Saturday, January 21, 2012

Review-a-Wai [Weekly Podcast]

The Good
Born out of the success of the LAW (Live Audio Wrestling), John Pollock and Wai Ting (yes, that is his real name), developed this show as an add-on to the weekly LAW show.  Decidedly more low-key then the LAW, John and Wai do simple reviews of all sorts of pro-wrestling content.  Primarily they review old WWF and WCW pay-per-views, but they've branched off into documentaries, movies, music and even pornography with ties to pro-wrestling.  As two twenty-somethings with slightly different backgrounds to their fandom, this show presents views very much in-line with online smart mark commentary.  John pulls in some great sound clips, inserts (or conducts) some relevant interviews and as media production types, they're always concerned with their quality.  The reviews vary greatly, largely based on their interest in the event, circumstances around watching the event and often their health.  I think the greatest strength of this show is their attempt to be objective about pro-wrestling that folks are often nostalgic about.  They have no qualms with cutting down the Attitude Era for nonsensical booking, offensive content and bad wrestling.  Conversely, they will put over things that are entertaining (even if they might be campy or "bad") and they attempt to provide some context for things.  As someone who could listen to shoot interviews day-after-day, I can appreciate that not everyone enjoys that medium because they tend to rely heavily on prior knowledge, refer to all sorts of disjointed rumors and are often ripe with over-the-top storytelling, bullshitting or straight-up lying.  That sort of stuff can be exhausting to listen to, but this is more light and entertaining.  I have a brother who is a devoted fan of this podcast, but will put off my other suggestions of shoots, matches and other podcasts because they're hard to fit into a busy schedule.  Review-a-Wai, however, is always easy to catch.

The Bad
As a huge fan of the DVDVR in its heyday, I find Review-a-Wai to be a slightly less informed, slightly easier to take in version.  The show has some regular banter about their lives at the Fight Network, John's beverage choices, their illnesses and so forth.  As with any podcast, you have to expect some unrelated conversational content and these two certainly do that.  As I stated earlier, the quality varies widely.  Sick and tired guys laboring through a god-awful show can make for some lackluster shows.  Getting feedback from the people is a common theme from the LAW and I rarely think it adds to that show and reading through feedback on hear is not much different.  The show has its regulars, but those comments almost never include extra insight or worthwhile anecdotes.  I can accept Review-a-Wai for what it is and I can understand why people love it, but it is not without flaws.

The Rating: ****1/4

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