Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 251

Sweet Saraya's on the Art of Wrestling 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 Wrestling
Episode: 251 (May 20, 2015)
Run Time: 1:07:52
Guest: Saraya Knight (11:07)

Summary: Colt Cabana’s guest this week is legendary British wrestler and promoter Saraya Knight. After a little chatter about women’s locker rooms, Knight details her famous wrestling family and the various documentaries they’ve participated in over the years. She then opens up about her particularly rough childhood, then explains how she got into wrestling, adopting a masculine fighting style, her notorious fan encounters and the evolution of her personal style and wrestling in general, including the influence of Mexican lucha stars. Cabana asks about the late 1990s United Kingdom tribute shows, then Knight talks about the steps she’s had to take to get paid over the years, and ends by recounting how she came to be the owner of a food truck.

Quote of the week: “Being me now is great. I love being me. But I had to go through what I had to go through as a young kid to get to the stage I am now. Now this is my karma for the brutality I went through. … My life is amazing. You’ve got to think about it. I mean, I’ve got a daughter in the WWE, I’ve got sons that are amazing, I’ve got another daughter that’s fantastic at transforming furniture and she’s such a good mom, she’s brilliant. My mentally ill son is in a good place, even though he’s mentally ill. He is actually in a good place. My husband is amazing, my marriage is amazing, my wrestling career … at 43 years old, I’m still kicking it, I’m still doing shit and I’m still traveling, and I’m still getting paid to do it. So you tell me which part of my shit is bad.”

Why you should listen: The “early life” section of Knight’s Wikipedia page is footnoted entirely to this episode. So if you haven’t seen any of the Knight family documentaries (her husband is Ricky Knight, their daughter is WWE’s Paige, their son is Zak Zodiac), there’s a chance a lot of this biographical stuff is fresh to your ears, and a lot of it is quite raw. Sometimes I struggle to find one standout quote from an hour-long chat, this week I had three or four to choose from and I’m still not sure I chose correctly.

Why you should skip it: If you wanted to hear Paige’s mom talk about your favorite Diva, take a pass. Cabana is interviewing Knight for who she is, the 43-year-old international star and former SHIMMER champion. Trigger warnings are appropriate for anyone unready to hear frank talk about abuse, rape, drug use and suicide attempts. It’s fair to note the interview touches very little on Knight’s actual wrestling career, but that’s not going to surprise most regular Cabana listeners.

Final thoughts: Clearly I enjoyed this one. I’d actually like to hear a second part to really dig into Knight as a performer and not just a person, which might seem backward, but I don’t actually have any experience watching her work, and a lot of times Cabana’s interviews with performers with whom I am unfamiliar can be quite interesting even if they only focus on what happens between the ropes. Regardless, if you can handle her blunt force honesty about a very difficult past, this one gets a strong recommendation.