Monday, October 27, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 221

The Bucks return for another episode on Art of Wrestling
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
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: 221
Run Time: 1:03:31
Guest: Chris Hero, Young Bucks

Summary: Cabana is on a tour of Japan right now, so Chris Hero sits in with him for the opening. Then the Young Bucks return to the show to talk about the way they bottomed out since their initial appearance, then reversed course to the top of the independent scene and especially Japan. The chat covers locker room politics, the mechanics of touring Japan, relating to promoters on the way up and down the card, changing their approach to character work, joining the Bullet Club, the evolution of selling merchandise and how to work social media.

Quote of the week: “Why are we being such nice guys in a crummy business where you can’t be nice?”

Why you should listen: The Young Bucks are one of the hottest acts going worldwide, and American fans would do well to listen to them and Cabana discuss what it means to be successful in Japan, both in and out of the ring, and consider the complexities required in understanding the audience you’re asked to perform for, how that might change given the town and venue and the steps required to be asked to come back time and again.

Why you should skip it: I don’t know enough about the Bucks to tell them apart by voice alone, to the point where I’m not exactly sure which one delivered the quote of the week listed above. Because they are both well-known stars and repeat guests, Cabana gives very little in the form of introduction or context for the listener who might be uninformed about the guests (the same is true of his brief chat with Hero). Also, if you really don’t care about Japanese wrestling, this show will be a dud.

Final thoughts: If it seems my criticisms are nitpicky, that’s probably true. I’m no Young Bucks expert (and have no recollection of their initial appearance), but I really enjoyed this interview. It’s definitely proof of Cabana’s assertion he intends to have conversations as opposed to executing journalism, but all three are so affable (Cabana comes off as especially genuine this week) it’s a joy to hear them shoot the breeze and to me made to consider their life experiences. Definitely my favorite podcast of the week, continuing a solid run for Cabana.