Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 234

Bourne/Sydal makes his return to the Art of Wrestling
Photo Credit: WWE.com
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: 234 (Jan. 21, 2015)
Run Time: 1:09:25
Guest: Evan Bourne/Matt Sydal (10:02)

Summary: Returning for the first time since Episode 36, Matt Sydal is still listed as Evan Bourne in the episode description, as that’s the name made famous during his WWE career. He and Cabana talk about pursuing skills outside of the ring but still relevant ot wrestling, and Bourne explains why he has no regrets about his WWE run. They discuss his childhood fandom and the similarities and differences between gymnastics and wrestling. Eventually the topic shifts to Bourne’s departure from WWE and a life-changing trip to Peru to partake in ancient rituals involving mind-altering substances. Bourne then shares some of the highlights of his WWE stint and talks about how the Peru trip changed his outlook on life and his approach to his profession.

Quote of the week: “I consider myself a humble guy. However, I was using humility to hide my fear of being good. It’s easy to be humble, but it’s dishonest if you want to be better than that.”

Why you should listen: This is not your average wrestling podcast, because Bourne/Sydal is not your average wrestler. You get the sense he’s genuinely positive about his WWE experience and not simply (as Mason Ryan perhaps was) trying to keep his bridges unburned, and it’s interesting to consider if he’s right about how he might have been just a bit ahead of his time in regards to WWE and its current crop of upcoming stars. The meat of the show is Bourne’s Peru trip, and the clarity with which he explains both the unique nature of the experience and his bodily response is enlightening.

Why you should skip it: If you’re inclined to pass off Peru as just another acid trip for a known stoner, or if you think someone with Bourne’s WWE career can’t possibly be that positive about the experience, you might as well just take a powder on the whole hour. It’s been about four years since the first episode, so a lot has changed for both men, but it’s entirely possible Bourne’s first AOW experience afforded all the insight some fans need.

Final thoughts: I dug it, especially as a respite from all the Royal Rumble and WWE talk swirling about these days. This chat was quite distinct from what we usually hear on wrestling podcasts, and while it’s not a huge surprise coming from Cabana you know you’re not going to get anything close from Steve Austin or Jim Ross, and sometimes being different is more than enough. But it won’t be as well received by everyone, so I’m unable to give it a full recommendation. Hopefully by reading this you can decide if you’ll land on my side of the fence.