Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 256

Scott Hall is the latest guest 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: 256 (Sept. 17, 2015)
Run Time: 1:26:19
Guest: Scott Hall, part one (14:24)

Summary: Austin brings us the next installment of in-person interviews he did while in Georgia to film another season of Redneck Island. He and Hall go fast and furious through a wide range of people (Hiro Matsuda, Barry Windham, Dusty Rhodes, Dan Spivey, the Fabulous Freebirds, Curt Hennig, Jerry Lawler, Cody Hall, Vince McMahon, Verne Gagne, Nick Bockwinkel and Diamond Dallas Page) and topics (training, working in Charlotte, Kansas City, Florida, Europe and Japan, becoming a heel, taking bumps, coaching his son, having people skills, leaving AWA, developing the Diamond Studd, the early WWF days and the Razor’s Edge)… and that’s just part one.

Quote of the week: “I got my son doing a top wristlock takeover. I said, ‘Do it! People who understand wrestling will go, ‘Oh, I haven’t seen that in years.’’ I feel so relevant now in the wrestling scene because I got a son who’s in the New Japan dojo, and we DM back and forth all the time. I often say what I need to hear. Like I’m telling him ‘Just keep grinding, one day a time, put one foot in front of the other, keep going, keep going.’ Then I’ll read it back and go, ‘Oh, I need to apply that to me.’ … I’m just ‘Da-ad’ to him. Not Razor, I’m not that nWo guy, I’m the guy who made him eat his vegetables. I figured out how to deal with that, so I just say nothing until he asks me.”

Why you should listen: Hall has been on a few podcasts in the last year or so, and on WWE television a time or two, but never has he sounded this much like his old self. If the joy at hearing the vitality in his voice isn’t enough, then tune in to enjoy the chance to hear the way the conversation flows so naturally between two longtime friends who happen to be pro wrestling titans. It’s obvious how much respect Austin has for Hall, to the point of deference, and there are several points throughout where it’s clear the esteem is well earned.

Why you should skip it: Some of the ground covered is familiar territory to most people aware of Hall’s career, but the biggest downside is listening along and being sad for what might have been with a guy who had the physical gifts and innate mental acuity to become the best in the business. Somehow hearing him this vibrant brings on a new layer of wistfulness.

Final thoughts: Scott Hall is a great storyteller, so I’m happy to hear him recount events again and again — it seems new details or nuance spring forth with each retelling. This chat isn’t as essential as the Jake Roberts interview, but it is unequivocally enjoyable and fully sets the stage what should be an equally entertaining part two. More of this, please.