Monday, October 5, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 270

Taz is Cabana's guest this week
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: 270 (Oct. 1, 2015)
Run Time: 1:07:52
Guest: Taz (10:06)

Summary: Colt Cabana sits down with fellow microphone jockey Taz. They start at the beginning, with Taz looking at the idea of the term “independent” wrestling promotion, how he bounced out of college football and into pro wrestling. He lauds the influence of Johnny Rodz and remembers the founding of ECW, his evolution into full-time wrestling and development of the Tazmaniac character. That leads into memories of working in Japan, the influence of Paul Heyman, the effect of a serious back injury and his involvement in a wrestling school. The final segment starts with recalling his memorable WWF debut, his transition to commentary and a background of his podcasting and radio career.

Quote of the week: “Let me do this Tasmanian Devil-type thing, but I don’t want to be a cartoon character. I always was into ‘I want to be taken serious, I don’t wanna be a joke.’ You know? So I dressed kinda like fur and barefoot, you know, and paint face, and crazy long hair, dreadlocks, I did all this crazy stuff. But when the bell rang, I was hell bent that people respected the way I worked, and my style, and they would giggle and laugh when I’d work shows like this, until I got in the ring, and they’d go, ‘Oh, OK, this guy is not playing around.’ So that was a big thing to me. I wanted to keep credibility as an athlete.”

Why you should listen: By and large, Taz shelves his notoriously dominant personality to truly let Cabana control his show like usual, guiding the conversation primarily away from Taz’ biggest moments into the things that establish his credibility as a veteran who appreciates how he ended up in a position of relative prominence so many years after plugging away at a fledgling career. The Japan story was quite amusing, and while I’m no sucker for ECW nostalgia, it was a nice twist to focus on the gathering clouds that built the storm instead of just the high-water marks.

Why you should skip it: Taz is Taz, which means that although he came off as deferential when compared to most of his mic time, he’s still the No. 1 Tazmaniac by a far piece. Enough of this was familiar from Taz’s appearances on my regular podcasts, I can only imagine someone who listens to him regularly has heard the vast majority of these stories at least once. And although it was clear Taz wasn’t doing the show without a chance to heavily plug his own broadcasting work, the final five or so minutes are an absolute void.

Final thoughts: It’s a mixed bag in terms of suggestions. If you love Taz, you probably regularly consume his content and will only need to listen her for the novelty of him as guest with a worthy host. If you don’t generally care for Taz, I’d actually suggest giving it a listen because he delivers a handful of entertaining stories and is as likeable as I’ve ever known him to be. There are plenty of better Art Of Wrestling episodes, but it’s still a solid effort.