Episode Seventy-Five - The Shareef Don't Like It

Just one example of Vince McMahon’s great history of Middle East relations.

Just one example of Vince McMahon’s great history of Middle East relations.

On the eve of the WWE Crown Jewel (aka Blood Money) special, I’m joined by Associated Press reporter Ashraf Khalil (@ashrafkhalil) to talk about a variety of issues related to the show. Among the various topics discussed, we talk about the history of xenophobia in pro wrestling, Middle East politics, the familial permutations of all the Samoans and other Pacific Islanders, late 1980s AWA, the socio-political demographics of wrestling fans and other diversions. We also actually talk about the show next week, how it will be booked and how much propaganda there will be compared to the first KSA show held earlier this year. Apologies if some of the facts are a little off. We recorded the show a few days after originally scheduled and I did not have all the prep work I had done earlier readily available. Also, this show was recorded with a new program, so there may not sound the same as part shows.

Also, there’s a brief obituary to Keiichiro Kimura, the Japanese animator who passed away recently. He was the animation director and character designer for the classic Tiger Mask cartoon, a favorite of longtime Japanese wrestling fans around the world.



Episode Seventy-Three - Castle (Pay) Walls

The dear, departed National. Is The Athletic its spiritual successor? 

The dear, departed National. Is The Athletic its spiritual successor? 

The podcast returns after a medically-related hiatus to a jam-packed sports calendar. To help discuss it, we are very honored to have on the show Stephen Brunt from Sportsnet and the Fan 590 in Toronto.

First, we discuss Stephen's return to co-host Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown, the genesis of his return, sharing the co-host chair with former pod guest Richard Deitsch and more. That segues into a discussion about sports journalism in 2018, the pay model of things like The Athletic and Second Captains, sportswriters moving to TV and and radio, the late, lamented National Sports Daily and what demographics will pay for content, sports or otherwise. 

Then, we talk about a variety of sports topics, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Maple Leafs struggles vs the Bruins, playoff predictions, the CONCACAF Champions League final between Toronto FC and Chivas de Guadalajara, the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal, the recent HBO documentary on Andre the Giant, the passing of Bruno Sammartino and more. 

You can hear Stephen on Prime Time Sports (when he is the co-host) 5-7 PM weekdays on the Fan 590 and read him on Sportsnet.ca. You can also get his books on Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Muhammad Ali and more at Amazon and the other usual places they are sold. 

Episode Seventy-One - Rock Me Salieri

Pep and Jose, the prequel

Pep and Jose, the prequel

The podcast returns before the holiday season kicks in discussing the world of futbol and more with Ken Early (@kenearlys) from the Irish Times and the Second Captains podcast (@secondcaptains). 

We start with how Ireland is dealing with their elimination from the World Cup and what the future holds for coaches Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane. That segues into a discussion about why they and the Irish national team have such a poor relationship in recent years with Everton.

Then, it's onto a chat about the Champions League, which resumed with Match Day Five when this episode debuted. From there, we talk about two of Ken's favorite subjects: Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.  We examine the relationship between the two in Spain and now in the Premier League. To which historical rivals does Ken compare the two managers? And just how of The Special One's wrestling heel persona is a work?

Lastly, we talk about the Second Captains World Service podcast network, their move to becoming a paid subscription model earlier this year and the decision for Ken to a political podcast as one of their shows and the whole "stick to sports" opinion held by a segment of the sports fans around the world.

Note: The political chat starts around 34:30 and includes a number of current events.  If that's not your cup of tea, please feel free to give that section a pass. No offense taken.

You can join the Second Captains World Service at Patreon.  For US subscribers, it's (at current exchange rates) $5.35 a month for at least six podcasts a week. 

Episode Seventy - Here Come De Judge

Will the Cubs be able to defend their World Series crown? 

Will the Cubs be able to defend their World Series crown? 

Just in time for playoff baseball,, we welcome back to the podcast the Managing Editor of Awful Announcing Joe Lucia (@joe_TOC).  We start with the news of the day, the resignation of Atlanta GM John Coppolella and which managed might get the pink slip this offseason.  We then give our picks for the American and National League Cy Young and MVP awards.  Then, it's a series-by-by-series breakdown of each round of the playoffs, culminating with who we each think will win the World Series. 

After that, it's some quick Premier League chat. As a Manchester City supporter, Joe is flying high at the moment, with his team top of the table when the podcast was recorded. Conversely, my Everton is under-performing and plenty of folks calling for the manager's head. We also give our thoughts on who may or may not end up in the relegation dogfight. 

Episode Sixty-Six - Islands in the Stream

NBC's excellent EPL studio cast: host Rebecca Lowe, and analysts Kyle Martino, Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe. 

NBC's excellent EPL studio cast: host Rebecca Lowe, and analysts Kyle Martino, Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe. 

With some sports media news in the headlines, we are pleased to be joined again by Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) from Sports Illustrated.  We recorded on Operning Day for the English Premier League, so we chat about NBC's near-universal popular coverage as well as their paid app and whether people will purchase.  That seques into a discussion of The Athletic, the paid content sports writing site, their successes so far and would their model work in a city like New York. We talk about ESPN and how necessary they are for a fan whose favorite sports are undercovered (like hockey and soccer). We also discuss where ESPN fits in with Disney's new streaming strategy. We end with some brief wrestling chat, what Richard is enjoying with the current WWE product and being able to wrestling from around the world online. 

