Monday, May 16, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 301

Corino is part of the live podcast experience this time around
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
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: 301 (May 11, 2016)
Run Time: 1:08:58
Guest: Marty DeRosa (3:26); Buff Bagwell (10:21); Bill Apter (21:00); Matt Striker (31:54); Court Bauer (39:31); Justin Roberts (49:47); Steve Corino (58:27)

Summary: Live from WrestleCon in Dallas, Colt Cabana and co-host Marty DeRosa — after a bit of “comedy” — conduct a series of interviews. Bagwell talks about his “American Males” theme song, shoulder surgery, his airbrushed gear, various tag partners and his movie project. Apter remembers the von Erichs, his wrestling photography background and having Road Warrior Hawk vomit on him during a match, then plugs his book. Striker talks about editing Lucha Underground commentary, politics and his teaching background. Bauer looks back on his WWE career and Vince McMahon, why he left the company and creative ideas that never saw the light of day. Roberts discusses interacting with fans, announcing John Cena, forgetful moments in the ring and plugs his own book. Corino also references a surgery as well as chair shots, working in Japan and shilling merchandise.

Quote of the week: Roberts: “Vince was one of my favorite commentators watching wrestling growing up. He was so over the top and he was a promoter, so every match he was constantly promoting. … And when I did anything slightly over the top, that’s where Vince would chew me out. ‘Dammit, you’re trying to get yourself over! Don’t do that!’ And so the next week, just to be like, ‘John Cena. Hey Vince, how was that?’ ‘Much better!’ And so then I would do that for the next week, and then week by week I would come up just a little bit more, little bit more.”

Why you should listen: Missed out on WrestleMania weekend in Dallas this year? Well, here’s your chance to feel like part of the action, albeit six weeks after the fact. Since everyone here is a repeat guest, Cabana is able to do quick hits and catch-ups without leaving the listeners wanting for deeper dives. Asking Apter about the von Erichs was especially inspired given the location. Bauer’s tidbits on mid 2000s WWE stories that never surfaced was interesting, and Roberts talking about some of the technical challenges of his WWE job was a good time as well.

Why you should skip it: While you can always go back to Cabana’s full-length interviews with each guest to actually get inside their heads a bit, some folks might be frustrated with the accelerated nature of each segment here, especially when DeRosa interjects laugh lines that derail what’s already an express train. No matter how hard Cabana tries (and to be fair, he’s getting much better) the audio-only feed of a live show is always going to feel like it’s missing a key part of the experience.

Final thoughts: Judged against Cabana’s other live shows, this actually holds up quite well. I’m already dreading his return to the Fringe Festival in August because that always yields a mixture of guys I don’t care to hear and guests I’d love to listen to for a full hour, to say nothing of the attempts at improvisational comedy that are really not Cabana’s strong suit (at least not verbally). The quick rotation of many guests works well because if you can’t go deep with any one person, you might as well run as many names across the stage as possible and keep the audience on its toes.