The Ross Report
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
0:00 – Intro
Coming up on today’s podcast is Bruce Prichard talking about his podcast (Something To Wrestle) as well as part two of the interview with John Pollock from www.postwrestling.com talking about a variety of topics.
4:34 – What’s on JRs mind
J.R starts with reporting that Paige’s in ring career may be over due to a neck injury. She is only 25 years old but Jim says that’s not too old to reinvent herself. Her professional life isn’t over. He says Paige broke into the business at age 13 and asks what is plan b as she has to think about that. J.R thinks she will be affiliated with the WWE and the sports entertainment world. He also thinks she could be in movies as a villain or heroine in WWE movies as she has a lot of talent.
J.R says brings up fighters in MMA doing disastrous weight cuts. He asks what can be done to curtail extreme weight loss which is unnatural and unhealthy and a logical remedy is years past due. Jim says he wants hear about MMAs next big star, not find out the big news item is someone died during a weight cut.
J.R says Ronda Rousey talking to the WWE should not be a surprise to anyone. He thinks WWE and Ronda Rousey is a match made in heaven as she sells PPVs, she’s a compelling character and a world class judo player and badass. He thinks there are a lot of big match opportunities for Ronda. He puts on his fantasy booking hat and says what if Ronda was a surprise entrant to the Women’s Royal Rumble and won. This would give her the right to challenge one of the World Champions. The money match would be Charlotte Flair and could they possibly even main event a show like WrestleMania or SummerSlam?
Speaking of Ronda, there is some chatter that she may not be welcomed in the WWE locker room. J.R thinks this is bulls**t. Ronda Rousey means more people watch, the more people that watch, the more money the WWE earns, which means everyone earns more money.
J.R talks about the new leadership at Impact Wrestling who are making talent roster changes, which is a win in his opinion. He also says they need to write logical TV shows with realistic storylines and most importantly, get someone hot. In order to do this, you need to create momentum and commit to the product over the long haul. Every company needs to get someone hot whether its WWE, ROH or New Japan.
J.R appreciates the feedback he’s been receiving from Wrestle Kingdom 12, which was largely positive. He felt good about his performance and felt he and Josh Barnett had a good outing. There are people saying they want to hear Kevin Kelly and Don Callis to call the matches on AXS but that’s not what AXS wants. He’s going to continue doing good work and get people to come around.
J.R expects he and Jerry Lawler will be doing something at the Manhattan Center for the RAW 25th anniversary on January 22th as that would be appropriate. However, nothing has been confirmed and he’s just happy to be there. He says some of the best nights of his career were sitting ringside at Monday night RAW. He mentions the Attitude Era and how those Monday night RAWs were packed. Guys were making a lot of money selling t-shirts. It was a magical run and he was glad to be part of it.
J.R does a quick plug for his Slobberknocker Session event at noon on January 28th in Philadelphia. Only 100 tickets are on sale and you can get them online at www.ticketfly.com.
J.R does another plug for the Slobberknocker books. For anyone interested, www.book-ends.com have signed copies of the book available. The book is doing great.
20:26 – Bruce Prichard
J.R welcomes Bruce to the show who is currently in Houston. He brings up Bruce’s podcast and says that when pressed and with the right opportunity, it’s possible for anyone to reinvent themselves and Bruce has done a great job of that. Bruce says he had reached a point in his life where he thought he was out of the wrestling business but they dragged him back in. Conrad Thompson pitched the idea of the podcast, which Bruce initially said he would never do. Conrad continued to push and Bruce is happy that he did because right now they are having a lot of fun.
J.R asks about Bruce working with the Brooklyn Nets. Bruce says they contacted Conrad and asked if they would be interested in partnering with them as their audience and Bruce’s audience were the same. After a Nets game, Conrad and Bruce would do their live show. The first one is January 19th but from there, they may be working with the NHL and some other NBA teams. J.R says this is a bold move because they will be in a bigger room than they’re used to. Bruce agrees but says they are up for the task. J.R wants Bruce to establish this show well as he will be impersonated. He says this was a common trait in the old territory days where people would borrow ideas from other territories then make it theirs.
