Thursday, March 3, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: How2Wrestling, #How2Perfect

This week's How2Wrestling is all about Mr. Perfect
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: How2Wrestling
Episode: #How2Perfect
Run Time: 2:00:17
Guest: none

Summary: Kefin Mahon is a comedian who hosts the well-known Attitude Era Podcast. In this spinoff show, he co-hosts with his girlfriend, Jo Graham, who previous to the beginning of this show was almost totally unfamiliar with pro wrestling. The show's concept is to profile one wrestler at a time, giving the highlights of their career and delving deep into the smaller details, all with a lack of insider terms or presumed knowledge. In this episode, Mahon and Graham are profiling the career of Mr. Perfect, Curt Hennig. Jo had not previously heard of him, and as one would expect, she is bowled over by the quality of his work. Matches are analyzed featuring Hennig against Jerry Lawler, Bret Hart, Ric Flair, and Steve Austin. They discuss the comings and goings of Hennig's career, hitting on his disappointing run in WCW that at least included the West Texas Rednecks and their hit song, "Rap is Crap." Hennig died of a cocaine overdose in 2003, which leads them to talk of his legacy and the difficult shadow cast upon his son, Curtis Axel.

Quote of the Week: Mahon, on Hennig's drug addiction - "He obviously was dealing with pain his entire life, and he was obviously hooked on all those pain pills that all of those guys got into the habit of, because they were sore. And it's horrible to see that he fell into that darker side of professional wrestling. The guys who were alone on the road and feeling lonely got over that not through, you know, having a fucking gaming channel or hanging out with each other the way they do these days. It was: you went out, you got fucked up, and the more fucked up, the better the night was."

Why you should listen: Even for someone like me who has studied wrestler Wikipedia pages backwards and forwards, I was still able to learn new things about Hennig's life and career. Nowhere else have I heard that he and Brock Lesnar formed a tight friendship, and that Hennig put the bug in Lesnar's ear that he should make as much money from wrestling as possible and then get the hell out. If you aren't the most well-read wrestling fan, this episode will be a deeply enriching experience for you. Mahon and Graham put the spotlight on Hennig and rarely digress from their main subject.

Why you should skip it: The episode begins with a review of a YouTube cooking show hosted by Mika Rotunda, sister of Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas. It's fun, but unessential to the bigger point of this episode. Mahon and Graham also devote 20 minutes to reading listener tweets about Hennig, and while they're sometimes relevant and worthwhile, some might not be interested in a mailbag segment.

Final Thoughts: Love can bring anyone together, even when one of them likes pro wrestling. Graham proves that any intelligent person can get on wrestling's wavelength as long as they keep an open mind. (This is where I should point out that just because my wife still hates pro wrestling does not mean she's not intelligent. She's super smart. Love you, darling! Don't cancel my WWE Network subscription, please!) These two are an utterly charming couple who learn from each other and have a blast together. It's fun hearing Mahon try to explain the ridiculous logic of why holding the ropes for leverage makes the Figure Four even more painful, because it makes us realize the insanity that we wrestling fans just take for granted every time we watch. But Graham does not judge, she merely takes it in, processes it, and accepts it for what it is. Wouldn't that be nice if the whole world could do that, and just make us feel a little less weird about ourselves?