Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 241

Colt Cabana talks to cult legend Flash Flanagan this week
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 Wresting
Episode: 241 (March 12, 2015)
Run Time: 1:09:03
Guest: Flash Flanagan (8:54)

Summary: After a monologue in which Colt Cabana weights in on Bill DeMott’s dismissal, he brings on Flash Flanagan. If you don’t know who that is, it might help that the talk starts with a rundown of some of Flanagan’s various characters and their origins. They discuss his perfunctory WWF stint and the various fits and starts in promotions around the world, including a look at his relationship with John Laurinaitis. Flanagan then discusses his childhood ambitions, his risky style during his early years and the mid-1990s independent scene. That leads to how he landed in Puerto Rico and the bump that made him (locally) famous. They chat about Flanagan’s hardcore matches and his heavy use of somas before ending by exploring the frustration of how his time at Ohio Valley Wrestling is apparently overlooked.

Quote of the week: Flanagan, regarding the dangers of working in Puerto Rico: “I got to the point where I’d say, ‘Hit me in the head, I don’t want to take a shot to the back, cause you’re killing me. I’ll protect myself best I can, you can hit me in the head all you want’ — still, the whole thing with the wellness policy, the concussions — hit me in the head because it beats getting a real job any day of the week.”

Why you should listen: I usually don’t recommend the monologues, but there will be folks interested in Cabana’s take on the DeMott situation (spoiler alert: he’s pretty happy with the outcome) beyond his tweets. Flanagan has a whole bunch of interesting experiences and character attempts under his belt, and he of all people is the one to suggest to Cabana that Steve Austin and CM Punk will square off at WrestleMania 32 (Cabana politely disagrees). And he’s frank about his Soma use and how it affected his career, which is an important discussion no matter the star power of the people involved.

Why you should skip it: Flanagan may be a good guy, but he’s not a great interview. Cabana always makes it clear he’s recording conversations and not conducting journalism, but he failed to corral a wandering Flanagan, or at the very least interrupt him to provide context for listeners who don’t know the names Flanagan was dropping. Maybe it’s on me for not having enough context to follow along easily enough, but I really struggled to understand the depth behind most of their stories.

Final thoughts: I might have erred in trying to approach this episode as a history lesson or audio version of Flanagan’s Wikipedia entry. If you don’t care so much about the particulars, he’s got good stories and offers a slightly different perspective than most of Cabana’s guests. He’s not on the way up, but he’s not a real old-timer (like Buddy Landel), which means the peak of his run was while everyone was watching the Monday Night Wars and paying little attention to the independent scene. I don’t want this write-up to reflect poorly on Flanagan — he seems like a good dude with an interesting story to share. But this wasn’t the best forum for that to come across.