The Jim Ross Report – The Voice Of ROH Ian Riccaboni Plus More With Dave Meltzer
Release Date: December 5, 2018
Running time: 2:37
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
Welcome back to another week of Slobberknocker Audio. Coming up on today’s show is ROH’s Ian Riccaboni and the second part of the Dave Meltzer interview
0:00 – Show Open
2:21 – What’s On J.R’s Mind
44:32 – Dave Meltzer Interview Part 2
1:02:05 – Slobberknocker Of The Week (This week’s winner – George H. Bush)
1:07:39 – Pet Coon Goofy Award (This week’s winner – The KC Chiefs and KC Police)
1:20:30 – This Week I Wrestling
1:37:31 – Mailbag (send questions, comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org)
1:48:53 – Ian Riccaboni
2:30:43 – Show Wrap
** Apologies….due to some time constraints, I was only able to recap the Dave Meltzer and Ian Riccaboni interviews. I’ll get back to full recaps for next week.
44:32 – Dave Meltzer Interview – Part 2
During this part of the interview, they talk about the evolution of the star ratings for matches, NJPW, AXS TV and MSG.
Q: Did Dave think the star rating would evolve to where it is?
A: Dave says it’s all opinion and is not meant to be ‘word of God’. It’s meant as a guide for people who haven’t seen a match as to whether they should or shouldn’t watch a match. Also, Dave goes to PWG events and there are a group of people who will give a number after every match.
People have asked J.R. if he’s seen as good a trilogy as Okada vs. Omega. J.R. will usually answer the Flair/Steamboat series in ‘89. Dave ranked the 69 minute Okada/Omega match 7-stars and said it was the best match he had ever seen. Their matches were like watching a movie series. Each match was a progression of the story from the previous match. Dave puts the Okada/Omega rivalry in the category of Flair/Steamboat or Brisco/Dory Funk Jr.
Q: J.R. hears the advance for Wrestle Kingdom is good and asks if part of that is due to Tanahashi’s current run.
A: Dave thinks so. He says Gado will sometimes book things that make people wonder but when you look back at the end of the story, it made sense. For example, many thought Naito should have beaten Okada but Gedo had a story for Okada to have a legendary title run. He wanted to establish Okada’s 2 year record setting championship run and he set the record going against Tanahashi who had the old record. Coming back to Tanahashi, he was beaten earlier in the year at a few events and put on the back burner to make way for the younger generation. Then we got to the G1 show which was basically the Tanahashi show because he had amazing matches and won the tournament. On the opening night when Tanahashi won, the people were totally into that. Dave thought he wasn’t going to win but thought it would be cool for him to get to the finals, meanwhile Gedo booked Tanahashi to win outright which gave him great momentum going into Wrestle Kingdom. New Japan does a great job at making wins and losses mean something.
The upcoming Wrestle Kingdom has a strong card that J.R. calls an announcer’s dream to call because each match has a well defined story but not an obvious winner. Dave expects Naito to win their match. If Dave was booking, he would have Tanahashi win to set up a the rematch in MSG.
Dave says NJPW selling out MSG is a major thing and a lot of people don’t realize that this is huge for guys like Tanahashi and Okada. It’s Tanahashi’s dream to wrestle there. The MSG show has to be equal or close to a Wrestle Kingdom show. One of Tanahashi, Okada or Omega have to be in the main event.
J.R. thanks Dave for being on the podcast and they sign off.
1:48:53 – Ian Riccaboni
J.R. welcomes Ian to the show. Ian says J.R. is someone who he looked up to and inspired him to get into wrestling.
Ian may be the most educated pro wrestling announcer in the world. He watched his parents get an education and change the trajectory of where their family was going. They got it to a place where they never had to want for anything. When Ian got to college, he went for broke and is still paying off student loans. He got his bachelor’s degree in NYU and a Masters from Penn.
Ian is doing adjunct professor work at Holy Family University doing an intro to sports and communications class. It’s really rewarding especially when there are some wrestling fans in his class.
J.R. says Ian is lucky that he has a day job that allows him to pursue pro wrestling. Ian gets credibility with his students because he’s living it right now. It may not be the right path but it’s the way he’s made it. He also has some credibility with Colt Cabana who is his broadcast partner.
J.R. says Ian and Colt have great chemistry which is not something you can teach. He says Ian and Colt are perfect for the ROH brand.
J.R. talks about announcing and doesn’t want to hear backstory while someone is getting beat up or during a dramatic moment in the match. Ian agrees and thinks back to when he was watching wrestling while growing up was how to feel the match and feel the moment. He says J.R. knew when to ramp up and get excited which is something Ian stole from his playbook.
