Friday, August 26, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Masked Man Show Ep. 7

Masked Man and Kazee focus on this match and more
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: Masked Man Show
Episode: Seven (Aug. 24, 2016)
Run Time: 1:12:24
Guest: Steve Kazee (cohost)

Summary: David Shoemaker is back from Brooklyn and in studio with frequent cohost Steve Kazee. After a bit of opening chatter about wrestler ages and dangerous moves, they go deep on SummerSlam weekend, including the NXT card. There’s a little talk about WWE merchandise, thoughts about Finn Bálor’s future and a lengthy focus on the Brock, Lesnar/Randy Orton match. Looking ahead, the guys consider who will be the next big NXT superstars and share guesses about the next Universal champion.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker: “What a weird match. I was trying to make — I said this to you before we started recording. It was, like, everybody wanted to talk about that match, but then immediately everybody, like — you would get into a conversation and then, you would just let it peter out because, like, you can only say ‘What the fuck?’ so many different ways. … I would lean towards it all being planned, but I just can’t imagine the backstage conversation where, you know, Michael Hayes or Triple H goes up to Vince and they’re, like, ‘Hey, do you want to do another one of those, like, what-the-fuck endings? So the fans will just go home talking about this?’ I can’t wrap my head around what the booking decision would have been.”

Why you should listen: This one’s a must for anyone who needs help unpacking the complexities of SummerSlam weekend. You get the usual sound insight Shoemaker offers any major show with the benefit of him being in the arena both nights. They recorded after Smackdown, an essential choice in the new schedule era, and Kazee provides great counterbalance by bringing his own strong opinions without overreacting. There’s enough looking ahead to make the episode more than just a recap, and ultimately I’m more interested to see where the stories go in the next few weeks than I was based on television alone.

Why you should skip it: Here’s a free tip for podcasters: Don’t waste more than two sentences talking about how much WWE television there is to watch each week, because as soon as you start the third sentence, your podcast tends to feel just as tedious. In choosing how to tackle that mass of WWE product, Shoemaker erred on the side of talking more about the things that caught his interest as opposed to making sure each segment got attention. If you really want someone who weighs in on every match and moment, search elsewhere (probably the written word).

Final thoughts: I haven’t read Shoemaker’s written take on SummerSlam weekend, though this podcast dropped about 24 hours before the post and clearly is meant to stand on its own. If you’re in the market for only one post-SummerSlam podcast, at least among the ones on my rotation, your choice basically is this or Steve Austin’s call to Wade Keller. And while I enjoy Austin’s perspective from being a main event star, he’s nowhere near as plugged in over the last several months as Shoemaker, which gives this effort the edge. It’s not the greatest offering since Shoemaker broke out on his own, but the show at large is finding its voice, and you generally can’t go wrong giving it a chance each week.