Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling, Ep. 307

Cabana interviews the rising Canadian star this week
Screen Grab via YouTube
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: 307 (June 30, 2016)
Run Time: 1:03:37
Guest: RJ City (11:41)

Summary: Colt Cabana’s guest is 26-year-old RJ City. After quick chatter about how younger performers steal from veterans and bit of trying to place City’s place in the wrestling business, they parse out his comedy and acting background, going back to his childhood up through his work on Splatalot, a Canadian children’s show. After recounting the rest of his acting resume, City and Cabana discuss strategies for making new wrestling fans and ponder City’s in-ring style as it relates to what WWE seeks and what tends to succeed in independent promotions. City tells a brief story about working on a movie with Roddy Piper, and the guys end by revisiting old TV shows.

Quote of the week: “I say if you go to a wrestling show and you just see people hitting each other, you’re watching a bad wrestling show. I’m obsessed with taking someone who doesn’t know it and making them a fan. That’s the just amazing thing, that’s how this business will grow. I’m saying that’s my goal when I wrestle, I want to make everyone go, ‘I don’t have to be really in the know to get this.’ … I just love it, and I don’t think you need to know wrestling to watch me wrestle, or to watch you wrestle, and to be entertained by it.”

Why you should listen: City is a really engaging personality, quite self-aware and an interesting hybrid performer in that he seems to be working on his in- and out-of-ring careers simultaneously. His thoughts on working with live crowds (of all sorts) are insightful, and I now very much want to go to an improv show where someone can shout “Canadian Lawn Mower!” and then watch two trained wrestlers invent and perform the move on the spot. For as much as the guys have in common, Cabana does a great job of making the interview about City and his career, but Cabana’s personal background clearly makes him the right person to draw useful information out of this particular guest.

Why you should skip it: There’s too much time spent talking about the podcast itself, as in why City should be a guest and what type of guest he is compared to Cabana’s earlier interview subjects. Also, there surely will be folks who feel this interview doesn’t spend enough time looking at City’s actual wrestling careers. As with some other recent guests who aren’t widely known, even though the guest is entertaining, it’s a little disappointing to spend an hour with them and leave having very little sense for where they’ve worked or what they’ve done inside the ring.

Final thoughts: I’d suggest people give this one a listen because City is such an unorthodox figure who also is completely approachable, but with the caveat that there are a few lulls where it seems the entire interview might entirely derail into uselessness. Cabana brings it around each time (excepting the end, which is always kind of bland on this show), so there’s fun to be had if you’re willing to work for it. If Cabana ever got into video, guests like this would be much more compelling with B roll footage in the background.