Thursday, March 6, 2014

I Love Me Some Wrestling Podcasts

I love wrestling podcasts and enjoy a great many people doing them out there. Each podcast is its own unique little world but all have common bond of wrestling. Anyone that is going out of their way to produce a podcast has to at the very least be a fan of the business on some level. There is nothing more fun than stories about this wacky world of professional wrestling. I could spend hours on end listening to stories about this world that is both interesting and has an intrigue of what goes on behind the scenes in this crazy world. From serious stories that relate to real life to the craziest funny stories that just seem too funny to be true. It all is entertaining in its own way.

So I will run through some of my favourites that I do my best to listen too on a weekly basis. I think the original king of the wrestling podcast world is Colt Cabana. His Art of Wrestling show is for me the place where it all begins for wrestling podcasts. Colt has been doing his podcast since I believe somewhere around 2010 or 2011 long before podcasting was the rage it is today. He has interviewed everyone from wrestling legends from the past to guys that work on the independent scene that I knew very little about.

If you are one of the few that has not heard the Art of Wrestling it is an hour of Colt talking with his guest with the listeners getting to be a fly on the wall. It is based on wrestling and stories but sometimes dives into real life stuff both funny and serious. Colt makes an effort to steer away from the negative aspects of the wrestling business aside from the struggle that wrestlers go through. At the end of an episode of Art of Wrestling you will feel you have got to know someone better that you already knew or got to know someone you never knew and get to know someone you might not have ever known or heard of.

Perhaps the most popular podcast that has burst on the scene is Stone Cold Steve Austin’s show on Podcast One. It has led to a couple other WWE personalities getting involved with Podcast One in Chris Jericho and Jim Ross. Austin obviously can right his own ticket and booking whoever he wants on his show likely isn’t too difficult. Still Austin is an entertaining guy and if you are an Austin fan he is giving you everything you love about Stone Cold in his podcasts. He can be just as entertaining complaining about driving etiquette in L.A as he is at interviewing his guests.

What is great with Austin is while he can book pretty much his choice of wrestling talents he has not just stuck to the WWE world or just the Attitude Era wrestlers that he was a part of.  Austin has had great podcasts talking with MMA fighters and with guys like Kevin Steen who wrestles in ROH. Even a nice tip of his hat to the aforementioned Colt Cabana as they both appeared on each others podcasts about 6 months ago. Even having fans on episodes taking calls has been something Austin has done most recently. The one thing that has become some what of a cult hit with people is Austin reading the ad copy for the sponsors on his podcast. It is something to be experienced rather than explained. He claims to bring a can of “Audio Whoop Ass” to every podcast and does his show for the “Working Man” but what he does is just give you everything you love about Stone Cold. He has taken this venture seriously and has improved a lot as an interviewer which is something that prior to this was not likely in his wheelhouse. What? What he was use too. What? Oh hell you get the idea.

I do also enjoy Chris Jericho and J.R’s podcasts that have started more recently. They are both entertaining guys and also seem to fit in very easily to this podcasting format. I am sure like Austin they will grow a comfort level and get better and better at it. Ross really already is fit like a glove for this type of thing. Jericho has done a variety of various things in entertainment and his natural humour comes shining through in something like this.

Before there was podcasts there was Radio and Live Audio Wrestling is a show that has lasted for over 15 years in one form or another on the airwaves in Canada. The days of just two hours of The Law on Radio late on a Sunday night are in the past. They still do that show currently on TSN 1050 in Toronto at 11-1 or if actual “Real” sports gets in the way 12-2am on Sundays.

However as part of The Fight network they have expanded to include a laundry list of podcasts that are just excellent wrestling content. Let’s see we have Review-a-Raw and Review-an-Impact which is pretty self explanatory. John Pollock and Wai Ting recap the goings on of a Raw Episode or Impact episode. Well they do but it also has a ton of side talk about a great many things including MMA to the hate of some but not myself. In fact I credit The Law for turning me around and making me a fan of MMA. It also is some just hilarious stuff that has nothing to do with wrestling at all.

John and Wai have a unique way of making a connection with their audience that allows me to feel like they are friends of mine even though I have never met either. I feel I have got to know them through all of the crazy stories that have nothing to do with wrestling. But they do eventual get to giving you a detailed rundown of Raw or Impact with great thoughts from both a business and fan prospective on the shows.  Than at the end they take feedback from fans via their law message board in which you hear what the audience has to say if they are able to write it in plan English which sometimes is a struggle for some.

Review-A-Wai is a show where the two review old mostly wrestling based shows be it PPVS or old episodes of Raw. But they have more than a few times stepped out of the box reviewing documentaries and all kinds of things you would never expect. It is by far the most fun show they produce on a weekly basis and really is an enjoyable history lesson or trip down memory lane depending on how old you are.

What’s NXT is the newest Law Podcast that features Law Host Jason Agnew and newest member of Law Family Braden Harrington. It is like Review-a- Raw and Impact a review of WWE NXT but. Like the Pollock and Ting shows though it dives into the personal lives of the co-hosts as well. It gets a lot more out there than the chatter between Wai and John but is amusing and entertaining in its own way. The format is pretty much the same with a recap of the show and some thoughts on the product and upcoming talents in the WWE Developmental Show. Also they have feedback on both NXT and their podcast which can be somewhat entertaining given Jason’s lack of patience for stupidity if it is reflected in the feedback. This is a much kinder and gentler version of the Agnew that we get in comparison to The Law.

