Monday, March 2, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Eps. 197/198

Austin had a lot of Fast Lane talk this week
Photo Credit:
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: 197 (Feb. 24, 2015)
Run Time: 1:11:35
Guest: Wade Keller (4:00)

Summary: This week’s show is pretty simple. Austin and Keller break down the WWE Fast Lane show. That’s pretty much the whole shebang.

Quote of the week: (While discussing Lana, Rusev and the announcers invoking John Cena’s age as part of his current feud.)

Keller: “I don’t like it. I think Cena looks like he’s 30 years old. I don’t think there’s any reason to draw attention to the current fan base that loves Cena and make them think his years are limited. … His presentation is as good as it ever has been. I don’t see any reason to start telling fans his days are limited. Unless they’re doing it maybe cause Vince wants to have fans be more willing to embrace Roman Reigns.”

Austin: “You don’t make your number one guy look weaker so another guy can overtake him. They did not do that with Stone Cold when the Rock got hot. It’s all about vying for that number one spot. You don’t to do that, and I think as smart as Vince is as a promoter, as long as he’s been around, that wouldn’t be the motivation in doing that. I don’t know that the motivation to do it was, but I’m telling you, Cena still looks like a million bucks. He’s strong as an ox, he’s a gym freak and he’s a class act. I don’t want age to be his Achilles heel now moving forward to the, what, next two/three years of his career.”

Why you should listen: Because you want to hear two respected professionals be mostly positive about a show that didn’t get widespread love.

Why you should skip it: You’re done with Fast Lane and ready for WrestleMania. Or you don’t want to hear pay-per-view recaps that don’t factor the following RAW episode. Or you’ll be mad when you realize Austin forgot to discuss the Intercontinental Title match when he had Keller on the phone.

Final thoughts: Austin made a good decision to regularly review major WWE shows as soon as possible, but it doesn’t give me a ton to write about. It’s a simple choice: if you care what he thinks about the show (and I find it interesting given his particular perspective), these episodes are can’t miss. But if you’re not super into the current WWE product, then it’s an easy skip.

Show: Steve Austin Show Unleashed!
Episode: 198 (Feb. 26, 2015)
Run Time: 1:43:19
Guest: None

Summary: In an episode recorded Monday afternoon, Austin takes calls from listeners ready to discuss their feelings about Sunday’s Fast Lane. Calls focus almost exclusively on the crowd noise, main event, U.S. Championship match and two “talking” segments (the Triple H/Sting showdown and Bray Wyatt’s Undertaker challenger). Mixed in there is one question about the tag team titles, one about the Stardust/Goldust feud and a real wildcard who wants to chat about “Redneck Island.” The show ends with Austin getting caught of up his Word of the Day feature.

Quote of the week: Austin: “I don’t think one loss makes or break who or what the Undertaker is. Here’s a guy who is respected universally, not only behind the locker room doors but out there in the WWE Universe, nothing but total respect, and losing — you gotta look at it this way: When you go 21-1 at WrestleMania, I don’t think you have to be rebuilt or resurrected from one loss. So I think he is and always will be one of the greatest performers, pro wrestlers to ever step foot in the ring and entertain people and sell tickets. So his credibility is always there.”

Why you should listen: Austin does a great job of using a show like this to give the impression he’s got his finger on the pulse of the fans. While the calls tend to bunch up on the same Fastlane segments, the callers have enough different takes on what we all watched together it at least gives listeners an idea of how other fans perceive the current direction and the road to WrestleMania.

Why you should skip it: It doesn’t take too long for fatigue to set in with seemingly every other question involving Daniel Bryan and/or Roman Reigns alternating with a look at the John Cena/Rusev story. Further, the show was recorded before last Monday’s RAW, so much of Austin’s speculation about how stories might progress is wasted air by the time this episode dropped.

Final thoughts: Austin alluded to this session during his Tuesday episode with Wade Keller. He recorded the calls before his Keller interview, and anyone who listened carefully to Tuesday’s show can discern the influence of these dozen chats on Austin’s part of the conversation. It’s not a stretch then to say listening to the Tuesday show is largely redundant. But I do enjoy Austin’s chemistry with average fans as it reveals how sincere he is with his personality the rest of the time on his other episodes.