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RECAP AND REVIEW: The Jim Ross Report with Renee Young on joining the Raw commentary team, if she aspires to be a play-by-play announcer, Dean Ambrose’s recent health scare, being produced by Vince McMahon

The Jim Ross Report

Release Date: September 19th, 2018

Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo

DIRECT LINK TO LISTEN/DOWNLOAD

0:00 – Intro

Welcome to another week of Slobberknocker audio with good ole J.R. On today’s show is one of the most popular TV personalities the WWE has had in a long time, Renee Young (who is also celebrating her birthday today). They’ll be talking about her new experience as part of the announce team for RAW.

1:35 – What’s On J.R.’s Mind

  • J.R. leads off with an update on the new book. He and Paul O’Brien are doing weekly calls and this book will probably be a much more dramatic, eye opening and moving book than the first Slobberknocker. Target date is still the holidays of 2019
  • Congratulations are in order for Ric Flair and Wendy Barlow. It was first reported they got married however, they had a commitment ceremony. J.R. says Wendy has saved Ric’s life and has been a godsend for Ric. J.R. has never seen Ric this happy.
  • WWE announced their second event in Saudi Arabia called The Crown Jewel. A big triple threat match has been booked between Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar. Imagine the money Lesnar is getting for having a match halfway around the world that close to potentially his first UFC fight in late January or February. It shows the stroke Lesnar has with the WWE and UFC.
  • J.R. heard a rumor that Cris Cyborg wants to take on Ronda Rousey. J.R. is an advocate of her training at the performance center with the other prospects. She is a highly regarded prospect because she already has a name and if she can develop her skill set in the art of sports entertainment she should be money. She would be a great threat to any babyface or a great adversary to any heel. J.R. wants to see this match but only when their skill sets are compatible.
  • J.R. enjoyed the WWE special ‘20 Years Of Hell’ chronicling the Undertaker/Mankind Hell In A Cell match.
  • CM Punk just finished a movie in the lead role of a horror movie called ‘Girl On The Third Floor’. J.R. doesn’t agree with fans who say Punk owes it to them to come back. He thinks Punk’s wrestling days are done.
  • J.R. talks about friends in the wrestling business such as Matt Hardy (who is rumored to become a backstage agent) and Hurricane Helms who live in the Carolinas. If you can help out with those affected by Hurricane Florence, go to www.redcross.org.
  • J.R. has a number of events coming up including the Jericho cruise (which now has 50 cabins left) and Wrestlecade in November supporting Headlock On Hunger
  • MLW has an event at the Melrose Ballroom in Queens as well as Chicago
  • Impact Wrestling had a successful taping in Mexico and also had a meeting with the WWE.

Thoughts on Hell In A Cell

  • J.R. enjoyed the event and thought the controversial finish of the main event did not adversely affect his opinion of the show. The ending took the focus off Reigns and Strowman, which was seemingly the goal. It’s not something J.R. would have done as it confused him a little bit. He didn’t feel that finish was needed but thinks there are a lot of things that can be made of this scenario.
  • Joe and A.J. had a great creative finish and it logically keeps their story alive which is good booking
  • Charlotte vs Becky was everything J.R. expected it to be. It’s the most personal issue in WWE in a long time. Bravo to both ladies.
  • Rousey vs Bliss was fun to watch and Bliss proved she is arguably the best villain in the WWE at this time.
  • J.R. did not hate the red cell like many fans did and can’t figure out why people hated it.

Thoughts on RAW

  • Undertaker’s promo was the highlight of the night and there continues to be a strong build for the event in Australia.
  • Lio Rush is a keeper. If he is marketed aggressively and with a long term plan, he can and should be a big timer.
  • The Drew McIntyre build is reassuring J.R. that the WWE will continue pushing Drew to the top of the roster. He may be the next guy and J.R. is not betting against him.
  • One thing WWE should be aware of are the number of run ins and the volume of information on their broadcasts. It could be information overload at times.

