Let me start out by saying, “I never thought we would have lasted 5 or more years”.
Hell in a Cell Talk Radio, or HIAC for short, has been around since April of 2012. Conceived as a “voice for the Indys” I’m not so sure that it ever met its rather lofty mission statement. What it did accomplish was awaken my love for producing audio (more on that later) and forge lasting friendships with two guys that live miles (literally several states) away.
I am proud of the fact that HIAC was live in some form or another for over 5 years on the same day (Wednesday loyal listener) in almost the same time slot (it started at 9:30, went to 8:00, and sort of settled there). There are 341 “official” episodes of the podcast (but the live pre-shows weren’t factored in the first two years). For the first couple of years, the pro wrestling and MMA podcasts were counted as the same episode just with a A and B type of designation. If I were to quantify the amount of “actual” episodes that were put out during the past 5 and a half years, I would guess there are easily 600 or so episodes. For simplicity, I’ll keep it with the “official” 341 total.
The podcast has survived through many incarnations and through various phases of everyone’s life during the course of the past 5 years. On a personal level, it has followed me through 4 jobs and most recently going back to college to pursue a degree in Audio Production. Dan has also been through many personal changes. The same can be said for Chris as well.
Earlier this week, as anyone who has listened to either of the most recent podcasts already know, Chris has decided to step away from a weekly commitment to a “part time” role on the show. He’ll still do UFC PPV reviews with me for about 12 episodes a year, and he will also be around the wrestling podcast for the “big” PPVs such as the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania.
When Chris first made his announcement (via a super secret Facebook group) honestly, there was a bit of relief. The podcast has, for both of us, been a bit of an albatross firmly attached to both our necks. Neither of us hate doing the podcast, mind you, but life is busy. As such, once a rather long day at the college is over the thought of setting up the show, editing it, and placing it on the website gets a bit overwhelming. It’s not that doing the show is “hard”…but the thought of being available for that sort of time each and every week…does weigh on you.
Seriously, I left the wrestling podcast
When I left the wrestling podcast over a year ago (yeah, I know some of you didn’t realize I had), I knew that eventually someone else would leave. It’s the nature of podcasting. There’s a honeymoon phase where you’re just in love with this pure idea of putting out this product (YOUR product) and maybe people will listen. And, in the “golden era” before the dark days of Podcast One and similar “networks”, people did. There was a two year period where we were consistently growing and getting some stellar guests (Dan Severn, Paul Buentello, Ryan Benoit, “Sick” Nick Mondo, and Tully Blanchard come to mind). Then, Steve Austin started his podcast and was talking to Paul Heyman (who we could never get) followed by Chris Jericho (who would talk with Edge), Jim Ross, Jim Cornette, and so on and so forth. Not to mention that after a while people of all walks of life were doing podcasts – some who very good – some who were okay – and a majority who should have never picked up a microphone (if they owned one) in their life. Why would I interview wrestler A when you could listen to this other guy interview him. Never mind when we were doing regular interviews, we were damn good (toot toot). There was no reason for me to personally go out there and waste the time to do it.
So, around 2014 or so I made the change in format to where we would just discuss WWE with some independent wrestling sprinkled in. We retained some of our audience, but we lost conservatively about 80% of our listenership. It didn’t matter though because we all still enjoyed the product and still enjoyed our weekly conversation that we allowed you to listen to (which was sort of the idea). But, then, I got a promotion and I couldn’t ask for nearly as many Wednesdays off as I did before. It became harder to watch WWE (despite that Hulu account I have) so I decided to leave the wrestling podcast and do the MMA podcast exclusively with Chris (ahem Omega) around 11pm on Wednesdays because Omega has the patience of fucking Job or some shit. I can’t explain it. I hated leaving what I had founded…what I had created along with Dan and Mark and Chris…hated the idea because it felt like a failure in a way. I know it wasn’t but I rested well knowing I had left it in the capable hands of Dan and Chris…and later on Craig (who has done an exceptional job since I left).
Simplicity and Purity
I miss the purity and simplicity of those early days. Dan, Mark, Chris, and I getting together to interview 2 guests (once we had 6 interviews on one show) and talk MMA. It was new, and fresh, and something we all apparently needed at that particular time in our lives. The podcast has afforded me many opportunities within wrestling and even the opportunity to announce a MMA show (wrestling promoters have not afforded me similar opportunities). I was involved in a fun storyline with a former WWE wrestler that I’ve apparently retired. I’ve called more matches than I ever cared to count. It’s all because of this little podcast that was born out of a car ride to Delaware. I’ve made some great friends in wrestling and unfortunately made some enemies because, well, indy wrestling is indy wrestling and sometimes the “friends” you have one day will be the ones who shove you down the next. I digress, as this isn’t the intent of this post.
I just want to say how incredibly thankful I am for the past 5 and a half years. Some marriages don’t last that long (ask a former contributor to the podcast). This podcast was and is and will still continue to be something I am very proud of because I truly loved every minute of creating a product that allowed some people to discover promotions (it’s happened)…that allowed some people to have something to listen to on their morning drive…that gave a guy a pretty cool birthday…that did a lot of stuff…some good…some bad…but mostly good.
This is just the story of three or four guys with a microphone and a story to tell. I am humble beyond words that you have listened to all the shows or just one.
Here’s to five more years.