Monday, November 3, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 164

Flair makes his return to the Austin show this week
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 Unleashed
Episode: 164
Run Time: 1:03:33
Guests: Ted Fowler (2:44), Ric Flair (13:55)

Summary: Austin opens the show with a quick call to Ted Fowler to discuss conditions at the Broken Skull Ranch. Then he calls Ric Flair to check in after the Nature Boy’s recent hospital stay. They talk about their respective nagging injuries, and the conversation turns to Flair’s early days in the business and the various well-known wrestlers from he “borrowed” many of his favorite moves, as well as both men’s thoughts about the WWE Performance Center. There’s specific focus on the figure-four and its legitimacy as well as an extensive look at blading strategy before they talk about some of Flair’s current projects and talk a bit of football. Austin ends with one of his longest Match Of The Week segments, waxing nostalgic about a Clash of the Champions IV tag team showdown between Flair and Barry Windham against the Midnight Express (Stan Lane and Bobby Eaton).

Quote of the week: Flair: “Do I miss the ring? I miss it a lot. Yep. I wish I was on RAW tomorrow.”

Why you should listen: Because it’s Ric Flair. The Nature Boy did a marathon session with Stone Cold back in the early days of the podcast, but I’m nearly certain they didn’t cover the ground they did here, looking specifically at Flair’s best known in-ring maneuvers and the wrestlers who either taught him the skill or from whom he stole the move after seeing it in the ring — sometimes the next night. Austin was trying to keep the chat to 15 minutes, and though it went more than twice as long, he was much more efficient than when he opens up the microphone with no timetable in mind.

Why you should skip it: There’s very little talk about the current WWE roster (Flair bumped for Kane and Roman Reigns while working as a referee on the recent Australian tour). Also, if you don’t want to have the inner workings of the business exposed, specifically in regards to chops and blading, take a pass. And finally, if the thought of a fitness video starring Flair and Dennis Rodman scares you half to death, well, uh, sorry, I guess I spoiled it here. Whoops.

Final thoughts: This might be my platonic ideal of a Steve Austin show. The chat with Fowler was brief but actually gave welcome insight into Stone Cold as a real person. A loaded celebrity, sure, but he’s honest about his life. The Flair interview was fantastic, because you’re not going to get Flair being this candid with someone he doesn’t fully respect. Further, it was concise. Listening to Austin’s wrestler interviews often requires separating chaff from wheat, but this one was almost all needles and no haystack. And the Match Of The Week segment was solid as well, given how Austin picked a semi-obscure match featuring his guest and took some real time to explain why it’s worth revisiting. The whole show took less than an hour (if you skip the commercials), plus Austin was allowed to curse yet didn’t abuse the privilege. I’d commend this episode to anyone unfamiliar with Austin’s show and implore Stone Cold to work with this formula as much as possible.