Monday, January 11, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 284

The Squire sits down with Cabana
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: Art Of Wrestling
Episode: 284 (Jan. 7, 2016)
Run Time: 1:04:45
Guest: Dave Taylor (8:38)

Summary: British legend Dave Taylor sits down this week with Colt Cabana, talking first about his farming childhood and the nature of wrestling injuries before describing his father and grandfather who preceded him in wrestling, including why he initially resisted turning professional. After a discussion about United Kingdom wrestler pay in the 1980s, Taylor opens up about the difficulty of working with iconic comic wrestler Les Kellett. Taylor then discusses a career-making tour of Sweden with his father and how he learned on the fly, as well as how he handled the in-ring death of Malcolm “King Kong” Kirk. After revisiting his time in Germany, Taylor talks about working World War III in 1995, bounces back to his time as “Dancing Dave” and then gets into his extended WCW run and the peculiarities of starting to work with American-trained stars. There’s a bit of talk about “Gentleman” Chris Adams before Cabana asks Taylor about his backstage reputation for being slightly silly.

Quote of the week: “If I worked in a factory all my life and everything, now I’d be a decrepit old fart … I’d be standing in a pub drinking five pints a night, big beer belly stuck out, you know what I mean? This, wrestling makes you too wise for the world because everything’s a work. And when you get in wrestling, you know it is. You just know it is! And you see things you shouldn’t see, you don’t trust anybody because you’ve seen husbands who would trust wives and stuff like this — it don’t work. I once told Regal that years ago, I said, ‘The only trouble with this business — it makes you too wise for the world.’ … You see too many things.”

Why you should listen: After a low-key two weeks during holiday season, we’re back with vintage Cabana getting great material from a guest with enough name recognition to have broad appeal and sufficient mystery to make the episode an essential part of the man’s biography. Taylor is a great storyteller (at least of his own life) and especially enjoyable were the tales of backstage reaction to his routine wrestling in WCW, along with the hurdles of in-ring communication with established stars like Sting ad Lex Luger. Taylor is delightfully frank and candid on a wide range of subjects, and Cabana is really on point as host.

Why you should skip it: It’s tough to come up with a compelling reason for this subhead, unless you’re simply entirely uninterested in Taylor’s life and career, or if you’re looking for anything more than five minutes of WCW or present-day conversation. The chat is understandably heavy on the starts of British wrestling of the 1970s through 1990s, and if you’re not the type who considers a podcast an invitation to fire up the Google machine you might be put off by how quickly the names and locations get bandied about.

Final thoughts: This is Art Of Wrestling at its finest. If you’ve sworn off the show for one reason or another, give this episode a shot and see if it evokes the appreciation you once had for Cabana’s podcast. Here’s hoping for a lot more like this in 2016.