Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Ringer Wrestling Podcast, Ep. 4

Lesnar's surprise return to UFC is up for 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: 4 (June 7, 2016)
Run Time: 54:55
Guests: Blake (1:50), Dave Schilling (1:58)

Summary: David Shoemaker is joined in the studio by his friend Blake as well as fellow Grantland alum Dave Schilling, currently a writer at large for The Guardian. After a quick chat about Sheamus’ movie role aspirations, they go in-depth on Brock Lesnar’s announced UFC return. A look at RAW spotlights the work of Teddy Long and John Cena, then Shoemaker leads the guys in a mock draft of WWE talent. He spends the last few minutes teaching them about Tommy End.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker: “There is an extent to which Brock sort of took all of the wind out of the sails a certain — of that aspect, like the over-emotional or the over-emoting pro wrestler, because he was acting like, doing all these facial expressions, doing all these like, over-flexing and stuff, he was doing what wrestling trainers will tell wrestlers, ‘That’s how you’re supposed to act to seem like a legit badass.’ Then Brock Lesnar went and became a legit badass, and he came back and he was like, ‘No, this is how you act if you’re a legit badass.’ ”

Why you should listen: Coming in at less than an hour and with three distinct segments, this episode really zips along. It’s quite clear Shoemaker is finding his legs as a host, playing the moderator role nicely and interjecting his insight such that a clearly planned panel discussion comes off as a natural conversation that still leaves the listener entertained and informed.

Why you should skip it: Schilling has bona fides, but who is Blake? He’s not a bad guest, but, like, who is he? Also, as quickly as the show moved, it still managed to lull in the second act. Whether that’s a function of this week’s RAW or of the guys behind the microphones is unclear, but aside from Shoemaker’s well defined point that Cena can muster no more than one good speech per feud, you’re better off listening to the first and third segments only.

Final thoughts: It’s highly unusual for me, but I still haven’t seen or read about this week’s RAW (moving a family of six is a giant obligation, even when it’s only seven miles to the south). That had me extra curious going into Shoemaker’s show, wondering if it would play any differently with my lack of context. Perhaps that’s why I felt the RAW segment was easily overlooked, but given how much I enjoyed the Lesnar discussion, my main takeaway is that weekly current events podcasts would do well to gloss over TV segments unless they truly rise to the level of significance of a major off-screen development. In the bigger picture, this is just another reminder of how the Cheap Heat format (and cohost) held Shoemaker back.