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Podcast-O-mania!

Podcast-o-mania!

There is an absolute plethora of wrestling podcasts available these days. (A couple are even available on this very website.  Cheap plug I know, but I’ll let the other staff members discuss them because they are much more qualified to do so than I am.)  The best part for the fans is the fact that many of these are hosted/co-hosted by the wrestling personalities themselves.  You get stories straight from the horse’s mouth.  Now I don’t know about you, but as a guy who consistently watches movie special features, I am fascinated by the “behind the scenes” aspect of pretty much everything.  To the point where sometimes I feel what happens “behind the curtain” to be even more interesting than what happens when the red light comes on.

With so many of these goodies available, it gets to the point where it’s near impossible to keep up.  Now this is a good problem to have.  Fortunately most of these podcasts are interviews and therefore “evergreen” and can be listened to at any time and not feel outdated.  Granted there are many that exclusively recap what is happening now, and if they weren’t listened to in a timely matter would then be rendered pointless pretty quickly.  I personally don’t listen to wrestling podcasts of this nature, but I’m sure it’s frustrating for those who do.

But this is not to dwell on the negative aspects of podcast-o-mania, I love podcasts!  Instead what I’m going to do is talk about all the wrestling related podcasts I listen to.  Then hopefully some people can learn some new ones, and someone could fill me in on any good ones that I am missing.

The Art of Wrestling

This wasn’t the first wrestling podcast I ever heard, it was actually the second.  (The first was called “Smart Wrestling Fan.”  I found it in 2007 and have no idea how.  I doubt I even knew the word “podcast.”  It was loosely affiliated with Chikara I think, but it had host changes and wasn’t as good by 2009ish, so I quit listening.  That’s beside the point.)  I found a clip of Colt talking about Matt Hardy eating grapes on YouTube.  I quickly figured out that it was from his own podcast and started downloading them immediately.

This was the spring of 2011, so he had been podcasting just under a year at that point.  I had a lot to catch up to, but I had been out of wrestling podcasts to listen to for two years, so I absorbed his back catalog up like a sponge.

I wasn’t terribly familiar with Colt at the time, but I had saw him at the ROH show I went to in 2006 and was entertained by him.  He was really easy to listen to and seems like a good, genuine guy.  Now I could talk about his infamous two part podcasts with CM Punk in 2014, which I would wager to guess are the two most downloaded wrestling podcast of all time, but everyone has heard them and I doubt I would have much to add.  So I’ll say this: for me the best part of Colt’s is his diversity of guests.  Guests as famous as Steve Austin, all the way down to the most random independent guy you can think of has been on Colt’s podcast.  He just picks them based on people he likes and who he thinks has a good story to tell.

This podcast has made me fans of certain guys/gals that I never thought I would be, or guys/gals that I had never heard of.   I specifically remember seeing “Luke Gallows” pop up many years ago.  I distinctly remember thinking, I don’t care about “Festus.”  Well as we all know now, Mr. Gallows is hilarious.  He may be the funniest person in wrestling today.  I laughed so hard listening to him, and was grateful that I didn’t skip that episode.  So I made it an effort to trust Colt’s judgment on who he chooses as guests, and go in with an open mind.

So I’ve listened to every episode of the show for reasons just like that.  Colt was the first wrestler to have his own podcast, and honestly his may still be the best.  If you’re not listening to it, I don’t think you can call yourself a wrestling fan.

E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness

This is a newer pod that just came out earlier this year.  I absolutely adored the Edge and Christian Show on the WWE Network, and was eager to see what the boys had in store for me now.

The first thing you need to know about this pod is that it is a longer one.  Most episodes clock in at over 2 hours.  I realize that is too much for some.  The beginning portion is just silly banter back and forth between the two, usually involving them insulting each other.  They are both strangely soft-spoken, and I would assume you would find this peaceful (as I do) or very annoying.  But after that, unlike most podcasts with a rigid, formulaic layout, they change it up almost weekly to keep things fresh.  Back in the summer they had listeners leave them voicemails doing impressions, which was laugh out loud funny.  They also have “anatomy of a match” which they discuss a match with the participants along with them.  They came out of the gates swinging with this one, reviewing Mind Games with HBK and Foley.  Very interesting stuff.

