Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 266

James was one of Cabana's panel of guests this week
Photo Credit: Lee South/
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: 266 (Sept. 2, 2015)
Run Time: 1:02:58
Guests: Mickie James (5:19); Billy Kirkwood (23:46); The Wee Man (37:37); Grado (45:15)

Summary: Colt Cabana is done with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but on his way out of Scotland he recorded one more live show at The Garage in Glasgow. James talks about the influence of Paul Heyman, her pre-WWE career, various character pitches and her infamous “WrestleMania moment.” Kirkwood, a comedian, tries to help Cabana learn the differences between England and Scotland before recalling his childhood wrestling idols and failed attempts to enter the wrestling world. The Wee Man invokes Randy Savage and for some reason does a battle rap to no one. Grado returns to discuss a colonoscopy, Klondike Kate, being a wrestling fan in the early Internet era and muddle Cabana’s ears with his unintelligible accent.

Quote of the week: Cabana: “I usually say that the podcasts that aren’t live, the one-on-one podcasts, are kind of like, you know, a look into the locker room of professional wrestling … where we just kind of talk about stuff, but the live ones, like, that’s the kind of thing — he did tell me in the locker room that that was gonna happen, but I would never expect him to go in front of a live audience and just brag about having a camera shoved up your asshole.”

Why you should listen: James and Kirkwood are solid guests. One of my favorite things about Art Of Wrestling is when people talk about the origin of WWE characters, especially the pitches that never saw the light of day. A supercut of those stories over the past five years would be a great standalone episode. James especially does a good job of capturing the capricious nature of main stage success. Kirkwood is inessential, but amusing enough and respectfully draws the line between fan and performer.

Why you should skip it: This is like the inverse of a Jim Ross podcast in which the opening is OK and the rest is a tire fire. I don’t get the Wee Man thing at all, and I generally only tolerate Grado in small doses. I get why he was a part of this show, but we just heard him a few weeks ago, and he’s even less decipherable this time around. Part of the problem with repeat guests like Grado and Cliff Compton is their ability to shock and awe a podcast audience diminishes with each visit because although entertaining, the creativity has limits when your primary shtick is “pushing limits.” Are there any limits left on this show?

Final thoughts: Eh, mostly I just want to get Cabana back stateside for his traditional shows, especially if I can confirm one was recorded on the recent GFW tour through baseball stadiums near where I used to live. James deserves a full hour, as do a few other Scotland panelists. Same as it ever was.