Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 221

Barnett shoots the shit with Austin this week
Photo Credit: Josh Hedges/Getty Images via
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: 221 (May 19, 2015)
Run Time: 1:30:11
Guest: Josh Barnett, part one (17:20)

Summary: Austin sits down for the first of a two-part interview with Josh Barnett, a former UFC Heavyweight Champion and veteran of New Japan Pro Wrestling who provides commentary for the promotion’s US. TV show. The guys discuss their acting careers, pro wrestling vs. stunt work, their favorite movies, special effects, music, training for MMA and pro wrestling, the NJPW strong style, working the AXS show and Daniel Bryan. They reminisce about old tough American wrestlers who toured Japan to great acclaim and ended part one sharing views on Lucha Underground.

Quote of the week: “So many guys that you and I probably wouldn’t lend a hand to pick ’em up if they fell and cracked their head open had gotten up to the top at times and made good money and been main eventers. And yet, a guy like Daniel Bryan, who you’d want to give the shirt off your back for him because he’s such a good person, you see them get to that opportunity, and then it’s like, ‘No, this guy deserves to be there. These guys got their shot, you know what I mean, and they were total pieces. Please, just let this guy get some of that moment.’ ”

Why you should listen: Ardent NJPW and UFC fans probably will find this session more enjoyable than the average WWE supporter. Barnett and Austin seem like good friends, and this interview is much more interesting (and less vulgar) than last Thursday’s phone call between Austin and Ted Fowler. It’s always good to be reminded Austin is a man of broader interests than just the RAW/PPV cycle WWE spits out as it underscores his authority when weighing in anything related to pro wrestling.

Why you should skip it: This one didn’t really land with me. Maybe part two will give me more of what I expected. This might have something to do with Barnett’s tendency to drift a bit on his own, and it might be because Austin is too familiar with his guest, such that he avoided the type of pre-planning that leads to a more coherent interview. Ultimately I don’t care enough about Barnett to listen to him get excited about Rush and rail against the ills of movies too reliant on CGI effects.

Final thoughts: As usual, it’s unfair to fully judge an interview until the entire thing is released. Austin needs to have in-person interviews to stay fresh, and this continues that trend, at least for his family-friendly shows. Again, it’s a significant improvement over the most recent Fowler call, and although some folks might not be thrilled with waiting to Thursday for Austin’s thoughts on Payback, this is far more enjoyable than listening to Mark Madden bloviate on Jim Ross’ show.