Thursday, June 16, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast, Ep. 86

Prinze is Roberts' guest this week
Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Wire Image
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: Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast
Episode: 86
Run Time: 1:33:22
Guest: Freddie Prinze, Jr.

Summary: Freddie Prinze, Jr. thinks he's going to sit down for an interview promoting his new cookbook, Back to the Kitchen. But Sam Roberts surprises him with wrestling talk, and it leads to a discussion about Prinze's time working for the WWE Creative team, from around 2007 to 2009. Prinze says he was met with great skepticism by people like The Miz and MVP, but he won them over with his knowledge of the acting process, helping certain wrestlers to find the right beats and emotions in a promo. Prinze shares some good memories of working with Vince McMahon. After the interview, Roberts brings on Katie Linendoll to discuss the current state of wrestling, and they dwell on the weirdness of TNA's "Brother Nero" promo, as well as make predictions for Money In the Bank.

Quote of the Week: Prinze on McMahon's philosophy - "Wrestling fans are so hardcore, and in the age of social media where we feel we can affect what the artist is going to do...imagine if Jimi Hendrix was alive today. People would reach out to him on social media and they would tell him what kind of music to make. The fans want to feel they have a voice in the match with the 'Booo' and '1-2-ohhh!' They feel they have a voice - they don't. Are they entitled to it? Sure. Is it ever going to get heard? It shouldn't. It's Vince's toybox, they're his toys. It's cool that he invites you over twice a week to let you over to play...but they're his."

Why you should listen: You might be surprised by the level of genuine thought that Prinze puts into pro wrestling. He is a fan and is not posturing in any way. It's clear that working with McMahon gave Prinze a few sobering realizations as to how the business is run, but he sounds refreshingly optimistic considering the circumstances. He talks about why McMahon favors big guys over small guys - small guys get injured more often.

Why you should skip it: As usual for the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast, his interview doesn't go terribly deep because he spends a relatively short amount of time with his guest. The interview is 30 minutes, and then the section where he talks about wrestling with his friend is an hour. Roberts's show feels like a guest just stops through to say hello, and then he gets them out quickly so he can do WWE fantasy booking.

Final Thoughts: Perhaps Prinze's most telling story about Vince McMahon was when Prinze was on a flight with him, and he pulled out a laptop to watch a Richard Pryor stand-up special. McMahon was perplexed as to why he wanted to watch that, and not one of the WWE DVD's they had brought. Prinze says that this story shows you how McMahon believes that WWE should be a one-stop entertainment shop for everyone. This sort of explains the WWE Network and its needlessly wide variety of programming, and also maybe why WWE produces so much content each week and expects people to sit through all of it. Though Prinze's interview was not as long as it could have been, it still gave me some new thoughts about Vince McMahon, and anytime I get to think about that old weirdo, I'm a happy guy.