Monday, January 18, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 285

Maff is Cabana's latest guest
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: 285
Run Time: 59:49
Guest: Dan Maff (9:25)

Summary: Colt Cabana’s guest this week is longtime East Coast independent star Dan Maff. After an opening riff about Maff’s reputation for smelling good, they talk about Maff’s training and his father, a longtime WWF referee in the pre-WrestleMania era. That leads to questions about Maff’s childhood, large family and encounters with friendly and scary old-time wrestlers. He discusses working in Puerto Rico and his time with Ring of Honor, as well as his day job. Maff reminisces about his first experience with Extreme Championship Wrestling and the independent show that hooked him on the idea of being a wrestler. Many names are dropped, Maff explains becoming one half of Da Hit Squad and ends discussing career regrets and how he responded to the pressure to succeed.

Quote of the week: “I think that your biggest — like what you’ll be remembered for is the legacy that you leave behind. Like, the more you try to help the younger guys and, you know, get them jumpstarted in the right direction, and help them out as much as you can, like that’s what I love doing most. I love helping younger guys and getting’ ‘em started and, you know, puttin’ ‘em over.”

Why you should listen: This is most certainly a friendly chat, and Maff probably deserves the kind exposure an Art Of Wrestling appearance can generate, despite being near the end of his prime in-ring days. The undisputed highlight is the end when Maff gets deeply introspective about being unready to grab various brass rings at certain points in his career. That honesty is a welcome contrast to the almost universal stereotype of a confident wrestler, regardless of justification, simply waiting for a breakout opportunity to prove he or she is ready to be the biggest star in the game.

Why you should skip it: After hearing Cabana say he he’d been waiting to have Maff as a guest, the actual interview was something of a letdown since so much of the conversation seems to skim the surface of what apparently is an interesting personality. There’s nothing even marginally bad, awkward or wrong feeling about Cabana’s tone or Maff’s responses, it’s just that there’s hardly any substance for about 45 minutes of chatter. Most noticeable by its absence is any real discussion of the conflict with Homicide that kept Maff from the ring for more than three years.

Final thoughts: If you listen to this interview and feel compelled to seek out examples of Maff’s career, it almost positively won’t be because of anything Cabana asked. This is an inessential listen and something of a wasted opportunity for both guys. Again, it’s a nice, fun time and them both men come off as genial and seem to care for one another, but at the end you’re left realizing it was a lot of words with very little to say.