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The Thread Killer

Sean Oliver's Kayfabe Podcast

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As we discussed in the Shoot Interview thread here, Sean Oliver and Kayfabe Commentaries are getting out of the Shoot Interview DVD business.  They are selling all their stock at $5.00 per DVD, and once they have sold them out they are not selling any new DVD's.  Kayfabe Commentaries have started an On Demand service called KC Vault, where eventually they plan to have their entire back catalogue available to stream for $14.00 a month.  They are still uploading stuff so the entire catalogue is not yet available.  You can also still get their Shoots at WWN Live (which is where I purchased a bunch of the "Back to the Territories" episodes when they first came out) but that is much more expensive.  For the record, Sean Oliver is not claiming that Kayfabe Commentaries is going out of business, he is just saying they are going on hiatus while they focus on getting the streaming service off the ground. He claims it is still possible that KC will produce new content exclusively for KC Vault in the future.

I follow Sean Oliver on Twitter, and over the past few years he has made some comments about podcasts killing the Shoot Interview business, some comments were vague and cryptic and some were quite pointed.  A year or so ago, Conrad Thompson replied to one of Oliver's tweets defending the Pro Wrestling podcast (as you would obviously expect him to) and Oliver and Thompson got into a minor back-and-forth regarding Shoots vs. Podcasts.

I guess Sean has decided "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" because this week he launched his own Podcast, "Sean Oliver's Kayfabe Podcast." 

So far it seems to be available via the usual suspects, Google Play, Spotify and Stitcher.  It looks like the podcast will run about an hour and be divided between Oliver (who is flying solo at that point with no co-host) delivering a monologue, then there is an interview, and finally he will be taking Twitter questions.  It should be noted that Sean Oliver has written three books over the past few years about his experience running Kayfabe Commentaries: "The Business of Kayfabe" "Kayfabe: Stories You're Not Supposed to Hear from a Pro Wrestling Production Company Owner" and "Fathers' Blood: True Stories of Pro Wrestling Dads Facing Their Greatest Challenger - Parenthood."  The main takeaway here is that Sean apparently has no problem dishing dirt on the Pro Wrestlers who he has worked with over the years, who was great to work with, and who was not.  So I am betting the Q&A portion of the podcast is going to be focusing on those types of questions.

The first episode released this week featured none other than Conrad Thompson as the first guest.  For a first podcast, I'd say it was pretty good.  During his opening segment, Sean comes off a little rough - it sounds like he's almost complaining about having to do the podcast, and then he gets into a somewhat impassioned defense of Shoot Interviews in general. He makes some valid points, although I suppose you could argue some of his claims.  For example, he attributes Jim Cornette's current popularity and profile resurgence to the Shoot Interviews he did with KC.  The interview with Conrad Thompson is excellent, my only complaint is that is was short.  We already know Oliver is an excellent interviewer, and he proves it once again here.  Of special interest is the discussion they have about the financial viability of podcasts, advertising rates and the commitment required to have a successful podcast.  Conrad claims that in order to have a financially successful podcast, you need to be doing 100,000 downloads per episode and obviously not many do that, but he discusses the ad rates etc., to back up his claims.

It's early days yet, but I've always been a big Sean Oliver fan so I am going to keep listening.  I am curious if anybody else heard it, and what they thought. 

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Thanks for the post, had no idea he was launching a podcast but I'm also a big fan of Sean and KC so I'll definitely be following. It seems sad to see KC done with the Shoot Interview DVD business, they dominated for a decade in my eyes for best shoot interviews for their early YouShoots and historical based series like Timeline and back to the Territories, I look forward to them making new releases for the KC Vault through, they have such a great way of getting the best interviews out of wrestling talent when things are clicking. 

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Well, that sure is interesting. I've been missing Sean Oliver stuff. Hopefully he comes up with good stuff that will make up for Conrad's stuff jumping the shark.

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You should check out Sean's interview with Conrad, I found it really interesting.  I don't think it will be for everybody (some fans won't give a shit about the business aspects of podcasting) but I thought it was informative.

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5 hours ago, SPS said:

Thanks for the post, had no idea he was launching a podcast but I'm also a big fan of Sean and KC so I'll definitely be following.

I get the impression that Sean is having problems getting the podcast carried by as many platforms as he would like.  I myself had to sign up for Spotify in order to access the podcast. It finally became available on iTunes today, about a week later than he had hoped. He also tweeted today that he has no intention of posting the podcast on YouTube, which I personally think is a mistake.  He would reach a much wider audience that way but according to Sean, YouTube "doesn’t count toward download stats that are shown to advertisers and Google/YouTube pay dick."  So there you go.

@SPS let us know what you thought of it after you checked it out, I am interested to hear your opinion.

