Monday, June 15, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 254

The former Evan Bourne was one of the many guests on this live-to-tape episode
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: 254 (June 10, 2015)
Run Time: 1:05:50
Guest: Marty DeRosa (5:36); Brian Kendrick (11:19); Excalibur (23:30); Tommaso Ciampa (33:38); Evan Bourne (45:12); ODB (53:40)

Summary: This is the second of two live episodes Colt Cabana recorded during WrestleMania weekend in San Jose. This week’s co-host is DeRosa; he and Cabana start by recounting awkward fan interactions. Kendrick doesn’t appear sober, Excalibur can’t get too many words in without Cabana trying to crack a joke, Ciampa talks about his hair before rehashing his previous AOW appearance and explaining the positive ways his career has changes as a result. Bourne/Matt Sydal, who is just as weird as he was during his most recent AOW visit, and the final guest is ODB, who unfortunately is asked about the rules she was given for how often she could touch herself on television.

Quote of the week: Ciampa, on the effect of his honesty about depression in his first AOW appearance: “It makes everything I do character wise that much more believable. Because the bipolar idea of me, whether or not it’s true, it’s definitely believable. Sometimes I don’t know if it’s true myself. And I think in that sense, yeah, it’s helped me. I don’t have to pretend to be anything any more because what I am, it can just be that, and I think it’s unique.”

Why you should listen: This was better than Episode 253. I’ll grant that’s not saying much, but there were a few highlights, such as Excalibur discussing the operation and growth of PWG and Bourne on trying to launch a WWE-branded podcast way back when no one really knew the first thing about podcasts. Ciampa’s story is always compelling. DeRosa is a far better co-host than freight train, and Cabana did a better job allowing the guests to have their moments compared to interjecting his own jokes and disrupting the flow.

Why you should skip it: Being better than Episode 253 is hardly an accomplishment. This is way too many guests for an hourlong how, especially give the time wasted waiting for several of them to walk to the stage for their turn. A lot of the talking is rehashing of previous AOW appearances, and although Cabana is better about not making disrupting jokes, he still interrupts far too often to make this an enjoyable listen. The ODB stuff is mostly kinda gross.

Final thoughts: On balance, I think I’d rather have listened to Kendrick and Bourne try to interview one another for two hours just to see which one could be the least coherent. If any of the guests from the past two weeks intrigue you, I suggest revisiting their one-on-one AOW appearances. It’s good Cabana didn’t burn a first-timer on a panel show, but if you’re going to talk to old friends, it would be better to have some new conversations.