Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have So: Steve Austin Show Ep. 160

Austin gives play-by-play analysis on this classic match
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: 160
Run Time: 1:06:12
Guest: None

Summary: Stone Cold opens the show chatting with Stacy at the Podcast One studio. They talk a little football before discussing WrestleMania X-Seven as a prelude to the meat of the show - Austin watching his WWF Title match with The Rock and giving his insight. There’s talk about the mechanics of this specific match, asides about ring work in general and Austin’s recollections of the event. After the match he speaks a bit about the aftermath, though that portion is brief as his memories of that time period aren’t solid.

Quote of the week: “Throw the monitor! They don’t teach you this shit in wrestling school.”

Why you should listen: That segment actually starts at 24:22, but the lead-in is certainly worth your time. You can find the new commentary paired to the video of the match online (or you can sync them yourself, which is the way to go if you want your patience rewarded with superior video quality), but even so I’d suggest listening to Austin discuss the issues surrounding this main event before diving in to the commentary.

Why you should skip it: Do you like hearing Austin saying “Wham!” and “Boom!” 837 times? If not, you might get a little fatigued here. The commentary is great when Austin discusses strategy, positioning and philosophy, less so when he lapses into simple play-by-play. If you can’t get video of the match, it’s unlikely this will be very enjoyable, unless you’ve seen the fight enough to have it committed to memory.

Final thoughts: Without doing the math, I’d say Austin talks over about 90 percent of the match, so you’re really getting a fair amount of insight with just enough raw audio to retain the excitement of a WrestleMania main event. Any sharp criticism here feels like nitpicking because this is a great concept fairly well executed. At one point I thought perhaps it would be more enjoyable if Rock were in studio with Austin, but after watching the entire match I think I’d prefer Rock record his own track. Some of the novelty was missing simply because Austin has discussed this match on his podcast so many times, so for the next attempt I might like to see another big moment that’s been less explored (such as his King of the Ring victory over Jake Roberts, though as a match it pales to the moment of his coronation address). I doubt WWE would get behind producing a show like this for the Network, but it’s safe to say Austin has a little room for improvement with some professional guidance from someone with experience producing DVD commentary tracks. He’ll get better with each one he tries, especially if someone gives solid feedback, but as a first effort this was pretty well executed.