Thursday, January 28, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Old School Wrestling Podcast, #169

The Old School Wrestling Podcast takes a look at the '91 Rumble
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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: The Old School Wrestling Podcast
Episode: 169
Run Time: 2:42:41
Guest: none

Summary: Currently in their sixth year as a show, the Old School Wrestling Podcast is a review show that takes a PPV or even just a match or a related series of matches, and breaks it all down in conversation between the two co-hosts, known to the world only as the Black Cat and Dre. This episode sees them taking on the 1991 Royal Rumble, an event they believe is notable for having an undercard that more or less overshadows the Rumble match itself. The fantastic opener with the Rockers and the Orient Express earns high praise, with Dre lamenting how the Express are often overlooked as a great tag team. Black Cat has never seen the segment where Sensational Sherri tries to seduce the Ultimate Warrior, so his mind is obviously blown apart by the weird sexual tension that ensues. They provide historical context for Sgt. Slaughter's Iraqi sympathizer angle, and capture the shock in the crowd when Slaughter wins the title from the Warrior. Also, this PPV might contain the only time that peak-era Hulk Hogan stumbled over his words in a promo.

Quote of the Week: Black Cat, on McMahon's idea for Slaughter to burn the American flag - "Pro wrestling has never had class, that's part of the problem. I'm not going to say if I support them burning the flag or not, but if they did, it's pro wrestling. It shouldn't surprise anyone if Vince McMahon did that and put it on TV, no one should be shocked that he made that dumb idea. This is the guy that wrestled God on a PPV, and also did not cease a PPV when one of his wrestlers fell from the roof and died. Vince McMahon is not human at all."

Why you should listen: If you haven't seen the 1991 Royal Rumble, you'll get a pretty accurate summary of what happens. If you have seen it, you'll be delighted when Black Cat and Dre hit on all the insane and perfectly executed moments within. They agree that Rowdy Roddy Piper is not great on commentary here, with him buying into the kayfabe Iraqi sympathizer stuff a little too earnestly, leading to a really funny bit where Black Cat imagines himself getting furious over Roman Reigns being defeated by a member of ISIS. They smartly gloss over much of what happens in the actual Rumble match, because that thing is pretty much a big blob of nothing.

Why you should skip it: Some out there do not like the format of people sitting down and reviewing a PPV match by match, especially if they haven't seen it. But even for those who do like that stuff and want a meticulous attention to detail, Black Cat and Dre don't quite do that. They are loose with the details, and they don't go move-by-move. Also, the last 40 minutes of the show is devoted to listener feedback from the last few episodes, so that part only needs to be checked out by regular listeners of the OSWP.

Final Thoughts: The Black Cat and Dre are two old friends from the Chicago area, both with families and careers, who both love wrestling and love talking to each other so much that they do a podcast by Skype twice a month. They are always really excited to engage with each other, and their long friendship shows both in the tone in which they speak, but also in the stories they share about their past. The 1991 Royal Rumble proves to be fertile ground for some of Black Cat and Dre's funniest tangents yet, even making me consider something I had never thought about: Koko B. Ware's despairing realization that he had to immediately go out and follow the finish of Slaughter/Warrior, which sucked the life out of the arena for a good half hour. Poor Koko.