Art of Wrestling [Weekly Podcast]
A few years ago, Colt Cabana began concentrating his efforts on developing his brand following his WWE release. For those of us who remember watching him in IWA Mid-South a decade ago, he seems like a completely different character. Cabana took his goofball personality and made it a commodity that people not only enjoy, but will check out and hopefully pay for. Part of his branding process included starting this podcast, which in its first 100 episodes developed a reputation as being one of the most enjoyable and distinct. Cabana not only gets himself over, but provides a forum for a wide variety of pro-wrestling personalities to share their stories, experiences and wisdom. Although he predominantly features his peers on the indy circuit, Colt has managed to interview people that I have never heard interviews with before. As his buddy CM Punk revealed on the 100th episode, the show is very formulaic and after a while that becomes part of the charm. Colt's cadence is distinct and he has a number of phrases that might irritate some, but gives the show a feeling of familiarity that creates a loyal audience. Colt usually shares some funny anecdotes or thoughtful reflections about his current situation and some plugs to open the show and ends the show with some closing thoughts and some more plugs. His song-of-the-week is a nice feature and it provides some more frivolity that is the show's trademark. The meat of the show though is Colt Cabana sitting down and interviewing someone else from the world of pro-wrestling. The variety is a positive, but the best interviews are those with people he has a good rapport with because they're friends. It is cool to hear him chat with Johnny Saint, Kentaro and Alejandro, but it is the interviews with guys like Cliff Compton, Bull Pain and Chris Masters that really stand out as the best. Those that are the most comfortable with him, tend to let their hair down the most and it lets him dig a little deeper. In comparison to interviews with more highly regarded people, Cabana is able to get more out of certain people like Dolph Ziggler, Jimmy Jacobs and Pac. The Art of Wrestling is one of the best pro-wrestling podcasts out there and one that everyone should at least sample a few times.
If I was recommending this podcast to other pro-wrestling fans, I would probably suggest that they listen to the interviews with wrestlers they know first. The show's structure is a strength of the show, but it takes some time to internalize that aspect. Colt's personality is another dimension and he may simply be a turn off for a great many people. He admittedly loves fun and that comes across. If you prefer the RF Video's red-eyed marathon shoots, Kayfabe Commentaries' in-depth and well-researched shoots, then you might feel this series is lacking. Colt interjects a lot of humor (or tries to) and typically that enhances the interview, but it is largely a matter of taste. While he provides a great deal of personality and often personal connections to the interviewee, he is not a hard-hitting journalist, well-studied newsletter writer or an enthusiastic super-fan. He does have a sound knowledge base and grew up as a fan and follows the business pretty closely. Colt tries to keep his interviews friendly and sometimes lightly steps into some heavy topics, but generally does not to. That levity is nice, but it can lead to disappointing interviews. Colt's goal is not to present breaking news, but he sometimes stumbles across some without trying.
The Rating: ****1/4