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RECAP AND REVIEW: The Jim Ross Report – Kevin Kelly on the NJPW wrestler who is like Tom Brady, the tag team members he’d always confuse with each other, Bill Watts on the shoot fight between The Barbarian and John Nord, why he wouldn’t let wrestlers play cards before matches, why Bill yelled at J.R. over a jobber

The Jim Ross Report

Release Date: October 3, 2018

Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo

DIRECT LINK TO LISTEN/DOWNLOAD

0:00 – Intro

Welcome back to another week of Slobberknocker audio. J.R. will be going to Dallas for the OU/Texas game and will be on the Fox Sports pregame show, Saturday morning at about 9:45 am CT to talk the Red River rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas. It’s was a big weekend in Southern California as J.R worked the Long Beach event (Fighting Spirit Unleashed) with Kevin Kelly who will be on the podcast later. Also on the podcast is part 2 of the ‘Cowboy’ Bill Watts interview. J.R. and Bill get into some deep discussions and hopefully you’ll have a better understanding about the fundamentals of the wrestling business after this interview. J.R. says Bill did more than many to bring a focus and develop episodic, weekly wrestling shows. J.R. is not talking about RAW or live shows, he’s talking more about a 60 minute, traditional taped wrestling show in syndication.

4:09 – What’s On J.R.’s Mind

  • J.R. will doing an appearance at the Wrestlecade event on November 24th. He’ll be teaming up with Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler from 10 am to 3 pm. A large part of J.R.’s proceeds will be donated to Headlock on Hunger
  • The Chris Jericho Cruise is rapidly approaching and J.R. has heard there are less than 50 cabins left which is phenomenal. www.chrisjerichocruise.com. J.R. and Jerry Lawler will be the cruise hosts.
  • Quick thoughts on the Brett Kavanaugh story….J.R. was concerned when Brett started crying. J.R. understands why but what did Kavanaugh expect was going to happen? J.R. tuned out when it became about party politics. Mr. Kavanaugh should have expected the worst. J.R. thinks Kavanaugh may be a good supreme court justice but wonders if the ‘fragility’ of Kavanaugh is what you want in that office.
  • Ric Flair was at the Georgia Bulldogs football game. His daughter in-law is on that Georgia track team. Ric also met up with Tony Schiavone who produces those games.
  • Turning to football, the Steelers are a mess and  J.R. wonders if coach Mike Tomlinson has lost his audience. They seem to be the most dysfunctional team right now. Jan (J.R.’s late wife) would be troubled by this as the Steelers are her team.
  • J.R. will be on the Fox Sports pre-game show prior to the OU/Texas game at about 9:45 CT.

Around the Wrestling Horn

  • Lita made a surprise appearance in MCW down in Maryland. It’s a good promotion and they also have a good school. Lita spent a lot of time in that promotion earlier in her career
  • J.R. congrats Dylan Bostic on his Oklamania event
  • MLW returns to the Melrose Ballroom this week. Check out www.mlw.com for details about the promotion
  • Impact Wrestling will also be at the Melrose Ballroom hosting their Bound For Glory PPV their on Sunday, October 14th as well as TV tapings on the 15th and 16th. Check out www.impactwrestling.com for tickets and details.
  • NWA’s big 70th Anniversary show on October 21st will be at the Nashville Fairgrounds. Cody will defend the NWA title against Nick Aldis and Jazz will defend the women’s title. Jim Cornette and Tony Schiavone will be calling the NWA title match at the show. Check out www.nwa70.com for tickets and details.
  • Progress Wrestling hosted an event in London at Wembley Arena. Will Osprey worked on that show.
  • J.R. doesn’t necessarily want to call a winner between the upcoming Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov match at UFC 229 on Saturday, Oct 6th. He thinks one of them will get knocked out but if he had to call a winner, he thinks Khabib will win because of ring rust on Connor’s part. Then they can book a rematch.
  • The 1000th episode of Smackdown is coming up on Tuesday, October 16th. Batista is expected to reunite with Evolution (Ric Flair, HHH and Randy Orton). This would be a good place for Rey Mysterio to return but time will tell. J.R. and the King were the first broadcast team for Smackdown. At the time, J.R. had a lot of roles in the company so they brought in Michael Cole to help with announcing. J.R. has not been invited back but isn’t upset about it.
  • Turning to Raw, the show closing segment involved the veterans (Taker, Kane, HBK and HHH). Taker and Kane (who J.R. considers the heels) were left standing and HBK and HHH (who J.R. considers the good guys) were left laying. J.R. likes leaving shows with a definitive scenario to examine. J.R. asks if the WWE believes those four are more over than anyone else on RAW? Are some of the younger talent not able to get over? The ratings for Monday night weren’t very good.
  • The WWE Super Showdown in Melbourne Australia will be on Saturday, October 6th at 5am ET. Becky vs Charlotte and AJ vs Samoa Joe are two of the matches. J.R. thinks Taker vs HHH will close the show. From a big picture point of view, the opening and closing matches are two important tent poles to look at.
  • The Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia is coming up in November. The triple threat match has been announced (Braun vs. Roman v.s Brock). J.R. says having Hogan on the card would make sense as many in that part of the world grew up idolizing Hogan. It would be a massive hit and build big anticipation for the card.

