Monday, September 12, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Masked Man Show Ep. 9

Owens' rise to the top, along with his peers, is documented
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: Nine
Run Time: 1:12:51
Guest: Steve Kazee, Joel Solomon (co-hosts)

Summary: David Shoemaker opens the discussion focusing on the rumored Chris Benoit biopic, relying on Kazee’s experience as an actor, then shifts to the news of Alberto del Rio leaving WWE for good and looking ahead to CM Punk’s Ultimate Fighting Championship debut. A rundown of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s Battle of Los Angeles leads to a look at the many former independent stars now headlining WWE cards. A chat about Sasha Banks spins into a quick rundown of RAW and Smackdown before the guys end with a look ahead to Backlash.

Quote of the week: Kazee: “My Wednesday nights now are, like, NXT, Cruiserweight Classic, and thank God Lucha Underground was back last night… I feel like it’s always been a sort of, like, indie pipeline, right? But we just didn’t have as much access to it back in the ’80s and the ’90s. Like, you know, Terry Bollea was not, he didn’t just decide to go be in the WWE, or the WWF at the time. So I think, you know, it feels like a very indy-fresh time right now, but I also think we’re also in a very sort of indie, hip, post-modern, hipster culture where it’s, like, you know, almost cooler to watch Lucha Underground or go to a PWG show — if you’re a wrestling fan — which I think is actually good for the business because you see — it’s like college sports, man. Guys are trying to make money so they’re gonna work super extra hard.”

Why you should listen: Don’t be turned off by seeing [redacted]’s name at the outset as the conversation is measured and appropriate. Though Shoemaker insisted his audience would feel otherwise, I welcomed the BOLA discussion and each panelist contributed to logically relating the topic to WWE. While it could be argued the Backlash discussion was an afterthought because, like with Cheap Heat, it came at the end, here it seemed to fit more contextually into the overall flow of the show. Also, if you’re not getting around to listening until now, you can just end the episode once the guys start predicting things you’ve already finished watching.

Why you should skip it: At this point, the only strong negative I can offer on this episode is anyone who’s generally not moved to enjoy the Masked Man Show isn’t likely to be swayed just on the strength of these 70 minutes.

Final thoughts: Shoemaker’s show seems to have found its groove, which means if it’s generally your bag, there’s always a reason to tune in. The Masked Man deserves credit for achieving that level of consistency with a rotating group of co-hosts. The one downside from week to week is Shoemaker suppressing his desire (and clear ability) to talk about non-WWE wrestling — do we really think we’ll get that Lucha Undeground deep dive he suggested this week? — because nothing else with this profile is ever going to let fans scratch that itch.