Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 222

A good bit of Neville talk on the Austin show
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 Unleashed!
Episode: 222 (May 21, 2015)
Run Time: 1:44:38
Guest: Wade Keller (7:27)

Summary: Austin is on the phone with Keller for their now regular WWE pay-per-view recap. They do a match-by-match analysis of the card (excluding the preshow), with Keller giving information on how stories developed on RAW and looking ahead to Elimination Chamber. That bleeds into some brief talk about some of the stars of NXT, notably Kevin Owens, Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe. The Word of the Day is organic.

Quote of the week: Keller: “Neville is amazing, and I’m really glad that WWE is giving Neville a chance to just do what he does best without belittling him. Given how they treated Daniel Bryan, and to a degree how they still do: ‘Oh, he’s a goat face. And he’s not the face of the company,’ and all the stuff that they said about him. With Neville, they’re not saying ‘Oh, he lacks charisma,’ and ‘Oh, he can barely talk, what’s wrong with him? And look at that face.’ … They’re not doing that. He’s the Man Gravity Forgot, and he’s got a really cool ring entrance, I love what they did with the ring entrance, and they just are accentuating and shining a spotlight on the considerable list of strengths that he has.”

Why you should listen: Finally, someone takes the time to do a proper, sequential breakdown of Payback. In so doing, Austin reveals a willingness to engage the whole of the main roster, not just the featured acts, and the discussion of the NXT standouts shows he’s invested in that aspect as well. Keller is a great partner for Austin’s supercard review episodes, and although we had to wait until Thursday to walk through a Sunday show, at least that allowed for inclusion of RAW segments and a plausible look ahead to the next major WWE card.

Why you should skip it: Austin and Keller are far more favorable in their opinions of Payback than were Jim Ross and Mark Madden. If you were down on the show and don’t want to be contradicted, take a pass. Though I give the episode high marks for incorporating Monday night developments, it should be noted Austin hadn’t yet had time to watch RAW so those segments are Keller reporting what happened (to the best of his sometimes fuzzy memory) and Austin’s first blush reaction, which is not optimal.

Final thoughts: I don’t need Steve Austin to tell me whether or not I should have enjoyed a wrestling show, but it’s gotten to the point where reading a few of my favorite writers and listening to some of the better podcasts helps me sharpen my own critical thoughts about major WWE events. Obviously that’s not everyone’s bag, but if you pay attention to the right voices, you start to learn not just how they feel about the show you both watched, but why and how the wrestling itself evoked the emotions you experienced. That’s a good thing.