J.R. says ROH have no issues being a pro wrestling company and prioritize dramatic, athletic based storylines over comedy. Ian says that hits the mark. They certainly have time for fun but it’s athletic based. ROH rarely deviate from the idea that the championship is the most important thing in ROH whether it’s the world title, tag titles or TV title.
J.R. talks about his philosophy on announcing where he will not do backstory if there’s movement in the ring. He waits for a point in the match like a chinlock to do that. Ian says there are times when you have fun and you get lost out there in a match. J.R. says this is human nature especially if you’re still a fan.
J.R. asks how Ian enjoyed being on All In. Ian says it was incredible. It was something that was different and had the makings to be special. Whether everything went right or wrong, he knew it was a night he was going to remember forever. He admits to over preparing for the event. He had flash cards for guys like Nick Aldis who he’d never called a match for. He wanted to make sure he had the background of each of the stars. Gary Juster told Ian to make sure to look around every once in awhile and take it all in. Being able to call Cody’s NWA championship win is something Ian will never forget. To be part of that moment meant a lot to Ian knowing what that championship meant to Cody’s family. He’ll also never forget the display of athleticism guys like the Bucks and Mysterio. It was the biggest event he ever called and has a magic feeling whenever he thinks or talks about it. On the rumor mill, All-In 2 might happen in May of next year.
J.R. brings up Dynamite Kid’s passing and says he was very influential. Ian loved the British Bulldogs when he was growing up and loved Dynamite’s explosiveness. Everything he did had a meaning. One of the first compilation tapes Ian bought was the best of the Dynamite Kid. Dynamite was a huge influence on people who went through ROH like Kyle O’Reilly or Eddie Edwards. J.R. says Dynamite was not afraid to change his game and get out of his comfort zone. He had no fear and was a tough guy too. Dynamite showed promoters that you didn’t have to be 6 feet tall to be a wrestling star. He opened doors for smaller wrestlers to be successful. He will be missed.
J.R. asks what announcers did Ian listen to when he was growing up. Ian says this is a three part answer. Vince McMahon for overall excitement and making something sound like a big event. J.R. for the ability to make things feel important and make the stakes feel the heaviest. Tony Schiavone was great for resetting, being the guy to bring everything back to centre, take a breath and move to the next match. Ian stole from all three of them.
Ian can’t believe he will be working at MSG. When he was going to school, he couldn’t afford going to an ROH event at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC. He’s rarely been in the building despite seeing it on a regular basis. This is the first time someone not the WWE has run it in 60 years. He didn’t know this was happening and was stunned when he first saw the news. A number of stars such as Okada, Bull Ray, Jay Lethal and Tanahashi will be there and there could be more big stars. 2019 is shaping up to be a crazy year and we may see some movement on December 31st.
J.R. says when someone left a territory like Mid-South, if you were a prelim guy you gave 2 weeks notice and if you were a main event guy you gave 6 weeks notice. We will see movement but it gives others an opportunity. Creative staff and announcers need to help build new stars. The MSG card in April could have a different look than first expected and it’s going to be fun to see how it evolves. Ian says there have been reports of signings for ROH that they are excited about. Ian says Marty Scurll might be someone who could step up to the next level. J.R. likes Marty and thinks he’s a keeper.
The Final Battle PPV is coming up on December 14th. Hay Lethal defends against Cody. Zack Sabre Jr. is on the card as well as Bully Ray who takes on Flip Gordon in an I quit match. Ian says he is in Flip Gordon’s camp and will give Bully Ray what he deserves at Final Battle. This is the biggest event of the year for ROH. This is where it all comes to a head. Colt and Ian are excited to announce the card.
J.R. puts over Ian and says he’s a credit to the announcing business along with Colt. He thanks Ian for being on the show and that’s a wrap.
Rating – 6/10
I have the utmost respect for J.R., however, I was not a huge fan of this podcast. Dave and Ian were both great guests but there were points during the interviews where J.R. was trying to get his stuff in too much and even cut off both Dave and Ian during the interviews. I noticed it especially with Ian where J.R. seemed to talk more with Ian just adding comments here and there. I’ll admit, that took me out of the podcast quite a bit to the point where it got difficult to listen to. Plus, the What’s On J.R.’s mind segment was longer than normal and I couldn’t listen past the 10 minute mark. Sorry J.R!!!
Joe is a long time wrestling fan from Toronto. He is a co-host on the Pull Apart Podcast with Jeff Rush and Caitlin Lavelle as well as a contributor to www.pwpodcasts.com. One of his life goals is to be a guest host on one of Wade Keller’s post-show podcasts. He doesn’t consider himself any sort of expert, he just likes wrestling. Check him out on Twitter and Instagram @ja113.