast, Jim queues up former UFC champion and AXS TV partner Josh Barnett and WWE hall of famer Kevin Nash.
1:54 – What’s on J.R.’s mind
JR thanks everyone who supported the new Slobberknocker Sessions, which launches Sunday January 28th in Philadelphia. Everyone will get a free Slobberknocker book, which will be personalized by JR followed by an interactive Q&A. Only 100 tickets are on sale for this event.
JR gives the WWE props for the Women’s Royal Rumble. He’s happy that the women are getting an opportunity to compete in this type of match. He would like to see representation from some of the WWE alums such as Trish Stratus, Lita, Jazz or Molly Holly.
JR is grateful to everyone who has supported his book. A fourth printing is about to be announced officially.
JR talks about the WWE Network getting ready to launch Mid-Atlantic wrestling, which was a strong product. JR also talks about the WWE network and the amount of content available for consumption.
Finally, JR says this is a difficult time for him as he’s celebrating Christmas without his wife Jan but thanks the wrestling fans for being there for him
13:15 – Josh Barnett
JR welcomes Josh to the show and asks him about his recent trip to Russia. Barnett talks about going to East Russia for Modern Fighting Pankration (MFP), which has been running since the mid 2000. He went over as a special guest to do some press events and even visited an orphanage to speak to some kids.
J.R. says he and Josh will be on AXS TV for another year. J.R. calls Josh the perfect partner for the New Japan project and they are starting 2018 with a bang. Josh says they are going to try to get the turnaround for Wrestle Kingdom done as quickly as possible for AXS TV and says there are going to be a lot of good matches to call. Josh points out while there are differences in the New Japan wrestling product that American fans may not be used to, good wrestling is good wrestling. Barnett says he has tried in some ways to model himself after J.R. and says it’s been an incredible experience working with Ross. J.R. adds their work is getting better all the time.
The Wrestle Kingdom matches Ross and Barnett will be voicing are Okada/Naito, Jericho/Omega and Tanahashi/White, which will be presented on AXS January 6th. J.R. asks Barnett if he plans on watching any tape prior to doing the voiceovers. Barnett says he will not watch tape and will try to avoid spoilers. Barnett says he doesn’t watch tape prior to any voice overs and would rather let the wrestlers tell him their stories with as little bias as possible. He also wants to react to the wrestling in as natural a way possible. Barnett says there are some interesting elements to the three main events. They talk about the Tanahashi/White match as being Jay White’s biggest match to date. They are curious to see if he’s up to the challenge.
J.R. asks Barnett about the New Japan dojo and what makes it unique. Barnett says it is immersion type training where you eat, live and breath in the dojo. Barnett says when you can cut down on the external noise and distractions and immerse yourself to the task at hand, it has a different effect. He compares it to language and says the best way to learn a language is through immersion. Barnett says the dojo trains wrestlers to be shooters which teaches them the fundamentals of how to movehold, grab and lift an individual. J.R. says this is a very unique training that you couldn’t replicate in the States due to current laws. Barnett says that we have a lot of luxury in the States and sometimes what’s needed is to put yourself in a position of difficulty and make yourself uncomfortable. Barnett says you have to get through that and get to a point where the uncomfortable becomes comfortable.
J.R. talks about spending some time with Billy Robinson and Danny Hodge. J.R. asked who trained Billy Robinson. Barnett responded Billy Riley and Billy Joyce from the Snakepit in Wigan. Billy also trained in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling and had an uncle who was a boxer. Back in Billy’s day, fighting and combat was a way of life.
J.R. mentions a social media exchange saying that the UFC and the WWE had a lot in common. Both are attraction driven and attractions sell pay per views and people want to watch two attractions fight with a real issue between them, as opposed to watching just a good fight. Barnett agrees with J.R. that fighters have to be over otherwise people will not want to watch it. He uses the example of Larry Holmes, who is one of the greatest boxers ever but people weren’t interested in him. Both J.R. and Barnett say that you should try to stand out in a way that people can relate to or in a way that interests the audience. J.R. and Barnett talk about the evolution of Conor McGregor and both believe that he will fight again despite the money he has made, however, Barnett thinks that Conor may have an internal battle where he wants to fight but he doesn’t want to short change himself.
Barnett says he loves wrestling and has been criticized for having a very narrow-focused style. Barnett disagrees and says because of how get got into wrestling and being around some legends such as Inoki and Sayama it changes the way he looked at things. His training with people such as Billy Robinson and Karl Gotch gave him a deeper appreciation for wrestling and how he approached combat sports.
