Thursday, November 19, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: WOOOOO! Nation with Ric Flair: Episode 29

Blanchard is on his old Four Horseman buddy's podcast this week
Photo Credit:
If you're new, here's the rundown; we 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 our regular rotations that we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we're happy to do so.

Show: WOOOOO! Nation with Ric Flair
Episode: 29
Run Time: 1:15:24
Guest: Tully Blanchard

Summary: The episode begins with Flair briefly memorializing Nick Bockwinkel, one of the people who taught him the very most about the wrestling business. Co-host Conrad Thompson then brings up this week's episode of RAW, in which Paige made an insensitive comment about the death of Flair's son Reid. Flair holds back from saying all he wants to say, but it's quite clear that he didn't like it. He says the comment probably shouldn't have made it to air, but "one man is making that decision." After a lengthy discussion of this issue, Flair and Thompson bring on this week's guest, Tully Blanchard. He gives a brief summary of his personal history that led him into wrestling, specifically his father Joe who was a wrestler and promoter. This month is the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Four Horseman, so many memories of the glory days come forth. Flair talks a little about their hard partying, and it all makes Blanchard smile. What doesn't make Tully smile are his stories about leaving WCW and then never coming back, mostly due to receiving low money offers when according to him, "we were the ones selling all the friggin tickets."

Quote of the Week: Flair - "Here's the problem: I obviously have an opinion, but I'm afraid to voice it because I don't want anything to affect Ashley's career. I will just say that I know that Hunter and Stephanie and Michael Hayes have her back. I think if anything could be considered negative, I don't feel like she's comfortable enough to say no to anything yet. It's a tough spot to be in. Even though she's a champion, it doesn't mean she goes, 'Here's what I'm gonna do, and here's what I'm not gonna do.'"

Why you should listen: The failing of some podcasts hosted by former wrestlers is when the hosting duties lie solely on the shoulders of a guy who is in no way a trained broadcaster. WOOOOO! Nation fixes this problem by having Conrad Thompson essentially host the show and facilitate the interviews, allowing Flair to speak his mind and be loose without having to think of questions and guide the audience through an hour-plus of listening. Thompson is knowledgeable and doesn't try to step on Flair's toes. As for the episode itself, it's intriguing to hear Flair be reserved in giving his full opinion about the Reid thing, but the fact that he isn't too happy about it should probably tell you whether or not they were right to do it. Having Blanchard on the show means that Flair gets to tell his party stories with someone who was actually on the front lines with him, and though Blanchard doesn't go into much detail regarding that stuff, it's fun to hear two old friends reconnect and laugh about days gone by.

Why you should skip it: The failing of WOOOOO! Nation is that Flair always does the show by phone, with only Thompson being in a studio on a decent mic. Flair's speech isn't exactly crystal clear these days, and with Blanchard also being on a phone here, the audio quality doesn't exactly impress, and the guys are sometimes accidentally talking over each other. It occasionally feels like Blanchard is just happy to let Flair do more of the talking, and it's particularly disappointing when Thompson asks a vaguely worded question and Blanchard just answers it in like two sentences, and then he's done. The interview does not cover a deep amount of information. Lastly, there are two instances of a weird audio glitch where a 30-second chunk of the interview loops and immediately replays itself. Perhaps the phantom spirit keeping Ric Flair alive caused the audio to malfunction.

Final Thoughts: Ric Flair and Tully Blanchard were two of the absolute coolest wrestlers to ever walk the planet. That might be reason enough to listen to these guys talk. If you're looking for deep analysis of Blanchard's "I Quit" match with Magnum T.A., you won't find it here. But if you can roll with a flyover of Blanchard's time in the business and how he feels about what they did, this will satisfy. Maybe if Blanchard reappears on the show down the line, we'll get an even better interview.