There are some other things they do, but I would be amiss if I didn’t mention their interviews.  They usually have great “gets” for their interviews.  They don’t have an interview every episode, but they make sure it counts when they do.  Guys like AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, Kenny Omega, Bobby Roode etc.  will show up.  They may not have the randoms like Colt, but that could be a positive aspect for some.  If you can’t handle their intros, maybe just skip to the meat and potatoes of the show because you would be missing out otherwise.

Killing the Town

                Hosted by wrestling’s odd couple, Lance Storm and Cyrus.  Cyrus is now a beloved color commentator for New Japan.  It was actually this podcast that got him that job.  They had Kenny Omega as a guest at the beginning of the New Year, and Cyrus jokingly asked Kenny to get him booked in NJPW. Omega asked NJPW’s top brass about it.  With Corino going to the P.C., a new commentator slot was opening up, and the rest was history.

I’ve been a Lance Storm mark since I first saw him on WCW holding three belts.  In my opinion, he is the most underrated in-ring competitor of all time.  Had he came along 10 years later, he would be revered like the ROH originals (Joe, Punk, Aries, Danielson, McGuinness) are today.  Granted he has wrestled for ROH a few times in his later years, but I think you get my point.

So how does an “odd couple” wrestling podcast work?  Well if I could be serious for a minute, I would tell you that Storm is the true host, trying to keep things on track, and gives his very logical opinion on things along the way.  (Which I love.)  Cyrus is a different story.

I knew of Cyrus, but wasn’t yet a fan during his prominence on national television.  I first heard him on Jericho’s podcast, where Y2J had a bunch of his original Canadian wrestling buddies all come together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his first match.  Cyrus stole the show with his excessive bragging about how he was “top talent,” even though there is nothing even remotely true about that statement.  But he did it in a way that was endearing and not obnoxious; at least not to me anyway.  Almost like he knew it was total bullshit, but he kept saying it with a wink and a smile.  This is what he brings to Killing the Town.

As for the show itself they review old ECW shows that both guys were featured, which gives you a cool peak behind the curtain.  Naturally these shows are nearly 20 years old, so you can listen to them at any time and feel nostalgic but not feel being behind schedule as you would for current reviews.  They also address any big rumors currently going on the industry, along with whatever tidbits Cyrus can share about the current state of NJPW.    They of course have guests on that they chat with, and have introduced a new segment which they call “Awesome and Awful.”  Essentially it is a good match and a bad match with some kind of theme that may correspond with something happening now.  Like during the Mae Young Classic they reviewed two women’s matches from TNA’s heyday.   At the end of the show they will review any big WWE shows, or at least Storm does.  (Cyrus isn’t always present for these.)  Sometimes a wrestling “reporter” joins Lance for these segments.

I could see Cyrus being a little much for people.  And as much as I love Lance, he’s probably not for everyone either.  But don’t assume that he is Mr. Serious 24/7.  He does laugh and crack jokes.  Yes it’s hard to believe, but he does.  This pod is part of the “Jericho Network” on Podcast One.  I’m not exactly sure what that means, other than it is mandatory to make fun of Disco Inferno and all his goofy shenanigans on Konnan’s podcast.  I get a kick out of it, but playing the devil’s advocate, it may not be for everyone.  Maybe there are a few Disco fans out there who don’t care for it.  I doubt it, but it’s possible.  Give it a listen and see what you think.

Place to Be Nation Wrestling

This is another one that I somehow stumbled across.  It is the parent network for various wrestling podcasts that I’m grouping together all in one nice package.