J.R and Bruce start talking about Paul Boesch (26:54 into the podcast). Bruce says they had Mid-South and PowerPro wrestling ,which were nationally syndicated shows. Bruce did the promos for the individual markets, however, any promos he did in Houston would be edited out and replaced by Paul Boesch or his nephew. Bruce tells a story about Paul who was the promoter but also the on-air talent in Houston. When they went with Mid-South, Bill Watts brought in Jim to help Paul with commentary and marketing. Bill would ask Jim to mention a potential match during commentary however, Paul would cover the mic with his hand and turn his back to Jim so Jim couldn’t hear what he was saying. Bruce tells a story about Paul calling every night ‘slacks night’ which was an old school promotion from the ’50s and ’60s where ladies who came to the matches in slacks would get 50% off their ticket.
J.R asks if Bruce is going to be at the 25th Anniversary on RAW and Bruce says yes. He tells the story of how he got invited and was asked to keep it quiet. However, it was announced on Smackdown so he felt ok to mention it on the podcast. J.R says this is like a family reunion and will be a great opportunity for photos, selfies and social media. He adds that the array of talent that accepted the booking is incredible. Bruce just wants to be one to say hi to people but says he wouldn’t mind being Brother Love one more time. Bruce tells a quick story about having a frustrating appearance as Brother Love and after the appearance threw all his Brother Love gear out the window.
J.R brings up Paige’s neck injury, which is similar to Edge’s meaning her in-ring career may be over. Paige has been wrestling since she was 13 and now is 25. J.R asks Bruce what her plan B may be. Bruce says thank God she’s only 25 and has time to learn other things. J.R thinks she could potentially work in some WWE films, be an interviewer or learn to be a color analyst but the bottom line is that she still has a purpose.
J.R mentions that some of Bruce’s podcasts are three hours long. Bruce says on average they are three hours long and some have gone five hours. J.R asks whose idea was that. Bruce responds the first few times it was by accident but they noticed that their longer shows were getting high download numbers. He adds that some people on radio talk for 4 hours a day while they are doing 3 to 4 hours a week. J.R compares podcasting to booking a territory, saying he has one market called The Ross Report.
J.R asks if Bruce is involved in researching for their podcast. Conrad has joked that he does the research and Bruce just shows up and talks. They decide on the topics and allow the audience to vote for them then talk about the subject. In some cases, if they are talking about an old ppv, Bruce will watch and take notes. During the podcast, Bruce will insert comments when appropriate.
Bruce says he was a note taker and kept all his notepads. He recently found a new bin of these notepads. J.R says he has all his notes from his WWE tenure and 327 hours of Mid-South Wrestling formats with Bill Watt’s handwriting. Bruce says he had handwritten format sheets with 4 weeks of RAWs that had arrows drawn all over it. He’s impressed that the young writers today are able to use their computers to put together 3 hours of RAW. J.R says he’s glad he’s not writing 3 hour RAW episodes. He also says you couldn’t get too high or too low over ratings because you had to turn it around again the next week. There was no time to celebrate or mourn…just get back to work.
Kevin Dunn and Bruce used to look at Vince and he would be talking about stuff 8 weeks away. Kevin and Bruce just wanted to get through the show that night then later on they would address everything else. Bruce continues to say that while they had long range plans they were fighting just to get through the day. J.R says they didn’t know any other way to operate and says they didn’t have the volume of people.
Bruce says he hears people make fun of the brass ring comment (from Vince’s podcast with Steve Austin) and says those that understood the business was a shoot and were competitive got it and were successful. He adds the guys that made it were the guys that fought for it and fought to stay at the top. J.R says the Attitude Era locker room was very competitive.
