Written by Mark Henely
Wrestling Podcast Power Ranking 5/14-5/23
There is never a shortage of Professional Wrestling content.
With three hours of Raw, two hours of Smackdown, two hours of Impact!, plus three hour monthly Pay Per Views and all of indy wrestling, there is a lot of wrestling to watch. With the WWE Network, one literally never has to stop watching wrestling. For diehard fans, it doesn’t come down to a question of whether to watch or not: it comes down to what does one have time to watch.
And that’s how I want to frame this article. There is a never ending list of wrestling shows that are constantly happening and with that comes podcasts to analyze those shows and discuss the people who make them. There are countless wrestling podcasts out there that wildly range in quality and content. My goal here is to listen to as many of them as I can stand and rank them in order of most essential to least. This isn’t about shaming any of the below podcasts for having weak content from time to time, but to spotlight the good content and to discuss the shows as they happen. If you want to know which podcasts are worth your time (and which podcasts are not), then you’ll want to check out this article every week for a Power Ranking of some of the biggest wrestling podcasts around.
1. Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana – AOW 302: Dallas Live (too): Lanny Poffo, Brian Cage, Bobby Fulton, Lance Archer, Kevin Gill
Live from Wrestlecon, Colt Cabana (and comedian, Marty DeRosa) deliver one of the most schizophrenic wrestling podcasts this week. This podcast is weird. And I don’t mean “weird for a wrestling podcast”; it’s weird for any podcast. One minute Leaping Larry Poffo is reading his inspirational poems about believing in yourself and then next, Kevin Gill, the voice of Juggalo Championship Wrestling, is defending Juggalo culture as if it was a religion. There are five guests that each discuss something completely different. But, that is the beauty of this show. Colt had five very different men come on his show and talk about topics that he, as a host, found interesting. What other host would have relatively unknown Lance Archer (who you probably won’t recognize as WWE’s Vance Archer or TNA’s Lance Rock) to talk about Tyson Kidd’s forgotten tag team partner David Hart Smith? In a world where every Podcast One podcast is calling up Hornswoggle to capitalize on his brief post firing notoriety, Colt is a guy who is talking to exactly who he wants about exactly what he wants to talk about. And that is a beautiful thing.
2. Talk is Jericho – Dana Carvey – EP249
While I was very excited to hear Carvey on the podcast, I found myself cringing during Jericho’s monologue as he continuously referred to Carvey’s impressions as his “friends.” It’s a bizarre way to describe impressions and it is something that only a non-comedian or a marketing department would do. It doesn’t accurately describe the feat that impressionists pull off. Carvey is imitating mannerisms and interpreting them in a funny way; he isn’t creating new imaginary people. If I never have to hear a ventriloquist or an impressionist be described as a schizophrenic or “crazy” then I will be a happy man.
But despite the intro, this ended up being a strong, insightful interview. Jericho’s genuine adoration of Carvey showed through, but didn’t blind him from asking astute questions. They had an interesting conversation up top about their shared perfectionism and fans of Carvey will be excited to hear that he does all his famous impressions all the way through (and not in a sad way he clearly still loves doing them). This is a very good podcast that is worth a listen and very deserving of the number 2 spot.
3. How2Wrestling – How2ShaneMcMahon
How2Wrestling is without a doubt the gentlest wrestling podcast on the Internet. It isn’t about burying anybody and getting yourself over; it’s about one man’s successful attempt to get his girlfriend educated on the wacky world of wrestling. This week, Comedian Kefin Mahon teaches girlfriend, Jo Graham, all about newly returned performer Shane McMahon. Their dynamic is very sweet and Kefin clearly loves telling his girlfriend about his childhood hero (there is a story in the middle of the show about Kefin acting like Shane to escape a grade school bully that is very sweet). This is a good show to listen to if you want to take a stroll down memory lane and reminisce about all the good memories of Shane jumping off of things and dancing.
