Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 243

Tarver is Cabana's guest this week
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: 243 (March 26, 2015)
Run Time: 1:08:54
Guest: Michael Tarver (10:27)

Summary: Colt Cabana’s this week is Michael Tarver, the only original Nexus member no longer with WWE. The conversation opens with a look at Tarver’s controversial past with Gregory Iron and heat Tarver might have with various WWE personalities. Cabana explains how Dusty Rhodes favored Tarver during his time in the developmental system and the Tarver promo that raised his profile. Tarver offers stories of a difficult childhood, the way race relations have affected his life and sources of inspiration. There’s a little talk about his post-WWE life before they talk about Tarver’s mid-2000s stints of homelessness, depression and suicide attempts, but the chat ends with Tarver’s new perspective on life.

Quote of the week: Tarver, on surviving a suicide attempt: “Obviously that wasn’t meant to be. And if it’s not meant to be, then I have no business trying to take my life into my own hands, because it doesn’t belong to me. It’s not mine to take. And not even just referring to God, but my family, my children. I just kept having visions of my children growing up, my daughter’s life being altered … and her becoming a completely different person.”

Why you should listen: Tarver is the classic example of the guy you know of from television but don’t know much about because his real life was never a significant part of his (limited) character development. He’s very matter-of-fact about circumstances many others would cite as an excuse, and though it might not be incredibly timely, getting Tarver’s side of the story in regards to conflict with Iron and John Cena is the kind of thing Cabana’s podcast exists to address without sensationalism.

Why you should skip it: If you’re looking for a lot of insight on NXT Season 1, the historic Nexus angle or the struggles of life in WWE developmental, you’ve come to the wrong place. Perhaps you’ve made up your mind in regards to taking Iron’s side and have no interest in hearing Tarver’s version. This chat is kind of scattered and nonsequential, so if you can’t give it a good amount of attention, you might not catch the key parts.

Final thoughts: There’s a chance Tarver wouldn’t be so comfortably candid in another forum, but I think a more formal interview setting would yield a more interesting performance from Tarver. Often I disagree with Cabana on the amount of context and background needed for his guest’s stories. Cabana errs on the side of not interrupting the flow of the chat, but I usually wish I had a more firm understanding of the incidents in question in order to appreciate the guest’s insight as I hear it, not later after I hit up Wikipedia. All that said, in a week full of WrestleMania preview podcasts, this was a great alternative. It’s far from perfect, but it’s by no means a waste of an hour.