Monday, February 15, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling (Sort Of)

It's a new venture from Cabana 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: Art Of Wrestling
Episode: HOWL Presents ‘Pro Wrestling Fringe’ (Feb. 11, 2016)
Run Time: 21:17
Guest: Dave Meltzer

Summary: It’s a bit of a departure this week as the Art Of Wrestling actually is replaced by an episode of Cabana’s new podcast, a Radiolab-style production. The first 3:42 is an introduction, in which he explains the new conceit and where to find the shows. Then there’s a roughly 15-minute show focusing on little-known Tom Magee and a rarely seen match that made people think he could supplant Hulk Hogan. The capper is a brief interview with Dave Meltzer, who is, of course, an expert on the subject.

Quote of the week: “I personally, I have never seen it. Nobody I know has ever seen it. And when I was with the WWE in the late 2000s, we are allows to request any match form the WWE archives, any match, any one that we wanted to see. And every month I would put in my request and every month I received all of my requests on a DVD with the exception of one match that they refused to put on there. And that’s Tom Magee vs. Bret Hart, from October 7, 1986.”

Why you should listen: Most folks who dabble in wrestling podcasts will be curious about Cabana’s new venture, so here’s a great opportunity to get a freebie without horsing around with promo codes. Even better, it’s a third the length of a typical Art Of Wrestling, so you’re not giving too much of your time if it’s not your bag. And even if you only ever try this one episode, at least you’ll get a great bit of information on a truly rare bit of wrestling history.

Why you should skip it: It’s not the Art Of Wrestling. Not even close. If you need that from Cabana, take a pass. And since it’s not at all fair to judge the entire project based on one episode, I suppose it’s worth saying that skeptical listeners certainly can sit on this one for a bit and see if the new show has any legs. It’s almost guaranteed to get better over time, provided that time is afforded.

Final thoughts: Three cheers to Cabana for trying something different. Based on comments he made to me during my interview for the Atomic Elbow, He’s had this idea (or something similar) for quite some time, and it’s nice for regular listeners to be let in on the secret. I’m not passing any judgment on the concept itself; it’s far too early for that. But for being creative in a field where stagnation seems widespread, Cabana gets high marks this week.