The Place to Be Network has numerous podcasts for all types of fan.  There are podcasts devoted strictly to WCW, Japan, dirt sheet news, indies, old shows reviewed chronologically, and wrestling related rankings.  They even have Kevin Kelly on this network who periodically does his own show.  So through that connection they do occasionally have interviews with some wrestlers of notoriety.

With the one exception, these podcasts are all done by fanboys.  You hear people from the northwest, the south, and the U.K.  So it gives you quite the variety of distinctive accents.  This is probably politically incorrect, but one show is hosted by a guy from the U.K. and a guy from Georgia, and I find it fascinating.  It’s probably my sheltered simple nature, but it’s neat to hear the southern drawl discuss things with the, shall we say, more intelligent sounding English accent and it doesn’t result in stereotypical insults.  (This has devolved into a weird sidebar, so I’ll move on.)

Unfortunately being a fan-made podcast(s) sometimes the audio quality isn’t so good.  This can be a big turnoff for some.  I would put myself in that category for the most part.  Some shows go off without a hitch, but there are times where skype drops the call during the show (sometimes numerous times).  This is all part of the amateur territory I’m afraid.

My favorite podcast on this network currently is “ThROH the Years.”  They are reviewing all the old ROH shows chronologically.  I’m a huge mark for the Sapolsky-era ROH, so this is a treat for me.  Right now they are just getting to the end of 2002, so they’re not even to the good stuff yet, and I already highly recommend it.

Okay I know I was all over the place on this review.  Obviously the good outweighs the bad here, or I wouldn’t keep listening to them.  Check out http://placetobenation.com/ for yourself and see which ones suit you.

The Raven Effect

I was an exclusive WWF kid growing up.  I would occasionally switch to the other guys, like say to see Lance Storm cutting a promo with three belts, but the other 99% of the time I just compared it to WWF, and all the ways it was inferior.  When Raven showed up in WWF in 2000 I wasn’t impressed.  At the time I loved the Hardy Boyz, Jericho, Benoit, Guerrero, etc.  I had no need for a guy who could seemingly find a way to drop toe hold someone into a chair every match. (I have no idea why that spot has always annoyed me.)   I’m sure his promos went over my head, which to be honest some of them still do.  He was dirty looking, and I was totally warped by the clean cut WWF superstars I was used to seeing.

As the internet wrestling community really started to explode I would read things about how “weird” Raven was.  How his crucifixion idea was personally responsible for Kurt Angle walking out on ECW in ’96, and how much of druggie he was.  He seemingly had no likable qualities as far as I was concerned.  I thought that miserable character on TV really was Scott Levy the man.  Not to mention that he quickly floundered on WWF TV which proved my point of his total suckiness even more as far as I was concerned.  (I distinctly remember him losing a “loser must only wrestle on Sunday Night Heat match.”  I was overjoyed.  No one watched Heat in 2002, so he was out of sight and out of mind.)

So what in the world does this have to do with a podcast?  This just shows how much I genuinely disliked everything about Raven when I first saw him pop up on either Jericho’s or Austin’s podcast maybe 2 years ago.  I don’t remember which show he was on first, but I begrudgingly listened to see if there was anything redeemable I could find in this man.

When it was over I thought that it wasn’t too bad all things considered.  He then was on whichever one of those podcasts was next, and I was curious.  Was it a flukeSurely if I listen again I will find him reprehensible. Not only was it passable, but I actually found him kind of funny.

Finally after hearing him on Killing the Town to promote his own pod earlier this year, I broke down and checked out his new show.  He was even funnier on Killing the Town, and I thought that if he could bring that to every episode, it would be something I would probably enjoy.

The first thing you need to know about this show is that it’s not exclusively a wrestling podcast, but it is on the Jericho Network dammit!  There are some episodes where he speaks very little about it.  But the thing that draws me to it is his humor.

