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RECAP AND REVIEW: The Jim Ross Report with Chris Jericho on his future with NJPW, his upcoming cruise, Alpha Club vs. Bullet Club, thoughts on Brock Lesnar

The Jim Ross Report

Release Date: July 25th, 2018

Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo

DIRECT LINK TO LISTEN/DOWNLOAD

0:00 – Intro

Welcome back to another week of Slobberknocker audio with J.R. Jim is in the Westwood One studios in Los Angeles and Chris Jericho will be on the show.

1:36 – What’s On J.R.’s Mind?

Hulk Hogan’s reinstatement:

  • Hulk Hogan’s reinstatement opens to the door for Hogan to be more an official part of the WWE.
  • J.R. things Hogan will have more of a PR role. He would be surprised if Hogan were to get in the ring again even for a one off.
  • People want to know what J.R. thinks of the New Day and Titus O’Neil’s comments about Hogan coming back and the speech Hulk made to the Superstars prior to Extreme Rules. J.R. felt Titus and New Day were honest and spoke from the heart. He also understands that African-Americans have had so much prejudice and mistreatment in the US.
  • J.R. says Hogan has to continue moving forward in a positive way. He has to be honest and act in a healing manner but only time will tell. If everyone involved does their part from the heart and their soul it could result in great things and let’s allow this to play out. And if anyone deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame, it’s Hulk Hogan.

Impact Wrestling and Slammiversary:

  • He really enjoyed the show and was impressed with Austin Aries’ work against Moose. It’s challenging when the fan favorite is bigger than smaller heel but Aries came through with flying colors and enhanced Moose.
  • J.R. was not familiar with Pentagon Jr. and Sami Callihan but they tore it down. It was graphic, believable, emotional and compelling.
  • Josh Matthews and Don Callis had a lot of energy and are trying hard to bring that energy and their passion and their dedication to their brand to the audience. He hopes the people recognizes that and that everyone gave everything they had to make the show successful including the broadcaster.
  • The key for Impact is to keep building their core, make sure they nurture and evolve their small nucleus of top guys. You can’t have and don’t need 20 top guys but if you get 4, 6 or 8 top guys and you can keep them together it provides opportunities that are endless.
  • J.R. was impressed with the in-ring persona of Su Yung and thinks Tessa Blanchard has a great future. She’s still finding herself and developing her game.
  • Overall, a good night in Toronto for Impact.

New Japan Notes:

  • J.R. is in LA to do announcing for G1 matches with Josh Barnett. This week, they have Tanahashi vs Suzuki, Okada vs Jay White, Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr., Naito vs Omega, Ishii vs Naito and Omega vs Goto.
  • Someone asked if New Japan wanted to do an angle with Josh Barnett, J.R. and Jay White would he do it? J.R. says hell no. He’s still sore from the last event.
  • J.R. has been warned the officiating in this G1 matches has been suspect. The G1 is an athletic oriented product and you don’t want officiating inconsistencies to adversely affect the in-ring product.
  • Someone asked if New Japan could eventually overtake the WWE and J.R. says no. Jim spoke to NJPW’s CEO and their goal is not to overtake the WWE but rather to build their brand in North America. Nowhere during that conversation did he ever say they were going to ‘kick WWE’s a**’. He’s too smart a businessman and knows it can’t be done. Just take care of your own business and don’t worry about the competition. And this is not a knock on New Japan.

