Introducing a New Podcast Designed for Fans of Professional Wrestling
Professional wrestling is one of the more niche sports in the world today, but it is also one of the fastest-growing. New promotions have risen to prominence in the United States and abroad, and independent wrestling has begun to take root in Las Vegas. As the sport continues to grow, one podcast dedicated to covering it is starting right on the campus of UNLV.
The Rebel Rasslin’ Podcast, a student-run podcast all about professional wrestling, is one of the latest additions to the Rebel Report student organization. The podcast started in October of 2019, and new episodes will be in the works throughout this semester in Greenspun Hall. However, listeners can expect the podcast to embrace a different approach this time around.
“It’s a grind,” said Ethan Schneider, the main host of the podcast. “We need a gameplan before jumping into new things.”
The Rebel Rasslin’ Podcast is described as two opinionated wrestling fans who want to express their thoughts on the current product and the state of the sport. The show airs sporadically as to work with the schedules of the hosts, but the results of what is put out have been good, according to Schneider.
The idea for a wrestling podcast was pitched during one of the Rebel Report student meetings. Schneider was selected to head the new project, other students volunteered to help in different capacities, and the Rebel Rasslin’ Podcast was born.
The podcast is not Schneider’s first experience into the world of collegiate podcasting, however. Schneider also works on Checkpoint XP On Campus, a podcast dedicated to collegiate e-sports. It served as his diving board into podcasting as he learned more about the business and production sides of podcasting. Working on Checkpoint XP On Campus gave him beneficial experience and a desire to implement what he learned into his own projects, including the Rebel Rasslin’ Podcast.
“You can never not learn enough,” Schneider said.
Schneider mentioned that his favorite wrestler and biggest inspiration was current WWE Superstar The Miz. The reason why was because Schneider was bullied, and watching another outsider like The Miz be successful despite no one else wanting him to succeed was a big deal for him. Schneider felt like he could relate to The Miz’s story, and watching it helped him get the courage to stand up for himself and speak his mind.
Schneider believes that now is a good time to get into wrestling, given the new emphasis on both major and independent promotions. “You’re bound to find something or somebody you like,” he said for anyone trying to watch the sport. “Do your own research and find what interests you.”
In terms of new material that the Rebel Rasslin’ Podcast will hope to go through, Schneider hopes to give more exposure to independent wrestling promotions in the Las Vegas area, if not all of Nevada. By starting to cover local promotions, the podcast will have a foundation to potentially branch out to cover other promotions in neighboring states such as California.
A local flavor to the podcast would work in a city such as Las Vegas, which has a rich history in wrestling. Las Vegas has been home to many landmark moments in recent wrestling history, including CM Punk’s infamous “pipe bomb” promo in 2011 and the launch of the WWE Network in 2014. WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) is not the only major promotion that has history in Las Vegas, as All Elite Wrestling held their Double or Nothing event in Las Vegas on May 25, 2019. A second event and airing of their weekly television show Dynamite was planned for this year, but got pushed back due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Las Vegas is also enjoying a fledgling independent wrestling scene as well. The city is home to many prominent independent promotions such as Future Stars of Wrestling, Big Valley Wrestling, and Lucha Libre Las Vegas. Future Stars of Wrestling, in particular, was home to wrestlers such as Brian Cage, Kevin “Killer” Kross and Chris Bey before they signed with larger promotions. As more talent comes out from the Las Vegas area, it will garner more attention to the city as a professional wrestling hub.
“As podcasters, we have a duty to go local.” Schneider said.
With all of these resources to tap into, a wrestling podcast in Las Vegas seems to make sense. However, Schneider realizes that the show cannot be just two guys talking. The podcast must differentiate itself in order to be successful.
“First and foremost, it has to be unique,” said Ben Morse, a professor who teaches a podcasting class at UNLV, on what makes a good podcast. “A good podcast needs good care.”
Morse, the creator and former host of This Week in Marvel and host of The Other Identity, began to teach podcasting in the fall of 2019. His goal with the class was to give students the knowledge of what makes up the bones of the podcast, as well as knowing how to execute the basics. He wanted his class to serve as a gateway for more opportunities by giving students a chance to learn practical skills while they’re still in college.
Morse said he is happy to know that students were taking the initiative and creating their own podcasts. According to Morse, more experience will be helpful in the real world because it gives students a chance to acquire a set of skills for when they graduate.
As far as the evolution a podcast is considered, Morse says that it is important for a podcast to adapt over time. It is fine to start with a niche in order to acquire an audience, and once the audience is at a good point, expansion into new ideas can be implemented.
“As you keep going, you learn lessons,” Morse said about starting out in the podcasting business. “Your first episode will never be your best.”
Schneider wants potential fans to look towards local wrestling as a gateway into the sport. With the Rebel Rasslin’ Podcast, there may be another reason to start watching.