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The Jim Ross Report with Conrad Thompson on how he broke into the podcast world, his three favorite wrestling matches and Mount Rushmore of professional wrestling, J.R. on which wrestler is the future of WWE

The Jim Ross Report

Release Date: April 25, 2018

Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo

DIRECT LINK TO LISTEN/DOWNLOAD

0:00 – Intro

Jim welcomes everyone to the show and says the ratings for his podcast have been off the charts since he came back. He thanks everyone for their support. On today’s podcast will be Conrad Thompson who J.R interviewed a few weeks ago prior to his hiatus.

2:36 – What’s on Jim’s Mind

By the time this podcast drops, J.R will either be on his way to or will already be in Saudi Arabia for the Greatest Royal Rumble. The travel sounds intense and  involves a number of stopovers both going there and for the return trip. Regardless, J.R is looking forward to going and he’ll be working the pre-game and halftime shows at the event.

Jim says tickets sales for his  Inside The Ropes events in the UK are doing well and can be purchased at www.insidetheropes.co.uk.

The J.R and The King’s shows are being organized and they already have a few bookings. More information to come in the following weeks.

J.R thanks Jerry Bostic and the IWR for their Texas events. He enjoyed taking part and the shows went well.

J.R sent a Happy Birthday text to John who responded back. This was a big deal to him because John acknowledged his text message despite how busy it has been for Cena during this period of time. J.R also congratulates the Rock on the birth of his daughter Gia Johnson and says the Rock was one of the first people to call him when his wife Jan got in her accident.

TMZ recently did an interview with J.R that got some air time where he said Ronda Rousey’s debut in WrestleMania was the most impressive debut of a pro wrestler he had ever seen given the circumstances. He is on the Rousey bandwagon and believes she will do big things in the WWE.

J.R is happy to see Impact Wrestling’s recent PPV got positive feedback as that’s not something that happens very often. They need to get some consecutive hits and he is rooting for Impact Wrestling or any company that hires wrestlers. Impact will be doing a PPV in Toronto soon.

J.R brings up Court Bauer and compares him to Chatsworth Osborne Jr. (a character in a TV show from the 1960s called The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis…although, I do not at all get the reference). He congratulates Court and his team for their new Wrestling show on BeIN Sports and hopes he does well. Jack Swagger and Jeff Cobb may be showing up on Court’s TV show which would be two great gets.

The most awe inspiring moment J.R saw on TV this week was Braun Strowman tackling someone and he says Braun Strowman is the future of the WWE.

15:33 – Slobberknocker of the Week

The video package for Bruno Sammartino at the beginning of RAW this week had J.R in tears and he gives Bruno the Slobberknocker of the week. Bruno passed away on April 18th at age 82. There has been an outpouring of love and respect from around the world. Bruno in the eyes of many, including J.R is the Babe Ruth of wrestling. He was the WWWF champion for 9 years in his first run and 4 years in his second run. J.R’s late wife lived in the same neighborhood as Bruno and would sometimes see him doing road work. J.R recalls going to Pittsburgh with Jerry McDevitt (WWE lawyer) to speak with Bruno about coming back to the WWE.

While J.R and Bruno connected, Bruno was not ready to reconnect with the WWE. J.R also gives kudos to Dave Meltzer and Busted Open radio for the work they did covering Bruno Sammartino this week. J.R says Bruno’s run of headlining the most lucrative territory in the world for 9 years will never happen again because of the way the industry and the fan base has changed. Today’s fans most likely would not stand for it. He also says there would be huge pressure on Bruno during his time on top and J.R is pleased he got to know Bruno.

J.R talks about Bill Watts becoming Bruno’s workout partner when Bill was in the WWWF. They were a tag team and eventually Bill turned on Bruno and they drew a lot of money together. Bruno endorsed Bill as a main event star even though Bill was only in his third year in the business. J.R sent Bruno’s son Darryl a text of condolence of Bruno’s passing. Darryl sent a text back thanking J.R and saying that Bruno thought the world of J.R which meant so much to him (understandably). J.R closes this segment thanking Bruno for being his friend and for all the things Bruno did for the wrestling business.

