Killing the Town
Release Date: August 27, 2018
Recap By: Dust
No Lazenby again. I think we have more Lance on the show despite him leaving.
But we get Jim Ross.
Crappy monitors and toilet breaks discussion.
Jim is one of Cyrus’ biggest influences as an announcer.
Cyrus was thinking about what makes a good announcer and decided to talk with Jim Ross about it.
He makes a distinction between a favorite team and individual favorite play by play and color commentators.
JR is Cyrus’ favorite play by play guy.
JR also puts Cyrus and Impact over.
JR has a very schedule, working for NJPW, working with Lawler and hosting his podcast.
JR fills the emptiness after his wife passing with work. He’s still living his dream and trying to get better at his job, commentary.
JR learnt from dealing with Vince that you need to tell the time, not how to make the watch. He has applied that maxim to his commentary work. The pictures are telling the story. JR also learned how to use sound-bites from Bill Watts when he needed to inform people from various territories about back story and backgrounds.
Cyrus had to do color commentary for ECW. One time Sabu, who didn’t know Cyrus was one of the brotherhood, thanked Cyrus for his commentary. Cyrus says that commentary is the best job in wrestling. You get to get everybody over. JR calls commentary ‘adding a narrative’. JR says that wrestlers create the music and the commentators do the lyrics, which have to fit the music. Rap lyrics don’t fit country melody.
JR says he tries not to leave anything out and take anything for granted when giving full background information during a wrestler’s entrance. [he doesn’t seem to do this for NJPW commentary]
Get your due diligence down beforehand. [cough cough]
JR wants to give details during an entrance.
It’s a huge error not to interrupt commentary during a near fall. That never happens in ‘real’ sports. If you don’t make a call you’re making it obvious that you know the finish.
Cyrus puts JR over for finishing sentences but accenting his commentary if something was happening. Cyrus copies this. JR says he does this consciously. Commentators should get the talent over. Get the story, brand and situations over.
JR says he’s watching more wrestling than ever in his life. He wants to respect the match. Some commentators are too focused on getting themselves over and not reacting to the match. Everything during the match should be noticed but some commentators ignore great moves. JR wants a more sports-orientated play-by-play approach.
Cyrus dislikes announcers who start frenetically leaving themselves nowhere to go. Cyrus made this mistake while commentating in Japan, blew his voice out during G1 prelims.
JR says guys like him, Cyrus and Lawler, who started in territories (which is a stretch for Cyrus), have a feel for the game. JR had great chemistry with Lawler. Southern, fried food and good ol’ boys. JR had worked with many different guys.
JR says he likes Cyrus calling NJPW live and him and Josh Barnett commentating tape.
Guys who made the towns, travelled the territories have a huge advantage.
JR puts Michael Cole over for having to deal with amazing amounts of information. The three man booth is ‘a point guard’. A different psychology to a two man booth.
Cyrus thinks a three man booth is clunky.
JR agrees with this. His first three man was in WWE 1993 at Wrestlemania 9 with Bobby Heenan and Randy Savage, wearing a toga.
[Heenan backwards on a camel]
Savage was extremely uptight and worried about being protected by JR because he didn’t know JR’s work. Savage was challenging to work with.
JR wasn’t prepared for the glare on the monitor. A difficult day for JR.
JR liked working with Lawler and Vince in a three man booth.
JR rambles a bit – JR talks about working off Broadway to get onto Broadway. Dudes don’t look at monitors during their work. JR admits he is rambling.
Cyrus talks about monitors. Some monitors in Japan are modern while others are the lunch boxes that Randy Orton likes to throw people at. JR hates working off lunch boxes. He’s a prisoner of monitors. Ramble ramble about philosophy. All the Joshes in the world. Deviate from what works to deviate to what doesn’t work. Sorry I can’t decipher this.
Don’t give story-line and background information during high spots.
Flow with the match, you’re not creating the content.
Cyrus says that some announcers have Vince in their ear. In ECW Cyrus didn’t have Paul Heyman in his ear and he doesn’t have anybody in Japan. Obviously in Impact he doesn’t have a boss but he does have count-down info in his ear which can sometimes faze him.
JR says that finding your rhythm is essential which is difficult when you are being interrupted.
JR stopped going to production meetings with Lawler because they were complete chaos and messing with commentary. Lawler was the first to stop going to meetings. JR recounts that Vince wanted him to say something during commentary, JR ignored him, caffeine toked Vince started screaming but then apologized during a break because Vince had got lost in production meetings and forgot a change in the story-line. JR says he usually tried to accommodate Vince, who owns the football and had been a broadcaster.
JR says Mick Foley couldn’t handle Vince and the same with Taz who lasted a bit longer. Commentators also need to have fun, you can’t kayfabe the audience.
JR likes being counted in and sometimes corrected.
JR did Wrestle Kingdom 9 with run sheets in Japanese and nobody in his ear. It was an adventure Jim Ross enjoyed because he knew nothing about what was going to happen. He was close to panic.
