Thursday, March 24, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: MSL and Sullivan, March 18

Sullivan's show is on the docket 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: MSL and Sullivan
Episode: March 18, 2016
Run Time: 1:05:11
Guest: none

Summary: Independent wrestler and promoter Mister Saint Laurent co-hosts with a rugged legend of the business, the Prince of Dahhhkness, Kevin Sullivan. The show is a mish-mash of current wrestling topics and current events outside the wrestling world. The show starts with Sullivan attempting to break down what exactly is going on with Donald Trump. To Sullivan's eyes, Trump's supporters are playing the role of the nWo by trying to come in and take over the Republican Party. Sullivan and MSL move on to current WWE storylines as they recap the happenings at Roadblock. MSL believes that with his loss to Triple H, Dean Ambrose's character has been too damaged and it is no longer believable that he could beat Brock Lesnar. We also hear about the terrible booking of Roman Reigns. The second half of the show centers on Sullivan's accounts of his history in wrestling, specifically on the first hour of WCW Monday Nitro from September 16, 1996. Sullivan still remembers the booking decisions that went on that night, and he praises the much-needed quality wrestling of Rey Mysterio and Juventud Guerrera.

Quote of the Week: Sullivan on booking Nitro - "I would always go the simple route. If I really was saying to myself, 'Okay, things are going good, but let's give it a little gasoline,' I could throw Ric against Sting. I could throw Luger against Randy. Juvy against Rey, they had great matches. So I knew when I could kind of coast through one segment, but if I really wanted to heat it up without burning it out, I knew who I could go back to."

Why you should listen: Kevin Sullivan has been so far away from the mainstream wrestling business for so long that he has nothing left to lose, so his honesty is his best quality. He goes after Vince McMahon's booking with a good amount of bluntness, but he doesn't sound bitter while doing so. Sullivan's ideas of how RAW should follow the pacing of a sports event actually make sense, and those ideas are shown to have been used in the 1996 Nitro episode that they break down. This segment will be of big interest to WCW fans who watched religiously during the nWo's first months, as Sullivan has an excellent memory and an even-handed attitude about the strengths and weaknesses of WCW at that time.

Why you should skip it: Just like the Bret Hart podcast I reviewed last week, the greatest detriment to this show is Sullivan's voice. He coughs and hacks right into the microphone, and his voice has a wild rasp to it. Some might appreciate this, but it mostly just shows Sullivan's age. What also shows his age is when Sullivan sticks up for former NXT trainer Bill DeMott. He was fired last year for being a crude bully, but Sullivan suspects that DeMott was a victim of our overly sensitive PC culture. Anytime a white male over the age of 50 starts talking about "PC culture," I feel like I'm a dead cartoon character with X's over my eyes.

Final Thoughts: You know what I really don't need to hear about ever again in my life? How WWE could be doing a better job of booking Roman Reigns. My fatigue with this issue is probably due to consuming too much pro wrestling-related media, but still, we need to be done with it. Even MSL realizes they need to limit the Reigns talk, but it's there, and it's tiresome. I could simplify this podcast and say it's an old guy and a young guy talking about how everything sucks now and everything was better back in the day, and yes, it sort of does fall in that territory. However, as much as I'd like to disagree with that notion, it's usually true. And when you get your dose of history from the guy who painted his face like a Satanist and lit an entire territory on fire, and later booked a company during its highest heights, at least you're in good hands with a guy who knows what he's talking about.