24:20 – Conrad Thompson

J.R welcomes Conrad to the show who burst on the scene through his affiliation with Ric Flair. He asks how his relationship with Ric came about. Conrad contributed to a Go Fund Me campaign for an ECW documentary and if you were able to donate a specific amount, one of the old ECW superstars would come over to your house to screen the movie with you. In this case, it was Shane Douglas who ended up coming over to Conrad’s house to watch the movie. One of the guys who was there was Dave Millican who designed belts for the WWE and was good friends with Mark James who was working on a book with Jim Cornette.

Through all these relationships and acquaintances, Conrad eventually met Ric Flair and the two hit it off and exchanged numbers. When CBS gave Ric an opportunity to do a podcast, Ric asked Conrad to sit in on his first podcast and he kept coming back from there.

J.R says Conrad and Ric have good chemistry which is something you can’t necessarily learn. You either have it or you don’t. Bruce Prichard was off the radar for awhile but now it seems his passion for wrestling is back due in part to Conrad. Conrad says he feels the same way about Tony Schiavone. Both Tony and Bruce had wrestling in the rearview mirror however many of Bruce and Conrad’s conversation sounded like a podcast. Conrad eventually convinced Bruce to do a test podcast on the condition that Conrad grill him with questions and people really dug the shows. It was the same with Tony Schiavone as well and now Conrad is doing almost as much podcasting as he is working in the mortgage industry.

Conrad plugs www.savewithbruce.com in case you’re looking to buy a house or refinance.

Conrad says this generation considers J.R the greatest announcer in wrestling however, now that J.R is doing New Japan, he seems to have a large number of boo birds. Conrad asks J.R what his response to the criticism is. J.R doesn’t worry about the negative feedback as there is nothing he can do about that. Conrad says a lot of people started watching Wrestle Kingdom because J.R did the English commentary. This may not have been something Conrad would have considered until J.R’s name was associated with the product. J.R brings up there have been a lot of fans into Japanese wrestling for decades and brings up the popularity of the Great Muta especially with a number of the female audience.

J.R asks how long he and Tony Schiavone will prep for their show. Conrad will bring up the PPV they are covering on the WWE network (for only $9.99) and make notes. He’ll also pull up either the Observer or PWTorch website to do additional research. Once done, he and Tony will hit record and go live to tape. Conrad will record the podcast in his home studio while Tony is at his home studio however, there have been a few times Tony has been to Conrad’s house to record.

J.R and Conrad tell a few quick stories and ribs about Tony Schiavone such as:

  • Tony deserving a monument for being married for 40 years
  • Tony Schiavone night in Atlanta
  • J.R rooming and travelling with Tony in the Mid-Atlantic promotion

Conrad asks J.R if he has any stories about Klondike Bill. J.R says Bill was working in the Oklahoma territory and had a habit of going by the bus station as that’s where ‘ladies of the night’ would hang out. Bill was the number two babyface at the time, ended up getting syphilis of the eyes which was very contagious and ended up getting unbooked from the territory. That said, J.R said Klondike was a good guy and old school.

J.R asks if Flair was Conrad’s guy when he was growing up. Conrad says he was a Hulkamaniac. It wasn’t until he was 15 or 16 where he got into Flair and the Horsemen through tape trading. J.R says the Horsemen were cool but you still wanted to see them get beat whereas today’s heel want to be a cool heel and want fans to buy their t-shirts. Conrad brings up Arn Anderson who he felt was underrated and added a level of realism to the Horsemen. J.R agrees and says Arn was all business and could work with anyone. Conrad wonders if Arn had come up in an earlier generation, would he have a shot at being the NWA champion. J.R says Arn had the skill set the promoters looked for which were reliability, good work and the ability to work heel or babyface.