Random Notes:

  • Somebody asked how Jim would book the first WWE Fox program. J.R. has some general guidelines he’s thought about and says he would start the first show with the blow off of a major rivalry. He would also have to have an anticipated debut with a big build up.
  • J.R. got the first draft of a script based on Jeff Leen’s book about Mildred Burke called Queen of the Ring which is arguably the best wrestling book he’s read. J.R. bought the rights to the book. Ash Avildsen is writing the script and this film will be dedicated to J.R’s wife Jan and Ash’s father. They are only in the beginning stages but it’s very exciting.
  • The Mae Young tournament is filling out and the names he’s seen are really impressive. If the talent is able to maximize their minutes, there won’t be any losers. This is a big global footprint with the WWE network and many people will be watching. If you are not talented to lose with dignity and in an impressive style, you may not be right for the business.
  • J.R. was asked about ROH trying to book C.M. Punk for their show during Wrestlemania weekend and says this rumor will persist until the event comes and goes. J.R. doesn’t know if it will happen but doesn’t think it will.
  • Brian Blair had heard that Brickhouse Brown had passed away but has not passed away. J.R. tells a story about Bill Watts trying to replace JYD with another African-American after JYD left to the WWE. They tried a few wrestlers and brought in Brickhouse Brown. Bill Watts, Ernie Ladd and J.R. wanted to have a talk with Brown at a Holiday Inn but no one knew his real name. They had the hotel page Brickhouse Brown to come down to the front desk which J.R. thought was hilarious.
  • J.R. had a good time at the Southfork Ranch on Saturday for World Class Revolution. They signed Jose Canseco who is apparently interested in wrestling but wants to get up to 300lbs first. They also signed Farrah Abraham who has an interest in wrestling but has no clue about wrestling or taking bumps.
  • Court Bauer is going to have a War Games type match during their TV taping on Sept 6th. Jim hopes they don’t try to reinvent the wheel. The first three War Games were brilliant and they should follow that rule. Tweak the booking a little but don’t change it.
  • iTV’s World Of Sport Wrestling show will debut Saturday 28th. J.R. has a good relationship with the network.

26:57 – Slobberknocker Of The Week

Candidates include:

  • WWE winning the League Humanitarian Leadership Award at the Espy’s as they do a lot of great work, make a lot of kids happy and help a lot of families. J.R. is proud the company is doing that.
  • Mike Masalo, P.R. director for the Milwaukee Brewers who did a press conference in an act of forgiveness standing behind their remorseful and apologetic all-star pitcher Josh Hayden who made some racial remarks on twitter a few years ago as a kid. J.R. thought it was a hell of a way to stand up for your guys who admitted the error of his ways.

This week’s award is a tie:

Impact Wrestling Slammiversary and MLW who had successful events this weekend.

31:47 – Pet Coon Goofy Award

This week’s candidates:

  • The people who filmed Roseanne Barr who did a social media interview on youtube. She looked strung out and claimed ABC fired her because she voted for Donald Trump. She also said Valerie Jarrett was white and made a racially insensitive remark.
  • Emmanuel Macron whose chief of security was caught on tape impersonating a riot cop beating up a labor dispute protester.
  • The NFL kneeling debate which is a cluster.

This week’s winner is Guardian of the Galaxy director James Gunn after tweets resurfaced where he joked about pedophila and rape. He was set to direct the 3rd Guardians film but was fired on Friday.

37:12 – This Week In Wrestling

46 years ago, 1972 – WWWF live event at MSG, Mr. Fuji and Toru Tanaka retained the tag titles after wrestling to a draw against Chief Jay Strongbow and Sonny King. Also on the card, WWWF champion Pedro Morales defeated Don ‘The Spoiler’ Jardine.

31 years ago – July 31st, 1987 – Orange Bowl Miami – Great American Bash – Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, The Road Warriors and Paul Ellering defeated the Four Horsemen in the War Games match. Also on the card, the Rock N Roll Express beat the Midnight Express by DQ to retain the NWA tag team titles.

30 years ago – July 31st, 1988 – County Stadium in Milwaukee – WWF held WrestleFest. Randy Savage beat Ted Dibiase to retain the WWF title. Also, the Ultimate Warrior beat Bobby Heenan in a loser wears a weasel suit match. Also on the card, Hogan beat Andre the Giant in a steel cage match. J.R. bets it was an escape win which he feels is weak, lame and seemingly a way for promoters to acquiesce to talents who don’t want to lose.

