Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To - Art of Wrestling, Ep. 262

Truth Martini has an interesting story being held up at the Canadian border on this week's AOW
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: 262
Run Time: 1:10:36
Guest: Truth Martini

Summary: Returning guest Truth Martini comes back to the show not to promote anything or to talk about the wrestling business, but to tell Colt Cabana a story about trying to cross the Canadian border. The story takes place the night after Ring of Honor's Global Wars show, where the company would be shooting four weeks of TV in Toronto. It is essential for Martini to be there. Martini was initially denied entry to Canada due to a DUI conviction from the previous year. But he simply refused to take "No" for an answer, so we hear about the intense verbal maneuvering it took on his part in order to eventually get across the border. He swears at government workers, he refuses to be arrested, he makes a border officer question the workings of God. Through it all, Martini maintains his righteousness, and the story has a happy ending.

Quote of the Week: Martini - "Eighteen years, every single thing that I've done to build up to get to this point: trained at Al Snow's Bodyslammer school. Getting out there trying to get my name out there. Getting little looks from the WWE, from TNA. Breaking my neck in 2005. Keep trying to push forward, push forward, push forward. Now I'm in Ring of Honor, I'm in a great position, and this man is telling me I'm making his job hard. His job."

Why you should listen: Truth Martini tells his story with the slow, purposeful pacing of a master. There is a reason he gets paid to talk. Whereas others might tell this story with bluntness and anger, Martini harnesses his anger and lets it out in the right spots. He tells the story with highs and lows, recognizing the most dramatic points and pausing for emphasis. What's also endearing is that Martini admits he is not a perfect person, yet he points out that even a flawed man deserves an opportunity to better himself, which is what he was being denied by the border officers. We are along for the ride with Martini the whole way, and the ultimate payoff of the story makes the entire listening experience worth the wait.

Why you should skip it: If you don't like Truth Martini, this will be tough for you because he does put himself over a bit, and he does win in the end. Hard-nosed Canadian border officers will also be very disappointed that a "criminal" like Martini was allowed into their country. And if you need to hear inside dirt on the wrestling business from AOW this week, there isn't much to be found.

Final Thoughts: Martini's story is further proof that the Canadian government is way too strict about who they let pass. Blowing a DUI with a .08 blood alcohol level probably doesn't mean you shouldn't be allowed to work somewhere. Martini is such a convincing talker that from the beginning we are convinced of his right to cross, so at every point in which he gets blocked, we feel his disappointment. His final attempt at convincing a border officer, which sees him invoking the man's faith in God, is brilliant in its implausibility and acts as a perfect end to this story. For those who love podcasts for their ability to just let someone tell a crazy story for the better part of an hour, this episode is excellent.