Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show EP. 146

Steve Austin, one of the original Paul Heyman Guys, had the man on his show
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you're new, here's the rundown: I listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: Steve Austin Show Unleashed
Episode: 146
Run Time: 1:43:18
Guest: Paul Heyman

Summary: After some brief scene-setting, Austin sits down with the one behind the one in 21-1. Before long they’re breaking down Heyman’s earliest days in the business, as a ringside photographer, and how he used that as way to work himself in behind the scenes. Of course there’s talk about ECW, but it’s more about the promotion’s place in the context of wrestling history than a blow-by-blow review of those days. The guys end by taking a look at Brock Lesnar’s SummerSlam obliteration of John Cena and where the story goes from here.

Quote of the week: “John Cena has to violate his own code of hustle, loyalty and respect. When does fighting evil require you to become evil to defeat evil? And that’s where John Cena’s character has to go. And how he comes out on the other side, to me, is the most fascinating aspect of it.”

Why you should listen: Heyman’s not just at the top of his game right now, he has an incredible legacy of involvement in pro wrestling dating back to his teenage years wielding a Nikon and Minolta as a means of buddying up to Vince McMahon Sr. It’s no surprise he’s a great storyteller, and for a guy who so clearly buys his own hype, Heyman is refreshingly candid about his experiences and evolution.

Why you should skip it: Perhaps you have little interest in the differences between driving and parking in Los Angeles versus New York. If you’re not a Heyman guy, you might be turned off by his personality in general. He’s clearly not fully in character here, but if the advocate rubs you the wrong way on Monday nights, it’s not a stretch to suggest you’ll have some of the same reaction. He’s an unabashedly brash personality, it might be impossible for him to demonstrate humility for more than a few fleeting moments.

Final thoughts: The stuff about Cena near the end is essential listening for anyone who wants to understand wrestling narrative on a deeper level. Heck, WWE could just lift the audio from this segment, replay it on Raw for the next three weeks and watch the buyrate skyrocket. I want to watch the match right now after listening to the passion and intrigue in Heyman’s voice. Which is to say nothing about the rest of the episode, which also is great. Sorry for folks who don’t have much time this week, but you’re going to have to check out Heyman in addition to Tony Schiavone on Wednesday’s Ross Report. Maybe Cheap Heat will be a dud.