Guide For New Listeners
New listeners are always discovering The Work of Wrestling podcast. Given that the show has been on the internet airwaves for three years and over 100 episodes, it might be overwhelming to know exactly where to begin.
So I've created a starter-kit of sorts for new listeners who might appreciate a more structured experience at the outset. This is a list of what I regard as the ten best (or most useful) episodes of the podcast. These are the shows that sum up exactly what Work of Wrestling is all about and who I am as a host.
They're not necessarily the most downloaded, or even the most well-remembered among diehard listeners; these are the shows that will let you know pretty quickly whether or not you'd like to dive a little deeper into the Work of Wrestling podcast library and continue listening into the show's future.
WOW - EP38 - THE BEST IN THE WORLD
I continue to regard this as the best episode of the podcast. Not just because I'm a huge CM Punk fan, but because I explicated his career-defining "Shoot heard round the world" in a way that perfectly embodies the mission statement of the podcast. It's the first time I got experimental with the sound design and hyper-specific with the critical analysis.
Even if you don't listen to any other episode, listen to this one.
WOW - EP1 - ROB'S STORY
The first episode is a great place to start too. The overall quality & complexity of the show has certainly improved, but it lets you know what I wanted to achieve from the start and offers insight into the podcast's humble beginnings. Robert Bennett's story, shared in the conclusion, is also one of the most touching personal pro-wrestling stories you'll ever hear.
WOW - EP22 - MAD MEN
This is the perfect introduction to frequent guest Al Monelli, and also the first discussion about becoming a "lapsed fan" on the podcast. It's also the first time on the show where another artistic medium (in this case, television) is juxtaposed with professional wrestling so as to arrive at a deeper understanding of RAW's flaws. This is part 1 of a 3-part series so check out the other two if you dig it.
WOW - EP28 - THE BEAST IN THE EAST REVIEW
This is one of the first times I started to open up and really just have fun podcasting and reviewing a show. I woke up at the crack of dawn to cover the Beast in the East special in real-time, and it helped set the tone for the way I'd review shows in the future; with a little more candor and a little less "serious podcaster" gimmickery.
WOW - EP42 - LEX BROCKNER
My mom, "Granny Franny" as she's known on the podcast, is another frequent guest who offers unique, often hilarious observations on professional wrestling. In this episode, she opens up about her life-experience and draws on that experience to praise female wrestlers. This was an edifying experiencing, and it also resulted in one of the funniest verbal flubs in the podcast's history. One listener actually made a sign out of "Lex Brockner" and brought it to the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.
WOW - EP34 - MICK FREAKIN' FOLEY
That's right! The hardcore legend himself, Mick Foley, is a friend of the pod. In this episode you'll learn the origin of our friendship, as well as Mick's thoughts on women's wrestling, criticism versus complaint, and modern WWE fans. This was recorded before he was back working for the WWE. You can hear the follow-up episode from a year later to hear what his experience as GM was like in the early days of his latest run.
WOW - EP36 - MACHO MADNESS
This is the first time I really started experimenting with the format of the show, centering an entire episode on a single story about The Macho Man submitted by a listener. It's a great story, and remains one of my all-time favorite episodes both structurally and emotionally.
WOW - EP64 - DX - PART 1
Al Monelli and I unite our analytical powers to provide a thorough examination of the brilliance that is the belligerent, crazy mind of late-90s heel Shawn Michaels. We discuss DX through a modern lens, examining the intelligence and unabashed, villainous glory of Shawn's performance. Far too often DX is misrepresented as a pair of fun-loving, juvenile delinquents. Al and I provide a proper context to their dominant run leading into WrestleMania 14, as a pair of nihilistic anachronistic comparable to the gangs of A Clockwork Orange. You will want to listen to part two as well.
WOW - EP77 - THE WOMAN
In this episode I explicate a classic promo from Charlotte, going into detail about why she radiates the power of a champion unlike anyone else currently in the WWE. From her entrance music to her tone of speech to her remarkable athleticism, she is a true force to be reckoned with, and arguably the best talent on the main roster today. This episode pays respect to her excellence, and exactly why she's so effective in her heel persona.
WOW - EP100 - STEVE AUSTIN VS BRET HART AT WM13
For the 100th episode of the podcast I endeavored to do what I had long thought impossible: provide useful, real-time analysis for what I regard as the greatest match of all time, Bret Hart vs Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13. Austin had already done this on his own podcast, hence my hesitation. But then, I decided, "Screw it, I gotta do it!" and I'm very happy with the results. It's a unique, interactive listening experience where you can queue up the match on your WWE Network app and watch along with me as I point out the various ways in which these two brilliant performers create a masterpiece.
This episode also led to me getting on Steve Austin's podcast back in October of 2016. I sent it to him, it intrigued him, and he decided to call me up and we talked pro-wrestling past, present, and future for about an hour.