Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 317

The War Beard got his interview on this week
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: 317 (Sept. 8, 2016)
Run Time: 1:00:10
Guest: Hanson (10:03)

Summary: Colt Cabana is back to his conventional format, this time sitting down with ROH star Hanson. They open with a lengthy look at his training in New England, which segues into his tenure with Chaotic Wrestling. The guys trade stories about working as an extra for WWE, then Hanson recalls how he first got into Ring of Honor and the effect of a significant back injury on his life and career. Hanson discusses growing up with alcoholic parents, his forays into hardcore backyard wrestling and his father’s clowning career. Then he explains how his recovery from a torn labrum gave rise to his current character and career goals before telling the story of his WWE tryout. That spins into a few thoughts about Kofi Kingston, how Hanson is now making full-time money wrestling and his cats.

Quote of the week: When we get into it, we want to be professional wrestlers. And then we learn about what psychology is, and that’s when we learn the art and we fall in love with the art. At least that’s what it was for me. Like that was— learning psychology and how it all worked, and getting an interest in that and, you know, piecing things together to, so, you know, pull the strings of an audience, you fall in love with that instantly, and that’s what makes you the drama. But when you first get started, you want to be a professional wrestler and do cool moves. … When you learn psychology, you’re like, ‘this is art.’ And you love it.”

Why you should listen: It really is nice to get back into the routine after a month’s worth of live shows. I’ll admit to having no idea who Hanson is before listening, but he comes across as a level-headed guy who has worked hard to get to a certain stage in his career. There’s actually a little talk about the literal art of wrestling, as the guys traded tales of evolving their approach to in-ring work and the entertainment aspect of being a professional wrestler. Of particular note was Hanson’s discussion of his convalescence, a topic Cabana’s show rarely explores.

Why you should skip it: Hanson’s definitely a nice guy, but he’s not particularly interesting. While it’s great to hear a guy who’s navigated a lot of ups and downs still embrace an even-keeled approach to life, that mentality doesn’t exactly make for riveting audio. In other words, there is no sob story about growing up around drunk parents or a bitter career indy guy who failed in his one shot to land a WWE deal.

Final thoughts: This interview is more or less remarkably average. I found it enjoyable, especially coming off the run of live shows, but Hanson unfortunately seems as forgettable here as he seems to have been over a 15-year career. Anyone willing to come in with an open mind is likely to be no worse than generally entertained. But you can’t by any means call this one an essential listen, not when Cabana has put more than 300 episodes online over the last five years.