33:10 – Slobberknocker Of The Week

Nominees Include:

  • Gorillas of Destiny who won the IWGP Tag titles from the Young Bucks
  • Jeff Cobb who is a physical beast with a heart of Gold. He won the ROH TV title last week and was on the winning team in a 6 man tag at the Fighting Spirit card
  • David Wright (NY Mets Captain) who came back after serious injuries after two years but is retiring. He left as a player not as someone on the injury reserves
  • Mitch Trubisky who threw 6 TD passes for the Chicago Bears
  • Cody Rhodes who won the IWGP US title on Sunday from Juice Robinson.

This week’s winner is the late, great Bruno Sammartino who would have been 83 on Saturday (October 6th).

39:38 – Pet Coon Goofy Award

Nominees include:

  • Elias and Kevin Owens who pissed off the crowd in Seattle for their comment about the Seattle SuperSonics. J.R. doesn’t think it was pet coon goofy but they got nominated.
  • The NFL Rules Committee for their roughing the passer rule
  • Earl Thomas (NFL Player for the Seattle Seahawks) who publicly said he wanted to be traded

This week’s winner is the US Ryder Cup team who got their a**es handed to them during the Ryder Cup.

45:40 – Kevin Kelly

J.R. welcomes Kevin to the podcast and says he had a great time working with him at the Long Beach event. Kevin says it was due to J.R.’s recommendation that they worked together at that event and thanks J.R. for thinking of him. For Kevin and J.R. to call matches in 2018 for an international company, 20 years since they worked together, for an international company that will be broadcast later to North America is remarkable.

Kevin says the reason J.R. was hired by AXS is because he is talking to a different, more casual audience with the NJPW brand. Josh Barnett is there because of his MMA background and that’s what AXS broadcasts. They are the right team for that broadcast. But with the blended world of events being live on New Japan World and tape delayed on AXS, it was a good chance for them to blend their worlds and is something they should explore more. Kevin thinks it’s foolish there are two separate team when it should be one big team.

J.R. is really motivated to see if he can be part of the Wrestle Kingdom broadcast. He had worked their in 2009 with Matt Stryker and said it was a fun show to do. Kevin says to have J.R. part of Wrestle Kingdom is a no-brainer and also have him on other big shows during the year like Dominion in Osaka and the G1 Finals. J.R. adds he has been talking to his manager Barry Bloom to look for further opportunities that he can do.

AXS TV will air the Fighting Spirit event on Friday, October 5th. J.R. doesn’t know how long the broadcast will be but it’s a testament to the commitment Mark Cuban’s network has made to help build the NJPW brand in North America. Kevin says Mark is the current guy to bring this product to life. He’d like to see Mark Cuban and the NJPW leadership meet to discuss the brand more often.

Regarding the Fighting Spirit event, Kevin thought the matches were more physically intense than he anticipated. J.R. thought the show from top to bottom was the best show he’s been part of in AXS TV. J.R. says he may be at a loss for words sometimes because he’s not motivated because of the presentation in the ring.

