Thursday, January 21, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: New Japan Purocast, Ep. 26

The hosts talk Shinsuke Nakamura and more
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: New Japan Purocast
Episode: 26
Run Time: 1:50:02
Guest: none

Summary: For a deep dive into the world of New Japan Pro Wrestling, the New Japan Purocast has you covered. Damon McDonald is a Philadelphia sportswriter who has followed NJPW since the early 90's. Collin Miller is simply a fan of NJPW with less experience than McDonald, but an equal dose of enthusiasm. On this episode, they continue to dissect the Shinsuke Nakamura saga, with McDonald convinced that there is more bad blood between Nakamura and NJPW than is being admitted, as evidenced by Nakamura being stripped of the Intercontinental Title without losing a match for it. They both believe it was the wrong move, especially because we were robbed of an excellent match between Nakamura and Kenny Omega. McDonald pours water on the rumors that WWE has purchased the Bullet Club trademark and Nakamura's entrance music. He and Miller share similar skepticism about WWE's ability to use Nakamura in a meaningful way. After this discussion, they move on to previewing the upcoming Road to New Beginning show, the NJPW/CMLL co-promotion show known as Fantasticamania, and the ROH/NJPW shows in Las Vegas, which both hosts will be attending.

Quote of the Week: McDonald, on Nakamura being stripped of the IC Title - "Don't give me that 'We know the finish.' This is pro wrestling. How many times have we known the finish? We sit here and preview shows every single month and I would say for 80% of the show, we know who's gonna win. We knew the outcome of Okada winning for six months before the Tokyo Dome, right? I can't buy that, which leads me to speculate that there's more under the surface than we know."

Why you should listen: The amount of knowledge and reasonable discussion on this show is at a very high level. If you have just gotten into New Japan Pro Wrestling, yet you don't have any friends who are watching it right now, both hosts will be your new friends. They love the product and they enjoy talking to each other about the hopes they have for the product to get even better in the future. McDonald goes from excited to profanely angry at a moment's notice, but he's always funny and engaging. He particularly dislikes modern WWE, which inspires a rant on Vince McMahon's less-than-good track record of pushing Japanese wrestlers.

Why you should skip it: If you are a complete novice with NJPW and you need a tutorial, the New Japan Purocast is not your show. They do presume a certain amount of prior knowledge and give little exposition for anyone unfamiliar, so anyone not in the know will be hopelessly lost. As for their broadcasting skills, your hosts have only been doing this show for six or seven months, so they still have a bit of improving to do, specifically with their ability to self-edit and not go on the occasional tangent that leads nowhere.

Final Thoughts: I would not have been able to write my NJPW Year End Review for this site if I hadn't been listening to the Purocast. Their historical digressions are invaluable for a wrestling dork like myself, as I want to learn all I can about the past, present and future of NJPW. The best part about this show is that you always feel like you're in good hands. McDonald goes off the handle sometimes, but Miller is always able to reign him in. There is never an episode where they don't get into an enriching discussion about a storyline or a wrestler's trajectory. If two fans are going to do a podcast themselves and never have a guest to break up the monotony, these moments of intellectual depth must occur. Otherwise, it's just two guys complaining about wrestling, and who could possibly need more of that?