Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 289

The audio replay of the Flair podcast gets a review
Photo Credit:
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We 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 many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Steve Austin Show
Episode: 289
Run Time: 1:16:41
Guest: Ric Flair (13:39)

Summary: It’s the audio version of Austin’s WWE Network interview with Flair at the Broken Skull Ranch. Flair opens with the story of his adoption and childhood, explains how he and Ken Patera came to train with Verne Gagne, how he made the jump North Carolina and the plane crash that changed his life. He also explains the evolution into “The Nature Boy” and the touring load of the NWA World Champion. After getting into his fashion choices and relationship with Dusty Rhodes, Flair talks about his 1991 jump to the WWF and being paired with Bobby Heenan. That leads to discussing his retirement at WrestleMania XXIV, which gives way to talk about his family, specifically children Reid and Ashley/Charlotte. Flair gives his thoughts on Triple H, NXT, Vince McMahon and the end of WCW. At the end, he plugs his own WWE Network projects and explains how he hopes his legacy is of being the hardest worker in pro wrestling.

Quote of the week: “I get the business. You know, I told people I didn’t like it when (Jerry) Lawler was wearing out Bret Hart’s parents, because it’s like personal, you know what I mean? And even though Bret’s family — I’ve asked Bret, his mom and dad loved it, you know? It’s emotional, but I don’t blame anybody for it. And the thing that I have since found out is Ashley said, ‘Yeah.’ ”

Why you should listen: Austin pledged to try to cover different topics from his earlier podcasts with Flair (either as host or guest) and had several successes — notably the stuff about Flair’s birth and adolescence. While observes have many fair question’s about Flair’s character and life choices, no one can say he isn’t at least cognizant of his responsibility for the way things have gone, for good and ill, and that candor is on display. Also, though it almost goes without saying, it’s nice to be able to bang this out at 2x without waiting for the Network feed to buffer.

Why you should skip it: This episode premiered on the Network about 12 hours before it showed up in podcast feeds, so chances are most folks took the chance to catch the souped-up video version. And while WWE probably leaned on Austin to talk about certain topics that could both be paired with video clips and tie in to Flair’s current on-screen role, those also represent the most-explored parts of Flair’s life and career, which makes them least interesting to most listeners.

Final thoughts: Austin likes to point out his podcast is different from the show he hosts on the Network, and this is a great example of why he feels that way. It’s not to say one is better or worse than the other, but there is (no surprise, being a WWE joint) a feeling of overproduction on these interviews that draws a sharp contrast to the raw nature of the regular podcast. No further WWEN podcasts have been announced, but it wouldn’t be surprising for another handful to pop up on the Road to WrestleMania.