Monday, January 25, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 286

Vampiro sits down with Colt Cabana
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 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: 286 (Jan. 21, 2016)
Run Time: 1:00:37
Guest: Vampiro (10:20)

Summary: Colt Cabana catches up with the voice of Lucha Underground. They talk about picking up a second language and Vampiro thanks Cabana for a match they worked together at a Juggalos event while Vampiro dealt with tumors. Vampiro explains his popularity in Mexico and how his youth in Canada, playing junior hockey and loving punk rock coalesced into finding his way into the wrestling business and becoming an international sensation. Norman Smiley is recalled before Vampiro starts to explain how he began to use and abuse drugs, which leads to talk about his tumultuous time in WCW. Next we learn about Vampiro’s time in Japan ad the knee injury that caused him to disappear. There’s mention of longstanding conflict with Konnan and how he brought the Misfits to Nitro. At the end, Vampiro plugs the past, present and future of Lucha Underground.

Quote of the week: “It wasn’t like a party culture, they were drug dependent. People were dying. … It’s an evil business, pro wrestling. Gay sex, blackmail, exploitation, it all exists in our business like any other business. Nobody wants to say it, but fuck you, I’ll say it. I think it’s shameful that they took their paychecks and turned a blind eye, and they said, ‘Hey, if this is what I gotta do to eat’ — I can understand that, prison mentality — the guys on top; you’ve heard about the suicides, and you’ve heard about the drug overdoses and all that kinda shit, heart attacks here and there. I mean, c’mon man. It was fucking brutal. Brutal. It was drug dependent. It wasn’t party. Yeah, it was bad.”

Why you should listen: If you’ve never heard Vampiro on a podcast, he’s something else. He comes off as hubristic but also has a fascinating backstory and delivery style that somehow makes it very difficult to doubt his outlandish claims. I was partial to the Norman Smiley tidbits, and the Japan discussion seemed fresh.

Why you should skip it: I’ve totally forgotten if I heard Vampiro on with Jim Ross or Steve Austin or both, but suffice it to say a great deal of the decipherable portions of this interview seemed like deja-vu. There’s not nearly enough Lucha Undeground discussion for anyone expecting this episode to serve as promotional material for season two, Cabana isn’t the right interviewer to press Vampiro for details when he’s either intentionally vague or simply unable to connect coherent thoughts and ultimately, Vampiro just doesn’t resonate with the prime podcast audience. You get that he’s interesting, but I’m not sure the why is ever fully communicated.

Final thoughts: Vampiro is worth at least one listen for just about anyone, if only because words can’t convey what it’s like to hear him go off the cuff. But for many folks, I imagine once is enough, so anyone who has already had the pleasure is probably just fine taking a pass here.