Thoughts On Smackdown

  • The Becky/Charlotte creative was spot on but are the WWE moving upstream in an attempt to make fans boo Becky. If that’s what they want, make it organic so it doesn’t feel like it’s being force fed. Today’s audience has access to more information than before and the WWE should book with that in mind. This storyline is the best told and most personal feeling story.
  • AJ/Joe is also a great story with a personal issue. Joe is a Beast and the perfect rival for A.J. who J.R. still thinks is as good a one-on-one wrestler as anyone in the business.
  • It’s good to see Asuka back who is another big time player. She needs a creative jump start to get on the roll she was on before. A potentially good story would be Asuka chasing Becky for the title.

24:09 – Slobberknocker of the Week

Candidates include:

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB for the Tampa Bay Bucs, who is playing well and making the Bucs a contender while Jameis Winston is on suspension.
  • Pat Mahomes, QB for the Kansas City Chiefs who has 10 TDs and 0 Int in two games.
  • Henry Winkler who won his first Emmy in his 42 year career for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a comedy series.
  • Becky Lynch who won the Smackdown women’s title.

This week’s winner are all the first responders in the Carolinas, especially a guy named Tony Alsup who drove a school bus from Tennessee to Carolina to help evacuate 53 dogs and 11 cats who were left behind by their owners.

31:36 – Pet Coon Goofy Award

Candidates include:

  • Michael Thomson, father of UCLA QB Dorian Thompson Robinson who criticized the Bruins coach on Twitter. This did not do Michael’s son any favors and that was not the forum for that.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown who got into a pissing contest with his coach. He needs to be a better human being than that.
  • Rosanne who gave a spoiler on youtube about how her TV character will be written off on the new TV show ‘The Connors’.

This week’s winner is the Buffalo Bills’ Vontae Davis who retired during the halftime of a game in progress.

36:26 – This Week In Wrestling

September 22nd, 1980 – MSG – Andre The Giant pins Hulk Hogan who was managed by ‘Classy’ Freddie Blassie

September 20th, 1999 – RAW – This was the night the Rock N Sock Connection defeated The Big Show, Viscera and Mideon in a handicap match to win the WWE tag titles.

September 24th, 2000 – Unforgiven 2000 – The Hardy Boyz defeated Edge and Christian to win the WWE tag team champions in a steel cage match.

September 25th, 2000 – 18 years ago – Nitro – Vince Russo defeated Booker T in a steel cage match to become the WCW World Heavyweight Champion.

17 years ago – Kurt Angle defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin to win the WWF Heavyweight title.

September 21st, 2003 – 15 years ago – Unforgiven – Al Snow and the Coach defeated Jerry Lawler and J.R. Also Goldberg defeated Triple H to capture the World Heavyweight title.

Birthdays

Renee Young (33), Eva Marie (34), Gerry Brisco (72), Adam Rose (39), the late Bob Orton Sr. would have been 89, Ricky Morton (62), the late Jack Brisco would have been 77, Bob Sapp (44), Luther Reigns (47), Ole Anderson (76), Matt Hardy (44), The Heartthrobs Antonio (42) and Romeo (38), the late El Santo would have been 101, Chris Nowinski (40), Stephanie McMahon (42), Aja Kong (48) and Jimmy Garvin (66).

50:07 – Mailbag

Sent questions and comments to thejimrossreport@gmail.com.

Q: What are J.R.’s thoughts on Elias

A: J.R. didn’t like Elias’ persona in the beginning because the guitar threw him off. Elias is a good guitarist but J.R. hasn’t seen him enough in serious matches to give an honest assessment. Elias has a personality, natural charisma and has a great body and there shouldn’t be any reason why he shouldn’t be successful unless he is perceived as a guitar player first and a wrestler second. J.R. digs his game and sees that Elias cares about being good.

Q: Does J.R. have a Mount Rushmore of his 5 greatest WrestleMania matches?

A: This is a tough question because there are too many great ones to just name five however he does mention Hogan vs Andre (WM 3), Savage vs Steamboat (WM 3), Austin vs Bret (WM 13) which is a match the current workers should watch as a good learning experience. Taker vs Shawn (WM 25 and 26), Austin vs Rock (WM 15, 17 and 19), the TLC match (WM 17) but there are too many to name.

