Monday, April 18, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 297

Konnan is on the Art of Wrestling this week
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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: 297 (April 14, 2016)
Run Time: 1:03:51
Guest: Konnan (12:09)

Summary: After nearly five years, Colt Cabana finally checks Konnan off his list of coveted guests. The first topic is marijuana. Konnan opens up about his family background and how he was a difficult teenager. That led directly into his stint in the Navy, which turned into the incredibly unusual way in which he broke in to professional wrestling. Rey Mysterio, Sr.’s influence is a topic before Konnan explains how the lucha libre scene ascended in popularity in the early 1990s as well as his own crossover success. There are some quick hits on the pivotal 1994 When Worlds Collide show and how that led to stints in ECW, WWF and ultimately WCW. After discussing an appearance on Chris Jericho’s podcast, the chat disintegrates into nothingness until the routine closing plugs.

Quote of the week: “I always felt that if I dressed — if I didn’t dress a certain way or look a certain way or even act a certain way, I was just another wrestler. So I just always wanted to stand out. You know, whether it was my outfits — which I spent a lot of money on — my outfits or it was my physique, you know, always making sure that I looked good, or doing different moves; there’s a lot of different moves that even today in the United States — eh, not a lot, but I would say about five or six that I originated, people don’t know. But I just always wanted to be different. That’s really it.”

Why you should listen: Konnan is nothing if not a good storyteller, and it’s worth hearing his break-in story just to imagine being in his shoes under such bizarre circumstances. The lucha world and Mexican wrestling in general are comparatively unexplored relative to the American and European independent scene that general draws Cabana’s focus, and perhaps most importantly this is definitely an interview with Konnan the performer as a whole, and not just Konnan the Nitro/Thunder fixture. I’m not sure I hear the letters nWo uttered in succession.

Why you should skip it: Cabana didn’t seem able to guide the conversation in the directions he intended, which yielded a few awkward moments. And while it’s not overpowering here, there are flashes of Konnan’s legendary ego that put some of his recollections into a degree of doubt. And it went on at least three minutes past the point of anything interesting to discuss.

Final thoughts: You’ll probably enjoy several moments, but there’s more than a few spots where a prudent editor could have trimmed away some of the fat. Konnan’s a fun enough dude, but despite the fact he is able to respect Cabana as an equal, I can’t help but think the average fan would get more out of a Konnan sitdown with Steve Austin as the host.