Wrestling’s 10 Best Podcast Episodes

My radio career began on The Wrestling Guys, the No. 1 show in Dayton, with an audience around the country. I was a stuttering kid when I first appeared as a guest and later as a co-host. 

A year later I added Chairshots Radio and after a stint on FM radio in Rhode Island, we moved it all online, recording through a speaker phone to a cassette before recording that into a microphone into a computer and uploading the file after a few hours. 

- Advertisement -

Things have changed in some ways – its much easier to do a podcast now – and some things haven’t. Put reporters, hosts, personalities and reporters on air in 2000 or 2024, and they make news. 

The Wrestling Guys and Chairshots had so many big interviews and made so much news, I would submit show reports to every wrestling website on the net. Jake Roberts blasting the director of the Beyond the Mat documentary, Bill Goldberg threatening to beat up Hulk Hogan for calling him soft on Larry King (Goldberg had wrestled for months on a torn ACL as WCW champion, finally had surgery. I’d say he wasn’t soft). 

Years later and former wrestlers and personalities dominate, with some major website and news podcasts around. All have their ups (Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, Bryan and Dave, Garrett Gonzalez) and their downs (the hate AEW side gig, the content creators and wannabe influencers). But the best episodes are remarkable for different reasons. 

- Advertisement -

I made this list based on my own opinion and with an imperfect amount of knowledge of the total wrestling podcast universe, but here’s my shot. 

10. Wrestling Observer Radio – Chris Benoit

WOR’s first show after the Chris Benoit double-murder and suicide is a summation of the horrors of the pro wrestling in the 2000s – that any given morning you are going to get a phone call, and it could be someone you’re friends with has died. 

- Advertisement -

When Benoit killed his wife and son, the details were thin for the first few hours. WWE aired its mistaken tribute show and people were coming to grips with what happened. Just as wrestling reporters, many of whom knew Benoit or had talked to him, were coming to grips with a story that was too terrible to imagine. 

Alvarez, a friend of Benoit, is dealing with this bomb dropped on him, the shock an the horror of the crime while Meltzer walks through it as a journalist whose heavily emotionally invested in what was the biggest story of its time. It’s not an easy listen, but the way Alvarez and Meltzer handle themselves on air wasn’t just a master class in professionalism during a horrific event, but two friends trying to deal with the reality and horror what happened. I’m not sure how they made it through it. 

9. Talk is Jericho – Remembering Terry Funk

Chris Jericho’s wrestling podcast is no longer a wrestling podcast, and hasn’t been one for years. He has celebrities on regularly. The episode where he and his band, Fozzy, break down Van Halen albums 1984 and 5150 is a must listen for any rock music fan. From any weak he could be interviewing an AEW up and coming talent, horror movie director Eli Roth, one of the Trumps or a Ghostbuster. 

Jericho has worn the influences of his career on his sleeve, and his episode following the death of Terry Funk is an all-timer. With Dave Meltzer as a guest, Funk played a major part in both of their careers. To Meltzer, Funks was more than a mentor and to Jericho he was more than an inspiration. It’s a magical episode when the wrestling podcast world took a second to remember one of its foundations. 

Whether it was rock star frontmen, or childhood heroes like Nick Bockwinkel, Jericho has always been up front about who is influences are at different points of his career and when he re-emerged in a shock in New Japan as a crazed gaijin, reminiscent of Terry Funk and Stan Hansen, Jericho reveled in it. Of all of Jericho’s re-inventions the last 10 years, this was his best. Beating up Red Shoes and putting then Young Lion Shota Umino in the Lion Tamer. Running rampant through fans in the crowd, attacking journalists he remembered from his days in Japan in the 1990s – it was a blast to watch. 

Listening to Dave and Jericho discuss Funk with wonder and relevance was joyful, sad and a reminder of what we had and what we lost. 

8. The Jim Cornette Experience – Vince Russo buries TNA to its own network

Jim Cornette is one of the greatest managers in the history of pro wrestling. He took that gift of gab to podcasting and his Experience podcast with Brian Last continues to be one of the popular on the internet. 

Cornette is at his best when he has a deserving target, and boy, is Russo deserving. Cornette’s emotional speech during an episode of Dark Side of the Ring, getting into why he can’t forgive Russo for his lack of respect for the business and how, when wrestling isn’t taken seriously, people get hurt or even killed – it’s the high mark of the series. It puts into perspective all of the tragedies and controversies the show has aired. He’s shared this point of view a few times during episodes on Owen Hart and the Brawl for All fiasco.