J.R discusses how the old promoters were like baseball scouts who would look for traits in wrestlers and highlight those traits to use in the conclusion of matches. This segues into a discussion about the negativity from some of the fans. Conrad is pretty happy with the current product and knows not everything is for him. He is able to look at the product through a different set of eyes at something that may not appeal to him but will appeal to someone else.

J.R says the older audience are being displaced because the product has changed and asks Conrad if this has any validity. Conrad says it has some validity but also says right now is the best time to be a wrestling fan. You don’t have to watch the current product but can catch the older stuff on the network or listen to podcasts. The access fans have to wrestlers right now is unbelievable because you have the ability to tweet a wrestler and they may respond.

J.R asks Conrad what his three favorite wrestling matches are. Conrad lists:

  • Austin vs Hart – WM 13
  • Taker vs HBK – HIAC from Badd Blood 97
  • Funk vs Flair – NY Knock Out I Quit Match

Conrad also says one of the best matches he’s been to live is Taker vs Brock at Wrestlemania 30. The shock and the panic that happened when Taker lost was unbelievable. J.R says the three matches Conrad listed have one thing in common….J.R called all three.

J.R asks why Conrad liked his book Slobberknocker. Conrad wasn’t sure what to expect of the book but was pleasantly surprised because it was like the reader was with J.R during the journey not just the 30,000 foot overview that many wrestling books have. J.R’s book has a level of detail that doesn’t always get written about. Conrad says it’s an awesome book (and I agree…it is an awesome read. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend).

J.R asks who is on Conrad’s Mount Rushmore of wrestling. Conrad says Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes and Randy Savage (although he thought about saying Terry Funk). J.R plugs Conrad’s twitter (@HeyHeyItsConrad) and says there will probably be people who will take exception to his Mount Rushmore asking how he can put Randy Savage ahead of Austin or the Rock. Conrad says wrestling is what you grow up on. When he was a kid, Conrad loved the polka dot version of Dusty because that’s what he grew up on. It wasn’t until later he found out about Dusty’s run in the territories. Conrad says it’s his Mount Rushmore and that’s who he’s picking.

J.R loves what Conrad has done with Tony and Bruce and asks where he sees the podcast going. Conrad thinks video will become a bigger part of what they do and thinks it will evolve into a more live format. Fans want to see Conrad and Bruce and want to have an experience. This is how Conrad got the idea for Bruce Prichard to call fans after they buy a T-Shirt. He felt this would resonate with fans who would want to tell their friends that Brother Love called. This experience aspect whether it’s a live stream or a live show is where Conrad feels the genre is going.

J.R thanks Conrad for being on the show and wishes him luck with the shows and upcoming events. Conrad is thanks Jim and says he was honored to be invited for an interview.

After the interview, J.R plugs Conrad’s podcasts with Bruce Prichard and Tony Schiavone and his new one with Eric Bischoff called 83 weeks. J.R says he may not do interviews on every show and will be adding new things and refining the podcast.

1:00:10 – Pet Coon Goofy Award

J.R has gotten a lot of feedback on the show since he restarted and says the Pet Coon Goofy awards has gotten the most play. There are a lot of candidates for the award this week including:

  • Mitt Romney wearing a Utah Jazz jersey.
  • The New Orleans police investigating an incident between Jake Roberts,  Davey Boy Smith Jr. and a cup of coffee
  • The guy with a lawsuit against the WWE claiming some sort of intellectual property issue that appeared in t a 2K video game.

The winner this week are people who are complaining that the WWE is not taking any women to Saudi Arabia. The WWE has done more for women’s wrestling than any company in history. With regards to Saudi Arabia, the customs of the company are being addressed but it’s a slow change. J.R says the deal with Saudi Arabia is a win-win situation for the WWE and if the WWE is successful, it benefits all the wrestlers, men and women. J.R says the WWE going to Saudi Arabia and showing them what western culture is all about is the way to make change. He says that it’s an process that will take time. J.R thinks this trip will open everyone’s eyes about what the WWE can bring in terms of entertainment and excitement and feels some day the women of the WWE will be welcomed in Saudi with open arms.