The less J.R. knows about the matches the better they (the announcers) do which was a great part of the show for J.R. because he didn’t know what was going to happen. The crew did a great job at filming the show and Kevin said it looked great in the monitors. J.R. and Kevin got some great compliments on twitter. J.R. says they had fun, kept the ship above water and when they needed to give a big call, they made a big call. Kevin was happy with the time they were afforded at the end of the Cody/Robinson match. When you get the time to delve into what a win or loss means for one of the competitors during the live broadcast, it’s great, gut level reaction and Kevin got good feedback from that.

J.R.got some criticism for confusing Yoh and Sho and not being able to pronounce Marty Scurll’s name properly. It pisses J.R. off because they say he doesn’t care about the brand which is untrue. Kevin says he did the same with Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards where he would always confuse the two.

There’s a lot of great talent in New Japan and J.R. thought the physicality in Long Beach was off the page and consistent. The matches were nuanced enough to give each match an identity. These guys lay their stuff in and give everything they have. Kevin says it’s hard hitting and with New Japan, they are trying to get themselves and the brand over with a unique style. Kevin and J.R. agree that moves on the head and neck need to be de-emphasized as much as possible and moves should be more about stories and drama.

J.R. says if he was running a wrestling company and had to compile a short list, he would include Jaie White and Hangman Page who both have bright futures. They are fundamentally sound and have a good presence. They both made their G1 debuts this year and were the youngest competitors. Kevin says you can’t go wrong picking those two or athletes like them.

J.R. also shook hands with Harry Smith and likes he and Archer as a tag team. They are athletic and aggressive. Harry is a late bloomer and starting to evolve as a wrestler. Kevin says J.R. would have called them if they had been available when J.R. was doing talent relations in the WWE. They would have worked well against the Dudley’s for example.

J.R. thought the Gorillas of Destiny and The Young Bucks had a classic tag match with drama and a sound psychological story. J.R. hadn’t seen the G.O.D look better. They look as good as any tag team around. Kevin says even though some fans may say wrestling is ‘fake’, there are things that Tama Tonga takes personally and if you disrespect them or the family, you are going to motivate them to show everyone just how good they are. Tama believed all the knocks on him motivated him to show how good he and his brother were. When Kevin saw them at Long Beach, he knew they were ready and super motivated.

Kevin will be heading to call King of Pro Wrestling on October 8th. The full card is on www.njpw72.com . There will be a Triple Threat IWGP Title match with Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes and Kota Ibushi, the finals of the IWGP Jr. Title match and Tetsuya Naito said on social media there will be a new member of LIJ. J.R. brings up Tanahashi’s ‘comeback’ and compared Tanahashi to John Cena. When NJPW was in a low period of business, Tanahashi got hot and that brought the brand back to prominence. Tanahashi is not a spring chicken and for him to potentially get back to the Wrestle Kingdom main event is phenomenal.

Kevin Kelly compares Tanahashi more to Tom Brady who stays in top form as an NFL QB doing all the work behind the scenes and keeping himself in top shape. Tanahashi had to overcome injuries such as his shoulder, knee and bicep injuries. Tanahashi is rehabbing his way through all these issues which nobody sees and he’s been coming in with more of his old form. And he’s winning with smarts and uses his veteran expertise you would expect from a 20 year pro. J.R. says there are fans who want to see Omega vs Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom while others want Tanahashi vs Omega. J.R. is in that latter group because it makes you wonder could Tanahashi come back from all these injuries and become champion again? Kevin agrees Tanahashi has been on a roll and continues to get bigger and stronger. This will be a magical story and if Tanahashi can win the title for an 8th time, it will be worth all the work he’s done especially since everyone was writing him off.

J.R. says he would love to work Wrestling Kingdom with Kevin and Kevin says to tweet @njpwworld and say you would like to hear Kevin Kelly and Jim Ross at Wrestle Kingdom.

J.R. wishes Kevin safe travels and thanks him for being on the podcast.

