Features

Colt Cabana – Celebrating The Art Of Wrestling

Colt Cabana

If you’re reading this on Inside The Ropes, then chances are you’re a wrestling fan. If you’re a wrestling fan there’s a good chance that you listen to one of the thousands of wrestling podcasts that are available for your listening pleasure. So if you’re reading this, you like wrestling, and you’ve enjoyed a wrestling podcast at some point in your life, let me tell you why you need to show massive amounts of appreciation to Colt Cabana.

On the 28th of July 2010, The Art Of Wrestling was born with Cabana interviewing his very first guest, Shawn Daivari. Over the next seven years, Colt Cabana would speak to a ‘who’s who’ of the wrestling world, sharing a microphone with Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kevin Owens, Daniel Bryan, Bruno Sammartino, Larry Zbyszko, Samoa Joe, The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, William Regal, and ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper to name but a very few. Cabana even booked Dennis Stamp of Beyond The Mat fame for a sit-down chat.

To claim Cabana’s podcast was the first in the wrestling genre would not be true. But The Art Of Wrestling can be considered the WrestleMania 3 of wrestling podcasts. It may not have been the very first but it was the one that caught on that led to the thriving industry that is prevalent today. With a casual conversational style, Cabana was at home chatting to his friends and peers for many episodes, the first time many of these stories had been heard. Due to being an early adopter, the usual rules for getting interviews with talent from certain companies were overlooked as podcasts weren’t yet part of the psyche as they are now.

Colt Cabana parlayed the podcast into a live show as well, recording these special episodes in front of an audience, usually with several guests. These proved to be so successful that Cabana brought his show to the world-renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival, spending August in Scotland’s capital city for several years.

The podcast gained a new level of notoriety in late 2014 when CM Punk used his best friend’s podcast as the platform to detail his controversial exit from WWE. Punk’s claims in the two-parter led to a lawsuit from WWE doctor Dr. Chris Amann against both men. The suit went to trial in 2018 where a jury found in favour of Punk and Cabana. Unfortunately, the whole episode caused acrimony between the former Second City Saints and the two men filed suits against each other after Amann’s suit was over. These were settled and dismissed in September 2019, ending what was surely a stressful situation in both men’s lives.

By 2017 with an oversaturated market for wrestling podcasts springing up in the seven years since The Art Of Wrestling began, Cabana wound down the podcast, changing the format from interviews with his wrestling peers to travelogues and stories from life on the road. Massive names from the world of wrestling entered the podcast sphere after Cabana such as Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, and Jim Ross. With the proliferation of podcasts at all levels, many stories from wrestling’s stars were oft-repeated so Cabana felt it was time to move on. Recently Colt Cabana made his entire back catalogue of The Art Of Wrestling free once again, for the value of seven years worth of podcasts featuring many of the industry’s biggest stars, a trip to Cabana’s Patreon page or merch store should be in order.

The wrestling podcast went through its most seismic shift in 2016 when Conrad Thompson, who had previously been heard on Ric Flair’s own show launched Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard. A runaway success story, Thompson subsequently launched podcasts, and seemingly a whole new industry, alongside the likes of Tony Schiavone, Eric Bischoff, Jim Ross, Arn Anderson, Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett, and Prichard. Taking Cabana’s blueprint of podcasts, live shows, and advertising merchandise through the platform to whole new levels.

For those looking to delve into the past episodes of The Art Of Wrestling – and if you’re a wrestling fan and you haven’t, you definitely should, here are a few key episodes to look out for. Episode 59 was one of the most hilarious ever recorded as his friend Cliff Compton who competed in WWE as Domino told the extraordinary story of wrestling in Nigeria and dealing with the incredible presence of Power Uti. Episode 81 welcomed MVP to the show with the WWE star delving deep into his past in a no holds barred chat about robbery, gangs, and prison. Tommaso Ciampa was the guest on episode 138 where the former NXT Champion spoke openly about the toll injuries have taken on his mental health in an incredibly candid chat. Episode 328 saw Cabana talk to a freshly independent Cody Rhodes, with the men sharing their stories as to why they hadn’t had the best relationship with each other in WWE. Episode 100 features CM Punk as the host and allows Colt Cabana to tell his own story of how a kid from the suburbs of Chicago made it in the crazy world of pro wrestling.

Colt Cabana currently resides in the land of All Elite Wrestling where he has settled into his groove as one of The Dark Order. Cabana’s in-ring career was spent mainly in Ring Of Honor where he both teamed and feuded with the man he broke into the business with, CM Punk. Together The Second City Saints held the ROH Tag Championship twice. A spell in WWE followed for Cabana, but with only a short stint on the main roster in the company to his name he failed to strike gold [man] before his release in early 2009. Cabana has competed on the independent scene all over the world and had matches within the confines of New Japan Pro Wrestling and the rebooted NWA. Before the reboot, Colt Cabana and episode 7 guest Adam Pearce feuded over the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title with Cabana defeating Pearce for Sweet Charlotte in 2011.

Colt Cabana may have settled into AEW with Cabana discussing in recent weeks the role he has now of ring veteran, doling out advice to the stars of tomorrow. With plenty of experience at the commentary desk, it seems almost criminal that Cabana has not found a more prominent role at the announce desk on one of AEW’s three – soon to be four – weekly shows.

Nevertheless, Colt Cabana’s influence on the wrestling business may turn out to be greater from behind a microphone in his studio apartment than in any role he has had in any wrestling company. Whether you enjoy the warm nostalgia of What Happened When, the outlandish hot takes of the Jim Cornette Experience, or even hearing from other fans reliving eras from history such as on The New Generation Project Podcast, if you’re listening to wrestling podcasts, if you’re making wrestling podcasts, if you make money from wrestling podcasts, Colt Cabana deserves a massive and unreserved thankssssss.