Monday, March 21, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 293

Big Damo was Cabana's guest this week
Photo Credit: David Wilson/
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: 293 (March 16, 2016)
Run Time: 1:08:47
Guest: Damo (8:23)

Summary: Colt Cabana’s guest is Insane Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion Damo, so the opening focuses heavily on living in Ireland and that country’s wrestling history, complicated by its political past. They bond over growing up sheltered (albeit under different over) and broadening cultural horizons through wrestling. Damo explains how wrestling grew in the United Kingdom in the late 1990s, then gets into his own personal training background, including the inevitable Fergal Devitt references. He talks about the growth of ICW and working in Glasgow, Scotland, and his own physical evolution. They again find common ground in self-evaluation and reflection, and Damo wraps up talking about the recent boom in wrestling popularity.

Quote of the week: “I’m not a negative person by any stretch of the imagination, I’ve just seen it happen before in Scotland, and I was just, I don’t think — will the boom, will the bubble burst at 1,000? OK, will it burst at 2,000? So then, they get 4,000, and now they’re gonna do 10,000, you know, you’re just like, ‘Wow. OK. That’s — that is crazy.’ You know, it’s not perfect. You know, it’s not the — I can’t look you in the face and say it’s the best roster in the world. But, you know, the crowd love everything that happens on that show, and that’s amazing, you know, that’s the — you could maybe replace wrestler X with a better talent from England, but wrestler X is madly over. … Are you an idiot then?”

Why you should listen: Damo is very well spoken and, unsurprisingly, a great source of information on pro wrestling in his corner of Europe. The thoughts he has about his own career or wrestling in general are easily understandable to American fans, and the context he provides about Northern Ireland, Scotland and many of the people he’s encountered make this episode stand out among Art Of Wrestling entries as one in which the audience will most certainly come away having learned more than a thing or two.

Why you should skip it: The one thing you’re likely not going to learn a great deal about is Damo himself. I’ll admit to having no idea who the guy is based on seeing his name pop up in iTunes, and even after listening closely for an hour, I haven’t picked up much personal information that tells me things about Damo the person I couldn’t have presumed simply based on commonalities present in nearly all pro wrestlers.

Final thoughts: Sometimes a seemingly good guest gives a bland interview, sometimes a typically boring guest gets inexplicably compelling under the right circumstances. None of what Cabana and Damo cover is especially deep or meaningful, yet the entire conversation comes off as interesting. As usual with Art Of Wrestling, it’s nice to have a chance to think about pro wrestling without focusing even a tiny bit on the Road to WrestleMania, and Damo is the perfect guest for that antidote. You’re not likely to remember this one when year-end wrap-ups come around, but it’s an evergreen episode that hums along nicely until it’s over — nothing too high or too low, and sometimes that’s all you need to feel you spent your listening time well.