Q: Is there one match that has not happened at WrestleMania with today’s talent that hasn’t headlined WrestleMania?

A: J.R. would like to see Lesnar vs. Strowman because he is intrigued by size, movement and physicality which this match would bring.

Q: Has Mark Cuban expressed any interest in pulling a ‘Ted Turner’ in creating serious competition in pro wrestling?

A: J.R. doesn’t talk to Mr. Cuban about business strategies but knows that Mark is happy with the NJPW ratings on AXS TV.

Q: Should WWE do away with gimmick PPVs?

A: If there is a reason for the gimmick, then no. If there is an attraction there then the gimmick works.

Q: J.R. mentioned last week that Fox and USA could potentially ask for specific announcers for Smackdown and RAW. Is there potential for the networks to also ask for specific in-ring talent exclusively?

A: J.R. says no. Fox and USA would be smarter to allow WWE to construct the rosters to where everyone wins. But he can see the networks influencing who the broadcaster will be.

Q: A listener writes in who was a big fan of the Mid-South/UWF territory. Can J.R. book more Mid-South alumni on the podcast especially Cowboy Bill Watts?

A: J.R. communicates with the Cowboy and will try to get him and more Mid-South representation on the show (and I can’t wait to hear that if it happens).

1:03:27 – Renee Young

J.R. welcomes Renee to the podcast and wishes her a Happy Birthday. It’s very rare that someone gets to be home on their birthday and she hopes to do as little as possible.

Q: Has Renee had her first RAW in Toronto yet?

A: No she hadn’t. RAW was in Toronto a few weeks ago. Renee had subbed in for Coach for the first time the week prior and did not get a chance to call RAW in Toronto.

J.R. is proud of Renee’s success and is glad the WWE isn’t following the status quo. He remembers talking to Renee when she first came aboard. He felt she had big upside but given the role she was in at that time, also felt her upside would be elsewhere with another company. Renee has had that same conversation more than once during her time with WWE. Some of her skills can be used in many different roles which is what has happened to her in the WWE as well as jobs outside the WWE. She rolls with the punches and navigates her career looking for the next best move for her.

Renee used to work in a three person booth hosting a show about wrestling. The only experience she’s had doing commentary was working in a three person booth in NXT with people such as Tom Phillips and Williams Regal. It was an interchangeable group where they were trying to find out what worked for everyone, getting reps in and seeing what gelled. It was a huge learning curve for Renee as she had no idea what she was doing (although she admits she’s still trying to figure things out now). However, she’s much more comfortable now because she’s comfortable with the product and knows many of the superstars on a personal level. When she was doing it in NXT, she just come into the WWE and was green.

J.R. says it’s not an easy gig especially in a three-person situation. Michael Cole does a phenomenal job especially considering the responsibility he has and the amount of work on his plate. J.R. has the utmost respect for Cole but says some other people have to start stepping up because Cole is getting overexposed. Corey Graves also has to be careful of this as well.

Renee says now that she’s in the booth, she gets a chance to watch how both Graves and Cole prep. She says for Graves, it’s a natural element to be in and Michael Cole is an unsung hero. He is so smooth and seamless. He also has small handwriting.

J.R. says people don’t understand how hard it is to do ad-libbed and unrehearsed extemporaneous physicality and do it with continuity where all three announcers can get their points made and not digress.

Renee agrees it’s incredibly hard. She just called her fourth RAW and her first PPV matches. Trying to get her head around what she was doing, trying to find her footing and get in a groove is a whirlwind and not an easy thing to do. She’s also so green that she has to lean on both Graves and Cole.

J.R. has not done anything more fun in his life than live wrestling play-by-play but it is a daunting thing that you can’t stop improving on. There’s no time to find your comfort zone especially when working with three but in J.R.’s opinion it’s easy to find your chemistry with a two person booth.