We are working lining up some guests to discuss the Premier League and the other European leagues starting up, but were not able to get them in time for today's podcast. Hopefully, they will be on the next episode. Thanks for listening. 

Episode Forty Nine - Holy Cow

How about that kid in the sombrero?

How about that kid in the sombrero?

Egyptian-based journalist and Chicago native Ashraf Khalil (@ashrafkhalil) joins the show to talk Cubbies and the world of popular culture. First, we talk about what it was like to experience the Cubs World Series win while halfway around the world. We also discuss how Cubs fans will be viewed now that they are no longer "lovable losers." Then, we talk about watching American sports abroad, sports podcasts include those by Dan LeBatard and Tony Kornheiser, watching or not watching the NFL in 2016 and more.  Then, we talk pro wrestling, WWE getting mainstream coverage, watching the network vs youtube,  American wrestling versus lucha watching habits and reminiscing about old school grappling. Next, we talk current comics, what Ash is reading (Chew, Sex Criminals, Revival) and what he should check out next (Vision, Lazarus, Southern Bastards, The Black Monday Murders, Casanova, The Goddamned).  We end with a look at how the Presidential Election is seen in the Middle East and Red vs Blue dynamics across the country.

Note: We apologize for the podcast hiatus. Health issues of the ENT variety made doing a show problematic. Hopefully, things will be back to a more regular schedule soon. We tried to edit out any extraneous coughing and other issues, but some may have slipped through. Thank you for your patience. 

Episode Forty-Three - Girls and Boys

You're my girl, Bleu. Blue Monday: The Kids are Alright  (C) 2106 Chynna Clugston Flores.

You're my girl, Bleu. Blue Monday: The Kids are Alright  (C) 2106 Chynna Clugston Flores.

With Blue Monday finally back in print, we are thrilled to have Chynna Clugston Flores (@chynnasyndrome) on the podcast to talk about the series being reprinted at Image with colors by Jordie Bellaire (@whoajordie), the timetable for reprints and  new material, the return of Scooter Girl, writing the Gotham Academy/Lumberjanes cross-over book, working on DC kids books including the Mad Mod issue of Teen Titans Go, MTV Classics, use of music in Blue Monday, the cyclical nature of fads and culture, silent movies and more. 

Following that, we have a short list of podcast recommendations, including Monday Night Braw (@mondaynightbraw), Between the Sheets and Exile on Badstreet by Kris Zellner (@kriszellner) and David Bixenspan @davidbix), european football podcasts from the Guardian, the Times (of London), Second Captains (@secondcaptains) from the Irish Times,The Men in Blazers (@meninblazers), Talksport's European Football Show, the Jonah Keri Podcast (@jonahkeri) and the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by RIchard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) 

Episode Forty-Two - Hitto-ō

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It's a celebration of Ichiro's 3000th hit, tempered by the passing on the day of recording of longtime ESPN anchor John Saunders. On the podcast today are Joe Lucia (@Joe_TOC) from Awful Announcing and The Comeback and former ESPN producer Gus Ramsey (@GusRamsey)'

Joe talks about John Saunders (1:29), Ichiro's 3000 hits and his amazing MLB season (5:07), the rash of retiring players this week (15:33), the August 1 trade deadline (21:26), the Aaron Sanchez soap opera in Toronto (22:42), rooting for bad teams (26:46), NBC's Rio Olympics coverage (33:08) and televising internationl futbol in the US (37:45).

Gus discusses John Saunders (48:34), Ichiro (53:00), retiring players (58:10), the Dan and Kieth years on Sportscenter (1:01:06), Sports Night and other depictions of newsrooms in TV and Film (1:05:29), working on the WWE Network's Edge and Christian Show (1:12:24), the state of current WWE (1:26:50), his new Talent Coach service for broadcasters (1:31:31) and the new Madden and other video games (1:39:15).

Episode Sixteen - Facacta Schnooks

It's an Old School Howard Stern Show Tribute episode. Lots of talk about Cookie Puss, Larry Fine Marge Schott, the jetty, apologies, Ham Hands Bill and more. We put the explicit tag on just to be safe, so if you might be offended, we won't mind if you sit this one out.

1:20 - Richard Deitsch (@RichardDeitsch) from Sports Illustrated talk Stern Show and sports media including co-hosting Prime Time Sports in Toronto with Bob McCown (@fadoobobcat), PTS without Stephen Brunt, is John Shannon polarizing to listeners?, US vs Canada sports talk philosophies, calls vs no calls on sports talk. We also talk about his SI Media Podcast interview with Paul Heyman, his eras of wrestling fandom, wrestling journalism, Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON), Frank Deford and the National, the death of Grantland, Blazer Con and love for the Men in Blazers (@meninblazers) and more.

36:12 - Leonard F Chikarason (@LFCHikarason) talks old school Stern, when he started listening, the Negligee and Underpants Party video tape, Jackie era vs Artie era and we list some of our favorite bits.  Note: We ran long with Leonard, so the rest of his interview, talking comics, wrestling, Marvel Puzzle Quest and the Longbox Heroes (@Longboxheroes) podcast will be in the next episode, posting in a few days.