Tuesday, June 7, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 304

Cabana has Guido on this week's AOW
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: 304 (June 2, 2016)
Run Time: 59:33
Guest: Little Guido (9:33)

Summary: Colt Cabana finally pins down Little Guido, who has been avoiding podcasts because he doesn’t have anyone to shoot on or bury. In a wide-ranging conversation with scattershot chronology, Guido remembers the New York scene from his younger days, going to WWWF shows at Madison Square Garden, his two WWE Cruiserweight Championship reigns and being booked as an Italian in Italy. After a few thoughts about his son, Guido talks about growing up the mafia figures, how he and Paul Heyman developed the Guido character and his short stint as a Snapple driver. There’s some good stories about training in UWF International and a brief foray into his Puerto Rico stint before skipping forward to ECW and New Jack, his short stint as a WWE referee and why he’s happy to have steady work outside wrestling.

Quote of the week: “You wanna talk about a downer, here I am, used to wrestling at Madison Square Garden, wrestled in WrestleMania, wrestled in SummerSlam, wrestled here — now I’m sitting here making sure these people don’t fuckin’ smoke pot in this empty lot for $11 an hour. But I did it. I sucked it up and I never quit. And then as time went on, my boss got other buildings and he really liked me and he put me in charge of a few other buildings and eventually made me a supervisor, what I’m doing right now, and it helped me with my job in the court system. So one rubbed off on the other. I’m actually doing both right now, and I’m doing really well financially.”

Why you should listen: I have no particular affinity for (or memory of) Guido from any of his most prominent runs, but I found him a delightful conversationalist and was impressed with his positive outlook on an up-and-down life in and out of wrestling. Especially poignant was the tale of going to the first WrestleMania with his dad and brother, then being on the card for WrestleMania XX in the same building with his parents in the crowd — and Guido not caring at all he was just one of 10 guys in the cruiserweight open.

Why you should skip it: Fans of Guido from his ECW run are likely to be let down by the lack of nostalgia for that period of his career. It’s not that Guido is displeased with those days — quite the opposite, actually — but more so that the conversation moves around so quickly there’s little time to linger on memories of the ECW Arena. This definitely is one of those episodes where Cabana’s “I am not an interviewer” disclaimer flashes in bright lights throughout the duration. Guido is such a powerful conversational force that the lack of any serious guidance or channeling results in a stream of consciousness that, while indeed entertaining, is light on substance despite opportunities to go that direction.

Final thoughts: On balance, I still commend this episode as a great way to pass an hour. You’re unlikely to learn much you didn’t already know, but it’s fun and harmless — a great way to be connected to wrestling without hearing the words “ratings” or “brand extension,” and these days that’s a blessing.