The podcast week in review, brought to you by

The Usual Suspects

Talk n’ Shop #30 (1/24/14):More from the U.S., as Karl sits down with Kirk Sheppard of the NWF to discuss Karl breaking into the business. It’s OK and all, but I don’t know how much interest Cincinnati indy wrestling politics will generate with listeners. The clear highlight is the run-ins from Karl’s kids, including the one who broke the television set. It was probably a good idea to take a break from Doc Gallows, but I’m hoping they’re back to normal soon. THUMBS IN THE MIDDLE

MLW Radio #164 (1/25/15): King Mo joins MSL and Konnan. A lot of MMA talk, of course, including competing in Bellator, PED’s, and bad judging. The first half isn’t all that great, but things certainly pick up when Mo trash talks Tito Ortiz and talks about his experiences in TNA. He also marks out huge for the Young Bucks, which makes him OK in my book. THUMBS IN THE MIDDLE

Piper’s Pit #43 (1/26/15): Jim Cornette is back for part #2. This time Jim goes full bore on Vince Russo with the same stuff you’ve heard a million times before, then they break down all the problems with current wrestling, which is about as fun as it sounds. They randomly take another call after the break again. About the only interesting tidbit is that only Ole Anderson gave Jim the middle initial “E” as a rib on Jim Barnett. THUMBS DOWN

Human Podcast Machine with Taz Bonus Show (1/26/15): Taz has former broadcast colleague Mike Tenay on to briefly discuss his career in wrestling. The two, along with Taz’s producer Seth, purport to do a wrestling fantasy draft, but in reality they just rank the top ten workers of today. It’s fun and all, but I think we’ve all learned that wrestling draft podcasts are a lot of fun. The lists are a little wonky (Taking Gunner in your top 10 in the world? Only 1 NJPW guy chosen?) and maybe skew towards TNA a bit much, but the guys offer honest criticism and Tenay and Taz have a lot of fun busting on each other. Taz also offered another 15 minute bonus show running down the Rumble, but had to do it solo as every other pundit was booked this week. THUMBS IN THE MIDDLE

Steve Austin Show #187 (1/27/15): Wade Keller returns to discuss the Royal Rumble show, Roman Reigns, the 3 way title match, as well as the possible future direction for the WWE. As per usual, Wade does a great job breaking down the show and plays off Austin very well. Court Bauer also calls Steve during the open and does an impromptu run-in, mainly discussing raccoons. THUMBS UP

Who’s Next With Goldberg #34 (1/20/15): Goldberg talks to World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner. Oh wait, he actually talks to “X-Games stud” (according to the show’s description) Nick Baumgartner, who also drives trucks or something. Baumgartner drops off the call twice but they don’t bother to edit anything. And don’t worry; Goldberg takes his obligatory shot at the current generation’s work ethic. THUMBS DOWN

Talk is Jericho #112 (1/28/15): Jericho doubles up on guests this week, as Dave Meltzer first joins the show to run down the Royal Rumble and the reaction to Roman Reigns’ win. A shorter segment that usual, but Meltzer always shines in these scenarios. Then Wade Barrett is up to talk about breaking in the business in the UK, being Jericho’s protégé on the first season of NXT, the Nexus angle and getting threatened by fans with chainsaws, and the origin of the Bad News Barrett character. Barrett is a great guest and this is an awesome show. <Meltzer’s interview starts at 10:00, Barrett’s interview starts at 38:50> THUMBS UP& BEST OF THE WEEK

The Ross Report #50 (1/28/15): JR gets in on the pundit-Rumble breakdown, so Mark Madden returns to run down the PPV for half the show. The second half is dedicating to running down (in some cases, literally) every other wrestling company like TNA, ROH, New Japan, Lucha Underground, and some football too. The tagline says “You’ll be talking about this episode for a LONG time!” You won’t, but it is an enjoyable, comprehensive discussion of the modern wrestling landscape. <Madden’s interview starts at 15:57> THUMBS UP

Bauer & Pollock (1/28/15): Lots of news to cover this week, as the duo of course review the Royal Rumble, and get into the future of both Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan. There’s also a lot of discussion about the Network subscriber number, NJPW World, and TNA on Destination America. Court also drops a scoop about Ray Stevens likely going into the WWE Hall of Fame, and the arrest of NYC Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the possible impact on MMA, a story that hasn’t been much discussed elsewhere. THUMBS UP

Art of Wrestling #234 (1/29/15): Bill Goldberg is the guest this week to talk about, go figure, pro wrestling. Bill describes his family upbringing, his football dreams ending, and getting into wrestling and his experiences there. It’s a short interview, and Bill can certainly come off as a bit gruff and stand-offish, but you get to know him more in this one show than you have in 8 months of his own podcast. THUMBS UP

Human Podcast Machine with Taz #4 (1/29/15): MVP joins Taz this week. MVP has been on everyone’s podcast, and thankfully they breeze through his time in prison. The crux of the interview is about both men’s time in Japan, the differences in style and culture, and the time Taz flipped out and sent a guy to the hospital. I’ll give Taz credit for trying to find different angles for guests that have already been on a hundred podcasts. This week’s Taz tale is about his aborted finishing school for wrestlers, which leads to Taz taking credit for the performance center. OK then. THUMBS UP

Steve Austin – Unleashed #188 (1/22/15): Court Bauer calls in, this time as an actual scheduled guest. The first half of the show is more analysis on the Royal Rumble, which is just overkill at this point. In the second half, Steve actually watched NXT: R Evolution and both men offer their thoughts, and I appreciated Austin’s insight. The idea of Steve watching a Youtube video of Kevin Steen’s top 50 moves amuses me to no end. THUMBS IN THE MIDDLE

The Jim Cornette Experience #62 (1/29/15): After a health update from Alice, Kayfabe Commentaries founder Sean Oliver joins the fun. Oliver talks about founding the company and drops some pretty good gossip about shoots that have gone awry (although no names are mentioned), and it’s an interesting segment overall. Kenny Bolin shows up for a brief bit at the end to give Jim grief as only he can. <Oliver’s interview starts at 21:53> THUMBS UP

Talk is Jericho #113 (1/30/15): Miz and Mizdow are Jericho’s guest this week. They start the show in character, with Mizdow repeating every last word Miz says, which doesn’t work at all. Thankfully after about 3 minutes Miz takes a call from his agent the interview shifts to a solo Damien Sandow interview. Sandow has a unique story, being in the WWE system for years, getting cut, and then going to Puerto Rican before getting resigned. He also gets into reinventing yourself, making the most of opportunities, and how the whole Mizdow character came about. Jericho also talks to George Lynch (of Dokken) and Micheal Sweet (of Stryper, who’s also a vocal dead ringer for Chuck Klosterman) about their new project Sweet & Lynch, in an inoffensive but thankfully short segment. <Mizdow’s interview starts at 29:10> THUMBS UP