Ric Flair is coming out with a podcast where he does commentary over the 1992 Royal Rumble. I’m sure it’ll be great, but I’m not going to get a chance to watch it with the Rumble until the weekend. I’ll try and toss it into next week’s column.

The podcast week in review, brought to you by Denso Sparkplugs (or our Amazon and WWE affiliate links).

They said it…

  • “I was on my way to the dentist when I got fired, so it was kind of a rough day.” – Matt Sydal on his end with the WWE
  • “This is like eating a bean burrito before sex; you know what the outcome is going to be so why are you doing it?” – Konnan on the 8 man tag from Raw
  • “Stan, I hadn’t heard from you since you died.” – Jim Cornette, talking to Stan Lane after the death of the fake Stan Lane

The Usual Suspects

Eastern Lariat (1/16/15): Strigga is back, this time with Wrestling with Words’ Rob Lawrence as his co-host. They discuss the state of Pro Wrestling NOAH, and the possibilities if Suzuki-gun returns to New Japan. The deep dive this week is on Big Japan and the great year they had in 2015, and then they close out the show talking indy sleaze with Guts World and FREEDOMS, which on its own is almost enough for a passing grade. THUMBS UP

VIP Lounge (1/17/16): Matt Sydal joins former WWE roster-mate MVP and Alex. Sydal shares some fun road stories, but the main crux of the interview is Sydal’s journey into the jungle for a vision quest. There are several problems here – the sound quality isn’t great, with Sydal cutting off on occasion (and even dropping off for a bit), the unnecessary sound effects, and the unfunny banter of the hosts. Sydal told this story to much greater effect on the Art of Wrestling #234, so if you want to experience it, listen there instead. THUMBS DOWN

Steve Austin Show #289 (1/19/16): Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet is the guest this week. He talks to Steve about his website, how he got started at TMZ, stories he’s broken, and a funny tale of getting yelled at by the Ultimate Warrior. The back half of the show is all about the television series Making a Murderer. Seriously. They do a deep dive on the show for about 40 minutes and talk theories and all that. It’s really strange. The front part is interesting enough, but unless you can’t get enough MAM talk, take a pass on the back half. THUMBS IN THE MIDDLE

The Ross Report #101 (1/19/16): JR starts the show by discussing his new role as the announcer for New Japan on AXS, and then welcomes “The Total Package” Lex Luger. Those looking for a chronological wrestling history will be disappointed, as about half of the show is about Luger’s recovery in recent years from paralysis. There are some good wrestling tales about taking on Wahoo McDaniels and partying with Ric Flair, and Luger is shockingly humble about his abilities as a wrestler. The interview never totally grabbed me, but it is nice to hear Luger in such good spirits. <Luger’s interview starts at 16:53> THUMBS IN THE MIDDLE

Talk is Jericho #214 (1/20/15): Jericho talks to Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey of the Butcher Babies, who I guess are a band. They talk about their admiration of Wendy O. Williams of the Plasmatics, touring in an RV, being females in a male dominated genre, Carla’s days as a mortician, Heidi’s time as a cheerleader in the NBA, their new album, and more. Some decent discussion here (especially the mortician parts), but another decent-at-best musical interview. THUMBS IN THE MIDDLE

MLW Radio #210 (1/20/16): No guest this week, as Konnan and Court just run down Sunny’s latest exploits, the WWE heading into Royal Rumble, Jim Ross being hired for as the new announcer for New Japan on AXS, and AAA’s upcoming show. Then they open the mailbag for some fun questions, highlighted by Konnan’s remembrances of being in the Dungeon of Doom. Not a must-listen show, but a pleasant enough listen. THUMBS IN THE MIDDLE

Bauer & Pollock (1/20/15): B&P discuss the state of the WWE heading into the Rumble, possible directions for Wrestlemania, the Road Dogg interview on the WWE Network, Jim Ross’ new role as the announcer for NJPW on AXS, AJ Styles’ future, CM Punk’s looming UFC fight, a concussion lawsuit against the WWE, Daniel Bryan’s possible return, Santino Marella’s literal loose screw, and more. Another ho-hum week and a lot of overlap with MLW Radio, but I imagine things picking up next week. THUMBS IN THE MIDDLE

Art of Wrestling #286 (1/21/16): Vampiro is the guest this week. Most of the show is about Vamp’s early days in wrestling, how he found his way in, the immediate success he had, and the effect it had on him. There’s also a bit on WCW (and a sad story about Bobby Duncam Jr.) and what he finds so appealing about Lucha Underground. Vamp may very well be full of it with some of his stories (Colt even raises eyebrows about the number of shows he worked in Mexico), but he’s earnest and this is a compelling listen. THUMBS UP & BEST OF THE WEEK

Steve Austin – Unleashed #292 (1/21/16): Danny from TheFullPint.com joins Steve to talk about beer. They discuss craft beer and IPAs and junk like that. If you like this kind of stuff, maybe this will appeal to you. They also briefly talk football and wrestling, the latter of which amounts to “everything used to be better.” THUMBS DOWN

The Jim Cornette Experience #112 (1/21/16): Jim and MSL are back to talk about the weather, exercise, and Jim’s upcoming appearances (including cutting a promo on Baby Doll). Then Brian Last of the 6:05 podcast joins the show, although his name isn’t listed in the description for some reason. Last retells the Vince Russo/bar mitzvah story in very short form, the Mario Galento story, the death of the fake Stan Lane, and Dennis Coralluzzo impersonating Shane McMahon. Then they get to current wrestling commentary (since all 3 have done commentary). If you listen to the 6:05 podcast (and you should) you will have heard these stories, but at least they’re good stories and you get some extra input from Jim. <Last’s interview starts at 21:19>THUMBS UP

MLW Extra (1/22/16): Konnan and Court talk to Manny Eleftheriou of International Wrestling Syndicate on the start of his promotion, giving Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn their starts, breaking IWS guys into the U.S., “Speedball” Mike Bailey breakout year, their upcoming huge show with Rey Mysterio (like the reason for the interview). A fun succinct interview. THUMBS UP

Talk is Jericho #215 (1/22/16): Xavier Woods shows up (this was taped before Jericho broke his trombone). Not a lot of wrestling talk, it’s more about Woods’ hobbies like video games and how he got into them. You do get to learn how he started to play the trombone, how video games helped him get into wrestling, and which WWE superstars react the worst to losing at games. Not a vital interview, but a quirky and fun outing. <Woods’ interview starts at 4:57>THUMBS UP

MSL & Sullivan Show #16 (1/22/16): The usual format, as first they run down some recent events, including Chris Jericho’s diminishing returns and Batista’s chances of returning to wrestling. Then we get into the first hour of the August 29th, 1996 Nitro, and a mailbag about how to book the Bullet Club in the WWE and the Ultimate Warrior’s run in WCW. The usual solid show. THUMBS UP