J.R asks Bruce about the Undertaker. Back when Taker was in WCW, Jim told Ole Anderson (the booker for the territory), Taker was going to be a big time player and he should be paid more. Ole went on a tirade saying Taker would never draw a dime and said J.R had no idea what talent was. Bruce says he watched Taker from his time in Dallas and had a lot of similarities to the Spoiler (Don Jardine) and thought Jardine had a hand in training Taker. It was Paul Heyman who called Bruce about Taker’s contract coming up in WCW and asked if Bruce had any interest. Bruce got Vince to watch Taker (at the time Mean Mark Callaway) wrestler Lex Luger. Taker had a dislocated hip and the match was bad. Bruce had a meeting set up with Vince and Taker but Vince cancelled because he didn’t think Taker was anything special and said Luger was the star in that match. Later on, WCW had an event in the Meadowlands and convinced Vince to just meet Taker even though Bruce didn’t even know him. They met and Vince hired Taker. Bruce already had a black knight/dark angel character for Bruce as Brother Love to manage. (and thank GOD Vince met Taker).
J.R asks what is Bruce’s favorite podcast or a show that has gotten more positive feedback than another. Bruce says his favorite show is the one they did on Houston Wrestling (I highly recommend this podcast especially if you’re an older wrestling fan or are interested in the territory days). Conrad initially wasn’t interested in this podcast because he didn’t know anything about Houston wrestling. It was a show they mainly just talked and Bruce told stories. It was a passionate show for Bruce because Houston is where he got his start in the business. Their most downloaded show of all time was the first TNA show, which was surprising to them as Bruce and Conrad didn’t really care about that topic. The show that Conrad calls his masterpiece was the Bret Hart show which was almost 5 hours. J.R says he couldn’t do a 4 or 5 hour show because he’s a one man show and would be a lot of work.
J.R talks about Bruce’s and Conrad’s relationship, which started because of the mortgage business. Bruce said they started the podcast to help sell mortgages on www.savewithbruce.com.
This ends part one of the Bruce Prichard interview and will be back next week for part two. Coming up is John Pollock for part two of their conversation from last week.
57:05 – John Pollock
J.R says Conor McGregor has adopted Mr. McMahon’s strut to the ring, which makes J.R laugh. J.R asks what are the chances from 1 to 10 (10 being a lock) McGregor does something with the WWE in the next 3 to 5 years. John says in the next 3 to 5 years he would say higher but for this year, it’s very low. He says he can see Conor doing a one-off with the company but not anything longer. John says Conor did grow up a wrestling fan but he’s not sure if Connor follows wrestling today. He adds it’s not a coincident Triple H was at MSG for Conor’s fight (against Eddie Alvarez). John is sure there’s been talks and says in the next 3 to 5 years says he’d guess a 7/10 that McGregor will do something. J.R say he would be very surprised if there haven’t already been conversations with McGregor and the WWE.
J.R says they wouldn’t need Conor on the upcoming WrestleMania if there’s a chance to get Ronda Rousey. People have complained to J.R this is too predictable but John says some of the biggest successes were predictable or as he calls it, logical progression.
J.R asks John to put on his fantasy booker hat and book the WWE Title match and Universal Title match. John says for the Universal title all signs point to Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns, which is the number one match on the RAW side. On the Smackdown side, things are more interesting with A.J. Styles as champ because there are a lot of unique matches you can make with him. The one near the top of everyone’s list is Shinsuke Nakamura. John says that match is something Nakamura could use and would give a lot of focus to Nakamura. John continues that it has been a difficult adjustment of how to present Nakamura week to week compared to NXT where there was a mystique around him as he wasn’t on week to week. John sees Nakamura as a unique entity on the main roster and want him to be different. If you link Nakamura with A.J Styles you have latched him onto something with a payoff and can build this in a way that compliments them both. It should be a serious style build as two competitors at the top of their games who have history and are going to fight over the championship where the winner will be the best.
