The Trial of the Century: Part 2 of 2
I frickin' love Colt Cabana! So much so that while writing my last piece about this trial, I realised that his involvement and how I reacted to it was an altogether different entity than Punk. While I've stated that my Punk fandom has a few notes attached to it in recent years, I feel like my fandom and interest for Colt Cabana needs to have a few pieces of flair and cool buttons added to it, kind of like the suspenders they force people to wear in TGI Fridays. His involvement with the recent CM Punk/Dr Amann trial basically boiled down to him hosting and sharing a podcast wherein his pal CM Punk let out several pent up years of frustration and anger and bile. Basically the scathing podcast episode equivalent of that scene where everyone gets sick in Stand By Me. Good times. I remember downloading and listening to that episode and having to resort to semi-heroic tactics to find it, as Colt's server immediately crashed. By my recollection, it was very much a cathartic moment for a lot of fans, as Punk was saying what we all suspected. Shoddy practices, mishandling of an over-worked and under-rested roster and people at the top making business decisions that seemed to all too perfectly mimic their on screen 'heel' personas. I mean Vince and HHH the characters were cold customers in 2014, but I don't even think at the height of their moustache twirlingly evil ways they'd fire a dude on his wedding day! I guess at least HHH didn't reveal he was secretly married to AJ Lee.
But Colt was merely a facilitator. If I recall, outside of his plugs and up-com-ing-e-vents, he literally said like… 3 sentences? I kept thinking this wouldn't go to trial and that if it did, Colt's charges would be dropped and he'd be in the clear. But no, the wheels of justice grind terribly slowly if at all, and at the great expense of having to have a lawyer on call for the last 4 years, Colt had to grit his teeth and endure what was clearly a personal issue between a friend and a man he'd never even met. The mere notion of this is enough to give me an uppy tummy. I was in a car accident a few years ago and the very competent police officer on the scene helpfully wrote that I had no driving license, which I very much did, which led to a year long ball of fear in my stomach that resulted in me having to go to trial and hire a lawyer to explain this basic fact to a judge. This cost me in the region of £1000 (aka all of my savings at the time). Thinking about it makes me shudder. But that was with me knowing full well I'd be ok and that worst case scenario, I'd have to pay a fine or some such. Colt was on the line for millions and millions of dollars. What even happens in that situation?
Colt cabana got me into podcasting.
It broke my heart to listen to Colt's very open, honest and thoroughly excellent podcast where he talked through the days of the trial. Cabana's mantra of wanting to live life stress free is one I've always aspired to and perhaps most shocking of all was to hear the physical toll the trial took on him, all the while he was trying to keep his spirits up. The fact that Colt has gritted his teeth these last 4 years, being unable to discuss or talk about the trial in any real depth must have been gruelling. To be a podcaster, you have to give a certain level of openness, and frankly, it's one of the best perks of the job. But having to be entertaining, funny, charming, and a good host all while keeping the scariest, and most unfair thing that's ever happened in your life under your hat? That scenario is simply unimaginable to me.
Colt got me into podcasting. I listened to a glut of podcasts in 2013 as I went through the lovely 'quarter life crisis' and all the aimlessness that comes with it. While many I listened to delighted me and made me laugh, only one made me want to try and do it myself, and that was Colt. Having never been into Punk music or anything of the ilk, the whole Do It Yourself movement, for me, meant my brother and his friends who were in bands putting on shows of their friends who were also in bands. In 2013, I found myself inspired to put on stand up gigs, perform comedy around the midlands, put on a show at the Edinburgh Fringe and start podcasting. I feel I owe a lot of my inspiration at that time to Colt Cabana. I was fortunate enough to meet Colt while flyering that same Edinburgh show. He was super nice, really calm and encouraging. I had just edited and released the 9th episode of The Attitude Era Podcast and I was admittedly more interested in telling him about that than the show I had just given him a flyer to. That night I saw him, Hannibal Buress and Brendan Burns riff off of bad wrestling clips and they plugged our show. I feel like it's probably an understatement that I'm not the only one he's inspired.
The unfortunate terrible pile of crap at the end of this rainbow, is that in spite of proving himself a commodity outside of WWE, in spite of him hustling for every cent and working an absurd schedule and hitting every tiny town the world over, Colt now finds himself with something he doesn't deserve. An absurdly large lawyer's bill. To prove what he already knew, that he did nothing wrong. This lawsuit may have robbed CM Punk of time and money, but those are two things he has in abundance. When the trial was over, CM Punk was on to make half a million dollars irrespective of outcome or performance in his match in the UFC. Colt was in Texas, Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania over the course of 2 weeks. I want to scream from a mountaintop that this isn't fair, but I know there's nothing to be done. Colt built an independent empire that should now be sowing the seeds of retirement so he can reap the benefits. The reality is this lawsuit has made an indelible mark on his business and his livelihood.
I want to scream from a mountaintop that this isn't fair.
If you're like me, you've probably been swept away in the absolute tidal wave of podcasts in the last few years and have found it hard to keep up with 'the regulars'. There's a part of me that's feeling guilty about focussing on my own stuff and assuming the people who've inspired me are motoring away. But Colt's had a drop off as his unique style of wrestler on wrestler interviews was quickly adopted wholesale by ex-WWE stars for their own, often short-lived, podcasts. And while Colt's skills as an interviewer who can get wrestlers to relax are second to none, there's no doubt that the appetite to hear a wrestler's story in their words has diminished over the last few years. Pete Gas has done like nine interviews about his career in the last year alone! But please, give The Art of Wrestling another whirl. Like me, you'll find yourself popping in for the juicy trial details, but stay and you'll find a positive, uplifting and fun show with a tweaked format that better suits the podcast climate you're living in!
Colt's entertained countless of us wrestling fans, either through his podcast or his wrestling, and he's been given a very unjust dose of 'life tax' right now. If you've ever supported Colt in the past, support him now! I know I owe him that much.