Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Eps. 195/196

Michaels is Austin's guest for his first, clean show last 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
Episode: 195 (Feb. 17, 2015)
Run Time: 1:38:37
Guest: Shawn Michaels (10:20)

Summary: Austin calls up his old friend Shawn Michaels, who is promoting his new book, Wrestling For My Life: The Legend, the Reality and the Faith of a WWE Superstar. Austin wrote one of the forewords, so they talk about the writing process. Moving onto wrestling, Austin asks about Michaels’ approach to matches based on different opponents, then asks about their WrestleMania XIV encounter and how Michaels faced what he thought was the end of his career. That leads into talk about how Michaels’ faith changed his priorities, discussion about his transition into the outdoors world and hunting shows, the choice to move his family from San Antonio to a ranch and homeschooling their children. They discuss how Michaels ended his reliance on drugs, his current state of pain, his 2002 return and if he’s interested in one more program.

Quote of the week: “He was my rock bottom moment. It was me, and you mentioned being a bit out of it. He and I were having our Friday pizza and cookies. I had gone in, as they say, and he was crawling on me and he said, ‘Daddy’s tired.’ And that’s when the realization hit me that, yeah, he was starting to notice now and it was something that I was no longer going to be able to hide. And it was the absolute worst feeling ever.”

Why you should listen: Austin is careful to make this interview more than a Cliff’s Notes version of Michaels’ book, which helps the episode serve as a reason to read the book instead of a cause for anyone who’s read the book to skip the podcast. Neither guy has anything to gain at this point by being anything but honest, and both are more than comfortable with their life choices. So if the topics they cover are of interest, you’re definitely going to be satiated.

Why you should skip it: Because ultimately it’s just one more story of a wrestler who found Jesus and got off drugs. Austin and Michaels acknowledge their good relationship allows them to lapse into small talk having nothing to do with wrestling because both understands the value of being seen for more than what their career once was. It’s good for them but not always great for podcasting, unless you need to know why HBK preferred his Blackberry.

Final thoughts: This one should be an easy choice: If you don’t mind hearing Michaels talk about his religion, chances are you’re going to be interested in hearing his stories and getting a feel for his current state of mind. If you’re not a huge fan of the person behind the character, this will be another 90 minutes of having your suspicions confirmed, and you won’t miss much of anything by taking a pass.

Show: Steve Austin Show Unleashed!
Episode: 196
Run Time: 1:28:54
Guest: None

Summary: Austin and his wife, Kristin, revisit their most recent RV trip from the Broken Skull Ranch back to 316 Gimmick Street before Austin takes a few listener questions. The first of which is from me (no, seriously) and it’s about RV trips, which keeps them going on the theme for another 20 or 30 minutes. When he finally moves on, he tells the story of a dead raccoon at the BSR, considers using plastic owls to scare off woodpeckers, revisits an unfortunate protein spill and, in a bit of wrestling chatter, pays tribute to Michael P.S. Hayes as a career influence.

Quote of the week: “I farted, she walked dead into one, and she says, ‘Goddamn! Is that you? What the fuck is wrong?’ And I said, ‘That, my dear, is a rotisserie chicken fart.’ She said, ‘What’s a rotisserie chicken fart?’ I said, ‘Well, you bought the rotisserie chickens at the store three hours ago. I ate one of the rotisserie chickens and hour ago. Now, as we speak, presto, I bring to you the rotisserie chicken fart. And that sumbitch wasn’t nothin’ but nasty. Goddamn it was bad.”

Why you should listen: Are you taking your four children from Chicago to Oakland this summer in a 32-foot Class C recreational vehicle? Do you smile every time Austin addresses the writer of this recap by name? Then brother, this is the show for you.

Why you should skip it: The only bit of wrestling talk is the Hayes question, and the answer covers well-worn territory, as Austin has repeatedly mentioned his admiration of Hayes as a performer and the role he played in Austin’s WWF run. Beyond that, if you’ve got no interest in RV life or how to get a dead raccoon out of the inside of an ATV, you’ve probably got better ways to spend 90 minutes.

Final thoughts: I’m more than a little biased, but this is my all-time favorite episode of the Steve Austin Show hands down. Now I just have to explain to my wife who Steve Austin is, why I asked him for RV advice and how crazy it is he spent a half hour explaining things to me in podcast form. And also maybe I will need to fully clarify what podcasts are. But who cares? Steve Austin is a prince among men.