Friday, September 16, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Masked Man Show Ep. 10

Rhodes is one of many topics on this week's Masked Man show
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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: 10 (Sept. 14, 2016)
Run Time: 58:20
Guest: Dan St. Germain, Sam Donsky (co-hosts)

Summary: David Shoemaker’s panel this week includes two frequent contributors, comedian Dan St. Germain and Ringer colleague Sam Donsky. They open with a long look at CM Punk’s ignominious UFC debut and speculated about his future in pro wrestling, which bleeds into a discussion about others who have recently left WWE, most notably Cody Rhodes. The next segment is an extended discussion about Backlash and the ensuing Smackdown, ending with a quick look at RAW and how Mick Foley is handling his role as general manager.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker: “You’re able to — this makes, it’s almost counterintuitive — you’re able to tell an in-ring story, in a way, with a triple-threat match that you aren’t in a one-on-one match because we’re so programmed now to hate on babyfaces that the only way to really get yourself, for the Pavlovian ‘I’m cheering for the babyface’ thing to kick in, is when they’re being doubleteamed.”

Why you should listen: The high point is the too-brief exploration of why triple-threat matches seem to suit WWE’s top stars better than one-on-one encounters these days, but Donsky specifically earns points for explaining the way various WWE storytelling decisions of late have “closed the loop” on logical points, illustrating how simple choices enrich the overall creative presentation. Shoemaker rides this train a bit as well, discussion how certain Smackdown developments better contextualize Backlash events and also spotlighting certain decisions and forcing the audience to accept WWE probably went with its most practical option.

Why you should skip it: At this point, I’m willing to excuse anyone who has Punk fatigue. I’m not as worn out on the guy as a lot of people — though I understand those who are — but neither do I have any real interest in mixed-martial arts. Which is to say I don’t want to think about Punk’s shootifghts any more than Brock Lesnar’s.

Final thoughts: I do appreciate the different voices Shoemaker has in the co-host rotation, but I wish he’d settle on one permanent co-host as a way to guard against being repetitive. This is especially relevant with things like the Punk story, where the preview and the recap conversation overlap because there’s just that not much to say and yet four people have weighed in over the span of a week or so. Other than that, this show routinely delivers on its own promise, which is as much as you can ask from any podcast.