Monday, December 15, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 228

Dr. Tom 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: 228
Run Time: 1:20:13
Guest: Dr. Tom Prichard (12:30)

Summary: After the usual monologue (this week he addresses a Cody Rhodes tweet), Colt Cabana and his former boss start their chat with Prichard defending FCW in light of contemporary raving over the success of the Full Sail era of NXT. That bleeds into a look at how Prichard transitioned from the end of his in-ring WWF career to training future elite stars, then goes further back into how Prichard, at 12, connected with Paul Boesch and eventually entered the business, then his early years on the road, before talking about Prichard’s ability to develop talent without making enemies. Then Cabana shifts the discussion to his own time in WWE developmental, which Prichard began answering through the filter of Bray Wyatt and Chris Hero, as well as a general breakdown of backstage politics for young wrestlers. They ended with a look at Prichard’s current training and wrestling career.

Quote of the week: “It was just so fascinating to me, it was like running away with the circus. That’s what I wanted to do. I thought there was nothing better than packing your bag, going to a town, wrestling under the ring lights, going back, packing your bag and going down to the next town. … You go to a dressing room, and sometimes it’s the greatest. Sometimes it’s a dirty little closet, but the fact is, I liked the dirty little closets better than the big, sparkly nice arenas because they had more feel, they had more atmosphere, they had more attitude to it.”

Why you should listen: In case you want to remember Cabana has a pretty successful podcast even when he’s not opening the microphone to CM Punk, or you’ve only listened to the past two episodes and want a taste of the regular menu. Prichard is a skilled communicator — perhaps surprising if you only know him from his WWF stint with the Heavenly Bodies — and he actually makes several good points about the way the WWE developmental system has evolved in a few short years as well as adequately tracks the progression of the business from the height of the territory days.

Why you should skip it: Chunks of this episode have strains of a Ross Report, and perhaps that’s because I recall JR’s interview with Prichard’s brother Bruce, covering a lot of the same 1960s Houston stories. In fact, if you’re looking for Prichard to talk about his brother, or his own time running with Jim Cornette or his fractured relationship with Jimmy del Ray (who died after Cabana recorded this interview), you’ll get none of it here. Further, anyone who idealizes Memphis wresting or would sanctify Jerry Jarrett will not be thrilled with Prichard’s blunt takedown of both.

Final thoughts: Prichard and Cabana both are currently persona non grata in Stamford (and Orlando), and though Cabana generally tries to maintain an air of positivity on his show, the urge is impossible to resist with this pairing. That said, there is room in the podcast genre for a frank look at what really goes into the make-or-break decisions regarding young wrestlers with obvious talent who still can’t climb the ladder. If nothing else, the plight of someone like Chris Hero is far more relatable to the average Joe than the grievances of a guy who ascended to 1B status behind the –set-in-stone 1A.

More than once I found myself thinking about how Ross or Steve Austin would have handled Prichard as a guest, and while they certainly would have guided him into different eras of his career, Cabana shares his own relationship with Prichard and both guys earned the right to take the talk the direction it followed from the outset. I might be a Cabana apologist, but this was a strong interview and so far the best of the week among the shows I regularly analyze.