Quite simply I now find Raven to be funny as shit.  I will freely admit that you will probably love or hate it.  I can’t really see a middle ground here.  He is big on “pun” jokes, and I know some people roll their eyes and look down at those.  (For a sample of his humor look at his twitter @theraveneffect I feel it’s a good indicator if you would like his show or not.) His cohost is a former writer for the WCW magazine, who goes by “Buzby.”  They have pretty good banter back and forth.  The show is also an easy listen at usually just over an hour.

I won’t go into detail about all the non-wrestling related segments he has on the show because that defeats the point of this wrestling-related post.  Just know that I enjoy them, and you may too.  When he does drop wrestling knowledge it is usually top-notch despite all his inane bantering, tangents, so bad they’re good jokes, and consistently flying off-topic.  He’s talked about all the early days of his career in the territory days, and even what he was like as a kid.  (His dad worked for the National Enquirer.  How strange is that?)  He’s given a few ECW stories, but I think he’s stringing them along to keep us wanting more.  Which is smart.

If you hate this one I wouldn’t be surprised, but just know that I am even more surprised by the fact that this is probably my favorite podcast currently.  Not even just in wrestling, but in general.

The Ross Report

      It seems like the new cool thing to do these days is shit on JR.  I’m not diving into that mess, but I will tell you to listen to his podcast.  I loved reading the Ross Report on wwf.com back in the day.  If you don’t remember it, it was a weekly column (I think it came out on Fridays) where JR addressed rumors, discussed what he liked/disliked about that week’s Raw, and his opinion on talents.  The beginning portion of this show (usually 20 minutes) is just that.  People complain that he repeats himself too much, i.e. wrestlers work too fast, WWE needs to implement the time limit draw as a finish, too much finisher kick out etc.  To me the simple solution is just skip to the interview if that bothers you.

I’ll admit he does ram home points at times, but I find him obviously very knowledgeable, and his ideas are well thought out and logical.  (Have you noticed I like people who put logic into the illogical world of wrestling?)  He isn’t as old school as say Jim Cornette, to where he hates everything nowadays.  He likes Lucha Underground for example.  Cornette obviously does not.  So it’s not a total negativity party.  He also throws in random impressions of Cornette, Terry Funk, Gordon Solie and others which I get a kick out of.   I am a sucker for impressions, but I have heard people bitch about how ridiculous they think that his are.  (You heartless bastards.)

JR has dealt with almost every wrestling talent there is over the years, so he has connections to get just about anyone for his interview portion.  I can’t really see anyone complaining about that, but I’m sure someone will try.  But my thought is, get off your high horse and enjoy ole JR, he’s had a rough year.

Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast

Yes it’s that guy with the weird hair from the PPV kickoff shows.  I don’t listen to this one a whole lot, but enough I feel warranted to list it.  For me the big selling point is that the interview portion is usually at most a half hour.  He then talks for quite a bit about “state of wrestling” at the end of the show, but I usually shut it off after the interview.

He’s based out of New York so he gets mainly WWE guests, but he has had TNA and ROH guys on there as well. His interviews are usually pretty good, but quite frankly he is such a nerd.  I know we all are, but man what a goober.  That being said, he is infinitely better than his fellow New Yorker Peter Rosenberg, who I find intolerable at times.  (He’s toned down when he’s on WWE TV, but I quit listening to Cheap Heat just because I couldn’t listen to the guy anymore.)  Bottom line, if you want a short interview to listen to, check this one out.  If not, it’s skippable.

Something to Wrestle With

This Bruce Prichard show has become one of the most downloaded wrestling podcasts there is.  Why?  It’s chalked full of backstage goodies.  Prichard was one of the main guys backstage at WWE for a long time, and he’s got plenty to share.  This podcast is great.  Definitely one of my favorites.  There is one minor drawback: its length!

When the show started last year it was just over an hour long.  Currently the last two episodes have been four hours long.  Not combined, EACH!

There are two ways of looking at this.  1. That’s too damn long!  Or, 2. That is a hell of lot of inside information that is going to entertaining.  To be honest, I would say both answers are correct.  Aside from the early hour episodes, I’ve never listened to a show in one sitting.  That being said, I’ve enjoyed every minute and never once considered “tapping out” on a show because it was too long.  It bears repeating that if you like backstage “rumor and innuendo” this show is a must-listen.  It’s non-stop backstage stories whether informative, funny, or ridiculous.

