Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 259

Team Tremendous comprised a portion of Cabana's latest live podcast
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: 259 (July 15, 2015)
Run Time: 1:09:17
Guests: Nick Gage (6:44); Rich Palladino (18:13); Team Tremendous (29:39); Steve “The Turtle” Weiner (42:11); Joey Ryan (50:34)

Summary: After a recent show in Providence, RI, Colt Cabana recorded a podcast in front of a live crowd. He opened with Gage, who talked about bouncing in Fort Myers, FL, and his time in prison. Palladino shared highlights of a 22-year ring announcing career, including being ringside for the infamous New Jack-Mass Transit incident. Team Tremendous talked about the origin of their gimmick and time in WWE developmental. Weiner did some impressions and shared a behind-the-scenes Wrestling Road Diaries memory. The main event spot was reserved for Ryan, who revisited TNA Gut Check, talked about being based in LA and modeling, went at length about being in a Mountain Goats music video, got into the gross things he does with Blow Pops and smoking for Lucha VaVOOM.

Quote of the week: Gage: “I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, and (prison) is probably the best thing that ever happened to me. Because in prison, you got a lotta time to reflect, you know what I’m saying? So I just reflected, ‘God damn, I’m in a good space right now.’ Hit the weights hard in there and that really changed my whole mental mindset. And I’m really focused. When I was in, locked up man, this is why I have a strong bond with my fans, man, because they all were shooting me letters in there for four years saying, ‘Stay strong, keep your head up.’ And that’s why when I go to these shows and I tell my fans, ‘Man, I do it for you guys.’ I love my fans, man. That’s why I do this shit. Just for my fans, man.”

Why you should listen: This episode is worth it for Ryan’s Chavo Guerrero Sr. story alone. Gage speaks with blunt force honesty in a delightful accent. Once Palladino lets on he was ringside for the Mass Transit debacle, it seems like less of a retread from when Cabana interviewed New Jack. Team Tremendous is a delightful interlude. And Cabana has really honed the live episode experience so the home listener doesn’t feel they’re missing something significant.

Why you should skip it: As is the norm with these panel episodes, there’s not nearly enough time given for most of the guests. That’s a problem not just because it robs us of full-hour treatment for interesting figures, but in order for Cabana to get as much meat as he can out of a brief chat, he spends little time offering or probing for context that might help fans unfamiliar with the subjects better understand the stories.

Final thoughts: Each live show has its drawbacks, but this is miles better than the recently released episodes Cabana recorded on WrestleMania weekend, and I suggest it’s better than what we’re due to get coming out of his month at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which as fun as they might be for the local live audience, represent a low point of the Art Of Wrestling rotation.