Monday, December 22, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 229

The quintessential stud-muffin is Cabana's guest this week
Photo Credit: PWI via
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: 229
Run Time: 1:12:30
Guest: Nigel McGuinness (2:24); Joel Gertner (12:09)

Summary: Instead of a monologue, Colt lets old pal Nigel McGuinness explain his new Kickstarter wrestling project. He and Gertner start their conversation in the middle of some random ECW talk before getting into the method behind Gertner’s promo style, his early fan and wrestling hotline days and his use of humor. That somehow shifts into talk about data mining, which bounces into Gertner’s work outside the world of ECW. They go back to how he got his start with Paul Heyman and the loyalty he felt to ECW. They wrap up discussing Gertner’s current gigs, including MXW.

Quote of the week: “You have to be self aware. For whatever my flaws are, and for ever many of them that there are, the most important thing is out of any of that, you have to be self aware and know what they are and know how to try to make silver linings out of clouds and try to make sunny days out of rainy days.”

Why you should listen: Gertner is a different cat from a lot of the guys who have been making the rounds on wrestling podcasts of late. He’s one of very few ECW mainstays who never did much work for larger promotions, and he does a good job explaining how that came to pass. Though notoriously vulgar, it’s clear Gertner was playing a character and is quite able to have an interesting, adult conversation about more than just extreme wrestling. Plus, if you care about McGuinness’ project, you might as well hear about it from the man himself.

Why you should skip it: Gertner is a bit of a rambler, prone to non-sequiturs that prompted me more than once to rewind and see if I missed a transition. Further, there are plenty of fans who have had their fill of ECW nostalgia. While this episode isn’t dripping with that kind of rose-colored reminiscing (as you might get from, say, Tommy Dreamer), Gertner’s entire pro career is wrapped up in ECW, so there’s little to be gleaned for anyone looking for a broader chat.

Final thoughts: I have to confess to being an ECW outsider. Though roughly the same age as Cabana — who brilliantly described the promotion as “when wrestling met puberty” — I just didn’t have, or seek, access to the company beyond what I read in pro Wrestling Illustrated until the glory days were long past. While that may seem like a reason I’d be blasé on this talk, it actually made Gertner a compelling listen, kind of like Jim Ross talking up some old Mid-South legend I barely encountered during a late-stage WWF run. If nothing else, Cabana continues to prove he’s honed his craft quite well, and each succeeding episode becomes another core component of the guest’s public profile.