1:17:55 – This Week In Wrestling

42 years ago – MSG – Billy White Wolf (aka Sheik Adnan Al-Kasey) and Chief Jay Strongbow defeated The Executioners (John Studd and Killer Kowalski), Nikolai Volkoff and Stan Hansen defeated Gorilla Monsoon and Ivan Putski by count out and Bruno Sammartino defeated Bruiser Brody in a Texas Death Match

21 years ago – October 5th, 1997 – Bad Blood – The first (and arguably the best) Hell In A Cell which saw Shawn Michaels pin The Undertaker for a shot at the WWF title (which became the Montreal Screwjob)

October 8th – Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Kurt Angle to start his final reign as WWE champion.

16 years ago – October 7th, 2002 – Monday Night RAW – All the matches were determined by the RAW Roulette wheel. William Regal defeated Gold Dust in a showgirl match, Trish and Stacy Keibler wrestled a bra and panties match, Jerry Lawler defeated Stevie Richards, Four Way tag team match up (almost) with Kane representing his team by himself vs Chris Jericho and Christian vs the Dudleys vs Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam and that match was gold.

2010 – American Airlines Center – Daniel Bryan retained the US title in a triple threat submissions count anywhere match over The Miz and John Morrison. Randy Orton retained whe WWE title against Sheamus in a cage match and Kane retained the World Championship against the Undertaker in a Hell In A Cell Match.

Birthdays:

Max Payne (58), Danny Basham (41), the late Chief Jay Strongbow would have been 90, Linda McMahon (70), Terri Runnels (52), Bruno Sammartino would have been 83, Dixie Carter (54), Afa Jr (34), Rhyno (43), Kaitlyn (32), Aiden English (31), The Miz (38), Rockin’ Robin (54), the late Eddie Guerrero would have been 51 and Stevie Richard (47)

1:23:54 – Mailbag

Send questions and comments to thejimrossreport@gmail.com.

Q: What impression does J.R. do that is his favorite?

A: Jim likes doing Jim Barnett and Ernie Ladd (which I’ll admit, I dislike immensely). He mentions Terry Hart and Stu Hart.

Q: Has Paul Heyman set the bar too high for managers and advocates to follow?

A: The very opposite. Heyman has opened the eyes of the WWE power brokers that if someone is really good in that role, they can be a big time contributor to the program.

Q: What did J.R. think about the Ric Flair/Ronnie Garvin match in Starrcade 87?

A: It was a slobberknocker. When Garvin won the title, it was unexpected. Ric and Ronnie beat the living dog out of each other. It was quite the matchup.

1:34:58 – ‘Cowboy’ Bill Watts

J.R. sets the table for the interview (Wade Keller represent yo) and they start off with the story about the shoot fight between Butch Reed and John ‘The Barbarian’ Nord.

Bill was there during the fight. John Nord had created the situation but said ‘I have the flu, I’ll fight him next week’. But Nord stood up and hit Butch Reed in the mouth hard. Butch Reed took a step back and they both started trading serious shots but eventually Reed starting coming out on top. Bill pulled them apart and said they were booked together around the territory. They could continue fighting or they might want to consider trying to get along instead which is what they did. That said though, Bill never stopped the fight in the dressing room.

Bill told J.R. one of the things he remembered from the New York Territory was that it was a perpetual card game. Bill says not just the wrestlers but the office guys like Arnold Skaaland would be involved. The wrestlers would be so concerned with card games even when they went to the ring it would affect a match negatively because the wrestlers would want to get back to the card game. When Bill became a promoter, he set a rule that wrestlers couldn’t play cards an hour before the first bell until after the card.

When Bill hired J.R., he wanted the product to be as real and athletically oriented as possible. One of the best a** chewings J.R. got from Bill was for not putting over a ‘job’ guy enough. Bill said J.R. had to give everyone at least some kind of redeeming quality. Bill says he had J.R. study Gordon Solie to learn from him. Bill brings up a match he was in where the fans were picking on Bill’s opponent (the job guys). Bill started picking a fight with the fans and challenged them to come into the ring. In the WCW, there were some of the regular guys on the roster that would hurt the enhancement talent. Bill would get on everyone about that and said that was being a bully. He looked out for the ‘job’ guys because those guys were doing the best they could and were offering up their bodies. You may not always get the perfect guy to work with if you were using ‘job’ guys.

