Friday, October 24, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 162

Austin reads a marriage proposal in his reader e-mails this week
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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: 162
Run Time: 1:17:44
Guest: None

Summary: Stone Cold is on location filming Broken Skull Challenge, which means a huge monologue followed by answers to listener emails focusing on advice for one young man looking to study with Lance Storm, classic cars, a good deal of talk about Austin’s WWE career — such as his working relationship with Vince McMahon, doing commentary for the RAW cage match between Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle, the grocery store brawl with Booker T and Austin’s feelings on the Meadowlands — and finally a brief suggestion to watch WWE’s AWA documentary on the Network.

Quote of the week: “As a lifelong wrestling fan, I was hoping you could read the following sentences on air … To Dory: I know you were the one from the day we met. We have watched each other graduate college (and) begin our careers while growing our relationship. I appreciate the fact that we have compromised our Monday nights to watching your shows, like The Bachelor or Dancing With the Stars followed by Monday Night RAW. I love sharing my life with you and look forward to spending the rest of my time on this planet with you. I love, honor and cherish you. Will you be my tag team partner today, tomorrow and forever? Dory, will you marry me? Love, Alex.”

Why you should listen: Start about 43 minutes in and you’ll actually get a pretty solid show. With a few exceptions, the questions this time take Austin to territory he hasn’t already bled dry. Ultimately, they reveal him to be not just a legendary performer but a longtime fan and student of the art form. The monologue is entertaining at spots, so if you’re a fan of this part of the act, and especially if you enjoy hearing about the snakes and rats at the Broken Skull Ranch, by all means take a listen to the entire show.

Why you should skip it: Definitely start 43 minutes in if you’re at all fatigued by Austin’s solo bits. It’s not his worst offering, but it does resemble some of his stinkbombs in certain parts. There definitely are better wrestling, podcasts this week, including the Tuesday show where Stone Cold talks to actual listeners instead of reading emails. It would be nice to add more complex analysis here, but he’s done so many read-and-respond shows in the last six weeks I don’t have any more to add than Austin does when revealing (again) the origin of the smoking skull title belt.

Final thoughts: I’ve written before how listening to Austin’s early shows gave me a whole new appreciation for his in-ring career, which I never fully appreciated at the time it was happening. (I was more of a Rock/Foley/Jericho guy.) A good deal of this episode reminded me of that awakening, because although I find the vulgarities superfluous, I can’t help but find the relentless honesty endearing. Generally the shows don’t drive me to watch old Austin matches (though I’m properly stoked about his promise to give his WrestleMania 13 epic the podcast commentary treatment), but I’m nearing the point where I’d pay to sit and listen to Stone Cold shoot the breeze about his career for two hours. As always, I could do without the answers to questions that have already been covered ad nauseam, or the complete non sequiturs into non-wrestling topics, but I’ve come to accept those distractions as part of the package deal.