20 years ago – July 26th, 1998 – Selland Arena in Fresno – Fully Loaded: In Your House – Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Undertaker beat Mankind and Kane to win the tag titles. Jackie defeated Sable by DQ in a bikini contest. J.R. says Jackie is potentially one of the most underrated talents and was able to make women who didn’t have her same skill set better.

19 years ago – July 25th, 1999 – Keybank Centre, Buffalo – Fully Loaded PPV – Sean Waltman helped Steve Austin defeat the Undertaker in a first blood match to retain the WWF title. Triple H beat the Rock in a strap match to determine the number one contender for SummerSlam. Also, there was an iron circle match with Ken Shamrock vs Steve Blackman in a parking garage.

3 years ago – Rowdy Roddy Piper passed away at age 61 on July 31st 2015. He is missed but his legacy, work and impact will never be forgotten.

Birthdays:

Marty Scurll (30), Finn Balor (37), the late great Whipper Billy Watson would have been 103 this week, Wildfire Tommy Rich (62), Roderick Strong (35), Tessa Blanchard (23), Greg Gagne (70), The Raging Bull Manny Fernandez (64), the late Matt Osborne (Doink) would have been 61, Triple H (49), Dolph Ziggler (38), Nick Jackson (29), the late Tim Mr Wrestling Woods would have been 84, Noam Dar (25), J.R.’s daughter Casey (42), the late Captain Lou Albano would have been 85, Scott Steiner (56), Arnold Schwarzenegger (71) and John Laurinaitis (56).

50:09 – Mailbag

Send questions and comments to thejimrossreport@gmail.com.

Q: What are J.R.’s thoughts on the recent WWE product when it comes to announcing? (I’ll admit I popped…this was one I sent in).

A: Announcers have to tell story which is not easy. They also have a lot of masters to serve which is why J.R. thinks Michael Cole is doing a hell of a job and if you knew what he had on his plate, you would agree. By and large, when you have three man teams and one of them hasn’t talked, they feel compelled to get their do-do in and he’s not a fan of that. Getting talent over telling believable, plausible and non-eye rolling stories is their job and it ain’t easy.

Q: Do you think having James Ellsworth interfere in all of Carmella’s matches kinda craps on the women’s revolution by sending the message that a woman needs a man’s help to be champion.

A: No. Carmella has improved as any talent on the roster. He recently got accused of throwing Carmella under the bus for beating Asuka. He didn’t like the booking but that’s his opinion. He likes Asuka more than Carmella and thinks that’s where the money is.

Q: Who are J.R.’s top ten wrestlers, past and present to start a promotion?

A: J.R. doesn’t have an answer but he would build a brand with youth and athleticism. You largely have wrestlers who are 35 or under and have talents that can work either babyface or heel.

Q: What were J.R.’s or Vince’s initial reactions when talents had tattoos? Was there any discussion about covering them up on TV?

A: Generally no but they did have to cover Ludwig Borga’s SS tattoo which they missed. They also had a sit down with Brock as they had just done pictures for action figures but then got his sword tattoo which screwed up the action figure design but otherwise no issue.

56:17 – Chris Jericho

J.R. welcomes Chris Jericho to the podcast. Chris is in Tampa but is heading to Europe to do some rock festivals with his band Fozzy. J.R. mentions his upcoming trip to the UK and talks about how the European crowds have embraced what they do and have for years.

It’s interesting to Chris how big Fozzy is in the UK and how they were the first territory to embrace his band as far back as 2005. It’s a great country with amazing fans whether it’s for wrestling, his music or spoken word shows. It’s always a blast for Chris to go to the UK and anytime he can go there, he always has a great time.

Chris says in the States, music is influenced by radio whereas in England, music is influenced by word of mouth and magazines and more importantly people like what they like regardless of whether it’s a top ten song or trendy. There are a lot of bands popular in the UK and Europe that don’t have any steam in the States but because people like what they like, they appreciate hard working bands or individuals which translates across the board.

