Monday, June 20, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 306

Havoc, on the right here with Matt Cross, is on the Art of Wrestling this week
Photo via @JimmyHavoc
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: 306 (June 16, 2016)
Run Time: 1:00:44
Guest: Jimmy Havoc (11:50)

Summary: Colt Cabana’s conversation with UK hardcore mainstay Jimmy Havoc takes place right after Havoc’s knee injury. Havoc explains the thrill of working at venues where his favorite musicians have performed, then has some broad thoughts on the British wrestling scene and the evolution of content distribution. Then he gets into his early days in the business, notably training at NWA UK Hammerlock under Andre Baker. Cabana asks Havoc if there are differences between his real life and his wrestling character, which leads to thoughts about working with fire. Havoc explains the mechanics behind his heel turn, then waxes nostalgic about a pancake gimmick match and other hardcore experiences and opponents.

Quote of the week: “I don’t say I quite like hurting myself, but I quite like that sensation — I love seeing my own blood. I love that sensation of when, like, you know, I get thrown on light tubes or something, and, like, you feel a bit of a cut and it’s, it is an adrenaline rush. Like the first time I got set on fire it was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever been through. But when you know you’re OK after that, and you’ve had that massive adrenaline rush — I guess it’s some like skydiving, where while you’re falling you think, ‘I might die. If this parachute doesn’t open, I might die,’ and the parachute opens and you’re like, ‘Oh, thank fuck for that, I’m OK.’ So those seconds before, when you see the thing on fire and you’re about to get thrown through it, it’s like, ‘This could go horribly fucking wrong.’ And then when you get put out, it’s fine, you’re OK.”

Why you should listen: Havoc is an interesting guy and this is for the most part a pretty fun conversation. It’s always amusing to hear some of the most violent wrestlers prove to be well spoken and deeply thoughtful about their career choices and predilections. I especially enjoyed the part where Havoc tried to explain the concept of Shrove Tuesday to Cabana, who couldn’t grasp the obvious (to me, anyway) connection to Mardi Gras.

Why you should skip it: There are some dry spots. The talk about wrestling companies moving from DVDs to streaming services, thoughts about what to sell and what to give away, are a little too inside baseball, but mostly just take away from the fun of listening to Havoc’s stories. The end kind of tails off, as occasionally happens with Cabana interviews, which is something of a downer after being on a good roll.

Final thoughts: Havoc is another guy not on my radar until he appears on Cabana’s show. I especially like the contrast from Episode 305’s interview with Kongo Kong, which ended up being a talk with a man who is nothing like his wrestling character, and this chat with Havoc, who draws a very thin line between who he is inside and outside the ropes. Had Cabana spent more time probing the psychology of Havoc’s preference for hardcore and death matches, this might have been an all time classic. Still, it’s pretty good and certainly a good, quick listen. It’s nice to get a break from heavy WWE talk, and Cabana delivers that in full this week.