Title: The Ross Report
Date: October 25th, 2017
Length: 1 hour 51 minutes
Host: Jim Ross
Let’s go back to the heyday of professional wrestling. Man, what a time that was, right? You’re probably visualizing your favorite WrestleMania and each polarizing wrestler that added their own unique touch to the sport. But there was a voice behind all the greatness. A voice, which, for some people, signifies a period in their life they’ll never forget.
Jim ‘JR’ Ross, arguably the greatest announcer that professional wrestling has seen, hosts The Ross Report, a weekly podcast centered around his life and the current happenings in the sport. My first impression of JR’s show provided a pleasant surprise. He interjected humor throughout the course of the episode, using certain words and sayings such as, ‘that’s bullsh*t, wont flush here,’ which I found myself enjoying at every turn.
This particular episode of The Ross Report lasted nearly two hours, by far the longest podcast I’ve reviewed. However, I can’t recall one time where I thought the subject was getting stale or that there was too much dead air. Outside of a guest, JR drives the entire podcast by himself and fills several minutes with his own thoughts and opinions on various subjects. It’s incredibly difficult to fill a 110 minute podcast while still making it entertaining. JR was able to do that, with relative ease.
The podcast is largely centered on an interview with Rory Karpf, director and producer of the 30 for 30 documentary ‘Nature Boy’ based on Ric Flair. Judging by social media, the reviews for the film were outstanding, especially with wrestling fans. For a listening audience that’s always craving more about the heyday of the sport, it was cool to hear insights and stories that didn’t make the documentary. One of JR’s great strengths is his ability to conduct an interview. I loved how he let Karpf mention a story while he was conducting interviews for the documentary, and then backed it up with a story of his own. I came away feeling that I learned a lot more about Flair, whereas I wouldn’t have otherwise. The stories that JR and Karpf told aren’t exactly something you can find in a book at Barnes and Noble. If you’re intrigued with the life and career of the Nature Boy, these guys give stories that you could probably only find in this podcast. Just another reason for wrestling fans to subscribe.
Though the weekly interviews are topical and interesting, the lifeline of the podcast comes from JR’s personality. That shows during the opening segment of ‘What’s on JR’s Mind?’ From there, you truly get to learn more about the man behind the mic. So many people connect him to wrestling, but he gives you a look into what his interests are, where’s he going to be that weekend, what’s caught his eye in the news. People don’t come to this podcast just to hear about wrestling, they come because they enjoy JR’s commentary and storytelling ability.
While listening to this podcast, I realized what a master of self-promotion JR is. Maybe that shouldn’t be surprising, considering he comes from a sport that revolves around it, but he makes himself very accessible. From his barbecue products, to book signings, to special appearances, JR lets you know when and where he’s going to be in the near future.
I normally center my reviews on football podcasts but I wanted to take a listen to something different and outside the box this week. To be honest, I struggled coming up with something that I thought would be different but also resonate with several readers. Then, while doing a radio show at a casino on the Oklahoma/Texas line last Friday night, I realized it was standing right in front of me.
There are many reasons this podcast is highly successful, but it certainly helps that JR is still relevant with wrestling fans across the country. He’s built his brand well enough to be highly thought of by older fans, as well as the younger fans of the sport that may have missed out on the heyday of the 80’s and 90’s. For any wrestling fan, this podcast is worth your time. JR makes everything come together with his ability to host and drive a podcast, but relevant and exciting guests only add to the intrigue of the already successful Ross Report.
I did cringe when I first saw this podcast was nearly two hours in length. That’s tough for most people to consume in one sitting. But JR also releases just one episode a week. By doing so, Ross makes having a longer podcast make sense. If we only get one episode a week, then we probably don’t care how long it is. Heck, some people may sit by the computer and wait for it to drop every Tuesday night at 9:00 EST, hoping that it’s upwards of two hours long.
JR cares about the future of wrestling and that resonates well with his listeners. Fans want to hear the current happenings with the sport, but they also want a flashback of their favorite moments. JR provides both with great opinions and riveting stories. To the wrestling fan, I’d endorse this podcast.