Thursday, January 19, 2017

Podcast Deep Dive: Talk Is Jericho, Ep. 317

Jericho talks to Perry Saturn in the latest podcast
Photo Credit:
Show: Talk Is Jericho
Episode: 317
Run Time: 1:30:25
Guest: Perry Saturn

To be a pro wrestling fan is a constant balancing act: we take the good (in the form of thrilling entertainment) and only occasionally deal with the bad (the awful toll the business takes on its performers). To hear it just from WWE, you would never even know about the bad. Sure, the wrestlers are on the road, but that's just the price you pay to become a superstar, dammit. Nothing bad about that.

We need people in the business to be brutally honest about what can happen if their career doesn't go as planned. This is why it's a great thing that Chris Jericho's guest this week is Perry Saturn. It came up this week in my feed that a friend of Perry Saturn had created a GoFundMe for him for, apparently, being able to live his life. He has no money and he needs medical care, which is strange because we have the Affordable Care Act and that's gonna be around for a while, and...hold on I've just received this news bulletin and

Okay, back on topic. Jericho goes way back with Saturn, having worked Japan together in Genichiro Tenryu's WAR promotion in the early '90s. They remark on how their careers mirrored each other for a while: Japan, to ECW, to WCW, and then landing in WWE. Along the way, Saturn was using pills and regularly getting messed up, but he was usually able to handle himself and get his work done properly. Lex Luger tells you he doesn't want to do all those fancy suplexes and stuff with you? No, problem, just work around it and get out of the match with your dignity intact. Mike Graham pulls a switchblade on you? Demand WCW release you from your contract and head to greener pastures.

Saturn says his decline started when he reached WWE. His pain pill addiction turned into a problem with injecting Demerol, which zonked him out worse than anything. And then when he got injured and sat on the shelf for a bit, he discovered new drugs and was never the same.

He was released from WWE, and he quickly spiraled out of control. Sonny Onoo invited him to live, of all places, in Mason City, Iowa - a two-hour drive from my residence. Mason City is the type of town where they feel slighted by the supposed "hoity toity" rich people in nearby Clear Lake (the site of Buddy Holly's plane crash). It is a rough town. It is here where Saturn was homeless, getting most of his food from the trashcans at the nearby Nabisco factory. He met his wife there, and they moved in with her uncle in Albert Lea, Minnesota, a town just on the Iowa-Minnesota border.

It was during this time that, as Jericho acknowledges, no one knew where Saturn had gone. He was essentially a missing person. It's tough to blame his friends for letting him drop off the face of the earth, but one can't help but feel that more people should have been checking in on him. Either way, he is still with us, still telling amusing stories about the business, and very much in need of some financial help. Should you give money to him? There is no right or wrong answer there. Do what you feel like doing.

A paradox is presented at the beginning of the episode. Jericho talks about how he and a few WWE wrestlers recently got in free to a Red Hot Chili Peppers show. Jericho is friends with RHCP drummer Chad Smith, so they were all backstage and having a great time. This all happened because Jericho's career went the good way, and Saturn's career went the bad way. Saturn is not getting backstage to an arena band's show anytime soon. He is lucky to leave the house. One wonders if Jericho saw the irony in starting this episode with a tale that basically says, "Look how great it is that I am successful and famous people like me. I sure am glad I'm not living out of a dumpster."