Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 265

Galloway is one of Cabana's live guests in his latest episode
Photo Credit: WWE.com
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: 265 (Aug. 26, 2015)
Run Time: 1:16:23
Guest: Kyle Kinane (9:15); Max Olesker (29:18); Graham Clark (42:25); Drew Galloway (59:55)

Summary: It’s Colt Cabana’s third and final week at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He gets comedian Kinane to revisit some of his childhood wrestling memories, which bleeds into a talk about racial caricatures, as well as talk a bit about his college days. Olesker, a wrestler who also has a sketch show, discusses his comedy as well as the many well-known wrestlers with whom he trained and worked. Clark, a Canadian comedian, recounts his connection to Hart family and remembers other famous Canadian wrestling figures. The main guest is Galloway, formerly Drew McIntyre. He talks about getting heat from ICW fans for signing with TNA, the health of the industry at large and other Scottish wrestlers of past and present.

Quote of the week: “Just all the companies right now have got the right idea. Instead of trying to compete with WWE, you’re never going to be WWE, why be second-rate sports entertainment? That’s their market, leave it alone. You’ve got the Ring of Honors, the Lucha Undergrounds, the TNAs, ICW here, the companies with their on demands, they’re all trying to be something different, and that’s how wrestling’s going to thrive and succeed. And now people can make a full-time living from wrestling. … And if all y’all keep supporting it the way you have, like everyone’s going to keep busting their ass ’cause so many guys believe in it, and that’s what’s going to make wrestling thrive and succeed, and it’s fucking awesome to be part of it.”

Why you should listen: This is the most finely tuned of Cabana’s 2015 Fringe shows, with very little down time between guests and interviews that don’t drag at all. The nostalgia happily goes beyond the predictable. Kinane and Clark are good for a few laughs, and Galloway’s optimism is especially welcome — because it’s not personal (like many folks who seem intent on conveying happiness and stepping carefully so as not to burn any WWE bridges) but based on the perspective of his years as a wrestler and the respect he has for the man other people trying to make a career out of their passion.

Why you should skip it: At a point, even different comedians don’t have anything new to say about professional wrestling’s history of racially insensitive characters and stories, and since Cabana has, intentionally or otherwise, made this the recurring theme of his Fringe shows, we’ve most certainly reached a point of diminishing returns. If you’re hoping Galloway shares stories of his WWE tenure, look elsewhere, as that part of his career is effectively ignored. And as always, the live interviews are entirely devoid of depth, as there’s simply no time to actually explore the guests and their stories.

Final thoughts: Eh, I kinda liked this one. It’s easy to look at all three Fringe episodes as having near identical undercards with a little variety at the main event. That’s not totally fair, but if you’re prone to waver on your interest in Cabana’s podcasts, I can only assume this episode will fail to grab your attention. It’s not bad — there’s nothing wrong with it any semi-experienced listener wouldn’t already expect — but you’re not likely to remember anything you heard for more than a few hours.