Welcome back wrestling fans to a brand new and fresh interview here on Kayfabe Kickout. For this stupendous interview I had the immense pleasure to speak with a fellow countryman, Columnist for the Baltimore Sun and award winning TV personality Arda Ocal, formerly of The Score Television Network.
Arda has amassed an extremely impressive resume, not only as a writer and TV personality but as a commentator for numerous sports such as Boxing, Baseball, Hockey, MMA and Soccer. In 2009 while working with The Score Television Network, Arda created "Aftermath TV," a weekly show that followed WWE RAW on Tuesday Afternoons, providing in-depth analysis of RAW.
In addition to Aftermath TV, Arda co-hosted "Aftermath Radio" with former WWE Referee Jimmy Korderas, both the show and Arda received Wrestling Radio Awards for "Show of the Year" and "Host of the Year" respectively for 2011 and 2012. Arda has interviewed some of the greatest professional wrestlers in history such as; Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Chris Jericho and so many more, and he will no doubt continue to bring wrestling fans phenomenal interviews with wrestling legends, both past and present.
In 2012 Arda had the esteemed honor of serving as Master of Ceremonies for the George Tragos - Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, and he will continue that prestigious duty in 2013. On April 1st, 2013 Arda announced via. his Official Twitter Account that he and The Score Television Network parted ways, Arda he will be sorely missed as a staple of not only The Score but the WWE as well.
I spoke with Arda on comparisons wrestling fans make between The Shield and the nWo, his departure from The Score, his opinion on the greatest WrestleMania Match of all time and much more.
Richard: For wrestling fans who might not know what you are involved with in the world of professional wrestling and sports broadcasting, can you just give us an update on what's going on in the busy schedule of Arda Ocal?
Arda: After the Score and I parted ways I took time to travel, enjoy life. I still write for the Baltimore Sun and work as a manager at Layfield Report - having JBL and Michael Cole as bosses is great! The website is really taking off and there is terrific content every day, as for my future in broadcasting, I still do work with Rogers TV - I finished up with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL and this summer I'll be doing commentary on boxing, cricket and even table tennis - you can call me Mr. Frinige :)
Richard: On April 1st you announced via. Twitter that you and The Score Television Network had parted ways, was this a mutual decision or did you aspire to move on to new horizons in your career as a sports personality?
Arda: When Rogers bought the Score, many of us were certainly concerned about our jobs, as with any takeover you never know what will happen. I'm proud of the fact that I thought of, created, produced and hosted a nationally televised WWE post game show that is still the highest rated in house produced program ever in the Score Television Network's history. As well, people today still ask about the podcast Jimmy (Korderas) and I did. We just had a natural chemistry. I feel like I will take this opportunity to explore sports and lifestyle TV, we will see where my career takes me. Maybe I'll follow in my old colleague Renee (Young)'s footsteps and knock on WWE's door, who knows :)
Richard: I'd like to get your thoughts on the WWE with respect to The Shield, do you think the comparisons between them and the nWo made by wrestling fans are warranted, or are The Shield a different faction all together?
Arda: The big hook initially with the nWo was that they were invading WCW from another company. The Shield aren't necessarily invading, in my opinion - they are carving their turf within WWE, and doing a great job. I'm interested in what they do on TV because not only are they fresh, but they have terrific long matches on TV that keep people's interest. All three of them can be future champions - it's a great core group and I hope it doesn't grow too big, too fast.
Richard: What are your thoughts on superstars like Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair still wanting to be in the spotlight in 2013, even though they are well past the twilight of their respective careers?
Arda: As a guy who was on national TV almost every day and isn't currently, I can understand how the lack of attention and adrenaline can get to you - I think that's what they are experiencing. They are big names, who made it huge on such a grand stage, and it's hard to let that go. They say the biggest drug is the rush of the crowd, and for a performer who have fed off of that for years, they will always want to.
Richard: Do you get flak from your family and friends because you are a pro wrestling fan?
Arda: No - because if anybody gives me flak, I don't talk to them. My parents are supportive, my friends don't really care (maybe they gave me flak when I was much younger but not anymore), and anybody I meet that isn't cool with it usually doesn't stay high on my list of people I want to see. I don't judge nor does it matter to me what your interests are, so mine shouldn't either.
