Thursday, May 26, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Ringer Wrestling Podcast, Ep. 2

The former NXT Champion is one topic of discussion
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: Ringer Wrestling Podcast
Episode: 2 (May 24, 2016)
Run Time: 1:11:12
Guest: Steve Kazee (1:02)

Summary: David Shoemaker’s Ringer show is out on its (intened to be) regular Tuesday afternoon spot. This week’s co-host is Tony-award winning actor (and Grammy nominee) Stev Kazee. After pondering Cody Rhodes’ departure from WWE, the guys look back on RAW. They take a little diversion into wrestling merchandise and look ahead to this year’s Money In The Bank match and the eventual main roster debut of Finn Bálor before diving into Extreme Rules.

Quote of the week: (Kazee) “We have a knowledge, right, ’cause we follow New Japan and we sort of know, like, what’s going on, but the average fan doesn’t. And so this is all new to them. So we all might be a little bored, but they might, I mean, they might be on to something. It worked, it worked clearly. We have the merch to prove that it worked, you know, as the Bullet Club.”

Why you should listen: Episode 2 is already a tighter ship than last week’s pilot. Kazee is a fantastic balance to Shoemaker, as both are well spoken, educated fans. They do a good job hitting the high points of RAW, and Shoemaker is much better this week at moving the discussion forward and keeping topics in their assigned slot. Of special interest was the way they connected the Extreme Rules Intercontinental Championship match to previous four-way encounters like the February 1997 In Your House and WrestleMania 2000 main events.

Why you should skip it: There’s very little disagreement between Shoemaker and Kazee. While there are times each builds off the other’s talking point to take the conversation in a different yet interesting direction, the episode also could be (reductively) seen as 70 minutes of two friends going, “Oh yeah, you know what else was cool?” Starting the Extreme Rules recap with the main event almost guaranteed they wouldn’t actually review the entire show, and that’s exactly what happened, which is a letdown of sorts because I was legitimately looking forward to Shoemaker’s take on the Vaudevillains and Dana Brooke.

Final thoughts: The show is quickly finding itself, which is refreshing. I don’t dislike Cheap Heat as a component of the weekly wrestling routine, but it desperately needs Shoemaker’s balancing presence, and I’m quite alright with that coming through his own show instead of trying to grapple for air time. The show should have a formal name and iTunes feed by next week, which will be fun, but mostly I’m curious to see how Shoemaker does in terms of recruiting guests each week and how he’ll structure an episode without the novelty of being new or the benefit of a WWE show with great matches to relive. Still, I encourage optimism.