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AS I SEE IT 7/10: Courtesy, respect and a legend…

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

Most of you who have read this blog over the years realize
that I’m the last person to suggest that people ought to
follow traditions.

But watching over the last week, I can think of two
traditions that might be in need of returning…especially
to a few wrestlers in New Japan Pro Wrestling; namely
courtesy and respect.

By now, most readers know that Jim Ross fluffed the names of
the Briscoes on the first night of the New Japan G1 Special
in USA live telecast on AXS TV. He also may have had an
issue with Ishii’s name once on the show. It seems the
reason for the first issue may have to do with the fact that
the Briscoes’ (previously) easily recognizable hairstyles
had been reversed; since the last time he’d called them as
part of the taped footage that has been airing on AXS TV.
Even the so-called fluff with Ishii was so minor you’d not
notice it unless you were looking for it, even if familiar
with New Japan regulars.

Well…..if you listened to some of the New Japan talent on
social media, you’d think Jim Ross had molested a whole
litter of puppies; and had never done a thing in the history
of the wrestling business; and ought to be sitting in a
corner somewhere.

To begin with….playing a part in this saga could well be
the fact that New Japan Pro Wrestling was reported to want
to have Kevin Kelly and Don Callis (who call NJPW on New
Japan World) call the live special. AXS TV wanted to keep
the current pair of Jim Ross and Josh Barnett as
commentators; and being their station and giving New Japan
the first live telecast of a pure New Japan show in history
on American television… carried the argument. But New
Japan kept right on trying to get AXS TV to change their
minds up to the night of the live show.

So New Japan may or may not have provided as much pre-show
preparation for the crew as you’d expect given its their
live American television debut. Admittedly, I’m speculating,
but it wouldn’t surprise me if it proved true.

So to the social media fun…

On Twitter, The Young Bucks started it all with rants about
Josh Barnett burying them on commentary on night one, to the
point on night 2 where they yelled at Barnett “you over
there burying us, Josh”?

The Guerrillas of Destiny complained about Ross botching the
names in a nasty way.

Even Kenny Omega joined in with a passing comment with being
happy to hear Kevin Kelly and Don Callis on NJPW World (nice
commercial for the company’s service) not “being biased”.

Jim Ross has accomplished more in his career than any of
those complaining ever will…and yes, that includes Kenny
Omega. Hell, Ross and Barnett have made Omega in the
broadcasts of Omega-Okada I and Omega-Okada II. He should
have been the last one to complain.

On Night Two, Jim Ross drew attention to his own mistake,
apparently had apologized backstage and did so again on the
air to the brothers. Tell me what commentator would have
done that. The fact of the matter is WWE broadcast talent
routinely botches WWE history, names of moves, and a host of
things on telecasts each week. They fall back on pat phrases
to the point where there are online drinking games for
Michael Cole and JBL using one or more.

To me, the New Japan talent needs to learn some of the
respect and courtesy that are generally a part of Japanese
culture. Complaints behind the scenes are hardly new, but
the degree to which talent went after Ross and Barnett
publicly is surprising and disappointing; particularly with
what Ross has gone through personally in the last several
months. But the fact that apparently the office openly
wanted Kelly and Callis likely gave them the feeling they
could get away with it.

Now, what’s the answer for New Japan’s long-term

For the long term, I agree Kevin Kelly is really good at
what he does with New Japan, even listening to him doing the
Ring of Honor TV earlier this year from Korakuen Hall
(haven’t heard him yet on NJPW World), and will probably
wind up being the PBP person by default after Ross’s
contract is up; as obviously Vince isn’t letting him re-sign
with AXS TV (nor would any of us if we were Vince).

Jim Ross would be the first person to admit that a lot of
the reason he was hired after Mauro Ranallo left for WWE was
his familiarity to a mainstream wrestling audience.
Now…eyeballs are on the product, and Kelly can step in and
do it and have it be a seamless fit between NJPW World and

But the lack of courtesy and respect shown at what should
have been (and still is) one of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s
best moments does put a shadow on two evenings of tremendous

Until next time….

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