Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 328

Rhodes, left, talked with Cabana
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: 328 (Nov. 24, 2016)
Run Time: 1:17:14
Guest: Cody Rhodes (8:42)

Summary: Colt Cabana is hanging out in a hotel room with Cody Rhodes talking about their ages and those of others in the pro wrestling game as well as possible retirement plans. Flipping completely, Rhodes talks about starting at age 15 by training with his father. Conversation about his body type leads to Rhodes’ version of the story about the WrestleMania posedown with Santino Marella. Rhodes also speaks at length about Dusty Rhodes as a father as well as what it meant to grow up around wrestlers and the business. He explains how he still feels timid, especially at the gimmick table, then revisits his amateur career, raves about Tye Dillinger and then recalls how he was and remains affected by his father’s death. The show ends with Rhodes clearing the air on any potential Dusty-Cody-Cabana backstage beefs.

Quote of the week: “I bet you it’s gonna be better than most people’s first match because I’ve got this — I’ve been talking about wrestling with my dad since I was four years old. I’ve been in rooms when people got fired, I’ve been in rooms when people got promoted, I’ve been in rooms with, you know, when the ends of matches were discussed, I’ve been in rooms with overall stories, I’ve heard commentary sitting on the floor under the desk, it’s all in my brain. Now if I could just put the physical tools to it it’ll be a really good first match. It wasn’t. It wasn’t.”

Why you should listen: It’s an Art of Wrestling tradition — find the hottest free agent in wrestling and release a podcast interview with them on Thanksgiving morning. Rhodes is great here — acknowledging the ups and downs of his WWE career and how his last name gave him certain advantages while also embracing his new life on the independent scene with the proper dose of pragmatism befitting someone of his stature who clearly knows the difference between WWE superstardom and ye olde Global Force Wrestling. If nothing else, Rhodes’ comments about his relationship with the legendary American Dream are illuminating, both as it relates to the Dusty Rhodes wrestling fans remember as well as, and perhaps more importantly, their unique father-and-son relationship. The final segment, provided you take it with the requisite grains of salt, is quite illustrative as to how backstage politics can quickly spin out of control.

Why you should skip it: Unlike Cabana’s infamous internet-breaking CM Punk episode, this hour is considerably more genial toward WWE. Rhodes won’t even go deep on his frustrations on behalf of Dillinger because he doesn’t want any of the bridges he may have burned to catch his pal up in collateral damage. In other words: I loved this interview and think almost everyone will enjoy it, but if you tune in expecting Rhodes to absolutely torch WWE, you’re going to be severely disappointed. (Likewise if you want him to talk about his wife, whose name doesn’t come up.)

Final thoughts: Again, it’s not the Punk interview. It’s fun, and a great way to learn more about several different aspects of Cody Rhodes. You’re not going to come away absolutely changed as a wrestling fan, and it really doesn’t offer anything in terms of something that might feed the hot take culture that keeps these things relevant on social media. But I can’t think of an episode I enjoyed more in a long time, and I’m really quite glad Rhodes appeared on this show instead of ones hosted by Jim Ross or Steve Austin.