What show has become my favourite though in the Bauer and Pollack show which they jokingly call the King and the Fish. This however is perhaps the least joking show of the lot with a lot of hard news on the wrestling industry and mixed martial arts. Court Bauer is a former member of the WWE creative team, he ran his own promotion called MLW and now hosts his own Podcast with former WCW Talent Konan and a wacky character known as MSL. Will get to that podcast in a minute. But Pollock and Bauer is a real good education for people that want to understand the business side of this sport. Bauer also currently is working with ROH Wrestling in some former of advisory role that he has never truly defined.

There are fun moments but for the most part this is hard hitting analysis of the world of wrestling in all promotions not just the WWE and TNA. It is really interesting to hear things from the insider prospective the Bauer brings to this program. It is something that I honestly can’t miss on a week to week basis. When the show went a brief hiatus I was concerned it may not return with Bauer’s new role in Ring of Honour but it has. In fact I respect Court some much he is one of the people I reached out too when starting this blog back up. I got his opinion on it and if I was wasting my time here by writing this blog. His feedback was fairly positive so that meant a lot for me to get inspired to keep this idea going.

MLW Radio the podcast the Bauer is a part of is without a doubt the most off the wall podcast I have listened too. It is mix of the strange and bizarre with a lot of pop culture to pro wrestling all mixed with some humour that may not be for everyone. It is however just a crazy fun laid back show that offers some great stories from the past from K-Dawg and Bauer. MLS is a somewhat strange guy that has also worked in the business. I can’t really explain him he has to be experienced.

The show has its own language to some extent with phrases and expressions that you will come to understand as you listen over time. They shoot the breeze about wrestling and a variety of pop culture based things and on some episodes have a guest that joins in and becomes part of the mix. It is somewhat like an interview but more like having a fourth person in the mix that becomes the focus on the conversation. At the end of MLW episode you likely have laughed and maybe even learned a thing or two about the wrestling business.

MLW like The Law has other shows but some of them are part of a VIP package that you have to pay 15 dollars/year to listen too. The other free show they have is with Jim Cornette who has been a fixture in the wrestling business for decades. I started off listening to this as well but fell off after I just had my fill of Jim Cornette. If you love Jim you get a ton of him on this podcast. I like Jim but at times get burned out on him and can only take so much. What had me jump off that train was his bashing of Kevin Steen who I really like as a performer. Kevin and Jim have had their very public differences about Jim’s time in ROH. I just had heard enough and stopped listening after that. Cornette has the people he likes and people he does not and that is painfully obvious in anything he does.  I can only take so much.

Between the Ropes is also like The Law a hub for a lot of great wrestling content. Brain Fritz and his crew do some excellent work with interviews and podcasts that are entertaining and informative stuff. Lots of news mixed with opinions done in a very professional way.  A weekly podcast summing up Raw and live google hangout show is provided on a weekly basis with some great interviews with people in the business on a regular basis.

If your into the Google + Hangouts Straight Shoot with Aubrey Sitterson is also world a look. He actually took a suggestion I had for a game I had called Push, Re-Package and Fire and has really run with it. He has a really great guest list of people that act as his co-host for re-caps of Raw and Preview and Reviews of PPVs.

Last but not least are Mike and Maria in Wonderland which is a podcast with former WWE Diva Maria and her soon to be husband and ROH Wrestler Mike Bennett. This show is my guilty pleasure wrestling podcast. It isn’t all about wrestling and goes into other areas of life like politics and pop culture. What it reminds me of is the old reality show newlyweds with Jessica Simpson and Nick whatever his name was.

Not saying that Maria comes off like Jessica in fact she is a pretty smart cookie and nothing like the somewhat ditsy lovable character. Mike Bennett was/is a guy that a lot of people disliked in wrestling. I am not sure why exactly. I have never had that opinion but listening to him on this podcast would change some minds I think. He comes off as a pretty cool guy and very genuine. He is not afraid to express his opinions on any topic from gun control in the U.S to the pro wrestling business.

It is not for everyone as I found out when I professed my love for it but for me it is a great fun hour to 90 minutes that flies by with lots of laughs and the zany out of control nature the show has a tendency to do. This show does not work with much of a format but if it did likely wouldn’t be as fun as it is.

So that about covers the gambit of what I am listening to on a regular basis. Not a pod cast but if you don’t watch Kevin Steen’s Weekend Escapades or Colt Cabana’s World’s Worst Promo with Marty DeRosa you’re also missing some things that are pretty amusing.

Who needs the WWE Network I got podcasts for days up here in Canada.

There is a sea of wrestling podcasts and I am thinking about jumping into that ocean with one of my own in the not to distant future. I hope it can be as entertaining and fun as the ones I enjoy on this list. The Internet Wrestling Channel Podcast is coming soon. Get it IWC which is a term that I think needs to be put in the trash.