Monday, November 10, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 166

Austin's most recent show is sadly skippable
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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: 166
Run Time: 1:29:02
Guest: None

Summary: Stone Cold is flying solo this week in his Broken Skull Challenge trailer. His lengthy opening monologue covers a recurring theme in Austin’s life: conflict with flies. (Later on he also mentions his ongoing feud with the rats populating his ranch.) Eventually he gets to listeners’ emailed questions covering durable jackets, destruction of ringside announce tables, Austin’s favorite collectibles, his dislike of gray shirts, the upside of the Ringmaster character, Elvis Presley and Stevie Ray Vaughan, dealing with hair loss, the mixed-martial arts world, his tattoos and experience filming The Expendables. His match of the week is Rock vs. Hogan at WrestleMania X-8.

Quote of the week: “There was nowhere to go creatively, really up the card. I didn’t see The Ringmaster headlining WrestleManias, I didn’t see The Ringmaster having a lot of marquee value, I didn’t see The Ringmaster being on T-Shirts, 'Ringmaster 3:16' and all that other stuff just wasn’t something that I was thinking of.”

Why you should listen: The bond between Austin and Hershey the Wonder Dog is a great running subplot of the past 166 episodes, and that surfaces a bit in the open. The question about the announce tables might be the first time Austin has discussed that particular aspect of his working days, which is refreshing. Some of the nonwrestlng topics are new as well, especially his fondness for Elvis and the tattoo origins. And if you loved his long ago “match” with the fly, you’ll be excited to hear a hint of an upcoming bout with a PED-infused ranch rat.

Why you should skip it: Outside of the announce tables, the only other real wrestling recollections were familiar visits to the origins of The Ringmaster and the end of Austin’s hair. The vast majority of this show is only worthwhile for this interested in the entirety of Steve Austin and not just reliving the Attitude Era. Further, there is the usual marking down for an email show compared to live interactions with callers. At least by now you know what you’re getting between the two.

Final thoughts: This episode was a definite letdown after the fantastic installment from the previous week. If you’re like me and going to listen anyway, there are a few good moments and it’s certainly less painful than many of his other solo shows. But if your podcast time is at a premium this week, don’t bypass the Jim Ross or Colt Cabana shows in favor of this one. I’m still not sure why Austin is committed to doing two shows a week given how Podcast One has expanded its offerings since his debut back in April 2013, and I certainly understand the limitations that come along with his CMT obligations, and Austin expresses his frustration on those grounds as well. But still, his show is more and more a hit-or-miss proposition. It’s only disappointing because they best episodes are supremely entertaining, and there’s a palpable sense of loss when a given entry fails to live up to those self-established high standards.