Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 161

Austin took calls in his latest episode
Photo Credit:
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
Episode: 161
Run Time: 1:23:27
Guest: None

Summary: After about 20 minutes of small talk, including a chat with his wife about his upcoming departure to film another season of Broken Skull Challenge, Austin does another Tuesday call-in show and answers listeners’ questions about the Brian Pillman home invasion angle, beer drinking and the Sandman, wrestling books, deer sausage, working with Vince McMahon, Bret Hart and the Rock, Cesaro’s future, the lack of black heavyweight champions, the finish of his Survivor Series 1996 match, NXT, Bruiser Brody, Brock Lesnar ending the Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak and The Rise and Fall of WCCW.

Quote of the week: “Here’s the thing. I was one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time. I’m not blowing smoke up my ass, but that’s the truth. … I don’t like big-picture scenarios. I like give me the scenario that I’m in and I can put salt and pepper on that steak and make it better than it was. I don’t know the broad strokes of all the storylines and wouldn’t want to deal with all the minutiae of the details that regarded booking an entire territory. You’re asking a lot out of guys — just because you’re great in the ring would not make you a great booker.”

Why you should listen: Like last week’s show, Austin spends enough time with each caller to be generous but moves along quickly enough to keep the show a lot more interesting than his no-guest offerings. With the exception of the opening chitchat and the deer sausage diversion, the topics are almost entirely about wrestling. Further, the questions move about Austin’s career and into the present day nicely so it isn’t too heavily focused on one specific time period.

Why you should skip it: As usual with the call-in shows, the questions come from people who say they listen to every episode yet ask Austin to talk about topics he’s already covered at length. Or perhaps Austin simply defaults to certain comfort zone talking points. We can presume Austin is at least somewhat involved in curating the questions, so he must take blame on one or both sides of the street. Either way, the only fresh topic on this week’s show is the issue of race and the lack of black champions, and Austin was in no way prepared to give that issue the focus it warrants.

Final thoughts: I’ve ragged on Stone Cold for his guest-free shows, but as I noted last week, his interactions with listeners are a huge upgrade over 90-minute monologues and a noticeable step above shows where he responds to emails. If you’re looking for a mildly entertaining way to burn 80 minutes, go for it. But if you’re expecting depth, thought-provoking responses or shocking new information, you’ll have to wait for another show.