4. The Ross Report – with Dylan Swoggle Postl – Ep118
Jim Ross is a confident, capable broadcaster with a great opening monologue, but I was skeptical of his guest. My skepticism wasn’t because I didn’t think Postl would be an interesting guest with a compelling story (he is, by the way), but because he was on Steve Austin’s podcast just last week. The newly unemployed performer is making the rounds and I didn’t know what Ross was going to get out of the guy that Austin didn’t get last week. While they do cover the main points that Austin covered (the Wee-LC match, Postl’s suspension, etc.) there is some interesting discussion on what it was like to meet Donald Trump and Osh Kosh over-alls. There is also a very funny segment where Jim Ross dryly calls pro wrestling mindless entertainment. This episode isn’t essential listening if you heard him on Austin’s podcast already, but it isn’t a bore either.
5. Talk is Jericho – Ep248 – The Scorpions
I’m not a big fan of the Scorpions. I’ve heard “Rock You Like a Hurricane” (We’ve ALL heard “Rock You Like a Hurricane”) and it doesn’t do anything for me. It does NOT rock me like a hurricane or anything else for that matter (that jokes is so dumb that I erased it and re-typed it at least seven times before leaving it in). That being said, Jericho does a good job interviewing the lead singer of the Scorpions in what ends up being an abbreviated interview. Rudolf Schenker is an affable old German (with a very strict management team) who loves talking shop. His perspective on fashion in rock ‘n’ roll and how that translates to the on-stage performance is very interesting. If you are a fan of the Scorpions, then this would be a very fun interview. If you only know of the Scorpions through cultural osmosis, then you still might want to check it out. It isn’t a “must listen”, but it is fun and I enjoyed it.
6. The Steve Austin Show Unleashed! – Mike O’Hearn – EP326
One of the most fun things about being a podcast listener is that you are often exposed to new personalities that you would have otherwise never heard of. Interview podcasts are kept regular by hosts making something interesting out of a relative unknown with a unique hook. And Mike O’Hearn has a unique hook. He’s a body builder with a long record of posing as the handsome man on the cover of romance novels.
However, there is a necessary x-factor when it comes to the success of an unknown guest on one of these podcasts. There needs to be a certain ingredient that takes these episodes from filler to killer. It always comes down to one thing: can the guest tell a good story? Unfortunately, O’Hearn isn’t a raconteur. He isn’t boring, but there isn’t a single story on this podcast that is memorable. Some of his descriptions of what it’s like to be on American Gladiators are interesting and the show can’t be described as “bad podcasting”, but it leans more on the boring side. This one could definitely be skipped.
7. The Steve Austin Show – Steve’s Bucket List
When you think of Stone Cold’s bucket list, what do you imagine would be on it? You would probably guess that the list would consist of things like beating up a stranger, drinking 24 Steve-Weisers in one sitting, or driving a beer truck into the middle of the Alamo. But, what is on the real Steve Austin’s bucket list? He wants to make neon clocks. That’s right, the real Stone Cold just wants to spend all day manufacturing old clocks that you would find in a ’50s diner. The Steve Austin Show has been criticized for destroying the bad boy mystique surrounding the Texas Rattlesnake and it is hard to disagree with episodes like this.
I tried to come into the episode with an open mind. When I thought about it, if Radiolab or How Stuff is Made had an episode on neon clocks I wouldn’t have had such a negative reaction to seeing the download in my podcast feed. But, there is something about the way Austin tries to build up the process of neon bending as an exciting thing really brings it down. The low point is when Austin points at tools and his guest identifies them. The only part that is fun is Austin’s rambling post interview monologue about traffic and whatever else was on his damn mind. Maybe skip to that part if you want to listen, but you should probably skip it all.
****Thank you for reading! If you want to know who Mark Henely is and who he thinks his twitter: @MarkHenely. If you want him to put his money where his mouth is and make a podcast of his own, then check out Introducing… the First Appearance Podcast. https://soundcloud.