Friday, October 23, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 273

Holly 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: 273 (Oct. 22, 2015)
Run Time: 1:11:18
Guest: Bob Holly (11:18)

Summary: Colt Cabana sits down this week with Bob Holly, who was a panel guest on a live show in England. They talk about Holly’s reputation as a tough guy to deal with and the pressure of working the full-time WWE schedule. Holly frankly discusses his steroid use and cautions against the abuse of any substance. Then talk shifts to Holly’s childhood wrestling fandom, his attempts to break in to wrestling in Portland and Alabama, his training and early work in Pensacola, FL, as well as the breakdown of his first tag team partnership and working for Jim Cornette in Smoky Mountain Wrestling.

Quote of the week: “I don’t want the stress. I enjoy my time at home, I do what I want to do, I travel when I want to travel, I work when I want to work, and I don’t have the stress of being under the gun, under a microscope 24/7 and feeling like I was on audition every time I worked. ’Cause I did! I felt like I was on audition every single night. Even after ten years working there, I felt like I was on an audition. And that’s a lot of stress. That’s a lot of pressure.”

Why you should listen: The openness about steroid use is interesting on its own as well as an example of Holly’s general character and approach to life. He does a great job explaining both his individual personality as well as the challenges of filling the job WWF slotted him in for 15 years. And while his tale of working a day job while trying to break in to wrestling on a full-time basis is not unique, his version is well told and interesting based on when it happened in the context of the evolving scene of the 1980s and 1990s. Holly is respectful of Cornette without being sycophantic, which stands out from the unabashed love or raw hatred the guy usually elicits.

Why you should skip it: Holly here doesn’t cover much new ground compared to his earlier appearance on the Ross Report (episode 42). This is a much better listening experience (because of course it is), but anyone who remembers that interview is going to feel a lot of déjà vu. There’s a little bit of repetition from his stint on the live show, but it’s entirely bearable. Further, it could be argued Cabana should have done more to force Holly into accountability on the Matt Cappotelli issue, but if you expected that from Cabana you’re misunderstanding the nature of the show.

Final thoughts: Holly is famous enough to have easy name recognition amongst nearly everyone who followed WWF in the New Generation or Attitude eras, yet middling enough to not have been overexposed (think Mick Foley), which makes him a decent guest for Cabana, because it’s not anything like the Hllbilly Jim or Honky Tonk Man nostalgia interviews, nor is it a chat with some guy the bulk of the Monday Night RAW audience can’t recognize. I wish I hadn’t heard Holly on with Jim Ross so I could better appreciate the information discussed here, but it’s enough to suggest anyone who’s not spent a lot of time thinking about Holly will at least enjoy the chance to do a somewhat deeper dive.