Tuesday, August 23, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 314

Cabana's second week from the Fringe is this week's offering
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
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: 314 (Aug. 17, 2016)
Run Time: 1:05:53
Guest: Kid Fite (6:30); Ari Shaffir (21:20); John Robertson (38:54); Chris Renfrew (50: 37)

Summary: It’s Colt Cabana’s second straight live show from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. First up is Scottish wrestler Kid Fite, who tells Cabana about a particularly tasteless crowd chant, the infamous “Battle of the Teabags” with Davey Boy Smith, reviews some of the different companies on his resume and explains why he’d turn down a WWE contract. American comedian Ari Shaffir also talks about dicks and balls, then his own podcast and TV shows and their connections to wrestling, specifically his experience with Roddy Piper and the Iron Sheik, as well as stories from attending various shows. Australian comedian John Robertson returns with lots of wrestling riffs, including a lengthy tangent on Vader. The final guest is Chris Renfrew, a Scottish wrestler and radio star, which starts with Cabana learning Renfrew’s role in launching the Art Of Wrestling. Renfrew then tells a story I could barely understand and also reviews some of his own career highlights.

Quote of the week: Renfrew: “I’ve had a dildo stuffed in my mouth, that’s quite bad. I have had a dildo stuffed in my mouth. And I have been chased. Jimmy Havoc threw a dick — we had a Geordie Rules match. Now what that means is it was the traditional style of British rules, but in between rounds we did rounds, so basically between every round we’d have to drink a shot of vodka and a triple Jack and Coke, so we were quite far gone. And during the match, Jimmy threw in the dildo … Things like that, we try and be a little bit different. I regret that wholeheartedly. And, you know, Dallas warned me beforehand, ‘You don’t wanna do that, sport.’ And I went, ‘Ah, fuck it, it’ll be fine.’ It wasn’t.”

Why you should listen: This is a definite upgrade over week one from the Fringe. Fite and Renfrew are actual wrestlers (hearing from wrestlers being the point of the show), and Shaffir and Robertson are both funnier than last week’s comedians and also more broadly interested in entertaining the crowd as opposed to Cabana. Shaffir’s stories of Piper and Sheik are arguably the highlight, but Fite and Renfrew certainly give a colorful idea of what it’s like to be an ICW star as well as how they take that success and notoriety and ply it elsewhere.

Why you should skip it: There is a lot — a LOT — of dick, ball and ass humor here, and if raunchy isn’t your bag, you’ll want to move along. Also, there seems to be a little more time wasted this week on getting guests on and off the stage or asides that played only to the live audience. That’s endemic to the live shows, of course, but it does have an effect on the overall listening experience. Also, if you’re normally a 2x listener, chances are you’ll have to slow down to understand the accented panelists on more than one occasion.

Final thoughts: I thought I heard Cabana say he’s only doing these two Fringe podcasts, which would be a blessing. I will say I disliked this episode much less than I expected given my usual sense of Fringe-tinged resignation, which of course is faint praise, but still, it’s notable. At a time when everyone is hyperfocused on WWE and SummerSlam weekend, getting a complete and total break while still staying in the wrestling world is welcome, even with all the scrotums.