Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 176

If you want meaningful opinions on Vince McMahon's comments, don't listen to this Austin show
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: 176
Run Time: 1:42:21
Guest: Ted Fowler

Summary: Stone Cold and Ted Fowler are drinking and podcasting at the Broken Skull Ranch. They answer a few listener questions about Austin’s podcast with Vince McMahon, including ones regarding Jim Ross’ future with WWE, how WWE can increase its appeal to different types of fans and the controversial “brass ring” statements. There’s also a lot of chatter about hunting, dogs, rattlesnakes, country music and, oddly enough, the Speed Racer theme song. Austin’s Match of the Week is his Halloween Havoc 1991 two-out-of-three-falls encounter with Dustin Rhodes.

Quote of the week: “When you first get in the business of pro wrestling, you learn how to wrestle. You learn how to fall. You learn how to take a bump. You learn the basics. You don’t learn how to throw a chair shot ’til you’ve got to throw a couple and receive a couple. Then all of a sudden you’re either good or bad at it, but you know how to do it. Same with getting color, blading yourself. You learn on the fly and with repetition comes knowledge and experience and your level of skill. Same thing with jamming an enema gimmick up someone’s ass.”

Why you should listen: Well, Stone Cold sings the Speed Racer theme song both with accompaniment and a capella, so there’s that. You’ll also learn about his podcasting equipment, what kind of softball bat Ted Fowler swings, why they prefer to own female dogs and pick up a few music suggestions.

Why you should skip it: It’s not that the guys don’t talk about wrestling, it’s that when they do you want to reach through the speakers and slap them. The real quote of the week is from a listener email who basically tries to get Austin to answer the most important question stemming from the McMahon podcast. How are these young guys supposed to take chances and push the envelope when everything they say and most of what they do is so heavily scripted? Austin’s answer amounts to “How do they push the envelope? They go out there and push the envelope.” Even Fowler has better insight. When they’re not infuriatingly noncommittal, Austin’s answers about questions are frustratingly familiar.

Final thoughts: I’m generally inclined to give Austin the benefit of the doubt in regards to his talk with McMahon and thoughts about CM Punk, but this episode reached a boiling point. Austin is well known for openly discussing how he managed his own mid-1990s ascension and especially lamenting the structure limiting contemporary performers, but when presented a golden opportunity to detail the frustration of guys who seem to be unable to break through to the upper echelon, he more or less defers to the Titan Tower suits. Perhaps other folks should listen for themselves just to fully understand the frustration, but that’s a pretty weak reason to spend more than 90 minutes with a show. It might just be Austin was more interested in drinking with his buddy than really deconstructing McMahon’s circular logic and some day we’ll get real answers. If it happens, you and Hershey the Wonder Dog will be the first to know.