Monday, July 13, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art of Wrestling Ep. 258

Hoyt is Cabana's guest this week
Photo Credit: Kelly Kyle
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: 258 (July 8, 2015)
Run Time: 1:10:31
Guest: Lance Hoyt (9:47)

Summary: During his most recent tour in Japan, Colt Cabana sat down with Lance Hoyt. They open with Hoyt going over his various professional personas before talking about his childhood in Hearne, TX, youth sports, the early days of TNA and the unlikely way he came to be a wrestling fan. They discuss Hoyt’s dancing skills and his early days of training before Hoyt tells about the time he spent some unauthorized time backstage at a WWF show. Cabana asks Hoyt about his brief WWE stint before Hoyt discusses his successful transition to New Japan Pro Wrestling. They end by discussing their upcoming appearance schedules.

Quote of the week: “I think (wrestling in Japan) helped me find confidence I didn’t have. If I didn’t have the confidence I have now in who I am now and what I’m actually supposed to be, I wouldn’t be doing, I think, as well as I’ve been doing here in Japan. I really wish — you know, it’s one of those things, you talk about regrets and what not — I wish this would have come before I went to WWE. Because I think if I knew what I know now, and how to be, and could stand my ground the way I will now going into that company, it would have been a much better, stronger run. Cause I could have said, ‘That’s not me, I’m not doing that. If you want something successful, this will be successful.’ And again, either they would go, ‘OK, go make it successful,’ and if I did, then they would be like, ‘Oh, that’s great, good thing we thought of it.’ Or they would, you know, get rid of your ass.”

Why you should listen: This episode had something of a vintage Art Of Wrestling feel in that it really did seem like two equals sharing a locker room conversation without any of the (occasional) recent pretense of Cabana trying to get over an aspiring talent or indulge his inner fan by connecting with a hero of his youth. Hoyt is remarkably even-keeled throughout, which makes him eminently likable. The story of how he crashed a RAW taping is almost too good to be true, the dancing bits are quite laughable, and near the end there’s a brief moment of discomfort for anyone wondering if Cabana has made amends with Brandon Stroud.

Why you should skip it: There’s not a lot of negative to say about this one, unless you’re the kind of listener hoping for tragic life circumstances, inside dirt on WWE or an interview with someone whose action figure is available at your nearest Toys “R” Us. Hoyt’s life story isn’t particularly compelling, at least in the context of five years of interviews with professional wrestlers of all stripes, and the mutual plugs and upcoming events bit at the end did seem to drag a bit. But these are minor quibbles.

Final thoughts: No one Hoyt’s age can pretend they don’t know about Cabana’s show, so his honest, calm demeanor could always be a put on in an attempt to pain himself in the best possible light, but to this experienced listener he came off entirely genuine. There’s times in writing up these shows I feel it’s wrong to be effusive unless I’m deeply moved or left pondering wrestling in some new light, but sometimes an episode fully living up to its show’s ethos is praiseworthy enough.