Friday, November 14, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 224

McIntyre is Cabana's guest this week
Photo Credit:
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: 224
Run Time: 1:05:29
Guest: Drew McIntyre

Summary: Colt Cabana sits down with a fellow WWE expat, but he and McIntyre go way back to the Scot’s brief stint in OVW. They talk about how McIntyre’s language skills have evolved over seven years in America and his childhood interests and early start in pro wrestling. Eventually they focus on the Three Man Band period and the process of adjusting after being fired from WWE. Jumping back in time they cover McIntrye’s wrist injury and revisit his earliest days in America and how he breezed through the developmental system, learning to drive, and his WrestleMania moment. They would up discussing McIntyre’s pre-WWE days working in the United Kingdom and what that independent scene looks like today.

Quote of the week: “I don’t mind what I’m doing and such, I just want to wrestle is my big thing. Let’s find an interesting character, jut give me 10 minutes and I’ll lose every night. That’s all I want to do is wrestle. … That’s all I ever wanted was to get the opportunity to wrestle.”

Why you should listen: McIntyre fills one of what I presume is Cabana’s more popular guest types. He has a WWE pedigree but his life story isn’t widely known. He can speak to things people remember from television but also participate in a conversation that unpacks the performer behind the character. McIntyre comes across as remarkably likeable and it’s nice to be able to think about the way his professional and personal experiences, many of which played out for an audience of millions, have helped his personal evolution over the last several years.

Why you should skip it: Don’t come hoping to hear a bitter ex-WWE employee or rants about the foolishness of the 3MB experience. Also, don’t expect a complete, chronological career retrospective. There’s a good deal of jumping around and the actual WWE talk is one of the lesser elements of the larger conversation. It’s not ignored like an elephant in the room or anything, it just doesn’t organically surface, and WWE-only fans might be frustrated at all of the time spent exploring other topics.

Final thoughts: One key difference between Cabana and Jim Ross is the former understands the type of show he’s presenting and rarely oversells. Whereas JR seems to think any former WWE employee is revealing salacious details the fans lust for, Cabana is blunt. He’s sitting down to talk with a friend, he’s going to try to keep things positive and just be excited about having a career in wrestling. As someone who wasn’t paying much attention to wrestling during McIntyre’s arrival and hot start, I left this show wanting to learn more about his work. Certainly others will be inclined to check out what he’s been doing since leaving WWE, and if that’s the case then Cabana’s primary goals are met. As with many Art Of Wrestling installments, it was a decent use of an hour, even illuminating in parts. It’s not an Earth-shattering, must-hear experience, but neither does it pretend to be. I think you’ll enjoy having a listen.