1:08:10 – This Week In Wrestling

J.R brings up April 25th, 2011 in Raleigh, North Carolina, a match between him and Michael Cole on RAW. Jerry Lawler and Jack Swagger were also involved in the match. J.R potatoed Michael Cole in the mouth. J.R got whipped by Cole and got an ankle lock by Jack Swagger until Jerry Lawler made the save which set up a country whipping match for the Extreme Rules PPV later on that year. At that event, J.R did the honors to Michael Cole.

1:12:55 – Mailbag

If you have any questions for J.R email thejimrossreport@gmail.com.

Q: What’s Jim’s opinion on New Japan’s current scheduling? Should they transition to a weekly schedule?

A: Jim thinks they’re doing fine. They are growing slowly but surely and at a manageable rate. The only way they will grow in North America is to have more events in North America.

Q: Does Jim think the OVW class of Cena, Lesnar, Batista, Orton and Benjamin will ever be surpassed as the best roster to come out of a developmental territory.

A: J.R says that is hard to say and that you hope so but says that class will be damn hard to beat. Incidentally, Brock was the foreman of the ring crew because he knew how to drive the truck.

Q: This wasn’t so much a question but a comment about the Sheik being a fascinating character.

A: J.R never worked with the Sheik to any degree. He knew how to be a Sheik and had great crowd psychology and what he knew how to do, he did really really well. J.R feels that the Sheik is one of the top ten wrestling villains of all time. He owned Detroit and drew a lot of money.

Q: What are some of the places J.R were excited to see when he first broke into the business compared to now.

A: When J.R got into the business he was happy to be in the Mid-South territory and was hoping to get booked in New Orleans and Baton Rouge to make some good money. J.R brings up a story of getting paid with hot dogs in one of the Mid-South towns because the promoter was cheap.

Q: What are the challenges of calling a match like the Royal Rumble

A: J.R says it’s exhilarating. The story changes at every interval of a new entrant so you need to be able to process quickly and be prepared to have something on everyone that comes out. It feels like the time blows by. It can be challenging but fun.

Q: Does Jim have one black hat or duplicates?

A: J.R gets his hats custom made at a place called Shorty’s Cowboy Hattery which is one of the few hatteries left. These hats are not cheap at $900.00 a pop. Over the years, J.R will sometimes donate hats to charities such as Make A Wish

The final comment comes from a fan who ran a marathon and listened to the audio version of J.R’s book while running.

J.R thanks everyone for listening to the show and thanks Conrad Thompson for being on the show. This week on AXS TV they will have the semi-finals of the New Japan cup. On May the 11th, AXS will air the New Japan cup finals. The following week will be special coverage on Sakura Genesis. The G1 special will be in San Francisco at the Cow Palace on July 7th. Tickets go on sale May 1st.

1:26:01 – Show Wrap

Next week J.R will do a Saudi update. He thanks everyone for listening and says mentoring a young person is our responsibility as adults. There’s always something we can do to help someone who is younger to help with their development. He did it working with the IWR shows and loved it. And that’s a wrap.

Rating – 7/10

I’ll admit, personally, I’m having a hard time getting into J.R’s podcast since her returned. Having said that, I thought this one was so much better than his first two podcast since he’s been back. I liked that he put the Conrad Thompson interview before the Pet Coon Goofy award as it gave the podcats a better flow and focus. The interview was the highlight of this podcast. All in all, nothing flashy but nothing bad…just a good solid podcast with a ton of upside.

Timestamps

0:00 – Intro
2:36 – What’s On Jim’s Mind
15:33 – Slobberknocker Of The Week
24:20 – Conrad Thompson
1:00:10 – Pet Coon Goofy Award
1:08:10 – This Week In History
1:12:55 – Mailbag
1:26:01 – Show Wrap

Writer Bio

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.

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