Thursday, February 4, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The New Generation Project Podcast, Episode 55

Some nWo chat on the New Generation Project this week
Photo Credit:
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 New Generation Project Podcast
Episode: 55 (WCW Souled Out 1997)
Run Time: 2:57:02
Guest: none

Summary: Stewart, Adam and Paul are three British guys who have made it their goal to sift through and review the "dark ages" of the WWF, from 1993 to 1998. They take the occasional detour from the timeline into WCW, and this episode finds them confronting a PPV that looms ominously: Souled Out 1997. This was the first PPV exclusively marketed and put together as an nWo show, and though Eric Bischoff and his cohorts admittedly had the right motivation in trying to do something very different, the end results are abysmal. Adam is enraged over the boom mic-mounted cameras that provide nothing but shaky images and headaches. Stewart cannot believe that the exact same generic rock music is used for almost every nWo member, or that Nick Patrick is asked to constantly re-enter the ring from the back and referee every single match. Paul is horrified by the insultingly misogynistic "Miss nWo" contest and ends up using his catchphrase that only comes out when they watch something morally offensive: "What was Wrestling thinking?"

Quote of the Show: Adam, regarding the Miss nWo contest being abusive to its participants - "Someone should have told these women what they were going to be asked, so they could prepare. Don't say, 'You know that woman that's about 90, with really bad hearing? We're going to talk to her about a wrestler called "Buff Bagwell," which she won't even recognize as a fucking name, and ask her to comment on what she'd use to polish his arm.'"

Why you should listen: The hosts of this show are smart and distinguished, and that's not just a byproduct of their British accents. Stewart is a brilliant leader, taking meticulous notes while watching each show and putting together blow-by-blow breakdowns of every match that make it so you don't even have to watch the show prior to listening to their episodes. They also splice in interview segments and highlight packages, and along with Stewart's narration of storylines, each episode leaves the listener with no lack of clarity as to what was going on in either WWF or WCW at the time. Usually, they lean toward the positive side in what they're reviewing, but because Souled Out 1997 is such an abomination, it brings out their anger in ways we don't often get to hear.

Why you should skip it: As is par for the course, this episode is nearly three hours long. If you can't hang on for three hours of talking about an old WCW show, this won't be your thing. They also read out listener suggestions for the name of Paul's yet-to-be-born second baby, and some of that might be a bit too insidery for non-fans of the show.

Final Thoughts: The New Generation Project Podcast is a bi-monthly Master's thesis on pro wrestling history, and this episode is no exception. The guys go into Souled Out 1997 with high hopes, but they do an excellent job of explaining why they're being so negative about it. The benefit of hindsight allows podcasts such as these to go back and see what went wrong. Stewart provides a bit of wisdom when he comments that even though they were riding high with the nWo angle at this time, and this show didn't sink the company, Souled Out 1997 ultimately showcases the unchecked hubris that led to the downfall of WCW. And really, this Miss nWo contest is so frighteningly, nightmarishly horrible that it has to be seen to be believed. The guys sum it up best when they deem it to be the single worst wrestling segment in history. Coming from these British gentlemen who have watched some very bad wrestling in the last couple years, you know they mean it.