Thursday, April 7, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Pro Wrestling Torch Livecast, 4/5/16

Styles and conspiracy talk were subjects on the Livecast
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: Pro Wrestling Torch Livecast
Episode: 4/5/16
Run Time: 1:44:00
Guest: Jason Powell

Summary: Wade Keller is taking calls and discussing WrestleMania and RAW fallout with his guest Jason Powell, of fame. They talk about the surprising disclaimer by WWE that audiences at home should basically ignore the crowd at RAW, and how this argument is tone deaf and wrong. Roman Reigns and his presentation might be changing, or it might not, because no one can ever tell what's going on with him. Powell notes that the NXT wrestlers who were called up to RAW were essentially all midcarders there, which might show that Triple H is trying to hang on to what he perceives as his top talent. Many of Keller's listeners call in with questions about the results at WrestleMania and the new directions at RAW.

Quote of the Week: Keller - "The good crowd response for a lot of what happened last night might be written off. A lot of what JBL said was sort of code for, 'This crowd cheers people that we know can't draw, and aren't worth pushing because they have a niche audience, and they don't respond to people who look really good next to Willie Geist on the Today Show.'"

Why you should listen: For a guy who podcasts at length almost every day of the week and writes at length, Wade Keller is remarkably adept at sounding excited about pro wrestling, and most importantly, not jaded. He has his fair share of criticism for WWE, but he comes at everything with a sharp, analytical mind for what makes wrestling work, and he usually offers a solution. Jason Powell is a perfectly fine guest here, illuminating Keller's ideas with contributions that don't just repeat what the host says. For those who are concerned with how WWE could be doing a better job, it would appear that Keller is one of the best in the business.

Why you should skip it: I should only have to tell you, "Listeners are allowed to call into the show," and that should be enough reason for you to run screaming. But I'd like to tell you exactly why these listeners are the absolute worst. Here are three samples of listener calls from this episode:

  • A guy started off by saying, "I...hated WrestleMania."
  • A guy asked if Vince McMahon is giving AJ Styles a title shot for the sole purpose of later burying him just so WWE can embarrass and bury TNA and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
  • A guy speculated that in their storyline, Shane McMahon was meant to represent Bernie Sanders, the political outsider, while The Authority was meant to represent Hillary Clinton, the entrenched establishment.

Final Thoughts: Wade Keller is a perfectly affable host who speaks with competence and logic about pro wrestling. But as long as he extends an olive branch to his listeners and lets them speak their minds on his show, the Pro Wrestling Torch Livecast is an utterly miserable experience.

I knew that many wrestling fans are spoiled babies who cry when they don't get what they want. I see it on Twitter and in the reactions of fans at live events. But when whiny wrestling fans are given a chance to verbally speak their mind at length, and I have to hear the confidence and the anger in their dumb voices, it makes it all so much more enraging. I listened to this podcast at the gym, and when the one guy asked if booking AJ strong was a setup to embarrass TNA and NJPW, I almost fell off the treadmill. It's unfathomable to me that anyone could either A. believe that Vince McMahon gives enough of a shit about those companies to embarrass them through booking, or B. care enough about pro wrestling to be upset if that was even the truth of the situation. The only way someone dreams up that conspiracy is if they want to believe it.

Also, that guy who "hated" WrestleMania? I'm positive that he didn't hate it. But he told himself that he hated it, simply because he is wearing Smark Blinders at all times of the day, and is looking for any reason to trash something he claims to love, and also wants to order around a billion-dollar company so that he can tell them how much better he knows than them.

That guy's comment also proves how so many wrestling fans are committed to self-punishment. You hated WrestleMania? That means you don't like anything about what WWE presents. So, stop watching it. Then you won't be mad about it anymore. It's so simple.

Acting as if I know more than Vince McMahon is a trap that I myself have at times fallen into, but the more I hear others take this perspective, the more I realize it's futile. I'm either going to enjoy this ridiculous TV show for what it is and have a good time watching it, or I'm going to get myself stressed out and constantly wringing my hands over every single thing that happens. I don't need anything more in my life to worry about. My wife is giving birth to our first child in a few weeks, and I'm quite confident that the well-being of my baby is going to matter more to me than whether or not Baron Corbin should have debuted by wrestling Dolph Ziggler. Why does that booking decision not matter to me? Because it's not important, and neither are many of the tiny details that go into making RAW what it is. This show is a wild runaway train that has to air three hours every week, and if you're still hung up on how it doesn't always make sense, then I'd like to be the first person to ever tell you in your entire life that the American political system is flawed.You apparently have a lot of learning left to do.