Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 267

Jarrett pops into the Art of Wrestling
Photo Credit: GlobalForceWrestling.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: 267 (Sept. 9, 2015)
Run Time: 1:06:09
Guest: Jeff Jarrett (12:42)

Summary: During his Labor Day weekend tour of Iowa with Global Force Wrestling, Colt Cabana sat down with promoter Jeff Jarrett. A lot of the talk was about Jarrett’s early career in Memphis, include his teenage years, first jobs in the business, promoter grandmother and the influence of Jerry Lawler. Jarrett explains the end of his college basketball career, the timing of his 1993 jump to the WWF and sorts out how GFW will attempt to succeed in a modern television market — with Cabana hoping he’ll be involved along the way.

Quote of the week: “In Tennessee it was something that my dad had — you know, he wasn’t afraid to fail, and I think I’m blessed to sort of take that. If you don’t really push the limit and fail, you don’t know how far you can go. … And when you say successful, the only thing that we determined whether the match was successful, not really the execution of it, the bottom line. Did people come see it? And so dog food match, in the right story, yeah, it absolutely sold out many high school gyms. Loser Eats Dog Food with the right opponent? You’re gonna see Jimmy Hart eat dog food? I might go pay to see that.”

Why you should listen: This is probably the least I’ve ever been annoyed by Jeff Jarrett, which is no small praise. By focusing primarily on Jarrett’s territory days and hinting at the unknown of the GFW TV product, Cabana tapped into the most interesting parts of Jarrett’s lengthy career and avoided the obvious pitfalls of wallowing in the many low points of his WWF, WCW and TNA runs. Anybody with an affinity for the territory era should appreciate the chance to hear Jarrett reminisce, especially since he’s quick to point out every generation thinks the business was the best when they came of age.

Why you should skip it: Whenever there’s a hint of controversy, Cabana stays 23 miles away. He generally tries to be positive, but the mutual love and Cabana’s open campaigning to be a GFW mainstay gives the appearance of a host trying to make a comfortable space for his significantly more powerful guest instead of the regular vibe of a frank, unguarded locker room conversation. And, as little interest as I have in Jarrett’s run in TNA or as WCW Champion, some fans will be bummed that part of his career is overlooked.

Final thoughts: This is by no means an essential listen. After all, Jarrett doesn’t exactly suffer from lack of publicity. The stuff from his teen years is interesting but hardly revealing. The GFW discussion is perhaps more valuable in what it reveals about how Jarrett sees the business as for what it tips about how the promotion will play on TV but, you know, how much time do we really need to spend thinking about what makes Jeff Jarrett tick? It’s not a bad episode — and most definitely welcome after four weeks of live shows from Scotland. But I can’t shake the feeling Cabana pulled some punches, or at least came in with more of a plan in mind than usual.