Monday, August 29, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 315

Holly shares an anecdote about talking to Vince McMahon on this week's AOW
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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: 315 (Aug. 25, 2016)
Run Time: 53:14
Guests: Jeremy Borash (co-host, 2:29); Gail Kim (7:22); Edge (14:07), Ted DiBiase (24:09); Bob Holly (33:33) Jim Duggan (43:34)

Summary: Colt Cabana is live at the London Film and Comic Con. He opens by introducing Borash, who was heavily involved with TNA’s Final Deletion. Kim discusses being named to the TNA Hall of Fame, recalls her own history of following wrestling and shares stories of interactions with Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young. Edge’s segment begins with a question about Ahmed Johnson, then turns into memories of his action figures and other merchandise. He then recalls ow he became the Rated R Superstar and tells a Bob Backlund story. DiBiase gives the origin of the Million-Dollar Dream, verifies the extent to which he lived his gimmick and explains this history of his personal championship belt. After going through the contents of his man purse, Holly talks at length about his various WWF characters and why although many of them didn’t work, he ultimately felt comfortable with his role. Duggan talks about working in the United Kingdom, especially his early 1990s tours with the WWF, as well as being used in hype videos for pro sports teams, which leads into memories of his time on WCW’s Team Canada. He ends with his memories of rooming with Roddy Piper on Legends House.

Quote of the week: Holly: “They always say you need to be comfortable with whatever character you’re portraying ’cause you’re not gonna put 100 percent into it, and I definitely didn’t put 100 percent into it because I just — I wasn’t comfortable. And I tried, I tried to force it, and it just didn’t work. And so that’s when I went to Vince and asked him, ‘Hey, can we change it?’ You know, ‘This has gotta change ’cause I’m not comfortable.’ And he was just, he was really cool, ’cause I walked in his office and I thought I was gonna walk out without a job. … When you talk to Vince, a lot of people make the mistake of they just keep talking and talking and talking. ’Cause Vince doesn’t say anything. What you’ve gotta do is you’ve gotta stop, take a break, and then he speaks.”

Why you should listen: This is a way better live show than the Fringe Festival offerings for a simple reason: the audience has enough context about each guest — including those new to Art Of Wrestling — that the brief stints on the microphone aren’t wasted with background information best left to a one-on-one studio show. Surely Kim and Edge would make for great solo guests, but in this setting Cabana is able to hit some high points and move on. Each segment adequately fits the overall vibe of the session, and the quick-hit approach makes a short-than-usual episode fly by — in a good way.

Why you should skip it: Borash probably gets some points for keeping Cabana on focus, but generally he didn’t seem to add much here. Kim and Edge are the strongest guests, so you can slag off after that if you’d like. The latter three each had a full episode already, and DiBiase and Duggan covered quite familiar territory in this appearance. Duggan especially seems to be like my dad in that he’s going to tell you the story he wants, drawing out obvious details, with little regard to if the audience has heard it before. Alternatively, it should be noted that if you love the Fringe shows for their consistently raunchy approach to humor, this will come as a letdown as it really is most just folks talking politely about mainstream wrestling.

Final thoughts: Cabana deserves credit for presenting a show I can only presume is consistent with the overall theme of the convention, by definition a much different environment from something like the Fringe Festival. The audience is super into the entire event, and given the blend of personalities on the panel, that makes plenty of sense. Only Duggan really dragged things down, and even he redeemed it a bit with the Piper bit right at the end. On balance a great offering — definitely better than I expected when I saw it was another live episode.