Renee worked a two person booth in NXT with Tom Phillips calling main events. They were both fairly new and Renee always felt what she brings to the table is quirky fun and quick responses to things as opposed to the heavy bulk of talking about the intensity of matches. This is something she’s trying to figure out now and get better at. She’s used to having the ‘fun’ outlook but when it comes to calling the action of a Hell In A Cell match, that’s where she sits back and listens more to figure out her how voice fits in that equation.

J.R. says she will but it takes repetition. She has the natural timing and is very talented.

Q: Does Renee have the goal to become the first female play-by-play announcer?

A: It hasn’t been something that’s popped up for her. When Renee did announcing for the first time, she didn’t think it was for her but she re-visited the idea over the last year and wanted to learn how to get good at it. She wanted to put in the time and effort to become the best she can be. This has been a question that has come up a little bit from the media and it’s not something she thought she would want to do. She does think her work doing panel shows and kick off shows is more of a strong suit for her. She’s now in a transition period doing color and being the personality. Play-by-play may be something she starts to pick up from Michael Cole even if it’s just calling graphics or getting them into b-rolls and is something she might eventually get interested in but for now, she’s just in learning mode and is doing whatever she can to improve.

J.R. compliments Renee for being able to relax and be herself. He says being able to sit at that table (announce booth) is a special thing and is somewhere he built his reputation.

In a three man team, Cole is very much like a point guard distributing the ball to his partners. Sometimes he gets so excited he may forget he has partners. Renee could also do that role because of her product knowledge and because she is used to being that point person.

Renee feels like anytime any opportunities or ideas for commentary come up, she is always rolling with the punches to figure out what is going to be the best for her. She knows she wants to be out there and doing this but also knows how much work goes into it. It’s going to take time and success will not come overnight. It’s an interesting thing to be a part of but also a big honor. Monday Night RAW is gigantic flagship show for so many people and to be a part of that is blowing her mind. She’s trying to take it all in stride.

J.R. adds she needs to have fun, enjoy it and don’t let it be drudgery.

Q: If the ‘powers that be’ want Renee to do play-by-play at Evolution, could she do it?

A: Renee doesn’t know. She is up to a challenge and would definitely give it a shot. That said she doesn’t think she is ready to do it at this time but it’s something she would be into eventually. Right now she’s just trying to get comfortable in the role she’s in right now.

J.R. says Renee may eventually be asked to call Evolution as he can’t believe this is going to be the first and only female only PPV. The women’s roster is devastatingly good.

When Renee was calling the Mae Young Classic last year, all the wrestlers blew her mind with their creativity and work ethic and that was just from new up and comers let alone the current RAW and Smackdown rosters.

J.R. says as fans and wrestling people that the Mae Young Classic for the majority of these ladies represents hope that they can make it in sports entertainment. J.R. believes that a female match will headline Wrestlemania.

Renee agrees and thinks we are not far from it. She recalls Wrestlemania in Dallas and seeing Becky Lynch, Charlotte, Sasha and Bayley set up in marquee matches. It was also their faces that were the draw outside the stadium which still gives Renee goosebumps when she thinks about it. This was a couple years ago and things have changed since then and more is happening.

Renee is going to Australia and call the Super Showdown show. Part of that will be calling a Taker/Triple H match and asks J.R. how she can do justice to that.

J.R. says it’s pretty incredible for anyone to be calling that match and says she should look at this as opportunity and a gift. She should expect to lay out more than normal. When she does talk, she needs to front load her soundbyte with details because she may not have time to finish it. Too many color people tease and build but when they give the payoffs it’s too late. She should also watch any Taker/Triple H match because they won’t change their pacing but will tell a psychologically driven story. J.R. also suggests trying to find out from Triple H what the main story of the match is. The other things J.R. suggests is watch the monitor and listen to her commentating partners to embellish the story and maintain continuity. Also, make a big deal out of false finishes and sell them. Pinning combinations should take precedence over everything because if you are going for the cover you’re going for the win.

J.R. says the broadcasting in a stadium environment is important but more importantly broadcasting two hall of fame guys that helps everyone make their livings is pretty incredible.

Renee can’t wait and is so excited to be a part of it. Renee was there when he returned and J.R. calls him an icon (which he is).

Q: Switching gears, Renee’s husband had a health scare and had a staph infection after his surgery?