Cyrus says he had two shows, one also at the Tokyo Dome where he was worried about taking a bump while doing commentary. He was worried about his spot and it was challenging because you need to focus.
JR says that at the end of the day, calling a wrestling match with a sports orientation you do better. The best humor is organic.
Cyrus turns to chemistry and joking. He never scripts jokes. Cyrus asks if JR was focused on prep while Lawler wasn’t doing that amount of work.
Cyrus doesn’t prep much for Impact because he’s writing the shows but for Japan he talks with the boys and then does matches organically.
JR says that Lawler was better without notes and preparation. That’s why Lawler got out of production meetings, which JR soon copied. They would talk to Vince for half an hour about the major bullet points they should put over.
Another ramble from JR, when you have a Bruiser Brody type guy, you don’t do a broadway, if you can’t punch don’t punch, because you’ll lose your spot, we all know, JR would like to do NJPW live but airplanes, I’m a believer in doing the sports orientated thing, JR protects the wrestlers with punches that wouldn’t break an egg and thank God an ad break.
JR talks doing commentary with Magnum TA, when Steamboat won the belt, JR didn’t want to know this beforehand. One time JR did commentary with three different guys the same night, Bob Caudle, Terry Funk and Magnum. Caudle was dry, Funk was quirky and Magnum obviously needed help.
JR liked Gorilla Monsoon working with Bobby Heenan as well as Jesse Ventura with Vince (Cyrus’ favorite).
When JR joined WWE, a lot of the talent thought that JR was taking Monsoon’s spot (he was sick for Wrestlemania IX). JR says that when you had jobber matches you couldn’t be too serious.
Cyrus says that Heenan was guarded with giving up information. Cyrus wanted to know who was the best manager, saying it was Heenan followed by Cornette. Heyman said that they were good but too entertaining. Cyrus asks if this applies to commentating. JR says that if you have an event without strong personal issues, even with title matches (too many belts), a comedy or enhancement match where everybody knows who will win, you can’t try and sell what you haven’t got. Today’s audience has enough information to be dangerous. JR is defensive about audiences wanting Cyrus for commentary in Japan. Cyrus says its cool for JR and Barnett to be different.
Cyrus asks if over character color guys are gone, with Barnett being one of the last, WWE isn’t looking for a new Bobby Heenan or Jesse Ventura. JR says that those guys had territory roots and had thousands of promos behind them.
JR says Corey Graves has a difficult but great spots. He has a good aptitude for the business because he came from interaction with the crowds. Byron Saxton however is an in-house product. Backgrounds are getting narrower.
JR liked working with Heenan, especially when Lawler left when his wife was fired. Ramble about ego-centric writers and power trips. Anecdote about writer telling JR that Brock was coming to TV, JR said no he isn’t, went to Vince, said that Brock can’t take a bump and could hurt somebody with legal consequences. Vince changed the decision to be safe.
Too many commentators are trying to be talkative and competing with each other with sound bites.
Dave Brown and Lance Russell were great commentators according to JR.
JR says he is blessed with working with Cyrus, Kevin Sullivan and Dusty Rhodes. The most fun was with guys who had territory experience.
JR loves his work and wants to continue doing it.
JR jokes about adding Cyrus to commentary, doing a three man booth.
JR likes having different dancing partners.
Cyrus puts over WWE Network and says to watch UWF with a young JR.
Flair vs Steamboat with JR commentary is one of the best matches ever according to JR.
JR puts over Impact but criticizes that Pop doesn’t have that strong TV. JR says that the Impact product is solid but needs a wider audience.
The better WWE does, the more it helps everybody else. When WWE became strong, it sparked interest in North American wrestling and helped the Bill Watts business. [WHAT??????? This is crazy considering what happened.]
JR talks Lawler’s recent tragedy. JR wants to keep Lawler busy. Discusses Andy Kaufman stories. JR says that the 2008 split with Lawler wasn’t what he wanted. JR might do a tour of Canada with Lawler in 2019, comedy clubs and meet and greets.
JR says he doesn’t have any action figures and is surprised he has any. He loves signing items. Discusses getting autographs and being thanked for giving something to sign. JR says he wanted to be one of the ‘good ones’ and thanking fans.
Lawler is like a brother to JR.
JR discusses moving networks, he just interviewed the Young Bucks and being booked for All In.
JR puts Conrad Thompson over as being honest, respectful and detail orientated.
Cyrus says he appreciates Cody getting him two bathroom breaks aka ‘talking with Kenny Omega.’
Cyrus puts JR over.
JR says his philosophies have been accepted by others and feels blessed being part of the wrestling business. JR says he’s not a defiant millennial living at home. End of interview.
Cyrus does the social media plugs, recommends Flair Steamboat 1989 again.
Score: 9 – Good insight but some of the rambles have me worried about JR’s mind.
Not an Attitude Era fan, watches old wrestling but likes Nakamura/Styles/Kevin Owens, listens to too many podcasts. @warriorscomeout