Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 186

Austin chats with his current boss 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: 186
Run Time: 1:27:23
Guest: Norm Pattiz (28:26)

Summary: This is supposed to be a call-in show, opened with some banter between Austin and PodcastOne producer Stacy, but in the middle there’s an in-person interview with PodcastOne CEO Pattiz. They spend 40 minutes discussing Bruce Lee, life in Los Angeles and old-school LA wrestling, cars and the podcasting business. The caller questions get Austin talking about any matches or angles he found more successful than originally assumed, the difference between Madison Square Garden and Nassau Coliseum, the challenges facing Roman Reigns, dealing with mid-match injuries, Randy Savage, regrets Austin might have, and his bum knees.

Quote of the week: Pattiz: “This is so much fun because it gets me back to the roots of when we started Westwood One because it was all about the content, the programming, the people that you meet, the chances you can take. We take a lot of chances here. (Austin’s show) was a chance, and it turned out to be a home run.”

Why you should listen: It’s not fresh praise, but there remains something endearing about Austin taking the time to completely engage a caller in a real conversation, and when he asks for a fan’s opinion about something related to the WWE, there’s a sense he sees these calls as an opportunity to understand something about how people consume the product and it actually informs the way he frames his criticisms. Some of the Pattiz interview was pretty interesting, but that’s not going to be a widely held opinion — it all depends on if any of the topics he and Austin covered are compelling to an individual listener.

Why you should skip it: There’s a chance you’ll leave this like I did — frustrated Austin didn’t have a real, planned interview with Pattiz. I’ve got no desire to hear a one-percenter talk about his discretionary automobiles and extra houses, but Austin could have probed him for quite a bit longer about the days of Gorgeous George and the Grand Olympic Auditorium, and he also could have asked more questions about the current podcast explosion. Further, as much as I love Randy Savage, we don’t need any more questions about him directed at Austin (they had a three-minute Worldwide match, and if you didn’t know that then you’ve missed Austin recount the story a dozen times already), and I’m also pretty sure nothing else can be said about the time Owen Hart broke Austin’s neck at SummerSlam.

Final thoughts: Pattiz isn’t as complex a figure as Vince McMahon, but I was left wanting more. Perhaps that’s a good thing. Callers trump emails, even if the subjects are a bit redundant. This episode is nowhere near as good as the “lost” interview with Paul Heyman released Jan. 13, so don’t feel bad if No. 186 doesn’t fit your busy schedule.