We have embedded The 5th Quarter’s “Wrestlestock” episode at the top of this post.
WrestleZone had the chance to chat with The 5th Quarter’s Creator & Executive Producer Michael D. Ratner as well as the Director of the “Wrestlestock” episode Bob Castrone. You can find some highlights of our exclusive chat below.
We have also included a gallery of screen shots from “Wrestlestock” at the end of this post.
On what fans can expect from The 5th Quarter’s “Wrestlestock” episode:
BC: In “WrestleSsock” we are going back to the summer of 1968. A lot of people know that there was a three-day music festival in the late sixties but a lot of people don’t know about the three-day wrestling festival that happened the year before. That is the crux of what “WrestleStock” is about. It’s this three-day festival in a field with wrestlers and wrestling and a lot of x-rated antics as well.
On if there were any wrestlers in particular they enjoyed working with:
BC: All of them were incredible. It was insane to go out to the middle of a field in Encino with a wrestling ring and watch these guys actually wrestle. We had a stunt coordinator on set and I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was a kid but I’ve never seen it close up before. To see these guys just pull off these moves in this bizarre setting is just surreal.
On if The 5th Quarter had always planned on doing a pro wrestling themed episode:
MR: I like the idea of working in non-traditional sports. For me there are only so many spins on a basketball story or a baseball story. We did twelve episodes in season one and we are doing twenty in seasons two and three. We are able to do stuff about race walking or weightlifting or pro wrestling. Growing up I was a huge pro wrestling fan and I wanted to do something fun here. Pro wrestling was always on the whiteboard of ideas.
On another show Michael was going to do with WWE Superstar Mark Henry that fell through:
MR: We were actually working on a food show together about a year ago.
BC: That makes sense.
MR: We were eating at a BBQ restaurant in Austin, TX during SXSW when we came up with the idea. I heard him talking about the food and he knows everything. He’s crazy unbelievable with what he knows about food so we were talking about doing a spin-off on that and we’ll probably go out, eventually, and do that together.
On if Michael has ever considered producing his own pro wrestling show:
MR: Yes. My brother, Scott, who co-founded OBB with me is a HUGE pro wrestling fan. I texted him yesterday to see if he wanted to get lunch and he told me that he was watching the 1992 WCW Starrcade but also listening to a podcast that had alternate commentary. He’s the wrestling guy, he knows everything about wrestling. I would probably want him to lead most of the creative on it. It’s such a big business, obviously, I think there’s a lot of stories and things we could do around it. It’s definitely something we would consider.
BC: When we were putting together “Wrestlestock” I ran everything by Scott Ratner. You could definitely see that he is such a big wrestling fan. I made sure everything checked out and that wrestling fans would enjoy what we were doing. When Scott gave the thumbs up I knew we were okay.
On each episode of The 5th Quarter only being around ten minutes long and the evolving on-line content distribution model:
MR: I love it. I think that the trend is great and we are daily making premium content in short form for a millennial audience. I think that viewing patterns are all leaning towards smaller screens and kids want to have a show. I think with my kids their favorite shows will be of the quality of like a Curb Your Enthusiasm, it will just be ten minutes or less. Like Game of Thrones or any other premium show you watch right now. I think you’ll see that as attention spans decrease people will want to pull out their phones and watch something on their commute. Or share easily. That’s really where the media space seems to be trending.
On if Bob enjoys directing shorter content like this:
BC: It’s kind of a case by case thing. I started out in the world of sketch comedy. Just putting videos on-line and then directing a feature. I’ve kind of gone from one end to the other. These kinds of episodes that are ten or twelve minutes are kind of in that perfect wheelhouse to tell these little stories with as much comedy as you can in that space. One thing I have noticed about this space over the past few years is the quality of talent that will say, “yes,” and jump on board to do something with a go90. That has changed so much over the past few years. I remember doing a basic cable show and having certain people say, “I’m not going to do basic cable.” Now you have huge athletes and stars saying, “Yeah, I’ll do this thing for go90 because it sounds like fun.” From the way it’s being consumed to the people who are putting it together the entire industry has changed dramatically.
On what their memories of pro wrestling were like from their childhood:
BC: My earliest memory was my Dad fiddling with the cable box to steal WrestleMania 3 so we could watch Andre the Giant fight Hulk Hogan. That’s probably one of my earliest memories… stealing cable. I came up in the era of the Ultimate Warrior and The Rockers. The Rockers influenced “Wrestlestock” heavily. It’s either an homage or we’re just ripping them off directly. We have our Barbershop moment. That whole ridiculous era.
MR: I remember The Ministry of Darkness. I was so disappointed that Vince McMahon was the higher power that I started crying. I remember my Dad being like, “Get it together.” I liked Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold and The Rock.
On why fans should watch The 5th Quarter’s “Wrestlestock” episode:
BC: If you’re a fan of pro wrestling I hope I didn’t do anything too aggregious. It’s a really fun episode and it’s got Ed Asner and Judd Hirsch! It’s a really fun episode with a lot of fun wrestlers that you’re going to get excited about.
Exclusive: Michael D. Ratner & Bob Castrone Go In-Depth About The 5th Quarter's 'Wrestlestock' Episode; Full Episode Available Now