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Sucks he isn't putting it on YouTube, I agree it would help greatly spread his reach and probably help downloads since few will check out a random podcast on Stitcher like I ended up doing to listen to it. Anyway my thoughts with the first episode were;

Pros

- I like that it's only an hour as any podcast that runs more than 90 mins is too long to add into my rotation with all the wrestling podcasts I follow currently

- I enjoyed he still pushes the questions he wants to know and his straight forward opinions on things like he did on the KC releases with him pushing Conrad to talk about how difficult Flair was to podcast with or how he thinks most wrestlers are best to interview when they're having a cocktail and how Howard Stern sucks now.

- I enjoyed him talking about his passion for the shoot interview and how it benefited talents who did them with his group like Dutch and his book sales picking up (I definitely was someone who bought both of Dutch's books after hearing him on Guest Booker).

- I enjoyed how he pointed out how negative the online social media world is and how they need to make a beef between people like Sean/Conrad or how they like to take one small aspect and pretend it's the whole story like harping on the silly 'how big is Batista's dick?' question from 1 series KC did that wasn't even Sean's question but a fan's and ignore the big picture of all Sean and KC produced over the decade of great content.

Cons

- The opening bit with the little girl (daughter?) was off putting and out of place with the tone Sean has when he talks on the show so I hope they ax that and change it to a different open.

- Sean sometime pauses for a long time when thinking through his comments which on screen is no big deal because you can see him but listening it;s dead air and made me think my stream froze a few times. Not to say it's completely avoidable but it was distracting at points so I imagine the more episodes he does the less it'll happen.

- The pacing was a bit all over the place and he really didn't lay out the format much so if I hadn't read your review beforehand I'd have been a bit jumbled on what was going on by just listening without any foreknowledge of what was discussed ahead of time. I know it's only the first episode so not a big deal but hopefully he gets a steady format down in the episodes to come or at least give us a run down of what's to come in the opening so it's doesn't comes off as so all over the place getting from open to plugging the KC sales stuff to interview to closing thoughts and the Q&A's sprinkled randomly throughout. That works alright for the revamped YouShoots when they changed the formats a few years back but again it helps when you can see what's going on vs just listening.

Overall I though it was pretty good with some rough edges to iron out. I love Sean though and will be tuning in either way and look forward to him having some more guests on and what he can do one he gets his podcasting legs under him. If KC starts producing their series again like he said they would after the break it'd be a great companion piece for the podcast to sometimes be a place to discuss  previews or follow ups or behind the screens stuff going on at these shoots. Also seeing him answer Q&A himself personally would be great as I loved the Sean Q&A thread on his message board back in the day and his appearances on IYH Wrestling.

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I have a few KC shoots and enjoyed them for the most part (Terry Taylor's UWF Sale one was a pleasant listen but nothing of substance was spoken). I'll check out an episode when he gets someone interesting on.

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Last week's show, the second episode of this podcast was pretty good, and the interview was interesting.  The guest was Tod Gordon, and they focused a lot on Tod's exit from ECW.  We've all heard the various versions of this story from the talent's perspective and Paul Heyman's version on the WWE produced DVD about him.  Tod provides a much different version and some interesting insight about his departure.  I'm not sure about some of the narrative presented here...I'm pretty sure if Paul Heyman had never taken over booking in ECW that Tod Gordon's version of ECW would not have risen to the level that ECW eventually did...but regardless this was a good interview.

Funny story about this week's show...Sean announced on Twitter that his guest was going to be Vince Russo.  He immediately started taking shit from some fans who aren't interested in hearing from or about Vince Russo, and Sean got a tad touchy about it.  Of course, some of Russo's fanboys interjected themselves too, but Sean seemed a bit taken aback by the fact that people aren't going to listen to an episode because of the guest.

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Does Vinny Ru warrant any more exposure at this point? All he does is spew the same discredited bullshit and whips up his army of toxic stans to attack anyone who calls him out as the lying carny he is.

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4 hours ago, sek69 said:

Does Vinny Ru warrant any more exposure at this point? All he does is spew the same discredited bullshit and whips up his army of toxic stans to attack anyone who calls him out as the lying carny he is.

I don't know if it's because they're both from the New York area or what, but Sean Oliver has always seemed to have a soft spot for Russo, for whatever reason. You make a good point about Russo not needing any exposure, but as we all know Russo will talk to pretty much anybody who will talk to him.

The extra funny thing is that this is the promo for the episode:

"Coming this week on the podcast....”The Many Lives of @THEVinceRusso” Get ready to talk Bischoff and Prichard's hirings, Trips and Steph “cock blocking” his return, and hear how Vince broke the bank with podcasting, going from nothing to six figures."

If you listen to Conrad's interview during week one of this podcast, you'll hear why the likelihood of Russo making six figures from his podcast is extremely low and his claim is highly suspect.

Even worse, Sean announced that Russo is on next week's show as well.  Ugh.

