Friday, September 2, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Masked Man Show Ep. 8

Miz is a topic of discussion 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: Masked Man Show
Episode: Eight (Aug. 31, 2016)
Run Time: 1:06:45
Guests: Sam Donsky, Angelina Burnett (co-hosts)

Summary: David Shoemaker is in studio with Ringer colleague Sam Donsky and television writer Angelina Burnett, and much of the discussion focuses on the ramifications of Kevin Owens winning the WWE Universal Championship. They examine Triple H’s role in the moment and the larger integration of NXT into the main roster narrative, as well as speculate about the other three men in the title match. Then there’s a hard pivot to take stock of developments in the story between Daniel Bryan, The Miz and Dolph Ziggler, fond memories of the late Mr. Fuji and a quick rundown of the SummerSlam results.

Quote of the week: Burnett: “Here’s a thing we should never forget about The Miz. He got his start on The Real World and many, many, many seasons on the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, which is my favorite show on television. That, the entire — everybody on that show, the whole point is to — it’s all a worked shoot, right? The whole point is to be committed and believable when you lose your shit on whoever’s screwing your girlfriend. He’s, he is so much better practiced at this than anyone else on that roster. I mean, of course he’s acting. Of course it’s a worked shoot. Like, there’s — there’s no question, and he just happens to be the most skilled at that, that one thing.”

Why you should listen: This is easily the best episode of Shoemaker’s show since the debuting the new name, and the format is a huge reason. The panel looks at three major stories from the week and dives deep, going far beyond rehashing the happenings by examining the storytelling mechanics, creative choices and long-term implications with the kind of perspective painfully rare in the wrestling commentary world. Further, they actually have a conversation with each other rather than plow ahead with predetermined talking points. Also, you might (as I did) wonder why there was reason to go over the SummerSlam results again, but the purpose was to highlight the difference between the in-the-moment reactions to how things hold up just one narrative cycle removed.

Why you should skip it: This is not where to start if you missed RAW and Smackdown and want a full rundown of each segment. Nor is it the place to come for Twitter-grade hot takes and pop culture references. And don’t expect any discussion of the Cruiserweight Classic, because there just wasn’t time.

Final thoughts: Man, I loved this one. It was the embodiment of the skillset that elevated Shoemaker to his current stature, and yet probably his most important role on the episode is as facilitator of the discussion, allowing both panelists the room to be valuable contributors. If there was an hour of WWE chatter more thoughtful and useful this week, I’d be shocked.