J.R. brings up the Jericho cruise and says Chris is like the booker so as an artist and someone that likes to create it must be a lot of fun to organize. Chris says it is a lot of fun but it’s also a lot of work. The cruise isn’t sold out but it’s getting closer as cabins are selling steadily. According to Chris’ partner who also do big cruises like the Kiss kruise say usually cruises sell really big at the beginning then drift off. The Jericho cruise has been selling steadily since September when tickets went on sale which is not common. Chris marketed the event in an interesting way learning from Vince McMahon in constantly making it a must see event and keeping the buzz going. First he announced the roster, then announced the activities, announcing the Sea of Honor tournament, putting Impact vs ROH with Marty Scurll vs Sami Callihan and for the main event, it’s Alpna Club vs Bullet Club. As they continue to make further announcements, people are saying they can’t miss this and need to be a part of it. Putting these pieces together and keeping the buzz going has been a challenge but also a lot of fun.

Q: How stressful has it been to deal with any level of wrestling politics to get ROH, NJPW and Impact wrestling on the same page.

A: It’s a lot easier than Chris expected and what helps is that he’s in New Japan now. He got to know many of those wrestlers and says the Alpha Club vs Bullet Club would not have happened if he wasn’t working with New Japan. The ROH/Impact idea came from Don Callis. Initially he wasn’t sure if it would happened but decided to go for it. Because Chris is the ‘booker’, he had a good reputation and is still involved in a high level, ROH was willing to give it a shot. Chris understands how companies work and feels he can smooth over any issues with the office.

J.R. hopes the ownership of ROH and Impact thank Chris for opening their eyes. The precedence for wrestling companies for not wanting to get along was rooted in the territories. These types of issues were created in a different time and culture. J.R. says bravo to Chris and if these different promotions are smart, they could do a superbowl or collaborative type event which could help all involved.

One thing Chris has realized more than ever especially working in New Japan, the business is very healthy and there are lots of opportunities for guys to make money but let’s not kid ourselves. The WWE is still the number one promotion and you can’t beat it. If that’s the case, why not have other promotions do promotion vs promotion matches. If you aren’t part of the Vince universe, why not have a ROH, NJPW, Impact or PWG work together?

Chris talks about wanting to make his cruise an annual destination vacation like the Kiss Kruise. He knew it wouldn’t be easy but felt he could make it happen. He also isn’t expecting to make money on this on year one, two or even three but if he can make it an annual thing that is constantly moving and successful it will increase his brand. He doesn’t not want the cruise to be a one and done. Three months away from sailing, they are close to having a sell out and Chris hopes when they dock after this cruise is done, people will want to go on the second cruise.

Dates for the cruise are October 27th to 31st. J.R. puts over the talent and if you just look at WWE Hall of Fame talent you have J.R., Jerry Lawler, Ricky Steamboat, Mick Foley and DDP. Along with that you have some of the hottest wrestling talents in the world and the main event is a booker’s dream. Chris says he originally wasn’t going to wrestle on the cruise but as they started moving forward, he really wanted to do something. He spoke to the Bucks and it was Nick Jackson who suggested the Bucks and Jericho go up against Kenny, Cody and Scurll.

Q: What’s up with Chris and New Japan and says the match with Naito was strong.

A: Chris talks about Dominion card which had the Omega vs Okada and Osprey vs Hiromu. He asked himself what he could do with Naito and wanted to do something different from those matches. He had also been watching a lot of Bruiser Brody and wanted to do a more off the hook, crazy character and make the match shorter and hard hitting. They put together a stiff, hard hitting match to make it stand out from the other matches on that card. When it was all said and done, they had a good match. J.R. loved calling it for AXS TV.

Q: What does Chris think is the difference in the in-ring work that New Japan has that no-one else does?

