Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 249

The Taskmaster takes to the Art of Wrestling
Photo Credit: PWI via 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: 249 (May 6, 2015)
Run Time: 1:07:36
Guest: Kevin Sullivan (11:58)

Summary: Birthday boy Colt Cabana sits down this week with NWA and WCW legend Kevin Sullivan. They talk about Sullivan’s time leading the Varsity Club, the variety of babyface opponents he worked with over the years, booking decisions during the territory era, Jim Barnett’s role in WWF’s nationwide expansion, wrestler behavior, the information age, booking the first Nitro, his childhood and leaving home and the Taskmaster character. At the end they touched briefly on Sullivan’s current TV show and a ring injury that cost him an eye.

Quote of the week: “The road to information, I believe the government has to do something with the Internet, because you can put anything out there — and it doesn’t make it real. Here’s where I’m going with this…”

Why you should listen: Kevin Sullivan is a wrestling fan’s wrestler. He’s a guy you know from magazines you read while your mom did grocery shopping, from Nitro episodes and goofy WCW pay-per-views before the Monday Night Wars era really heated up. He’s always been a weird dude, to put it mildly, and this is a chance to peel back the curtain a bit to meet the man behind the character. Cabana sprays to as many fields as possible within the hour, which is good because Sullivan certainly has a complex history to explore.

Why you should skip it: Sullivan’s stories are about as interesting and coherent as the 85-year-old guy next door who calls me over once a week to help fix his printer. Cabana struggles to keep him on topic, and even when the tangents are minimized, Sullivan just seems to lose interest in whatever point he was trying to make. Cabana doesn’t come close to touching the more controversial aspects of Sullivan’s life and career, and ultimately it’s just disappointing there’s not more to take away from what could have been a spectacular session.

Final thoughts: Obviously Kevin Sullivan has been through a lot in the ring and out, so I don’t want to come off as holding him to some unattainable standard. If you expected Cabana to ask him Nancy Benoit questions for an hour, you’ve never listened to this podcast. Still, I couldn’t shake my disappointment in not getting anything close to what I was expecting. Heck, Cabana got great stories and memories out of Hillbilly Jim a few years ago, and Sullivan is an exponentially more important and interesting figure. I don’t often say this, but I’d actually now like to hear Sullivan sit down with Steve Austin or Jim Ross, just to see how differently the interview would go from this appearance.