Nothing was more on target than Russo, still pushing his anti-wrestling ideas of pro wrestling on his own podcast, let out that he called the Discovery network and said if they didn’t hire him to take over TNA when it moved to one of its networks, it would go out of business. 

Give Cornette true righteous fury and a deserving target and it’s a joyful dismemberment. Russo can’t be ripped enough. Especially after he put the employees of an entire company at risk. Outside the murderers and rapists, it’s one of the most irresponsible acts by any pro wrestling personality ever. 

Cornette begins by going into the history of Russo in WWE, WCW, TNA and his start, throwing more fire with each line and each well deserved. Cornette has spent thousands of hours talking about Russo, but this episode is different. As he recalls different parts of Russo’s career and the ultimate sin of throwing his ego around at the risk of people’s jobs, Cornette is almost shocked at the own memories of what has led to this. You can hear the disbelief in his voice as he ramps up the curse words and the emotion, and recalls what Russo has done, it’s pure righteous anger and well deserved. 

7. The Stone Cold Podcast – Dean Ambrose

Steve Austin was a much different person when he began his podcast than he was during his day as WWE’s biggest star. Austin carried the company for years, only to get unceremoniously duped in booking, then criticized for “taking his ball and going home” because he knew bad booking when he saw it. 

Austin was more or less laid back, until an episode with Dean Ambrose/Jon Moxley (who shall be referred to now as Mox). Austin had scene a lot of potential in Ambrose, who at this point hadn’t won a world title and seemed stuck in WWE’s mid-card while his former Shield stablemates were trading titles in the main event. 

Mox described working the indies and using the internet, using YouTube and other formats to cut promos on upcoming matches. In one example, he cut a promo on Austin as an example, which got Austin’s eyes to turn from curious to burning. It’s a magic moment, and it shows how good Mox is at pulling the competitor out of the people in the room. 

Austin was asking question after question about why Mox  wasn’t reaching his potential, and Mox did his best to be politically correct while explaining WWE’s 50/50 style of booking for all those not named McMahon. 

In the end, Moxley proved
himself right, even over serial carnie Paul Heyman, who ripped Moxley for his unhappiness with how his WrestleMania match with Brock Lesnar went during a live appearance. While everyone in WWE couldn’t stop making excuses, Moxley left and became the first wrestler to hold the three biggest world titles in wrestling. 

6. The Art of Wrestling: CM Punk

The most famous wrestling podcast ever, it’s sad looking back. This episode ruined a long friendship between Punk and Colt Cabana, one that had consequences later when the two were working in AEW. 

Punk had never told his story after leaving WWE in 2014. Wrestlers had told of the rough life and politics in WWE – Tom Zenk was among the first in 2000 – and the stories were always rough listens for WWE fans. Punk let it loose and was later sued by a WWE doctor as a result. Despite WWE’s long-play “spend you to death” legal stragegy, Punk and Cabana one, but it didn’t patch up their relationship. 

Punk’s story is like Punk – a must listen, funny at times, but he leaves no stone unturned. He doesn’t like Triple H, and he may have killed a couple careers while he was at it. Most horrific was Punk describing his health in the company while working a full schedule and dealing with the neglect of his health by the company. 

Cabana and Punk were both innovative and important wrestlers in the still unfolding history of the contemporary era of the sport. Cabana was one of the first with a regular podcast and found ways to make cash and a full living as an independent wrestler. Punk was the first and only indie rebel to reach the top of WWE. 

5. Wrestling Observer: The Piper Bounty 

During an episode of Wrestling Observer Live, Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez talked about Roddy Piper. Piper is from the Pacific Northwest, like Alvarez – an accomplished radio and podcast host, pro wrestler and martial artist who has somehow mastered the art of defying aging. 

While WOL and WOR are the pinnacle in wrestling news podcasts, the personalities of Alvarez and Meltzer make it a must listen every week. The two have very different personalities, and their chemistry can revert up and against each other at any moment. Such was the case when Meltzer revealed that Piper had once put a bounty on Alvarez, which was to be collected by John “The Barbarian” Nord.

