Friday, September 25, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 269

Duggan and Cabana go deep
Photo Credit:
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: 269 (Sept. 23, 2015)
Run Time: 1:02:53
Guest: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan (10:55)

Summary: Colt Cabana has another sit-down from his GFW Iowa tour, this one with former a live show panel guest. Duggan talks about his high school sports career, how he transitioned from college football to being a pro wrestling jobber via the NFL, his time wrestling in Hawaii and Georgia and various old gimmicks, the origin of the two-by-four, bar fights and the glory days of Mid-South Championship Wrestling. Things turn somber as he remembers his cancer scare, which leads to talk about his charity work and past television appearances. He explains his first run with the WWF and reflects on the notorious drug bust. He ends explaining how he feels about his current wrestling schedule.

Quote of the week: “Everybody says, ‘All these wrestlers are dead.’ It’s different when all your friends are gone, brother. You know, Gordy, Doc, Geno, now Pipe going, so I tell these guys, ‘Go ahead and enjoy life.’ So I do the best. It’s been a good business for me. I’ve been grateful. I’ve been very lucky. You know, I’ve put two girls through school, I been with my wife for 31 years, never had to go to rehab for booze or drugs — not that I didn’t do a bunch of both, you know. No felony arrest. Probably the most well-known misdemeanor arrest in the history of wrestling. Overall it’s been a great business for me. I beat the odds.”

Why you should listen: When Duggan appeared on Episode 236, I wrote: “It was frustrating (Cabana) didn’t have time to dig deeper with any of the guests, especially Duggan, who appeared on the cusp of either telling some really great stories or actually unpacking some of the more challenging times of his career.” That is absolutely what the full hour yielded, and while it’s not on the scale of Jake Roberts talking with Steve Austin, it’s a crystal-clear window into the real person behind the larger-than-life character, definitely something fans of the 1980s can benefit from experiencing.

Why you should skip it: Maybe you’re dead inside? I don’t know. Duggan’s been around forever, and although I haven’t spent much time thinking about him beyond his WWF persona before now, it’s entirely possible this is just old stuff rehashed n a new format. Certainly the Mid-South years have been revisited repeatedly, and he and Cabana more or less gloss over them here. Though it’s clear Cabana wanted to move on to talk about wrestling, it would have been great to hear more about Duggan’s college recruiting process. And you’ll be disappointed in the audio-only format when Duggan starts talking about his appearance on “Double Dare.”

Final thoughts: Once again, Cabana is the wrestler podcast OG for a reason. You might not put down the earbuds and start telling all the wrestling fans you know they have to listen to this episode, but you will most definitely enjoy the time you spend getting to know a new side of Hacksaw while also getting to bask in nostalgia. I’m really glad they had the chance for a proper interview, and hope Cabana has a list of the live show guests who only had a sliver of time and are worth revisiting.