Thursday, March 31, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast

Ambrose talks with Sam Roberts 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: Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast
Episode: 75
Run Time: 59:17
Guest: Dean Ambrose

Summary: Sam Roberts kicks off his week of WrestleMania coverage by bringing on Dean Ambrose for a phone interview. Roberts asks him about the pressures of being in a high-profile WrestleMania match, but Ambrose doesn't seem to be phased by any of that. He just plans on going to war with Brock Lesnar, and that's it. After the interview, Roberts gives his State of Wrestling Address, largely focusing on the continuing problems of how the WWE audience perceives Roman Reigns. Roberts lays out a scenario where Reigns could be a credible, reluctant bad guy. He also praises Shane McMahon's recent performance and hopes that his match with The Undertaker won't be a trainwreck.

Quote of the Week: Roberts - "Wrestling is weird right now. When wrestling was most popular, in the Attitude Era, it wasn't about the skin or the blood or the violence or the language. It wasn't about any of that. The Attitude Era was about embracing the attitude of the fans, and listening to the fans. Figuring out what they wanted and delivering on it. Giving them exactly what they wanted. So it's strange that now we live in a time where we watch WWE, and it would appear that they've already decided what the product is, and are almost getting annoyed that the fans disagree."

Why you should listen: The interview with Ambrose is good for some insight about what excites him as a professional wrestler. He says very little about his upcoming match with Brock Lesnar, but when Roberts mentions his recent match with Triple H at Roadblock, Ambrose lights up. He says that he loved being able to work in a smaller arena and put on a more "old school" match, without having to worry as much about production cues and putting on a big spectacle. The State of Wrestling Address from Roberts will make you think a little bit and get your wrestling brain considering some new ideas, and that's something we all need to do instead of staying in an echo chamber.

Why you should skip it: The interview with Ambrose is barely ten minutes long, which is almost an insult. I expected at least a half hour with Ambrose, and it was incredibly disappointing that the interview amounted to little more than some half-hearted hype for WrestleMania. Also, Ambrose over the phone comes across as even more "who cares" than his usual persona already feels.

Final Thoughts: I suppose even ten minutes is a pretty good get considering it's a main event star for WWE the week of WrestleMania, and even a lazy Dean Ambrose is still a cool dude. What really interested me was hearing Roberts talk at length to himself about what WWE is and isn't doing wrong. It got me thinking about how when you talk about pro wrestling, you can make many blanket statements that may or may not be true, but are spoken as if they're indisputable facts. Roberts says that Reigns gets booed in towns all over America, and yet I can go on Twitter and see multiple people say that at a house show he was getting cheered like a conquering hero. See how there can be multiple truths going on at once, and no one is totally right and no one is totally wrong? That stuff is blindingly frustrating, yet it thrills my brain and it keeps me coming back to this stuff over and over again. Sam Roberts might not be totally correct, but at least he's thinking.