A Mt. Rushmore level pro wrestling legend putting a bounty on a star pro wrestling media member and radio host – that’s an insane revelation in and of itself. But what made this a legendary episode – Alvarez was not aware of the bounty until Meltzer told the story live on the show.

Alvarez: “What? Piper put a bounty out on me!”

Dave: “(Laughing) What was so great about this was …” 

Meltzer begins sharing the details of the story while Alvarez is in shock. At one point, Alvarez shares that Piper had pulled him into a room, turned out the lights, put a lighter to his face and told Alvarez to inform Dave that he was going to burn down his house.

Alvarez goes through a series of questions that anyone would have – why didn’t Dave tell him when this happened? Listen and find out.

4. Wrestlenomics – Ashley Massaro

The wave of news that came forward after Janel Grant sued Vince McMahon in federal court brought back the story of Ashley Massaro, who died by suicide in 2019. She claimed she had been sexually assaulted at a military medical center while WWE was doing one of its For The Troops shows overseas. The company told Massaro to not report the incident, in fear it would hurt the company’s contract with the military.

Reporting from Vice News revealed three different military investigative agenies looked into Massaro’s claims in 2020 after they became public. 

Brandon Thurston and John Pollock are in new territory reading into a Navy NCIS report, digging through military terms, multiple witnesses and an investigation looking into a crime that allegedly occurred years earlier. They do so with detail, a fine tooth and touch of seriousness that matches their work in their other reporting. Their talent and eye for detail comes through in an episode every wrestling fan should listen to if they want to know the darker workings of the pro wrestling industry. 

3. The Lapsed Fan: The Lamentable Tragedy of World Class

Twenty-three episodes, spread across two to three hours an episode, Jack Encarnacio and JP Sarro’s seminal work was studied by Holt McCallany, who told Garrett Gonzalez he listened to the series while studying to play Fritz Von Erich in The Iron Claw movie. 

The series is a seminal work of pro wrestling journalism. It’s one of the finest series I’ve listened to in any medium of radio or podcasting. As someone who worked as a researched on a PBS Frontline documentary, this is a remarkable work of journalism even as Enccarnacio and Sarro keep it light and keep the fans in themselves at the mic alongside the heavy research. 

Taken after the name of a magazine article, the first episode begins with a reading of the opening of Moby Dick, with Fritz substituted as the ship’s obsessed Captain and Chris Von Erich as his Starbuck. It’s literary, it’s funny, it’s beyond deep, it’s a must listen and it’s an amazing example of the form put to its full potential. 

2. Talk Is Jericho: Triple H

If there was one episode of Talk Is Jericho fans wanted to hear, it was his interview of Triple H.

In a special two-parter, the two went over their history in WWE together, which was more often than not pretty rocky. At this point the two respected each other and had a friendly business relationship (which has probably died since Jericho went to New Japan then AEW), and they recalled Jericho’s early and controversial days in WWE during the Attitude Era, most of which had nothing to do with Jericho. 

Hearing them joke about Jericho’s “nuclear” heat with DX is funny 14 years after it happened (the interview took place in 2014), but it was serious business in the early 2000 and despite the laughter the edge is there. It’s a remarkable interview because of the subject matter and the two rivals talking about it. It’s something rarely seen in any form of interviewing or podcasting and it’s an enjoyable and entertaining listen. 

1. Celebrating Jay – aka The Great Fowler

Only one podcast has had both WWE and AEW talent in the contemporary era, and that’s when stars from both companies got together to raise funds for The Great Fowler. Jay is now four years into the six-months he was told he had to live following a massive cardiac event. 

Jay was popular on the Figure Four/Wrestling Observer network. Wrestlers, company owners referred to him as the man who kept kicking out on The Grim Reaper. 

What makes Jay remarkable can’t be just summed up in his will to live and his positive view of social media and life (which is amazingly remarkable in itself), but also the “pay it forward” approach he’s taken to hot spots like Twitter. It hasn’t always been pretty, many of the worst have attacked Fowler, who often lives on donations to make ends meet and to stay off the street. But his positive attitude is infectious and his all-real personality has ingratiated himself to thousands of fans and some of the biggest talent in the world, including Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega and Edge. 

He could have walked off and did nothing else, but he’s used his own c
onnections to become his own one-man Make-A-Wish, connecting wrestlers with fans who are suffering terminal illness and other issues. Jay’s paid it forward for years and God bless him, we’ll have him paying it forward for decades more.