Jamie Lithgow, Craig Wilson and John Carbery
It is fair to say that over the course of just a couple of years the number of wrestling related podcasts has gone through the roof. It seems like every ex-wrestling personalty or opinionated fan has one. In today’s Top Five, the team look at some of their favourites.
5. E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness
Edge & Christian sometimes do ‘Anatomy of a Match’ episodes where they discuss memorable matches from WWE’s past with the actual participants, which has WWE Network show written all over it. Other than that, their podcast is like most wrestler podcasts in that they either interview a guest or, being ex-wrestlers themselves, discuss a specific topic among themselves. While it isn’t too different from most wrestler podcasts out there, I do like the fact that there are two of them. They are not a wrestling personality plus a co-host, the podcast is two ex-wrestlers chatting away like two ex-wrestlers do. Also, I like both guys and they sound like they are having fun thus I enjoy listening to them.
4. The New Generation Project Podcast
This is one of those ‘pick an era or promotion from wrestling’s past and chronicle each big show from that period on an episode’ type podcasts. OSW Review were possibly the first to do this by chronicling the Hulkamania era in WWE. The New Generation Project Podcast obviously looks at ‘the dark ages’ of WWE in the mid 90s. They have a similar three-man team to OSW too; Stewart knows his shit, Adam knows a few things and Paul knows fuck all about the topic. This always makes for fun conversations when one, or sometimes two, people have no idea where an angle is going, especially when a lot of wrestling angles do not age well at all. If you like details then you’ll love this podcast. These guys look at the shows and matches in great detail. This is indeed one for the geeks, like me.
3. What Happened When With Tony Schiavone
From the Conrad Thompson stable of podcasts comes Tony Schiavone’s offering. Most of the episodes are watch-along episodes; i.e. you can listen to them while watching the show they are discussing on the WWE Network. Most of the episodes are based on WCW shows, obviously. I personally have never done the watch-along thing because I listen while driving most of the time. That doesn’t matter though. While Tony does provide some good insight some of the time, I’ve made this my number three because the guy his hilarious! Schiavone left wrestling for years and neither has an axe to grind nor any fucks to give. He doesn’t really censor what he says in case he speaks out of turn and ruins and opportunity down the line, he just tells it like it is and in WCW ‘it’ is usually fucking ridiculous.
2. The Attitude Era Podcast
From the Kefin Mahon stable of podcasts we have his cornerstone. Same basic premise as OSW Review and the aforementioned New Generation Project Podcast, only these lads do it with The Attitude Era. Kefin watched the Attitude Era at the time, Adam not so much and Billy missed that era entirely. Therefore, a man trying to explain why 80 year old May Young gave birth to hand to another man with no prior knowledge of this some 20 years in the future is classic stuff. While they have finished the actual Attitude Era, the podcast is still going as they are currently following the Invasion/Alliance angle from 2001. I’d recommend checking out their original run through the Attitude Era though, it’s great stuff.
1. Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard
I wanted to see beyond this podcast, but if I’m being honest with myself I can’t. This is the podcast I listen to most frequently. You can argue that Bruce is full of bullshit, you can argue that he toes the WWE line, but if you argue that then you must listen to the damn thing to make those claims! It’s entertaining as hell and informative. A pinch – or bucket – of salt may be required every so often, but Conrad is good at calling Bruce on his bullshit and representing the non-WWE point of view. There’s a reason so many people within the wrestling industry listen to this podcast.
5. We Watch Wrestling
This is an excellent podcast. A group of wrestling fans, including comedian and former WWE writer Matt McCarthy, get their friend, a non-wrestling fan, to watch a particular show then they discuss it. It makes for a fresh dynamic in listening to a podcast about a show you may have seen yourself several times. Add in a very amusing and light-hearted delivery, this is a very good and easy listen.
