Monday, August 24, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 248

Part two of the Austin/Vampiro conversation is profiled here
Photo Credit: El Rey
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: 248 (Aug. 20, 2015)
Run Time: 1:23:11
Guest: Vampiro, part two (15:50)

Summary: Austin finishes his phone interview with Lucha Undergound star Vampiro. They talk about the 1990s evolution of his character, his involvement with the Misfits and Great Muta idolatry. Vampiro explains how he got into booking and details his WCW years and explains the history of his relationship with Konnan. He shares about injuries and a harrowing police training story before reflecting on Eddie Guerrero and discussing the history of Mexican wrestling. There is more talk about Lucha Underground, the origin of Vampiro’s promo style, memories of his time in Japan, another look at his professional influences and, to conclude, he enlightens Austin about Insane Clown Posse and what it means to be a Juggalo.

Quote of the week: “I just didn’t fit in (to WCW). At the time, there was a lotta, lotta big dicks swinging, right? There was a lot of Somas being used, everyone was steroided outta their minds, there was stupid amounts of money and there wasn’t a lot of room for a new guy like me to come in and light a fire under a lot of people’s asses. Cause I was gung-ho, man, I was at my peak, I was ready to rock. It’s just, I hated it, to be honest with you. The coolest thing about WCW is it got me the fanbase I have now who are responding on Twitter. It’s gotten me on your show. But I fucking hated WCW. WCW can go fuck themselves ten times over. If WCW had a reunion today I would buy a ticket just to tell ’em to suck my dick.”

Why you should listen: This was much more enjoyable than last week’s part one. Perhaps it’s because Vampiro moved past his excitement at speaking with Austin, or perhaps it was just better subject matter, but the entire hour seemed far more natural. Though not especially interested in the Vampiro-Konnan beef, I nonetheless found that segment fairly interesting. Vampiro’s honesty about his lack of technical skill and open admission of where he stole the elements that comprised his character is in this case refreshing because, unlike last week, it’s quite rarely weighed against his inflated opinion of his own position.

Why you should skip it: Well, it’s still Vampiro. Though he frequently assures Austin he’s shooting, it’s hard to get past the feeling of, if not outright working, at least heavy embellishment. The world didn’t need anyone else to weigh in on the problems of Nitro-era WCW, nor does Vampiro have much different to say than anyone else about legendary figures like Muta, Stan Hansen, Bruiser Brody and so on. And if you’re staunchly anti-ICP, you can certainly stop listening once Austin makes that transition.

Final thoughts: Only ardent Vampiro devotees need listen to both parts. If you’ve limited yourself to only one, definitely go with this installment. In whole, the first part does lend some helpful context to the second, and it’s certainly not as if the first hour is a total waste, but this half seemed significantly stronger. That said, in whole it’s not going to chart as one of Austin’s essentials, but it’s solid.