J.R. asks Barnett if he thinks Conor will be in a one-off in the WWE. Barnett thinks it’s possible however sees it going one of two ways. There are MMA fighters who think pro wrestling is goofy and it’s just a matter of coming in, acting over the top and getting paid. Then there are those that are legitimate fans who would see this as a once in a lifetime achievement. Barnett is not sure what side Conor would be on. Ross thinks it’s likely McGregor has watched some WWE and assumes that Conor and Vince have had some sort of contact (although he has no proof of this). Ross asks about Ronda Rousey being in the WWE and says he does not see Ronda coming back to the UFC anytime soon. Barnett says even though he knows Ronda, he has not had that conversation with her. Ross asks about her personality and Barnett says she is intense. He says her background in Judo is a great segway into professional wrestling as Judo teaches you how to bump. Barnett says if she decides to become a worker, he thinks she can do it because of her intensity.
Ross talks about Josh training Shayna Baszler and asks what the WWE fans are going to like about her. Barnett says she is a huge professional wrestling fan and really respects the history of pro wrestling. Barnett says he trained her in more of an old school setup. She is good at improvising and good on the mic, she is also hard hitting and snug. She knows how to get on her opponent and make the crowd believe her which will make her stand out. She’s all about being a wrestling first, gimmick second. Ross sees Baszler being a great opponent for Charlotte or Asuka. They talk about the state of women’s wrestling today and how there are so many women involved in the sport.
J.R. mentions that Josh trained Harry Smith (son of Davey Boy Smith) and asks how good can he be. Barnett says Smith still has a lot of untapped potential. Barnett would like to get him to Southern California to train with Barnett as much as possible. Harry is good at finding places to train while on the road. Barnett says he embodies the old school mentality, learning how to shoot then incorporating that into his pro wrestling.
They plug the AXS TV show once again and Barnett talks about some of the appearances he’s recently done. In February, he’s running a catch wrestling tournament in Southern California. He mentions a new grappling project called Quintet he’s working on with Kazushi Sakuraba. J.R. thanks Barnett him for being on the show and Josh signs off.
J.R. reiterates that he and Barnett are going to bring it for the Wrestle Kingdom show and queues up Kevin Nash next on the podcast.
53:37 – Kevin Nash
J.R. welcomes Kevin Nash to the podcast. J.R. talks about a picture Nash posted of a scar on his knee which looked pretty nasty. Nash talks about his knee issues from his basketball days which ended his basketball career and got him into wrestling. During the 30 years of wrestling, his knees got worse and he realized that he had to get it fixed after not being able to catch up to a 65 year old woman at the airport. His knee got replaced, however, because of all his prior knee issue he had, they had to do an additional 2 hours of surgery to undo all the previous damage before they could do the rebuild.
Ross mentions that Gerry Brisco, who listens to the show, is probably vomiting after hearing about Kevin’s knee surgery. Nash says after he got his tricep repaired that Gerry was there making sure he was OK and said he always had a good relationship with Gerry. J.R. puts over Gerry Brisco as a good person.
J.R. says he can’t believe that Kevin Nash has been in the business for 30 years. He talks about how Kevin was a recurring guest on J.R.’s radio show in Atlanta where they discovered Nash was glib and a very good talker. J.R. asks if Nash’s goal was to get to the WWE when he was in WCW. Kevin says it was his goal to make it to New York.
Nash says he’s stayed busy throughout this year whether it was through movie work or autograph signings. J.R. and Nash put over the WWE network as it allows a newer of fans to see both of their work.
J.R. switches gears and talks about the Vince McMahon and Alpha Entertainment. J.R. says if Vince is going to start a company and maybe do football, he will have done his research to understand how that business model works. J.R. asks Nash if it bothers him that Vince will not be focusing 100% of this time on his core product (sports entertainment). Kevin thinks the company is in good hands and is not worried. Nash thinks the initial ratings for the first XFL were OK but the product was not successful because it was a situation of wrong place wrong time.
J.R. asks if there’s any doubt that Triple H will be the next in line in the WWE. Kevin agrees Triple H will be the next guy. J.R. and Nash talk about how well Triple H has done with the NXT product. Nash recalls a discussion he had with Vince comparing today’s dressing room compared to when Kevin Nash broke in. Back in Nash’s day, it was a shark tank where everyone was gunning for the top whereas today, everyone waits for someone to come around and anoint them. J.R. puts over Vince and says he’s very smart even at 72 years old.
