Thursday, January 7, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: MLW Radio, Episode 208

Chris Hero is MLW's guest this week
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: MLW Radio
Episode: 208
Run Time: 1:16:15
Guest: Chris Hero

Summary: Hosts Court Bauer and Konnan get on the ol' Skype machine for a conversation with potential candidate for "King of the Indies," Chris Hero. Given Bauer and Hero's mutual history with Ring of Honor, Bauer asks why Hero only had a recent brief run with ROH, with Hero saying he didn't want to sign any kind of a contract with anyone. The rest of the talk is a journey through the high points of Hero's career, from his debut as the character known as "Wifebeater," to his time in Florida Championship Wrestling and NXT, and his foray back into the independent world. Hero shares stories of working closely with Dusty Rhodes, confirming that Dusty was as great as everyone makes him out to be. His times with Teddy Hart have been less rosey, and as Bauer and Konnan can attest to, that's because Hart is a crazy person. Konnan commends Hero for his work at a recent Pro Wrestling Guerrilla show he attended, praising him for putting someone over and making them look good.

Quote of the Week: Hero, on promo class with Dusty Rhodes - "He told me there were a dozen ways to cut a promo, whether it's which words you emphasize. Mixing your levels up, from starting out slow, starting to physically get agitated, calming yourself down, taking it home, etc. Another time, I did a promo where I said, 'I've been wrestling for over a decade!' And he stopped me and said, 'Why the fuck are you gonna tell people you've been wrestling for over a decade? The people are gonna say, 'Wow, he's been wrestling for over a decade and he just got here? He must not be that good.'"

Why you should listen: Bauer and Konnan are pleased as punch to have Chris Hero on the show, and they keep the conversation running smoothly with few gaps or idle chitchat. The section where he talks about working with Dusty Rhodes is just golden, mostly because any stories about Dusty are bound to be entertaining, but it's fun to hear Hero still thrilled that he got the chance to work with such an icon. It also gets really interesting when Bauer talks about the wrestling league he tried to start with Teddy Hart, which ultimately crumbled due to Hart's erratic nature. It turns out that this league was supposed to feature Hero as a Scientology leader named "Heronetics," who would come to the ring with a group of followers. That would have been a true elbow to the face of those goofy Sci-ti's.

Why you should skip it: The audio quality gets shaky at times, but because so many podcasts these days seem determined to have guests via Skype or by phone, it might be time for me to stop complaining about that. As a co-host, Konnan is pretty good at taking a backseat, but he tries weird jokes a couple times and they fall flat. If you're looking for a creative interview style, that won't be found here as they basically just look at Hero's Wikipedia page and ask him about most of it.

Final Thoughts: It's easy to believe Chris Hero when he refers to himself as a wrestling nerd, because he backs it up at every moment of this podcast. He shows much reverence to the people who trained him and helped him on his way up, giving special love to Samu of the Headshrinkers for taking him in and giving him invaluable advice. The episode's most telling moment comes when Hero and Konnan realize that they both have kept extensive notebooks about wrestling moves, high spots and how to book matches. When you discover the meticulous attention to detail it takes to get successful in the wrestling business, it helps you appreciate it as a true form of art.