Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show, Ep. 245

The latest Austin show is a recap of his live podcast with Paige
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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: 245
Run Time: 1:10:48
Guest: Paige

Summary: This is an audio-only re-airing of last Monday's Stone Cold Podcast featuring Paige, on the WWE Network. Since they have just an hour to work with, Austin and Paige hit the main bullet points of a typical interview. Paige talks about the unique experience of growing up in a family of wrestlers, running shows in front of 12 people and having stars like Jake Roberts staying at her house. She started wrestling at 13, so despite her young age of 23, Paige is a ten-year veteran of the business. Her transition to American wrestling in NXT (and before that, FCW) was difficult, but she received helpful guidance from people like Dusty Rhodes and Sara Amato. Paige and Austin discuss being critical of themselves either during the match or after the match, and Austin encourages her to always take a step back and soak in the enormity of what she's doing with her life.

Quote of the Week: Paige - "Dusty was so sweet, and he took me in. There were points where I was like, 'These girls are mean to me, I can't get it, I can't understand, how long am I going to be here for?' I was just breaking down. But he was always like, 'I don't want you to be this girl,' and he would point at someone. He was like, 'You be you.' And his son Cody said it in the best way; he liked his broken toys. Whoever was the full package, he was great with. But those broken toys, he spent more attention with, and he wanted to fix up and shine up and send on their way."

Why you should listen: The most striking aspect of this interview is Paige's honesty. She had a highly unusual upbringing that found her parents doing things that would horrify other families, but Paige proudly owns everything that has happened to her as being important to shaping the person she has become. She has a very thin filter for telling crazy stories, so that's why we get to hear about 15-year old Paige's father forcing her to wrestle immediately after breaking her wrist. This is just how things were for Paige, and she doesn't mind telling us about it. If you didn't know much about her life before this, you will know a whole lot after listening.

Why you should skip it: Out of all the Stone Cold Podcast episodes done on the WWE Network, this one feels the most rushed and unnatural. Both Paige and Austin are constantly editing their own language, which makes us wish they were just on his Unleashed podcast, where Paige could let loose her apparently notorious foul mouth. Austin clearly has someone in his ear guiding him through certain parts of the interview, resulting in awkward moments where Paige says something outlandish and Austin doesn't even follow up on it or probe further, but just goes forward with the next question. Austin admits after the interview that he was "discombobulated" and was not at his best during this episode, and he hopes to have Paige on in the future so he can do it right.

Final Thoughts: There are some very warm memories told of Dusty Rhodes, and you can never go wrong with that. Paige also leaves this interview looking like a very competent professional who aims to better herself and those around her. A very telling moment comes when Paige almost whisper-mumbles that she would like the Divas Championship to be known as the Women's Championship. Saying this might get her in some hot water, and she obviously realizes this as she says it, but it's still a hint of how the female wrestlers in WWE feel about that demeaning designation. This episode might not be the best it could be, but it's valuable for those brief windows of insight.