J.R asks what can be done to show the Nakamura from Wrestle Kingdom 9. John says the main issue is no one knows who Shinsuke Nakamura is. He was at the top of his game at New Japan and chose to walk away from that, which is a compelling story but hasn’t been told. Why he came here and uprooted his family from Japan to NXT hasn’t been emphasized. This is the human side you can present in a sit down interview (with subtitles if needed). People haven’t been given a reason to connect to him beyond his entrance and moveset. J.R says Nakamura’s best match was his first match in NXT against Sami Zayn. John agrees Nakamura’s entrance was one of the greatest introduction of any WWE performer.
J.R mentions Roman vs. Brock for the Universal title but asks about Braun Strowman. J.R gets the feeling Braun may be the guy before Roman and wonders if Reigns is a lock. John doesn’t classify anything as a lock and thinks Braun was the guy they should be focusing on. Based on audience reaction and and improvements he’s made, many people consider Braun a top player.
At the time, the build between Brock and Braun was a great lead up to their match but says they gave away something they could have made much bigger down the road at WrestleMania. John continues to say there is a big build up to WrestleMania and a new champ is crowned but how do you follow up the biggest show of the year. The way to do that is having a challenger ready and that could be Braun. John sees Braun as part of the main event mix but not in the main event of WrestleMania.
J.R says Brock’s contract will expire sometime after WrestleMania. This was the problem three years ago where his contract was up before WrestleMania and it wasn’t until the week prior that he signed back with the WWE.
J.R asks if Brock will re-sign or do something else, including MMA. John says Brock will play things up until the deadline to work out the best deal for himself. That said, John thinks the WWE is the better direction. One thing John goes back to is attending at UFC 200. During the press conference after the matches, John says Brock was so happy and genuinely loves fighting but says his gut says Brock will sign with the WWE.
J.R says the UFC is in the same position as the WWE as both need to create young stars they can push. The PPV business is attraction driven and people want to see stars. Both MMA and pro wrestling are lacking on star power. John agrees and says that’s the life blood of each of those business. If you look at the UFC’s biggest PPV drivers, you have Conor McGregor who will want a large payday and has an outlet in boxing he may explore. People are pessimistic that Ronda Rousey will ever fight again. George Saint Pierre vacated the middleweight title and may not fight again. Jon Jones is up against another USADA violation and could face a multiple year suspension. When you talk about those kinds of issue, Brock Lesnar’s WWE contract coming due is attractive to the UFC who are looking to increase revenue for one night and Brock can do that. The UFC has some great fighters but to cross into the category of being able to pull 800,000 buys on a PPV is a tough hurdle for a fighter to make. There is a significant gulf between Jon Jones and George Saint Pierre and the next level who are significantly lesser stars.
J.R asks how Jack Swagger (Jake Hager) will do in the world of MMA. John says he made a smart decision going to Bellator. Scott Coker (CEO of Bellator) has a great understanding of how to make stars and move them from one level to the next without the person getting in over his head. They have a thriving heavyweight division and Jake will be matched appropriately in his first fight, which is a luxury he would not have in the UFC. John is optimistic to see where Swagger goes and says in 3 to 4 fights we should see where he’s going in the heavyweight division.
J.R puts on his fantasy booking hat and asks about a Brock vs. Jake Hager match, which is an interesting story to talk about. J.R says every company mentioned in today’s podcast could do a better job telling stories. J.R continues to say a Brock vs. Barnett would be an interesting fight and the interviews leading up to the fight would be real. John says that’s what you want in a Lesnar fight and that the other guy understands the role. Frank Mir set the template for that and he’s someone who is in Bellator. If Brock were to go to Bellator, there would be a ready made third fight on the table, with Brock and Mir which was supposed to be the UFC 200 main event.
J.R asks about pay in the UFC. If Brock were to do a one-off in the summer, would he get a win bonus? John says the way Lesnar’s prior deals have worked was a set money amount with a high guarantee plus points from the PPV. J.R adds if Brock in WWE, he should still be allowed to fight MMA.