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The Gordon episode was fine but honestly, if you've seen the great Timeline edition he did, it's really nothing new. 

Russo ? Yeah, really...

I dunno, I really enjoy Sean Oliver (the contrast between him and Conrad Thompson as an actual interviewer is so striking when you listen to them back to back), but thus far I'm not getting much from this stuff. I sure won't listen to anything involving Russo, so maybe when an interesting guest with new stuff to talk about shows up.

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5 hours ago, The Thread Killer said:

I don't know if it's because they're both from the New York area or what, but Sean Oliver has always seemed to have a soft spot for Russo, for whatever reason. You make a good point about Russo not needing any exposure, but as we all know Russo will talk to pretty much anybody who will talk to him.

Sean even had legit heat with Cornette for a few years and it led to Cornette refusing to work with him for awhile because of his constant association with Russo as well as Sean poking the bear by asking Cornette questions on Russo's shoots with him.

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30 minutes ago, CarpetCrawler said:

Sean even had legit heat with Cornette for a few years and it led to Cornette refusing to work with him for awhile because of his constant association with Russo as well as Sean poking the bear by asking Cornette questions on Russo's shoots with him.

Good point. I had totally forgotten about that until you mentioned it.  I remember Cornette making some rather blunt comments about Sean and KC on Twitter and his own podcast, but not getting into details.  I think I assumed at the time Cornette was sore over Sean Oliver promoting Russo, but I never got any solid confirmation of that fact.  Wasn't it just when Cornette agreed to come back to KC for the "Back to the Territories" series that Sean and Cornette patched things up?  I know they are on good terms now, because Cornette is going to be a guest on the Kayfabe Podcast at some point.

By the way @CarpetCrawler on an unrelated note, I am a big fan of your username. That's one of my favorite Genesis songs, before they went all Top 40 mush during the 80's. :D

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On 9/25/2019 at 12:40 AM, The Thread Killer said:

I know they are on good terms now, because Cornette is going to be a guest on the Kayfabe Podcast at some point.

Yeah, Cornette wasn't happy with how often Sean was going to the well with Russo.  He's mentioned it on Twitter but that was quite awhile ago and they patched things up since them.  I remember Sean's response was to take the high road and he would always say Cornette was welcome to do more stuff with Sean whenever he liked.

 

On 9/25/2019 at 12:40 AM, The Thread Killer said:

By the way @CarpetCrawler on an unrelated note, I am a big fan of your username. That's one of my favorite Genesis songs, before they went all Top 40 mush during the 80's. :D

Yeah, it's a solid and pretty underrated track, you'd be surprised you're one of the few people to recognize where it comes from.

I'm a weird outlier in that I can understand and separate both eras of Genesis and think both eras are totally fine!!  I can enjoy me some 80s and 90s Genesis anytime (Even Calling All Stations, the Ray Wilson Genesis album, has one totally acceptable track, "Congo").  But I never really got the whole debate over Joel vs. Mike with MST3K either so I guess it doesn't take much to make me enjoy something.

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1 hour ago, CarpetCrawler said:

Yeah, it's a solid and pretty underrated track, you'd be surprised you're one of the few people to recognize where it comes from.

I'm a weird outlier in that I can understand and separate both eras of Genesis and think both eras are totally fine!!  I can enjoy me some 80s and 90s Genesis anytime (Even Calling All Stations, the Ray Wilson Genesis album, has one totally acceptable track, "Congo").  But I never really got the whole debate over Joel vs. Mike with MST3K either so I guess it doesn't take much to make me enjoy something.

I don't hate the Phil Collins era of Genesis, "Turn it on again" and "Abacab" still feature heavily in my playlists.  It was more that I was with them up until "Invisible Touch" and then they got a bit too Top 40 for me, and lost me. That may have also had something to do with my dislike of the stuff Phil Collins was doing in the 90's with all the sappy, schmaltzy Disney songs.  I liked him a lot up until he got grossly overexposed and the teeth seemed to come out of his music. I loved it when Genesis re-recorded Carpet Crawlers in 1999 with both Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, though.  And yeah, I never got the Joel vs. Mike debate either.  I really liked Joel a bunch but after he left, the second half of Season 5 and all of Season 6 are my all time favorites in the entire history of MST3K.

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Enjoyed the Conrad interview. For someone who probes the minds of a few professional bullshitters for a living, he seems to be as straight-forward and honest of himself as they may seem crooked. 

I also listened to Oliver's intro and while I understand his concerns about the podcast format, I think his conversational style will translate well for him if he keeps at it. 

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The whole "Vince Russo is the only guy with real heat in pro-wrestling in 2019" bit is pretty eye rolling material. Seems like Oliver is another one that has been passed by the business, in some bizarre ways. So he's like bizarro Cornette I guess.