Q: Bill had a very physical style however, with all the research and information about concussions and CTE, is Bill’s memory still good and did he avoid all that CTE stuff?

A: Bill says everyone is different. He doesn’t know how many times he was concussed. Naturally you would worry about that but for him it’s all hind site. Bill doesn’t think they protect the guys as well as they should (specifically for football). Thankfully for Bill everything has been all right and at this point, he thanks God for each day that he’s been given. Bill takes a lot of quality supplements. He doesn’t know if they are making the difference but he does have a good quality of life. He does have some back issues so is not completely free of damage but he’s OK.

Q: How would Danny Hodge or Steve Williams have done in their prime in the UFC and who were other tough guys Bill knew about?

A: Bill used to watch and enjoy the UFC but has a real problem with the way they do things. Bill would like to see it where the competitors know what the score is at the end of every round because that can affect how you fight throughout a match. The other issue is that they’ve really geared it towards a striker. If it was submission wrestling, Bill doesn’t think anyone could beat Hodge once Hodge got up to speed with submissions. He also had amazing cardio and never got tired. Bill doesn’t know how Dr. Death would have been on submissions. Bill said Verne Gagne was a real competitor who may have done well. There were a few guys like Karl Gotch who were into the submissions (Bill said Karl couldn’t beat Hodge though). Bill also makes mention of a shoot match Billy Robinson and Jack Brisco had in Australia. Bottom line, Bill thought Danny Hodge could compete with anyone and Bill never saw anyone that could compete with him. In Hodge’s senior year in amateur wrestling, noone scored a point against him (which is sick).

Q: What’s the best advice Bill could give a young person who wants to get into wrestling or who is just starting in the business?

A: Bill would have to think about what to say but says the person needs to know what they want and be willing to learn it. Mid-South had a system which was a great system and back in the day, they did a lot of travelling by car and during those car trips, you would learn a lot. A young guy riding with a veteran would be learning moments. When Bill was coming up, he would travel with Jim Haiti or Joe Scarpa or Boris Malenko and they would talking to him about his work. A lot of those veterans would have a teaching manner when they were talking to you. The old timers would point out mistakes the rookies were making so they could get better. J.R. says it sounds like the young guys need to have a mentor and also says the young guys should have a financial plan. Bill says he and Pat Jones (they used to do a Sports Show together), used to try and talk finance with the young athletes back then but it went in one ear and out the other. Also young athletes think the money will last forever but don’t realize it could be over tomorrow.

J.R. tells Bill he learned from the best and has had a wonderful career. They tell each other they love each other. J.R. thanks Bill for being on the show and they sign off.

2:00:43 – Show Wrap

J.R. goes over some of his 5 star reviews, talks about his Fox Sports News appearance this Saturday. Next week he will cover the WWE Australia event and his appearance on Fox Sports. And that’s a wrap.

Rating – 8/10

Strong show from J.R. this week especially the interviews with Kevin Kelly and Bill Watts. Starting with Kevin Kelly, they had some really good takes on the announce teams for the NJPW product as well as a good discussion on the ‘rebirth’ of Hiroshi Tanahashi (who is one of my favorite NJPW guys). The 2nd part of the Bill Watts conversation was a cool (although very brief) chat about some of the old school wrestlers. I think this is the first time in any podcast I’ve heard anyone mention Wigan, (which is where Billy Riley trained a bunch of wrestlers including Karl Gotch, Billy Robinson and The Dynamite Kid). Also the discussion about Danny Hodge would do in the UFC was some fun speculation.  The regular segments of the show were kept a little shorter than normal which helped keep this podcast moving along. Definite recommend.

Timestamps: 

0:00 – Intro
4:09  – What’s On J.R.’s Mind
33:10 – Slobberknocker Of The Week
39:38 – Pet Coon Goofy Award
45:40 – Kevin Kelly
1:17:55 – This Week In Wrestling
1:23:54 – Mailbox
1:34:58 – ‘Cowboy’ Bill Watts Part 2
2:00:43 – 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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