Friday, October 30, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 268

Buff is the stuff on this week's Austin  Unleashed
Photo 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 — Unleashed!
Episode: 268 (Oct. 29, 2015)
Run Time: 1:29:29
Guest: Marcus Alexander “Buff” Bagwell, part one (16:10)

Summary: Austin’s guest this week is former WCW (and briefly WWF) colleague Buff Bagwell. The first part of the chat moves quickly, from Bagwell’s early ability to always find a camera, his family’s lumber business going under, high school football, becoming a massage therapist, amateur boxing and working punches, meeting Missy Hyatt and training with Steve “The Brawler” Lawler, becoming the Handsome Stranger, stripping on the side and ending his relationship with first wife. After the break, Bagwell discusses at length his upcoming documentary, heat with Jim Ross and the infamous Booker T match on RAW, his falling out with WWF brass and his unexpected conflict with 2 Cold Scorpio. Near the end, Austin decides he wants to do a second part.

Quote of the week: “(Stripping) kind of filled the void. And all the boys knew I was trying to make it into wrestling. And I remember sitting in the locker room and watching me on ESPN as the Handsome Stranger, and all the guys were like, you know, ‘You’re gonna make it man, you’re gonna make it!’ And I’m like, ‘Well, I hope!’ You know, ‘I don’t know!’ So it really was something that helped me out.”

Why you should listen: Bagwell is an interesting mix. He’s absolutely privileged and full of himself, yet completely self aware and understanding of the importance of trying to be his version of a good person. I really liked the format where Austin did the Wikipedia run through on the front half and then deep dives after his ad break, and kudos to Austin for allowing Bagwell — who politely asked for permission — to air his side of stories that paint Austin’s allies in a dim light.

Why you should skip it: While this is a pretty solid interview, it’s hard to argue it’s essential. Bagwell was on Episode 191 of Art Of Wrestling, and that’s certainly a more concise way to get the meatiest parts of his tale. The Scorpio stuff is frustrating in that it seems exist here only as a means to drive attention to what is surely to be a second-rate homemade “documentary.” This episode isn’t bad, but Bagwell is no Jake “The Snake” Roberts.

Final thoughts: I try to not fully judge a podcast interview until I’ve heard both parts. That strategy was compromised a bit here because I didn’t know it was only part one until the end, and by then I’d already formulated most of my thoughts. That said, if you’re torn between listening to Austin talk with Bagwell and the Tuesday show with Ryback, you probably can’t go wrong either way, it’s just a matter of which wrestling era more fully grabs your fancy.