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I had a bit of a back-and-forth with Sean Oliver on Twitter after I tweeted that (as much as I like Sean Oliver and his podcast) I wasn't going to listen to two weeks of Russo bullshit. His reply to me was pretty much the same argument he used on this week's show, that it's totally inconceivable to him that somebody can refuse to even listen to something just because they don't like it. I replied to him that by that logic, I should be listening to Nickelback.  Sure I hate their music and think they suck...but you shouldn't refuse to listen to something that you know ahead of time you're going to hate.

The only way the Pro Wrestling business is ever going to send Vince Russo back into the obscurity he so richly deserves is for people to stop paying attention to him and giving him a platform for his nonsense.  If anybody actually cared or paid attention to half the stupid bullshit Vince Russo has said lately, they'd be amazed...apparently at one point he was espousing some theory that Vince McMahon is secretly working with AEW. At this point, Russo is basically the Alex Jones of Pro Wrestling.  He knows his act is exposed and he'll never get brought back to WWE, so now he's so desperate for attention he'll say pretty much anything to get people to look at him for even a minute.

Also, I think Sean likes Vince Russo as a person and he lets that cloud his judgment. Plus, he's trying to get publicity for his new show and he knows Russo will generate attention, the old "there's no such thing as bad publicity" theory.

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I checked out the Todd Gordon episode and it was a clean listen. I am a new subscriber to his feed and hope the show continues for some time. Its going to be interesting to see how Sean attempts to avoid hitting the same questions, etc. from his shoots. I see him trying to tactical some of the same questions from a different perspective which is awesome.

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On 10/25/2019 at 12:54 PM, El-P said:

"Vince Russo is the only guy with real heat in pro-wrestling in 2019" 

Is he wrong though?

Because I sure as shit can't think of a heel with actual heat in wrestling.

It ain't Jericho, who the fans still love.

It ain't Brock, who isn't so much hated as the company is for constantly overpaying him to sit at home for months at a time.

It ain't Bray Wyatt, who the fans love despite being a heel.

It ain't Seth Rollins, who no one cares enough about to feel any genuine morsel of heat for.

It ain't anyone in NJPW (at least outside of Japan).

It ain't anyone in Impact, NWA, MLW, ROH, etc. because they all get underdog love by the relatively few people following those promotions.

Russo, though, he has heat, bro. It's the wrong kind of heat, bro. It's not the kind of heat, bro, that will generate revenue, bro. But it's still more heat, bro, than any of the above, bro.

In all seriousness (...bro...), it's also perfectly fine heat for someone starting a podcast, because the bigger the trainwreck, the bigger the buzz and the bigger the views. If Russo goes completely off the rails, it can only help publicize Sean Oliver's relatively new podcast. In the early going, that's exactly what he should want. 

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8 hours ago, C.S. said:

Is he wrong though?

Because I sure as shit can't think of a heel with actual heat in wrestling.

Callihan in IMPACT, White in NJPW. Took me two seconds.

8 hours ago, C.S. said:

In all seriousness (...bro...), it's also perfectly fine heat for someone starting a podcast, because the bigger the trainwreck, the bigger the buzz and the bigger the views. If Russo goes completely off the rails, it can only help publicize Sean Oliver's relatively new podcast. In the early going, that's exactly what he should want. 

Well, it sure did not work for me, because I was a fan of KC, and the very fact Oliver started with two Russo podcast week to week and the talked about how Russo is the only guy with real heat was enough for me to shut the whole thing down and not think about it anymore because of how stupid and a waste of time it is, so...

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7 minutes ago, El-P said:

Callihan in IMPACT, White in NJPW. Took me two seconds.

Not when everyone on the internet, including PWO, raves about Callihan's comeback with Impact. Any "heat" from the Eddie Edwards situation lasted all of five seconds.

White only has "really, this guy?" heat - and I assume people are already changing their minds about that. And I did preface NJPW with "outside Japan."

Russo has real heat. Not saying it's the kind of heat that means he should be brought back as a character to draw money with - of course not - but it's not a false statement, and your reaction proves it 100%.

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12 minutes ago, Stiva said:

Russo is deeply unlikable on a personal level which is some degree different to getting boos out of a live crowd. 

True, but Oliver didn't make that distinction. All he said was that Russo is the only person in wrestling with real heat - and he is. 

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1 hour ago, C.S. said:

Not when everyone on the internet, including PWO, raves about Callihan's comeback with Impact.

Wait, when does "heat" is a concept that has anything to do with the Internet ? Heat, by definition, exists with the audience. Callihan has tons of heat with IMPACT's audience, his angles and promos always get heat. 

Hell, PAC, whom you love so much, got lots of heat from the AEW audience the last two weeks.

Russo has no heat, he's not a performer, he doesn't work anywhere. He's just an idiot doing a stupid podcast. There's no "heat" there.

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