Thursday, January 14, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast, Episode 63

Sam Roberts talks to ADAM COLE, BAYBAY
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: Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast
Episode: 63
Run Time: 1:26:19
Guest: Adam Cole

Summary: Sam Roberts used to work on the Opie and Anthony Show, and now has a radio show on Sirius XM's OpieRadio Channel. He also finds time to host his own wrestling podcast. In this episode, Roberts interviews Adam Cole in Reseda, just hours before Pro Wrestling Guerrilla put on their most recent show. Cole says that all of the performers feel an intense pressure to make every PWG show better, so it's a nice collaborative effort. They discuss how Cole experienced a gigantic wave of success for someone so young in the business, specifically the time when Cole held both the Ring of Honor and PWG World Titles. Cole has aspirations to main event Wrestlemania, but for now he is happy that he will soon be going to Japan and working with NJPW. After the interview, Roberts goes solo and gives his thoughts on the PWG show he saw, the recent episode of RAW, and the exit of the four New Japan Pro Wrestling stars who are likely headed to WWE.

Quote of the Week: Cole, on questionable booking - "I've definitely been in a lot of scenarios where stuff gets planned, and then stuff gets changed, whether it's a week before, a day before, or an hour before. That's just part of wrestling. Their job is to create the outline of the painting, and we're going to paint it in with the best colors we can to make it work."

Why you should listen: For being just 26 years old, Adam Cole already sounds like a cagey veteran, though if he heard you say that he would downplay that and say he's still learning. He is completely unlike his dickish persona. He provided an "ah-ha" moment for me when he talked about wrestling Shinsuke Nakamura, and how because Nakamura is so beloved, if they had a disappointing match then all the blame would fall on Cole's shoulders. Roberts sounds like he's genuinely curious about the finer points of Cole's career and he asks excellent questions that lead the discussion down fruitful paths.

Why you should skip it: The interview with Cole is barely 30 minutes, and in an episode that's nearly 90 minutes, that means most of the episode is devoted Roberts by himself, talking about wrestling. Roberts is not an unlikeable personality in a vacuum, but wrestling talk and speculation are just much better when there is more than one voice in the room. Though Roberts does bring up some areas where WWE could be doing better, his Twitter bio says he is a "WWE Guy," so that obviously means he ends up being a bit too praiseful of a show that sometimes doesn't deserve it.

Final Thoughts: Even in a 30-minute interview, Roberts is able to get Adam Cole talking openly and honestly about the insecurities he went through when he was both ROH and PWG Champion. At a time when he should have been riding high, he felt as low as he possibly could because he worried that he had achieved all he ever could. For a pro wrestler, there always needs to be some final goal in sight. As Roberts says early in the episode, WWE will be absolute fools if they don't sign Cole soon and make him a star. I think we can all agree that if they do bring him in, his ascension to at least high-mid-card status is almost guaranteed. When that happens, this interview will be a neat little time capsule showing a moment in history when Adam Cole was the young up-and-comer with hopes and dreams.