Remember how I said I love impressions?  Prichard is the Frank Caliendo of wrestling impressions.  I’m not joking he can do almost anyone.  I used to think JR’s Cornette was the best, but he has been supplanted.  I’ve been in tears laughing at his Cornette impression.

Go to this link:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_Dz_cE1vdQ&t=9s  Go ahead do it I’ll wait.  If you weren’t in stiches after hearing that, then I assume you must be a “Vince Russo Guy” or something.  There was even a request to have him rap “Basic Thuganomics” in a JC voice and it is on YouTube as well.  (Yes I’m serious.)

This is the tip of the iceberg as far as the impressions go.  Macho Man, Vince McMahon and Russo, Rhodes, Funk, Faarooq, JR, Hogan, Jerry Jarrett, and many others will keep you entertained and make that long podcast a fun journey.  And did I mention that every week’s topic is voted on by the fans?  They give you a four choice poll on the podcast’s Facebook page, and you vote away.  If nothing else that makes this show a very unique and fan-friendly affair.

The Steve Austin Show

                Technically this is two shows, one is considered “family-friendly” and the other, “Unleashed” allows swearing.  But they’re formatted the same, and the same in every other way.  So therefore it’s one show to me.

Much like the other podcasts, Steve does have good interviews with guys.  He is more prone to have non-wrestling personalities than some of the others are.  So depending on your tastes, that is a good or possibly bad thing.  Steve also isn’t afraid to ask the big question.  Meaning, he isn’t lobbing up softball questions like others tend to do.  He’s pretty straightforward, and I like that.

There also is no mistaking the fact that Steve is a Texas boy through and through.  So at times his opening monologues get a little too “country” for my taste.  He’ll ramble on about hunting and giant rats in his shed and things that I have no interest in listening to.  He also sporadically has one of his friends named Ted Fowler on and they really redneck it up.  I’m not criticizing.  People can like what they like.  It’s just not my cup of tea.

Growing up, Austin wasn’t ever one of my top guys after the initial honeymoon period of being a new fan.  So that could be part of the reason I’m not as prone to give him the benefit of the doubt at times.  I probably skip more episodes of this show than of any others that I actually subscribe to.

I know I’m in the minority here because Austin obviously is a megastar and his podcast does quite well from what I gather.  The two shows a week also hurts it for me because again, it makes it harder to keep up.

Talk is Jericho

It’s been mentioned many times already today, but here is finally Jericho’s pod of thunder and rock and roll.  It’s the flagship show of the Jericho Network dammit!  Not to beat a dead horse here, but this is another show that comes out twice a week.  Needless to say, I’m really back up on TIJ episodes that I need to listen to.  But unlike Austin’s show, I find this one much more consistently enjoyable.

Like all the other shows on Podcast One, he does his monologue (usually) then has his interview.  Jericho is really into nerdy trivia and pop culture things, so I usually find him pretty entertaining in this portion.  If there is a big wrestling rumor or story that is relevant he will address it.  Even if it involves him.  (His “fight with Sin Cara, his “fight” with Lesnar) He will either confirm or squash it.  Which I very much appreciate.

I’ve heard complaints about the catchphrases and different quirks he uses frequently on the show.  Such as calling Twitter, “the twit-tah,” or saying “come on PEE-PULL” in an exaggerated hair band front man-esque declaration.  They aren’t deal-breakers for me, but I can understand why people would be turned off by this.

As I’ve mentioned for everyone else, it’s hard to argue with the interview portion of the show.  I enjoy the conversational aspect of Jericho’s and really everyone else’s listed here.  In addition to his wrestling guests, he has rock stars frequently as guests.  Which makes sense knowing his background, but he also wanders a bit into parts unknown (literally) and will have people on who study the supernatural or have experienced the paranormal.  People who’ve been on Ghost Hunters, for example.  Or, people who are big into conspiracy theories.  Naturally Jesse Ventura is a great guest for this.  Which he has had on the show, but he’ll bring in others you’ve never heard of telling us their beliefs too.

