Monday, December 28, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: VIP Lounge, 12/20/15

Kenny King joined his former BDC stablemate MVP on his podcast
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
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 many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation 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: VIP Lounge
Episode: 12/20/15
Run Time: 57:27
Guests: Bobby Lashley and Kenny King

Summary: Former WWE and TNA wrestler MVP and former WWE writer Alex Greenfield host The VIP Lounge, an interview show where they bring on various guests and friends. This week, they bring on Bobby Lashley and Kenny King, both of whom were in a stable with MVP during their time with TNA. The guys discuss the good and bad of how TNA works, happy with the creative freedom they were given for much of that storyline, but disappointed by how jumpy TNA's writers can be with making changes to angles far too soon. MVP says the angle had to incorporate race since that is such an unavoidable issue in America today. That serves as the hard turn into a discussion about whether or not politicians should try to fix social issues, how to talk about religion with someone who doesn't share your viewpoint, and what it's like to hold your newborn child for the first time.

Quote of the Week: Lashley, on his stable with MVP and King - "When they were ripping it apart, I was like, 'You can't rip this apart right now. There are so many things that you could do with it.' There are certain wrestling things where when they come out, you have some type of emotion, whether it's hate, love, who cares. We had that, and not too many people had that. Our presence, us three, coming out...everyone was on their feet."

Why you should listen: If you are one of the brave souls who has stuck with TNA in very recent years, you will find a payoff with the conversation regarding the stable that fans dubbed "MLK." The guys look back on the angle with all the fondness of something from a decade ago even though it happened just last year. They all do a good job of slamming TNA without full-on slamming them. When the conversation turns to politics and religion and being a dad, there is a nice dynamic where everyone isn't just blindly agreeing with each other so they can stay friends. MVP pushes his guests on what they think and wants them to evaluate why they feel the way they feel. Lashley and King feel comfortable enough to receive this friction and give it right back, so that makes for a lively talk that lets the listener feel like they listened to something worthwhile.

Why you should skip it: The audio quality is less than desirable with Greenfield in studio, MVP on the phone, and Lashley and King via Skype. King is backstage at ROH's Final Battle, and I'm not sure how he thought that would work out without constant interruptions. It also gets weird occasionally with so many people on the line together yet not in the room because there are long stretches where only one or two people are talking, and it feels like the other two guys are just being ignored.

Final Thoughts: My wife and I are having our first baby in May, and naturally I'm open to any kind of fatherhood advice that comes my way. I didn't expect to get that advice today from pro wrestlers, but the world works in mysterious ways. I loved hearing Kenny King admit that for the first two weeks after his daughter was born, he held her and had the strange thought that he was holding a stranger. This makes me feel much better about any possible cognitive dissonance I might have as a new dad, since I know that others go through the same thing. Aside from that personal insight, I always enjoy hearing people debate not necessarily about if there is a god, but whether or not people who believe there is a god should get to be a dick about it. The discussion here is coherent and fair, and in this day and age, sometimes that's a miracle.