Monday, April 13, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 245

Piper switches streams from podcast host to guest with Cabana this week
Photo Credit:
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: 245 (April 8, 2015)
Run Time: 1:03:01
Guest: Roddy Piper, part one (16:01)

Summary: Colt Cabana rarely gives guest the two-part treatment, but he made an exception for Piper, a wrestling icon who, compared to Cabana, is a Johnny come lately to the podcasting game. They talk about the idea of do-it-yourself success, Piper’s varied territory work, the old days of TV tapings and house shows, Piper’s relationship with Vince McMahon and the idea of always being in character. Part one ends with a look at working crowds and ring psychology, as well as a teaser from Cabana about the topics covered in part two.

Quote of the week: Piper, on working territory circuits: “Every move you make in the ring here is for next week. You’re not here to make this crowd and to entertain this crowd, you’re there to make that crowd come back next week. … Balls to the wall. That’s part of what’s going to bring them back, you know? You want ’em just peeing in the chairs.”

Why you should listen: Piper is of course a fascinating figure. He’s an excellent communicator, and I found him much more measured here than in his two-part stint on the Steve Austin Show. It’s almost as if he was consciously agreeing to Cabana’s established vibe, whereas the Austin chat came across much more as a couple of old buddies swapping stories and trying to get a reaction out of each other. Piper’s willingness to compare and contrast himself to Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair was illuminating.

Why you should skip it: Some of Piper’s stories of his early days, especially those from Los Angeles, are familiar from the Austin show. As measured as Piper may be, he did not check his trademark self confidence at the door, and for some fans that remains a turnoff. And without hearing part two, it seems like this hour is much more about Cabana trying to probe Piper’s psyche while part two promised to be more Chris Farley Show reviews of Piper’s biggest WWF moments. If you want to hear about WrestleMania VI, you have to wait a week.

Final thoughts: I didn’t hear Cabana’s appearance on Piper’s podcast — in fact, I don’t listen to Piper’s show at all. There’s a chance nothing he discussed here is fresh or interesting to those who listen to those episodes. I personally want to give special mention to the pre-song of the week segment in which Cabana played a clip from another podcast that happened to include a well deserved plug for Box Brown’s Andre the Giant graphic novel. I applaud Cabana for giving the free plug to a fellow DIY guy that itself contained a plug for a product I already know and appreciate (he also gave a free plug to the Mountain Goats) and having the savvy to spread all this goodwill on what he knew would be a popular episode. I’m very much looking forward to part two.