J.R. and Kevin talk about handling the money they’ve made. Nash invested his money wisely and is doing well. J.R. talks about his investments and how well he’s doing. J.R. says younger wrestlers need to have a game plan when it comes to the money they make and spend. Nash tells a story about Chief Jay Strongbow and buying a house for cash. He also talks about wanting to buy a big ocean front lot but realized he would not be able to pay for property taxes and decided to go small. J.R. talks about how his his job in talent relation took a lot of time and he would never book any time for himself. Nash and J.R. talk about how Vince would set the example and work 20 hour days. Nash talks about being asked to come back to work in the WWE, however, he does not want to commit the time it would take. He would rather work on his own time.
J.R. and Nash talk more about having a game plan with regards to finances and how to get out of debt which is where they are in their stages of life. J.R. puts over Nash for being smart with his money. J.R. talks about how everything he’s gotten is because of the wrestling business.
J.R. asks Nash how he keeps up with the current product. Nash says he DVRs RAW then goes on Twitter to see where all the hype is then watches those specific things. He brings up the example of the Cena/Reigns promos leading up to No Mercy. Nash as a big man says he watches Strowman to see if they are using him right. He also says Finn Balor’s entrance alone makes him look like a star. Both Nash and J.R. talk about how wrestler’s today need to learn how to slow down and sell.
They shotgun a few topics such as the Twitter war between Jim Cornette and Daniel Cormier vs. The Young Bucks and Cody Rhodes, which started due to a drop kick spot in ROH, Nash’s views on Big Cass’ knee injury and why some performers take excessive bumps. J.R. talks about learning how to do commentary under Bill Watts and how to approach calling matches, using a sports oriented style. J.R. feels we don’t get this style of play by play and that at times, wrestling play by play is too cute.
J.R. goes on to talk about a match between Dick Murdoch and Killer Kox. Murdoch was trying to do too much comedy and Kox clocked him with a short punch to smarten him up. Nash talks about how he would work out the story of his match then go to J.R. with that story so they were all on the same page for their match. The wrestlers and announcers were working as a team to put over the match. These days, younger wrestlers will ask Nash to watch their matches, however, when Nash asks what the story of the match was, they don’t have an answer. J.R. says the content current wrestlers are creating in their matches is at times unrelatable. The matches are great for a highlight reel but sometimes the story is not clear.
Nash brings up the fact J.R. was surprised Nash had been in the business for 30 years and Nash says there won’t be 30 year guys anymore because no ones’s body will be able to take the abuse based on the current style. Nash brings up Rey Mysterio and says that while he still does his signature spots, he works a much smarter style which has led to his longevity.
J.R. asks if Nash felt that he sold too much because he was a big guy. Nash didn’t think he sold too much as long as the person he was working with had offence. He brings up Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart who both had believable offences. J.R. talks about Bill Watts’ philosophy on selling during a match as a big man.
Nash and J.R. talk about Scott Hall who is doing well. Nash mentions he’s trying to get better for the RAW 25th anniversary. J.R. hopes to see Nash at that show and wishes him well.
1:28:41 – Show Wrap
J.R. thanks both Kevin Nash and Josh Barnett for being on the podcast today. He re-plugs their call of Wrestle Kingdom on AXS TV. He talks about the Slobberknocker book and the first ever Slobberknocker session coming up in Philly. Next week, Sean Waltman will be on the show talking about various wrestling topics. Also on the show will be Pat Laprade who was one of the authors of Mad Dog: The Maurice Vachon Story. Incidentally, Pat Laprade was in the audience during the Montreal Screwjob which may come up next week. J.R. wishes everyone a good week and Happy New Year and signs off.
Show Rating – 8/10
I really dug the Josh Barnett portion of the podcast, especially when he was talking about the New Japan dojo and their training mentality. Some really interesting stuff. And Kevin Nash is always a great interview as he is one of the smarter minds in the wrestling business (and yeah I know I might get some heat from that statement). That said, some of this was hard to recap as J.R. and Nash were all over the place but overall this was a really interesting podcast.
“0:00” – Show intro
“1:54” – What’s On JRs Mind
“13:15” – Josh Barnett
“53:37” – Kevin Nash
1:28:41 – Show Wrap
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.