Friday, October 17, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 220

The man who cofounded SHIMMER is on the Art of Wrestling this week
Photo Credit: Gregory Davis/Dirty Dirty Sheets
If you're new, here's the rundown: I listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: Art Of Wrestling
Episode: 220
Run Time: 1:11:13
Guest: Dave Prazak

Summary: Cabana opens the show not in his apartment, but in the dwelling place of one CM Punk. They chat a bit before kicking into the main segment with SHIMMER founder Dave Prazak. They start by discussing Prazak’s pathway into wrestling via newsletters, first as a reader and shortly thereafter as a writer, and how he spun that into an onstage and behind-the-scenes career. Discussion focuses on how talent can work together to raise everyone’s profile and the final segment covers the origin and sustained success of SHIMMER, including good words for some of its more prominent performers over the past nine years.

Quote of the week: Prazak on making as many contributions as possible: “I just wanted to earn my place. I knew that, in addition to being a wrestling manager and trying to get some heat at ringside and taking one bump, pulling somebody’s leg during the course of a match, I could put my time during the middle of that week to use typing up the newsletter, posting stuff online, trying to build a website, whatever I could do, Angelfire websites or whatever at the time. I knew that I could be of use, and that’s what I did.”

Why you should listen: Prazak is well spoken with a wide range of experiences in independent wrestling. He lacks the bitterness of someone who has helped launch so many careers while never advancing his own to the pinnacle. Though he and Cabana are longtime friends, their chumminess doesn’t rob the conversation of depth. Fans of female wrestlers in particular will enjoy hearing so many names discussed in such a positive light.

Why you should skip it: There are some persistent audio glitches starting about 25 minutes in that might turn off some listeners. In some cases, Prazak’s answers to Cabana’s questions are completely inaudible (though I fared better listening via headphones than computer speakers). If you’re prone to dislike Punk, he lets some of his less desirable qualities surface (including a questionable rape joke). There’s very little talk of people with WWE connections, so if you need some sort of main stage hook, you’ll have to wait for a different guest.

Final thoughts: I’ll be the first to admit I have a huge blind spot when it comes to wrestling outside WWE, and SHIMMER is no exception. That said, I look forward to guests like this because it broadens my horizons, either by introducing me to new names or giving me a deeper understanding of the folks I recognize from my regular viewing. You’re certainly not likely to hear most of these names on the Austin, Ross or Cheap Heat podcasts, so I’m all in favor of dipping my toe in those waters when given the chance.