Monday, July 27, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art of Wrestling, Ep. 260

Gulak visited Cabana's show this week
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Show: Art of Wrestling
Episode: 260
Run Time: 1:01:21
Guest: Drew Gulak

Summary: Cabana describes Drew Gulak as a “no-knee pad guy” in the mold of Frank Gotch, a straight shooter. Gulak’s in-ring style comes through in this interview, as he describes his life in a no-nonsense manner. We hear a great deal of Gulak’s origin story, getting addicted to wrestling by attending PPV parties with friends where they watched shows like WrestleMania X. Gulak was ushered into indie wrestling by his high school chemistry teacher who regularly attended ECW shows (Gulak grew up in Philadelphia). When Gulak was 14, this teacher took him to a CZW show, where he became hooked, and then began training with CZW a couple years later. Cabana asks him about the training process with CZW and about Gulak’s current position as head trainer at CZW. The rest of the episode deals in little stories about Gulak’s life in wrestling, competing in places like Chikara and PWG.

Quote of the Week: “Quack (Mike Quackenbush) always gives the best locker room speeches. One of them he gave was … ‘No matter what you guys do today, I want you to take this with you: No matter who you are, no matter how popular you are, there’s probably one person out there who came to this show to see you. You made a lasting impression on that person, so go out there and do it for them.’ … You do make these connections with people, whether you realize it or not.”

Why you should listen: Gulak’s story about being taken to a CZW show at the age of 14 by his chemistry teacher is a crazy one, met with shock by Cabana, but Gulak’s poker-faced reaction to this shock is hilarious. This is just his life, and it’s normal to him. Gulak shows much humility even as he takes some partial credit for having trained people like Adam Cole and Solomon Crowe. It’s nice to hear a wrestler who has no attitude and no interest in cutting anyone down, which perfectly lines up with Cabana’s podcast ethics.

Why you should skip it: Cabana and Gulak are so comfortable with each other that they sometimes sound as if they don’t care that other people are listening. They occasionally delve a bit too deep into the little details about Gulak’s childhood, and I don’t think we really need to hear the intricacies of Gulak’s parents struggling to sell their house when he was a kid. I also would have liked to hear more about Gulak’s adventures in Chikara and PWG. Even Gulak seemed confused as to why the episode was ending so early, as there definitely was more ground to cover.

Final thoughts: For those who complain that most podcasts are just two friends sitting in a room talking to each other about nothing, this episode at times confirms that misconception. Their familiarity makes for a laid-back listen, but there really are a couple fun stories that make the chill vibes worth your time. Just remember: when Gulak starts talking about his parents selling their house, skip a couple minutes and then jump back in.