Richard: Do you think the Attitude Era of the WWE has ruined the landscape of professional wrestling in 2013 with regard to wrestling fans constant negativity toward the overall product of the WWE?
Arda: I think wrestling fans are just generally negative - maybe it's not just wrestling. Maybe you hear critics louder than the ones who are positive. I can be critical but my initial thoughts are optimistic - I'm the kind of guy who will give something time because I give it my full opinion - Curtis Axel is a perfect example. How can people jump on the debut so quickly without seeing how it will play out? It's not like he was wearing a glittery storm trooper mask and tripped through a hole in a wall... come on, people!
Richard: You have interviewed the who's who of professional wrestling, who was your absolute favorite to interview and why?
Arda: Tough to pick one - the "Terrific Trio" I always go to are Bret Hart, Roddy Piper, and Chris Jericho - Bret is such a great story teller that you just wanna hear stories of his for hours. Piper gives you his heart and the passion is unparalleled. And Jericho is just entertaining, he is quick witted and has a response to everything.
Richard: With regard to the above question who was your least favorite professional wrestler to interview and why?
Arda: My fist ever one with Harley Race was very "in character", same with Sheamus. Luckily I've gotten better ones since. I caught Brutus Beefcake an hour after his bedtime, he wasn't too pleased. You definitely learn to consider more than just landing the interview when you're in the business - when you talk to people matters a lot.
Richard: In addition to your career as a sports writer and commentator you have an extensive background in radio and television, based on your experiences do you think that the current three man broadcast teams on both RAW and SmackDown are needed, or should the WWE revert back to the traditional two man broadcast teams?
Arda: I'm fine with three man - two color commentators add value. JBL and Lawler are adding different tidbits and anecdotes and styles, so I'm fine with it. Michael Cole doesn't get enough credit for his work - he's a terrific on air traffic cop and meshes the conversation seamlessly.
Richard: Many wrestling fans, including myself agree that Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant at WrestleMania III is the greatest match in WrestleMania History, in your opinion what WrestleMania Match do you think is the all time greatest and why?
Arda: Hard to pick against Hogan and Andre because it's the biggest match of all time (pardon the pun). The greatest match in the ring, bell to bell has to be Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker 1 at WrestleMania 25. Many call it the greatest wrestling match ever. It's poetry inside the squared circle. Shawn Michaels told me in an interview once that driving home from Houston, he told his wife, "it will be hard to top that.. if my career ended after this one I'd be OK with it". The rematch at 26 wasn't too shabby either!
Richard: Do you think there will ever be another Attitude Era or Monday Night War in the WWE?
Arda: The first Monday Night War spawned from Ted Turner throwing a lot of money at "rasslin" with TV behind him and making it a viable alternative. TNA is trying hard but they aren't at that level yet, but they do have the TV and the money. Truthfully, I could see a scenario in the future where a bored billionaire decides he/she wants to get into the wrestling business and just pays to create an alternative. That's the lifeblood off the independents, on a much much much smaller scale.
Richard: I'd like to get your thoughts on blood in pro wrestling matches, do you think it's a necessary part of telling a story inside the ring?
Arda: Nigel Mcguinness is championing a great cause about this subject - the need to remove "blading" from pro wrestling. Personally, I don't miss it, and I'm fine with WWE not having any intentional blood in matches. It's one of the parts of wrestling that's the silliest to an outsider... "wait.. they take out a razor blade and cut themselves?" to many people that's embarrassing.
Richard: Do you think WWE should rely on superstars like The Rock, Brock Lesnar, Triple H and The Undertaker to quote "put asses in the seats" or do you think the current roster of WWE Superstars can bring success to the company on their own?
Arda: I want to see more crossover - more full time guys facing part time guys. That way, the full time guys get a benefit from the exposure of facing the big name part time guy. Those names mentioned above are absolutely necessary and welcome, but it's the full time guys that are in the trenches, at live events, week in and week out - they need to elevate their game and their name.
Fans can follow Arda on Twitter @arda_ocal, on his Official Facebook Page and you can check out Arda's Blog on the Baltimore Sun.
I want to personally thank Arda Ocal for taking the time to speak with me here on Kayfabe Kickout.
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