Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 207

Lots of Mania talk on the latest Austin show
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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: 207 (March 31, 2015)
Run Time: 1:42:50
Guest: Wade Keller (8:53)

Summary: Austin’s guest this week is Wade Keller of the Pro Wrestling Torch. Their Monday afternoon conversation begins with a look at fan polls regarding WrestleMania 31, which leads into a match-by-match breakdown of Sunday’s supershow that lasts about 80 minutes, and includes thoughts about how 31 might be starting the build to WrestleMania 32. Austin’s Word of the Day is “hard way,” as in how Brock Lesnar came to be a bloody mess Sunday night.

Quote of the week: Keller, on the rarity of ending a WrestleMania with a briefcase cash-in: “This was the exception. The fact that Vince (McMahon) doesn’t normally do this made this work even more, and I thought it was really genius to have a way for Lesnar to lose the title without doing a job. Normally I’m critical of that, because I think, ‘Hey, no, you do the job — you do the honors.’ But Lesnar’s too valuable of a commodity. It fit total storyline sense. It made sense for Seth (Rollins) to do what he did within the rules that are long established with Money In The Bank.”

Why you should listen: I don’t consume any of Keller’s regular Torch content, but I really enjoy him as an Austin conversational partner with regards to breaking down WWE shows. Both guys have a great grasp of not just big-picture storytelling, but also elemental match construction. It’s the kind of talk that helps me understand how what I’m seeing on TV affects my perceptions, getting deeper into the order of a card, wrestlers’ career arcs and when the creative team has its finger on the pulse and when it’s just throwing stuff at the wall.

Why you should skip it: The speculation about what might happen on RAW will be frustrating to anyone who has already seen the most important RAW of the year (so, everyone). Both guys are fairly positive on almost everything at WrestleMania — critical when warranted, of course — so if you hated the pay-per-view you’re probably not going to want to listen to even measured praise.

Final thoughts: Having not listened to anyone else’s WrestleMania recap, though I will hear Jim Ross’ on Wednesday and whatever Cheap Heat offers, I feel safe in commending this episode to your attention. The guys covered the whole show, raised questions about the flat moments and helped me appreciate why the stuff that worked succeeded. If you have WrestleMania fatigue then take a pass, but in the afterglow I really enjoyed this nuts-and-bolts chat, even if there was no one standout segment or revelation.