Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 211

Austin talked weightlifting, addiction, and diet on this week's first podcast
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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: 211 (April 14, 2015)
Run Time: 1:33:01
Guest: Mark and Chris Bell (14:35)

Summary: Mark Bell is the founder of Super Training Gym. His brother, Chris, is the documentary filmmaker behind Bigger, Faster, Stronger and the new Prescription Thugs. They chat with Austin about steroids and pills, share brief thoughts about WrestleMania 31, discuss Chris’s struggles with addiction and then move on to different exercise philosophies, their favorite wrestlers and moves and the difficulty of in-ring work. The chat ends with a few plugs and some more talk about different foods.

Quote of the week: Chris Bell: “The way that I got off all the pills is basically letting people know. … Once I told my girlfriend about it, she called Mark, and once Mark said basically, ‘Hey, you’re coming to Sacramento, we’re gonna fix this.’ … Once I sat down with my family and my parents said, ‘Hey, we had one son die from this, you’re not gonna die from this. This isn’t gonna happen.’ I mean, that really helped me out.”

Why you should listen: Are you a powerlifter? A gym guy? A diet freak? Tune in to this episode. If you’re a wrestling fan only, there is the expected references to performers who struggled with addiction and those who benefited from performance-enhancing substances, and while the discussion about training as it relates specifically to working a wrestling match is too brief, it is nonetheless interesting. The same could be said for the talk about John Cena’s new springboard stunner. I’d actually like to hear much more on that subject from Austin.

Why you should skip it: I can’t speak for everyone, but when the guys got rolling on either specific weightlifting moves or high-level dietary analysis, my brain sort of glazed over. At the outset, it was quite frustrating for Austin to not get into the meat of the documentaries, especially the new one, after the filmmaker disclosed Triple H and WWE agreed to go on the record about the company’s wellness policy but there “wasn’t enough time.” Leaving something so fundamental out of the film entirely seems to fall somewhere between laziness and dishonesty, and Austin didn’t give a second thought.

Final thoughts: This is an interesting episode, but I certainly wouldn’t call it essential. With the right (read: actual journalist) interviewer, the Bell brothers could be fodder for a deeply compelling podcast. There was only surface mentions of backstage WWE work and the loss of a third brother. On the flip side, had Austin talked to the guys specifically about wrestling, even through the scope of their professional expertise, it likely would have yielded a more broadly entertaining episode. As it stands, the show fails to be either of those two, which is ultimately a disappointment.