Friday, September 30, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 320

Murdoch provides a fascinating interview for Cabana this week
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: 320 (Sept. 29, 2016)
Run Time: 1:08:46
Guest: Trevor Murdoch (10:43)

Summary: Colt Cabana asks Trevor Murdoch if he’s got dip in his mouth, which quickly leads down the path of his family and childhood in smalltown Missouri. Murdoch shares memories of watching World Class on local TV and going to a flea market wrestling show with his dad. He then reflects on the important influence of Harley Race, recalls his first match and being chosen to work against Greg Valentine. The guys share thoughts about Murdoch’s current hometown of Eldon, MO, which leads Murdoch to explain how he went from aspiring to WWE, despite not being a “body guy,” and how his frequent backstage WWE invitations hinged when he was able to catch Chris Benoit’s eye and bond over working in Japan. Murdoch gives the story of how he quickly went from a tryout to being on the road for WWE paired with Lance Cade, then explains why he didn’t think skipping developmental worked in his favor. Nearing the end, Murdoch shares what approach he brings to training now and how he continues to find joy and magic in being a wrestler.

Quote of the week: “It was the only steady. The only, like, when I needed to feel comfortable, when I needed to feel — as crazy as this sounds — when I needed to feel love, I knew I could go back and I could find it on the station, there was some station that was carrying wrestling and I felt at peace. Even though I was living in a completely different house with strangers that were trying to be nice to me, um, wrestling was the only ting that was comfortable in my life, that I could almost disappear and be in my own little house.”

Why you should listen: I’d never given a second thought to Trevor Murdoch, but I found this interview incredibly compelling — mostly because Cabana sat back and let his interesting guest spin a life story. The childhood details are affecting without being overwrought, Murdoch’s approach to his WWE run is eminently pragmatic, and his reasons for gravitating to and sticking with wrestling as a fan and eventually a career just make me love the enterprise all the more. He’s all at once the little boy cheering his heart out in a room with a ceiling so low the wrestlers can’t stand on the top rope, the aspiring indy worker just itching for a chance to size himself up next to Triple H in the bowels of a WWE arena, the creative worker who got a run on top as tag team champs and the grizzled veteran who just loves the business and passing on whatever knowledge he has to the next generation of wrestlers and fans.

Why you should skip it: You really should only take a pass if you’ll be let down by what’s not here — there’s no griping about WWE and hardly any stories about Cade. What’s remaining is still excellent, so really all I might suggest is errors of omission — but certainly nothing is obviously absent or avoided.

Final thoughts: Maybe I’m overselling things. It’s perhaps just your average Art Of Wrestling, but I really do think Cabana did a better job than usual of getting out of the way, and Murdoch was far more insightful than I ever expected. I can’t think of another host I’d want guiding this conversation, and given how little mental energy I’ve spent on Murdoch over the last however many years, I find myself stunned at how much more I want to know. Seems like a mission accomplished in my book.