A: Renee confirms and says he ended up having to go back to the hospital and get surgery again on his arm. He tore his tricep and had surgery in December and on New Years Day, he called her he realized his arm started bleeding. He tried bandaging it up but it kept bleeding and when he went back to Birmingham (where he had his initial surgery), they realized his infection had escalated and they had to go back in and clean it out. It’s hard to see someone you love go through something like that especially somebody like Dean who is an indestructible force and to see him down and out was tough to go through.

J.R. says when Dean came back, he looked like a different guy and looked great. You could tell he was devoting a lot of his time to getting bigger and stronger. He came off as a character babyface which is the next step from being a heel.

Renee says even though she was with Dean everyday, seeing him come back while she was sitting at the ringside area was a different perspective than she was usd to seeing him. It was shocking to see how much he had changed and how different he looked. He was doing double workouts and eating more than he had ever eaten.

J.R. says Dean looks great and reminds him a little of Terry Funk. Renee says he is a true encyclopedia of WWE and is a student of wrestling and MMA.

J.R. says Renee should ask Dean what the Taker/Triple H match means to the boys and if the talents will sell out the monitor to watch the match. This is a great opportunity for the talent to learn psychology.

Renee brings up WrestleMania when the streak was broken. All the talent were around gorilla and the monitors. The silence that happened during that matchup was unbelievable and she will never forget what it was like to be part of that. J.R. says she can use that feeling for the match in Australia.

Q: What has Renee’s experience been with Vince producing her?

A: Renee says it’s so new for everybody and everybody is learning how to best produce Renee. It’s an opportunity to build a relationship with Vince and she has been dying to be produced by Vince and Kevin Dunn as she hasn’t had that experience before. Having more first hand interactions with Vince is invaluable.

J.R. says getting produced by Vince can be challenging and Renee says you develop a thick skin over time. When she first started, she was more sensitive about things than she is now. She now understands the business and knows she can’t get her feelings caught up in that. She knows in the end, they’re all trying to make the show the best it can be.

J.R. says he feels badly for Vince and Kevin (not because of their bank accounts) because many fans blame them for everything. But, the WWE is the brand that’s pulling the wrestling business right now because wrestling is hot and trendy again. He compares the WWE to the New England Patriots. You can bitch and complain about them but they win.

Renee says up until now, she has gone to Kevin for things she needed help with in former roles. Now in her current role, she has a more direct line to Vince and is looking forward to learning from him.

J.R. thanks Renee being on the podcast and is proud of where she is. He knows she will continue to work at getting better. He thinks when this year’s over, people are going to say moving Renee to the broadcast booth was the best move they made in a long time. Renee appreciates that and can’t wait to continue making people proud or proving people wrong and they sign off.

1:41:49 – Show Wrap

J.R. thanks Renee for being on the show, goes through some 5 star reviews, talks about the OU vs Army game (which is on PPV?!?!?) and pushes the Westwood One podcast app and the other wrestling podcasts. And that’s a wrap.

Rating – 7/10

Even though I rated this show lower than normal, I actually did liked this show. My biggest issue was that I liked parts of it but all together it kinda fell flat. The ‘What’s On JR’s Mind’ segment was strong this week. The ‘Mailbag’ segment was good to especially the last question because J.R. talked about some Mid-South stories (which I didn’t recap but they were great). Onto Renee Young…I’m a fan of hers from even before her WWE days (and she’s Canadian eh?!?!). I think she’s smart and intelligent…but for some reason, I didn’t enjoy the interview as much as I thought I would especially given how strong J.R.’s interview segments have been over the last few podcasts. That said though, it was interesting to see how Renee is approaching the new role and she definitely has the right attitude to make it far. If you’re a Renee Young fan or are interested in announcing, definitely get your ears on this podcast.

Timestamps:

0:00 – Intro
1:35  – What’s On J.R.’s Mind
24:09 – Slobberknocker Of The Week
31:36 – Pet Coon Goofy Award
50:07 – Mailbag
1:03:27 – Renee Youngl
1:41:49 – 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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