Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 168

Another Austin call-in show this week
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: 168
Run Time: 1:24:12
Guest: None

Summary: After nearly 40 minutes of stream-of-consciousness jibber-jabber whilst driving about Los Angeles, Stone Cold opens the phone lines to talk to listeners about the first year of his career between Dallas and Memphis, comedic chemistry, the finishing moves of himself, Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns, the lack of blood in the current era of WWE, race- and sex-based stories during the Attitude Era, some crazy times with guitarist Zakk Wylde, the utility of Lanny Poffo, Austin’s favorite movies, his steel cage preference, “Mean” Gene Okerlund and the chance of Austin ever opening a wrestling school. The match of the week is Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV.

Quote of the week: “I would love to have a 20-by-20 ring in my barn so if they wanted to send somebody down to spend a few days with me, for me to work on some of the finer points with them, I would love that. Because I would want someone to be able to come to my place that has five, 10 years of experience but just needs a little help getting over the hump. That’s where I’m able to help put salt and pepper on the steak and I ain’t gotta teach you from the bare-bones basics from start to finish.”

Why you should listen: The best part is the kid from India who stayed up until 1:30 a.m. local time to tell Austin how big a fan he is and what Stone Cold’s performances meant to the boy’s late father. Aside from that, I found myself chuckling at some of the Zakk Wylde stories. Further, Austin is the latest notable WWE personality to distance himself from some of the more questionable aspects of the Attitude Era, and if you wanted to know where the Texas Rattlesnake stands on one of wrestling’s great debates — chain link vs. big blue bar — he’s got your answer.

Why you should skip it: At least half the show is Austin more or less talking to himself to less comedic effect than his stronger efforts. He again takes calls from listeners wanting to visit familiar territory, and when he wades off topic to discuss his movies or tell stories about partying with rock stars, it’s easy to wonder if you couldn’t perhaps find a better way to kill some time.

Final thoughts: I’m starting to think somebody with a little free time could do all of us a service by isolating the best moments of Austin’s last month or so of shows into one 90-minute recording. It’s fair to say there would be at least one or two snippets from each of his call-in and email shows, and this is no exception. But there also would be plenty of chaff for the cutting room floor (in case you fancy mixing some metaphors) and again, no exceptions here. Here’s hoping next week brings one or two episodes that shake up the format.