A: Chris thinks it’s the atmosphere of Japanese wrestling which is treated more like an athletic contest and people just cheer for who they want to cheer for. People take it more seriously which reflects back to the wrestlers in NJPW who take it more seriously. There’s also a certain vibe about wrestling in Japan and when Chris was first starting out he just wanted to go to Japan. Just going there and walking through the door into an arena was more real and serious which still translates to this day. The booking in Japan is also very simple and is more of a sports based idea versus sports entertainment. J.R. does criticize the officiating because it takes away the heat from the talent. Chris says they abuse the referees which is the reason why Omega vs Jericho was a no DQ so they wouldn’t bury the ref which is something that needs to be toned down these days.

Q: Will Chris have a chance to get back in the hunt for a shot in Wrestle Kingdom?

A: Chris expects there will be another match or even another 2 or 3 matches. He confirms he signed a deal with New Japan for 2018 and will be back a few more times.

Q: J.R. asks Chris about Brock’s current deal.

A: A lot of people have animosity towards Brock but Chris doesn’t. He admires him and would love to get that kind of deal in the future. You can’t blame the athlete for getting that deal and if you want to blame someone blame Vince for making that deal. Chris is happy for any of the talent that can make whatever they can make.

J.R. brings up Brock at SummerSlam and that lots of fans think Brock will be dropping the title. J.R. argues that Vince could throw a curveball and have Brock retain. Chris agrees and says Vince knows what he wants to do and he would never bet against Vince. Once in awhile something of Vince’s does may not work but the other 99 times it will.

J.R. brings up Roman Reigns and says he’s doesn’t worry like many fans do whether Roman should be a babyface or a heel. Chris worked with Reigns and said he had fun. He says Roman is a tremendous worker and is fun to work with. Chris says to just go in and work and regardless of how people react, it’s still going to be great and people will have an awesome time watching. J.R. and Chris also bring up the fact that even if an event isn’t that great creatively, you can’t fault the talent because they work hard. Talent may have some say over their creative but ultimately, it’s up to the talent to do the best they can with what they’re given. As long as the fans are making noise and feel like they got their money’s worth, that’s all that matters.

J.R. thanks Chris for taking time to be on the podcast and they sign off.

1:43:00 – Show Wrap

J.R. goes through some 5 star reviews, plugs other Westwood One podcasts. Follow Jim on twitter (@jrsbbq), Instagram and Facebook (@jimrossbbq) and that’s a wrap.

Rating – 7/10

I was really looking forward to this podcast because I’m a Chris Jericho fan. His podcast is on regular rotation on my iPhone. With that said, I did not enjoy the show as much as I had hoped. For starters, J.R. tends to repeat the same things on a weekly basis which lately is getting tired. I get that he needs to push his brand but every week hearing about Zanies or The King and I or his Comic Con appearances gets a little much. Regarding his comments about Hogan, I hope he meant that people should move forward with open hearts because I felt his comments about how New Day and Titus felt were somewhat dismissive to them which I don’t think (hope) was Jim’s intention. A good portion of the beginning of the Jericho interview was about the Jericho Cruise. It was interesting to hear the ideas behind the cruise and Chris’ thoughts about putting it together but it also felt like an infomercial and I wasn’t interested in that portion of the interview. When they spoke about New Japan, that got interesting but the last part of the interview regarding WWE creative and talent was old hat. I’d heard a lot of that before in previous interviews and podcasts so nothing really new there. Overall, it was an OK podcast.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Timestamps:        

0:00 – Intro

1:36 – What’s On J.R.’s Mind

26:57 – Slobberknocker Of The Week

31:47 – Pet Coon Goofy Award

37:12 – This Week In Wrestling

50:09 – Mailbag

56:17 – Chris Jericho

1:43:00 – Show Wrap

About Joe:

Joe is a long time wrestling fan from Toronto. One of his life goals is to be a guest host on one of Wade Keller’s post show podcasts but until that happens, he’ll keep writing for PW Podcasts. He doesn’t consider himself any sort of expert, mark, smark or IWC type.  He just likes wrestling. Check him out on twitter and instagram @ja113.

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