Monday, August 1, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 311

Sabu stops by the Art of Wrestling this episode
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: Art Of Wrestling
Episode: 311 (July 27, 2016)
Run Time: 55:51
Guest: Sabu (10:55)

Summary: Colt Cabana sits down with the legendary Sabu, who opens up about his shyness, meetings with Vince McMahon and then talks at length about his childhood, famous uncle and wrestling training. After brief thoughts on I Like To Hurt People, Sabu revisits the time when he was trying to get noticed, working in Japan and stating with ECW. He recalls turning down WWF in 1994 and the WCW contract snafu, then answers questions about his drug use, explains why he preferred driving to flying and ends with good thoughts about his friend Rhyno.

Quote of the week: “I was still young then — I’m still young now, and there’s still nobody there — but I was practicing for when there are people there, you know? Just because there’s nobody here tonight, well, someday it’s gonna be full. I want to be ready. I’m not only going to perform hard when there’s people there. You still gotta work.”

Why you should listen: Sabu is a great guest. Not only is it fun to get inside the mind of a wrestler known (in part) for his silence, but Cabana is the perfect host here in that he’s able to contextualize the importance of Sabu to 1990s fans, without sycophantic fawning, while also drawing a line from past to present of the plight of the independent wrestler just out there trying to make a buck and hoping for bigger opportunities. Ultimately, Sabu is just an interesting dude who opens up a little bit to let the fans in, and it’s much appreciated.

Why you should skip it: There’s very little talk about ECW and Sabu’s most famous death-defying moves, so if you’re expecting a podcast wrapped in barbed wire and dripping with blood, I might suggest another show. Sabu isn’t here to shoot on anyone or relive glory days. In fact, the episode might, in context of the image you have when you think of Sabu, come across as just a bit boring.

Final thoughts: I could imagine the ways this interview would go differently with a host like Jim Ross or Steve Austin, but I’d rather just appreciate the good blend of host and guest. It’s worth noting this is the last “regular” Art Of Wrestling before Cabana heads off for his annual trip to Edinburgh, so I’m certain Cabana slotted a winner of a guest before what are certain to be a spotty run of live shows. If you need a break from Cabana, do yourself a favor and listen to this one, then check out for August. You won’t regret either decision.