With virtually no consistent attention from any major media focused on NCAA wrestling and not enough time in a week to do a reddit deep dive on matchups and storylines, it’s nearly impossible to “casually” follow the sport. That’s where the Stalemates podcast comes in.
Very few people on earth “kind of” like wrestling. Very few people watch the sport without completely immersing themselves in the entire culture and history.
Sure, stories like Shane Griffith’s improbable run in the face of a closing program and Gable Steveson’s gold medal in the closing seconds bleed slightly into the mainstream on occasion, but the average fan of team sports can likely name fewer than five NCAA wrestling matches in the history of the sport.
While that’s definitely due in large part to lack of visibility on major news and sports outlets, it’s also a product of a surplus of individual matchups, team matchups and nuances to look out for in a sport that has historically suppressed the idea of being flashy or seeking attention.
With all that in mind, there are plenty of reasons to watch every tournament, every match, and with the 2021 National Championship as proof, every interview. The problem is that keeping a firm grasp on the sport the way the same average team sports fan may have a grasp on NCAA football requires a lot more inconvenient digging. If you’re a wrestling fan, hearsay, forums and a steel cage memory have likely been your best friends for years.
Luckily for all of us, the tides are turning, and with the Internet’s introduction to new avenues of media, collegiate wrestling may finally see the exposure and growth it’s been waiting for, for a long time. Podcasts such as Stalemates are a key reason why.
A wrestler may not tell you why they’re important enough to keep an eye on, but Zach Bogle and Tyler Walker sure will.
“We’re trying to set up storylines for why you should care about a match that’s coming up,” Bogle explained. “That’s kind of our whole goal, showing the average person who doesn’t necessarily know too much about technique, style or something like that; we’re trying to give them a reason to care about upcoming bouts.”
After early dreams of being discovered by the Jackass crew (thankfully) never panned out, Bogle had already taught himself how to film and edit. Add his interest in a sport that suffers from exposure issues and a worldwide pandemic and, voila, you’ve got a weekly show only a few clicks away.
Of course, a guy bragging about his deadlift capabilities on national television, a last-second gold medal and an athlete gutting out a week old ACL tear in the National Championship are all must watch storylines, but Bogle explains that there’s probably just as many reasons to watch every dual.
“If you really want to get into the backstory and everything like that, I would say there’s at least five,” Bogle said. “We do our weekly show where we talk about five different topics and some weeks we have stuff that we’re like, ‘that’s not going to make the show because it’s not important enough, but we would love to talk about it.’”
Stalemates had relatively instant success, and the growth hasn’t seemed to slow down. Even with certain topics rubbing programs and wrestlers the wrong way on occasion, Stalemates only further establishes itself as a wrestling fan’s one stop shop with every episode.
“We have our audience and we’re comfortable with what we talk about,” Bogle said. “I would say within the first six months we kind of got on people’s radars because we cover what people were saying and talking about on Twitter and the forums, but no one was actually putting it out there in video format and we did that right away.”
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