Pro Wrestling Podcast Power Rankings: Goldberg, The Fringe & The Paranormal

Written by Mark Henely

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1. Talk is Jericho – Inside the Benoit Family Tragedy – EP259

http://www.podcastone.com/pg/jsp/program/episode.jsp?programID=593&pid=1658885

This podcast knocked me over.

Nine years after the terrible tragedy that saw Chris Benoit murder Nancy Benoit (aka WCW’s Woman) and his son Daniel, Nancy’s sister, Sandra, comes on the podcast to discuss the tragedy with Benoit’s friend, Chris Jericho. This is the first time a member of Nancy’s family has given an in-depth interview on the subject and the results are very compelling.

There is no major scoop that comes from this interview. For those fans who have researched every angle of the story, they won’t find many new facts, but they will find a new perspective. She confirms some rumors and dispels others. She shares positive stories about Chris, but she also doesn’t fully let him off the hook by blaming his actions on CTE. She offers up a balanced narrative from the perspective of someone who spent time with the Benoits pre-incident, someone who saw the bodies and someone who spent months getting the house in order.

She offers up closure for those that want it to fans that want to hear it by brining the story back down to a human level. Fans have never really been able to contextualize this event and might never find a way to really relate to the magnitude of the tragedy, but those that listen to this podcast might walk away with a better understanding of what this event meant on a family level. And that is very important.

2. HOWL Presents Pro Wrestling Fringe – Laugh ‘Til It Hurts

https://soundcloud.com/coltcabana/aow-howl-presents-pro-wrestling-fringe-laugh-til-it-hurts

Colt Cabana, the host of Pro Wrestling Fringe, is the most important wrestling podcaster of all time.

Admittedly, of all time, is only the span of 7-10 years. But, he made the first popular professional wrestling podcast. He started the podcast genre of wrestlers talking to other wrestlers about wrestling years before Podcast One hired Stone Cold Steve, Roddy Piper, Ric Flair, Bill Goldberg, and every other popular wrestling personality with a little free time to make the same type of show.

And even though his show has been copied again and again by personalities who were more popular and were able to access even more popular guests on a regular basis, Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling has remained the most consistently great podcast. There is a level of poignancy that Art of Wrestling routinely reaches that shows like the Ross Report never reach on their best episodes.

Now, the father of wrestling podcasts is pioneering an entire new genre. Pro Wrestling Fringe is not a chat show. It is a “This American Life/Radiolab” style show that brings you stories of wrestlers’ past in a slick NPR format. No one else is doing this (yet, at least) and it is an exciting new direction in the wrestling podcast genre that has become increasingly stagnant.

As for the content, it is pretty good. The story of Les Kellet isn’t as poignant as they would like to think it is (it certainly isn’t on the level of “This American Life”), but it is an exciting new way to tell wrestling stories.

3. The Steve Austin Show Unleashed! – EP336 – Bill Goldberg Part 1

http://www.podcastone.com/pg/jsp/program/episode.jsp?programID=436&pid=1658139

Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bill Goldberg are inextricably linked in the minds of wrestling fans. They look similar and they were popular in the same era. They also happen to be great friends. This is a really fun podcast. After a slow start where they discuss their work outs in depth, they get into a good conversation where they cover all sorts of things from Goldberg’s career. The highlight comes when Goldberg gives his account of the famous “Steven Regal Incident” (it was a match where Goldberg was booked to dominate, but Regal started beating on Goldberg for real). It really adds a layer of humanity to a wrestling legend that usually gets reported cold-heartedly.

4. Stone Cold Podcast – A.J. Styles (WWE Network Exclusive)

http://network.wwe.com/video/v838386883/?contentId=838386883&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=stone_cold_podcast

I wish Steve Austin was able to interview A.J. Styles without the burden of being on the WWE Network. They get into a lot of topics that WWE usually doesn’t talk about (i.e. TNA, New Japan), but AJ and Austin seem very nervous while discussing those topics. Neither one wants to get AJ in trouble by putting over TNA to much and I just couldn’t help but wish they had less of a microscope on them so that they could talk more.

There are also a lot of weird professional portraits of AJ with his family that are on screen throughout the entire special. Very bizarre.

5. The Ross Report – with Jason Powell – Ep123

http://www.podcastone.com/pg/jsp/program/episode.jsp?programID=619&pid=1657913

I have a theory that Jim Ross doesn’t like doing his podcast.

Well… maybe I should walk that back: I think Jim Ross likes recording some parts of his podcast (ex: his monologue, the commercials), but he doesn’t like interviewing people. He tends to get bored of the topics that he brings up and just starts to meander.

In this episode, that took the form of Ross and his guest, Jason Powell from ProWrestling.net, becoming bored with reviewing Sunday’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view in favor of grumbling about comedy in wrestling, the tag team division, and the general state of the wrestling business. There is no optimism in their analysis.While every review doesn’t need to be a positive, I believe that because a cynical reviewer cuts themselves off from the subject and often misses out on the deeper insight.

6. The Steve Austin Show – EP335 – Vince Russo Returns

http://www.podcastone.com/pg/jsp/program/episode.jsp?programID=542&pid=1657573

In this episode, Vince Russo spends an hour repeatedly yelling that WWE’s ratings have massively dropped since the attitude era and they should all be ashamed of this fact. No other topics are covered.

7. Talk is Jericho – The True Story Behind The Conjuring on Talk Is Jericho – EP258

http://www.podcastone.com/pg/jsp/program/episode.jsp?programID=593&pid=1657991

I don’t believe in ghosts and people who do make me very angry. I found this episode of Talk is Jericho, where the host sits down to talk to the woman who inspired the Conjuring series of movies infuriating and unlistenable. So, I enlisted the help of local stand up comedian and friend, Jack Steiger, to give an in depth review on the topic. Take it away, Jack:

I am a Chaos Magician. Chances are you aren’t. Chances are also that you have no idea what that term means (though there is a surprisingly large population of us so if any of you are reading this, hit me up ‘cause I’m DTF*). I like to describe Chaos Magic as “Freestyle Magic” or “the MMA of religion”, because literally anything goes, belief-wise. Put simply, I’m very open-minded. So, when Andrea Perron asserts the farmhouse she grew up in is haunted, I’m DTF* with that. Granted, my experience with “mediumship” (commerce with the deceased) is very limited (like, next to nothing), but I’ve had enough bizarre incidents in my life through other magical practices that the existence of ghosts wouldn’t stupefy me.

So, I was keenly interested in her stories. I will say that there is an earlier, more materialist version of myself (before the Chaos Magic) that would have outright denied these claims. I used to hear tales of ghosts and dismiss them on the grounds that such stories didn’t fit into how I thought the universe works. Like, I would literally say “That doesn’t fit into how I think the universe works, so I’m not going to believe that”. I didn’t want to go through the effort of reworking my cosmology to allow for the existence of ghosts, so the path of least resistance was to choose to believe that those who claim to have seen ghosts were either mistaken or lying. My face was shaven clean by Occam’s razor.

I imagine a lot of you might be like that younger version of myself. If you are, then you probably aren’t DTF* with the possibility of ghosts existing, and will likely dismiss Andrew Perron’s assertions about her paranormal experiences as lies. However, if you can at least entertain the existence of ghosts, then it’s worth a listen. As for me, I’m DTF* with almost anything.

My Rating: DTF* * DTF = down to friend