Top 6 Wrestling Podcasts
There is a popular adage that says whatever your interest, there is a podcast about it. This is certainly true for the world of professional wrestling, and today we’re going to take a look at six of the best produced by people who have performed in the squared circle.
- Who’s Next with Goldberg
I’ll be honest, I went into this one with fairly low expectations. Goldberg was never known as a talker during his time in WCW, and he has always seemed to hold the wrestling business in contempt.
When Goldberg appeared on The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana (see below) he was friendly but a little stiff, preferring to talk about his MMA training rather than his time in the ring. When he did walk about his time in WCW he spent a lot of it complaining about wrestlers like William Regal taking liberties in the ring and hurting him, which is a bit rich from the guy who ended Bret Hart’s career due to clumsiness.
Who’s Next focuses on the passions that Goldberg has today, so there are a lot of football players, UFC fighters and extreme sports athletes. Recent guests include Royce Gracie, Frank Shamrock and NFL Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, so if you’re looking for talk about wrestling, you’re probably better off elsewhere.
In terms of presentation style, Goldberg is competent but not outstanding. He tends to talk about himself a lot, and references his football career so frequently you may think you’re listening to an NFL podcast.
- Piper’s Pit with Roddy Piper
Hosted by the self-described ‘greatest villain in wrestling history’ Rowdy Roddy Piper, Piper’s Pit is a podcast that isn’t afraid of asking the tough questions. Recent wrestling guests include Vince Russo, Jeff Jarrett, Austin Ares and Jim Cornette, but Piper also talks to non-wrestlers including director John Carpenter (who directed Piper in the cult classic The Live!), and comedian Bobcat Goldthwait.
As a host Piper is affable if scattered. In interviews he tends to focus on controversial incidents from wrestling history, but tends to lose his train of thought fairly frequently (possibly due to the multiple concussions he received through his career). In the name of research I checked out the Austin Ares episode and the one about the Death of WCW, and both were entertaining in their own way.
The Ares interview was funny but broke down occasionally as Ares asked Piper to explain one of his rambling questions or Piper simply lost the point of what he was talking about. The Death of WCW didn’t really reveal anything I hadn’t heard before, but it’s interesting to hear the perspective of a veteran on how ego was responsible for the downfall of the multi-million dollar company.
With 43 episodes under his belt Piper is growing more comfortable as a podcaster, and Piper’s Pit is worth a listen for anyone who enjoyed pro wresting in the 80’s and 90’s.
- Talk is Jericho
Chris Jericho is an entertaining dude who has wrestled all around the world and also established himself as a legitimate rock star with his band Fozzy. The self-proclaimed Ayatollah of Rock n’ Rolla often breaks into song during the podcast, accompanying himself on the cowbell.
Recent episodes have featured interviews with stars including Wade Barrett, Hulk Hogal, JBL and Lanny Poffo, as well as musicians such as Lemmy from Motorhead and Robert Trujillo from Metallica. Jericho has always been a great talker and this talent continues over to the podcast, with his interviews flowing smoothly and yet still covering topics that some may consider controversial.
The only real downside to Talk is Jericho is the incessant advertising. I understand that podcasts are provided for free and the podcasters need to make some money to defray hosting costs, but the ratio of advertising to content in Talk is Jericho often feels like 60/40 in favour of advertising.
- The Ross Report
Jim Ross knows a hell of a lot about pro wrestling. He is widely considered to be the greatest announcer in wrestling history, and he has worked with some of the all time greats like Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The Ross Report provides updates on all of the major promotions, from WWE, to TNA and Ring of Honor, Lucha Underground and New Japan. JR is truly a fan of wrestling, and stays up to date with changes in the industry not often addressed by other podcasts.
On the other hand, as a podcaster, JR makes a great historian. He tends to speak slowly, and his delivery has none of the flow of Jericho, Stone Cold or Colt Cabana. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of pro wrestling around the world adds a lot of depth to his podcast, but his interview style can be stilted and his habit of doing interviews over the phone takes away some of the intimacy of other podcasts.
- The Steve Austin Show Unleashed
Stone Cold Steve Austin is one of the most famous wrestlers in history, familiar to people with only a passing interest in the business. He has worked the indies and been saddled with crappy gimmicks like The Ringmaster, gone from a Hollywood Blond to a beer-swilling antihero world champion and straight-to-DVD movie star.
Recent interviews include Paul Heyman, Bray Wyatt and Ivan Koloff, along with a somewhat scripted interview with Vince McMahon where the boss addressed some of the issues that CM Punk raised in his interview with Colt Cabana. Despite his much-vaulted ‘don’t give a crap’ attitude, Stone Cold gave his former employer softball after softball, letting the billionaire spin half-truths and outright falsehoods into a half-assed justification as to why her forced the most popular and talented performer in a generation quit the business altogether.
Generally recorded at Austin’s Smoking Skull Ranch, The Steve Austin Show comes in two versions, a ‘network friendly’ censored version and an Unleashed version in which Stone Cold gets to unleash his inner redneck and swear as much as he likes. From my perspective, this is more entertaining than the vanilla version.
- The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana
Many casual wrestling fans have never heard of Colt Cabana. This Chicago native has been wrestling in the Indies for over 14 years, has wrestled for promotions all over the world and is a former tag partner of CM Punk. Colt’s recent double-episode interview with his old friend provided Punk an outlet to tell his side of the story about his departure from WWE, and is well worth checking out to hear the downsides of working for the biggest wrestling company in the world.
With well over 200 episodes under his belt Colt is an accomplished podcaster and has his format honed to a fine edge. Each episode starts out with a spiel about who he is, what he has been doing and what fans can do if they want to help him out – but as opposed to Talk is Jericho the sponsor messages are integrated into the program and don’t detract from the enjoyment of the podcast.
Some of the best interviews in Colt’s extensive library include New Jack, Mason Ryan, Chris Hero and Kevin Steen, but Colt seemingly has the ability to have a good interview with almost anyone. His interviews with other podcasters including Stone Cold and Jim Ross stand out in that they reverse the paradigm – Colt is the Podcast veteran passing on his knowledge to the ‘greenhorns’ of the medium.
Without a doubt, Colt’s strength is his interview technique. He approaches interviews as casual conversations and avoids controversy, but as a result allows people to open up about what they really think. A good example of this is the episode with Pac, the man who became Adrian Neville in WWE. Colt talks to the young Novocastrian about his lack of confidence on the mic and his time working as the Tarzan inspired ‘Jungle Pac’, which the young wrestler discusses with humour and humility.
This article only covers podcasts by current or former performers, and as such ignores quality podcasts like Pro Wrestling Torch Livecast, Wrestling with Depression and Inside Pulse’s own Classing Ring Attire and Rabblecast, all of which are worth a listen for wrestling fans looking for something different.
Tags: colt cabana, goldberg, Jim Ross, podcast, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Stone Cold