Whether you or I believe any of that stuff is irrelevant because it is interesting conversation points for the podcast.  This is probably why he is such good friends with Raven because he dives into the stuff as well.  And much like I said during Raven’s review, I realize this has nothing to do with wrestling.  I’m well aware of that fact.  It just needs brought to your attention if you’re a new listener going into it thinking it’s a wrestling-exclusive show.  Plus it is very interesting- but I digress.

As far as the big three on Podcast One go, it breaks down like this: JR sticks almost exclusively to wrestling related guests.  Austin veers from it, but sometimes even the non-wrestler guests are fans and end up discussing the business with him.  Jericho strays the furthest at times with topics as I’ve previously mentioned.  Whether this is good or bad is up to you.

X-Pac 12360

                First things first.  I hate the name of this show.  I get what he is going for, but I don’t think it works.  However the name of the show has no bearing on its content, I just thought I’d throw that out there.

I mentioned earlier how Stone Cold may have been my favorite right when I started watching wrestling during the Attitude Era. This was because he was the biggest star in the industry and he was supposed to be my favorite.  Well he quickly started to drop down my list (within weeks probably) and who became my favorite wrestler?  X-freaking-Pac.  BREAK IT DOWN!  I loved X-Pac.  He was then feuding with Shane McMahon, who was a little bitch-boy at the time with his buddies the Mean Street Posse.  I’m pretty sure that feud help solidify me as a super fan, and X-Pac as my hero until he turned heel that fall and broke my little mark heart.

X-Pac has had quite the life since leaving WWE in 2002.  Mainly for all the wrong reasons.  I wanted him to do well, and he soon became a frequent guest on Steve Austin’s show.  (I wouldn’t skip those episodes!)  He sounded pretty good, and always came across as a knowledgeable guy when it came to being an in-ring worker.  (Yet another underrated guy.)

All that being said, his show is one that I listen to, but I don’t actually subscribe to it.  (There is a difference.) I cherry-pick the episodes I want and go from there.  I think the main reason for this is I don’t enjoy his cohosts.  It seems like there is about four of them, but in actuality it is probably two.  Regardless they annoy me because they don’t seem to know what they are talking about.  When they discuss wrestling news at the beginning of the show, X-Pac gives his two cents, and then he asks what they think.  He may have had his issues, but ole X-Pac is a courteous guy!   Then they say their piece, and he’ll politely say that he disagrees, but it’s all subjective blah blah.  X-Pac really seems like a nice guy I’m telling you!

Once he gets to the interview, the others take a backseat and let X-Pac ask most of the questions.  This is refreshing development by the time it rolls around.  The problem is that many of the guests he gets have already been on all the previously mentioned shows, and possibly multiple times at that.  And the format of this show doesn’t really add anything new to the equation.  Unlike say The Raven Effect does with all its zaniness.  This show is straightforward for better or worse.  And since this is a newer show that I started listening to, it never gets first dibs on me listening to it for that reason.

I will say that he did have Aleister Black on recently which I think was the first podcast to have him since he was signed by WWE. (I could be wrong on that.)   So that was a cool episode.  (For the record he was on Art of Wrestling a few years ago when he was still Tommy End.)   At the end of the day, I’m an unabashed X-Pac fan so I’ll listen to this show on occasion, but if you skip it you’re not missing out on anything.

Conclusion

So as you can see this is a pretty damn big list, and this only the wrestling ones that I listen to.  I spend probably an unhealthy amount of time listening to podcasts, but hey it’s fun.  So tell me, what am I missing out on?  Which ones have you never heard of before?  Hit me up on the twit-tuh @parenzabooks and let me know.    

 

 

 

 

 

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