J.R asks about Alpha Entertainment as Vince McMahon sold $100 million dollars in stock. John finds this fascinating and this could potentially one of the biggest stories in 2018. This is no longer a theory anymore, there is some muscle behind this venture, which should bring about a lot of interesting subjects. Certain trademarks have been filed for the XFL so if we go with that theory, what is the demand from media outlets and broadcasters for a football league (if that’s the intention). John says the XFL was a brand remembered by people and it was marketed effectively for a year which led to the big audiences in the first week. John wants to see what it becomes because it has been an interesting series of events that could lead to Vince diversifying himself and his role with the WWE. J.R says Vince has done a great job surrounding himself with highly motivated and intelligent people in his inner circle. He says Triple H running the wrestling side will be fine and has no reservations. Another key is who Vince surrounds himself with in Alpha Entertainment and assuming it is a football league, let those people be the face of the brand. J.R mentions they should hire the ‘face’ of the league who the fans like and is comfortable in front of the camera.
John says it’s a very different landscape presently in the WWE. Everyone sees Triple H as Vince’s eventual successor and while it would be a transition, people would be comfortable with it. John asks J.R if he could envision Vince turning the WWE over given his passion for the business. J.R doesn’t have to divest himself of the WWE and doesn’t do as much as he did before. J.R says if Triple H hit a conundrum he has one of the greatest promoters of all time down the hall. Vince is not working as crazy as he used to but is very excited with Alpha Entertainment.
John asks if J.R would ever call football. J.R says if Vince called him tomorrow he would be ready and able. The last time J.R did the XFL, he got paid $1,500 a game. John says he couldn’t imagine how hard that 4 month period was with calling football but still working in the WWE. J.R says it was sometimes but one of the great things working for Vince was that he would always get a straight answer, which made J.R’s job much easier.
J.R is excited about this situation and sees Vince rejuvenated. Vince’s pride and passion for wrestling will never die but the WWE would be in good hands with Triple H. John adds he sees a parallel with Dana White who has his eye on about boxing. He thinks Zuffa boxing is something they will move forward with and was like a kid in a candy store doing the Mayweather/McGregor tour. Dana’s first love was always boxing and it’s interesting that two of the most powerful promoters in the world are have their sights on something that is not what we associate them with (i.e the WWE and the UFC).
J.R asks if John his thoughts on the Aro Lucha shows. John has only heard the first set of tapings got a good response from those who went to the Nashville Fairgrounds. He says a key to this promotion will be the deals you can strike that will help you grow your business much more than storylines and promos. The initial issue will be getting distribution for the product.
J.R asks if John watches the AXS version of NJPW in Toronto. John gets some of the episodes sent to him from AXS but Canada doesn’t get AXS. John says he’s always enjoyed the AXS shows. AXS has done good work such as using subtitles and allowing character development. Overall, he says AXS does a great job of packaging the shows and the turnaround is much better than it has been in the past.
J.R and John briefly discuss Wrestle Kingdom 12 and loved the Jericho vs. Omega match. John thinks Chris had the time of his life during the build and the match. It was very simple and effective.
J.R thanks John and wishes him luck on his new venture www.postwrestling.com and pushes his social media (@iamjohnpollock). J.R thanks John for being on the podcast and he signs off.
1:33:07 – Show wrap
J.R thanks John and Bruce Prichard for being on the show. Bruce will be back next week for part two of their conversation. Jim pushes his Slobberknocker event in Philadelphia and that’s a wrap.
Rating – 8/10
Two great guests and two great interviews covering a wide variety of topics. The Bruce Prichard portion of the interview had some fun stories and John is one of the more intelligent reporters in wrestling. My one critique of this podcast (and this is a completely personal thing)…I’m not a huge fan of having two interviews on one show as I think it stops the flow. The ending to the Bruce Prichard portion of the interview was sudden and awkward. I would have rather heard all of the John Pollock interview in one shot last week and the Bruce Prichard interview this week. Otherwise, great podcast overall.
0:00 – Intro
4:34 – What’s on JRs Mind
20:26 – Bruce Prichard
57:05 – John Pollock
1:33:07 – 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. He just likes wrestling. Check him out on twitter and instagram @ja113.