Monday, February 22, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 289

A late-era ECW standout is on the AOW this week
Photo via Online World of Wrestling
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: 289 (Feb. 18, 2016)
Run Time: 1:02:51
Guest: CW Anderson (12:52)

Summary: Colt Cabana opens his talk with veteran pro CW Anderson by talking about balding at a young age and how it affected the way others perceived him. Anderson explains adopting his ring name before talking about his amateur and brief professional baseball background, recalls getting hooked on wrestling through a Rock n’ Roll Express match and the rest of his rural North Carolina childhood. That segues into memories of his earliest days in pro wrestling, teaming with Pat Anderson, his time at World Championship Wrestling’s Power Plant and how he caught the attention of Extreme Championship Wrestling. They discuss the difficulties of negotiating with promoters and all the problems with Anderson’s 10-month WWE stint. The talk winds down with Anderson explaining his approach to performing in Japan and some quick discussion of his personal life.

Quote of the week: “It was a fuckin’ hour of training session. Guys are jumping in and out, you know, everybody’s taking turns, and I would take my time and get back in there and doing things … time for the doors to open, I go in the back and I had bumped so hard, and taken such hard turnbuckles that I was spitting up blood… Once I knew Paul was there, I was giving it my all. I’d hit the superkick, spinebuster, left punch, I was doing everything I could to show ’em what I could do. And I’d always heard it’s hard to impress the ECW boys because they’d seen everything. So I’m sitting there and I’m spitting up blood in the sink, the door opens, and I look and it’s Paul Heyman. He comes right up to me, sticks his hand out, says, ‘Hey, I’m Paul Heyman, it’s nice to meet you.’ ”

Why you should listen: For someone with so many years in wrestling, Anderson doesn’t have significant name recognition, so this episode serves as a good introduction to the masses, touching on his personal and career biography while also simply conveying his personality. The Power Plant tales were a notable highlight, and if nothing else you’ll take away a well-painted picture of a career spent on the fringes of pro wrestling’s upper tiers.

Why you should skip it: It’s nothing against Anderson, who seems like a decent enough fellow, but this one seems kind of forced. The most interesting bit might have been the throwaway stuff about the beginning about how a receding hairline gives the impression of veteran status, earned or not. I feel like I learned a decent amount about Anderson’s life and career, I just don’t exactly know how that actually happened. Hardly anything said was memorable or notable, it was just kind of words and then different words.

Final thoughts: I really wanted to like this episode, I just didn’t find anything terribly exciting or interesting. It’s not outwardly bad, but there’s hardly anything I’d consider important for any wrestling fan to consume. Going through the motions and on to the next week.