4. Steve Austin Show
Considering how big a part Austin played in keeping me onboard as a wrestling fan when I got back into it in 1999, it’s no surprise therefore that his twice-weekly podcast features in my top five list. Austin is certainly a different host to the style adopted by Chris Jericho, who features later on in the list, he’s still very good. I particularly enjoy the episodes after a PPV when he has, invariably, Wade Keller, from PW Torch, on to break down the show. It’s fascinating, to me anyway, hearing a wrestler break down a show.
3. Wrestling Observer
Initially, I was a PW Torch guy but, through a cheap as chips trial, gave the Wrestling Observer a go and haven’t looked back. With ‘Death of WCW’ being one of my favourite books, it’s no surprise I enjoy Bryan Alverez’s shows but factor in Dave Meltzer’s contributions, and scoops, as well as access to the Wrestling Observer archive, which is worth the monthly fee alone, then this is a subscription which is a no-brainer.
2. Wrestling 20 Years Ago
A shameless plug for this wonderful podcast. I was one of the initial guests on the show, now down to sporadic appearances due to the bolstered number of participants due to its success. This show sees us jump in a time machine and head back two decades to take a look at what was going on in the wrestling world back then. It’s not always been the most fun to watch as someone reviewing the wrestling for the podcast but as a listen goes, it’s top notch. Often a lot of gallows humour has been deployed, particularly around 1994 WCW and 1995 WWE.
1. Talk is Jericho
Sure, not every episode is wrestling related but by and large I’d still consider this a wrestling podcast, especially as I mostly download it when it has a wrestler on it. I find Chris Jericho to be both hugely entertaining but also a very skilled interviewer who, despite his level of stature and fame, is far more concerned in having his guest tell their story rather than dominate proceedings. A recent great episode was the one featuring Daniel Bryan, not long after his return to the ring. More often than not, Jericho gets on guests whom he is close to and you can tell by the very strong dynamic on display during these interviews. Makes for excellent listening.
5. The Attitude Era Podcast
I stopped listening after the initial run covering the Attitude Era as it just got less fun, it just seemed to me that somewhere in between the original run and the re launch they’d become overly sensitive and soapboxy on certain topics. That being said, the original run is solid gold for the most part.
4. Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard
I feel like I need a skip full of salt with each listen as Prichard just oozes office “yes man” vibes a lot of the time and I find the constant bashing of Dave Meltzer to be tiresome especially as the entire format of the show is built around reading reports from old issues of the Observer but this is a worthwhile listen for the most part. Conrad Thompson is a great host who doesn’t shy away from difficult questions and while I feel its a work half the time it does provide pretty cool insights to the WWE. Plus some of it is hilarious.
3. Smart Wrestling Fan Podcast (Original Run)
This was the podcast that got me into podcasts all the way back in 2005. It was hosted by Wiggly and Joe and they covered wrestling as it happened every week. I was a part of the community surrounding this show and eventually became good friends with Wiggly, I’ve even travelled to the US to visit a few times. Around 2008/2009 Wiggly and Joe had a falling out and the show continued on without Wiggly, who I was a bigger fan of, so I haven’t listened since. But when I listen to those original shows it transports me straight back to my Uni days and fills me with nostalgia.
2. Wrestling Observer Radio
This is the regular show with Byan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer, while I usually skip the UFC/MMA talk as I have zero interest in it the show is usually a worthwhile listen over all especially when they cover historical topics and some of the interviews they get are great. The archive audio with Bruno Sammartino is must listen stuff and they usually present the best interviews around with current NJPW talent. It’s the only premium podcast I’ll be listing here but I usually find its worth the price of admission.
1. What Happened When with Tony Schiavone
I think this might be the funniest wrestling podcast ever put on wax. While it started out as a WCW themed version of Something To Wrestle it has ended up being a weekly riot with Schiavone as he and Conrad Thompson run through old WCW ppvs and tv shows. Schiavone is a hilarious, foul mouthed old man with politiclaly incorrect outbursts who clearly has nothing to lose in the world of wrestling. As someone who grew up watching WCW its fantastic to be able to listen to one of the voices of wrestling on a podcast talking wrestling. Give the Halloween Havoc 95 episode a go and if you like it, you’ll like the rest.
You can read all previous Top Five pieces here.