Thursday, March 26, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The B.S. Report with Hulk Hogan

Simmons sat down with the Hulkster this week on his podcast
Screen Grab via the video version of the podcast
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: The B.S. Report
Episode: March 23, 2015
Run Time: 46:37
Guest: Hulk Hogan

Summary: Bill Simmons had Hulk Hogan in the Grantland studio Monday afternoon before both men appeared on the final RAW before WrestleMania. They start by talking about the early 1908s and Rocky III, Hogan explains his time in Japan and eventual return in Madison Square Garden. That leads to a look at Hogan’s favorite crowd moments. They remember the Mega-Powers explosion, and Hogan remembers some of his favorite opponents, including Andre the Giant. There’s a condensed look at his movie career and WCW run and the chat ends with a look at the dynamics of Hogan’s WrestleMania X-8 match with The Rock.

Quote of the week: Hogan, on Savage: “He was that intense in everything he did. Whether it was working out or riding Jet-Skis, that was him, man. And that’s what I dug about him — and not just being the guy trying to make the money, but let’s talk business first. You wanna make some money with somebody? He’s the guy. Because he lived that gimmick. I mean 24 hours a day. There was none of this stuff where ‘OK, I’m Doink the Clown during the day and at night I’m Terry Bollea’ or ‘I’m Brutus Beefcake during the day and at night I’m Eddie Leslie’ or ‘During the day I carry a snake around, but then at night I don’t.’ He was the Macho Man 24 hours a day. There were no holes in his boat, man. He drew nothing but money.”

Why you should listen: Say what you will about Simmons as a wrestling fan in 2015, but the guy was a teenager in Connecticut when Hogan returned to the WWF, beat the Iron Sheik and headlined the first WrestleMania. It’s obvious he paid as much attention to wrestling back then as he does basketball today, and the conceit of showing Hogan old clips to get his reaction — when Hogan clearly hasn’t watched some of them in 30 years — was inspired. It’s a brief chat heavy on nostalgia, and near as I can tell it’s free of Hogan’s legendary “misremembering” of certain key facts. A few times he even defers credit away from himself toward Vince McMahon.

Why you should skip it: OK, you’re not actually going to learn anything new (although Simmons was stunned to hear about Hogan tearing his biceps in the Andre match). And maybe you’ll get mad when Simmons says Orton instead of Orndorff. If you’re staunchly anti-Simmons or anti-Hogan (and there’s plenty in both camps), feel free to take a pass.

Final thoughts: I almost never watch Simmons’ podcast on YouTube because I prefer to listen at 2x. But I did go back and revisit a couple of segments on the video version and was really impressed. Cutting in the actual video was a great touch, and as someone who’s been paying attention to Hogan for nearly 30 years myself, it was interesting to read his facial expressions and see what appeared to be a few genuine moments. Simmons proved his credibility to Hogan, which allowed the latter to relax a little and let down some of the working fa├žade. It’s still not much more than fanboy fawning, but hey, it’s Hulk Hogan. Like I wouldn’t do exactly the same thing?