Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 298

Austin has a repeat documentarian guest this week
Photo Credit: WWE.com
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 — Unleashed!
Episode: 298 (Feb. 11, 2016)
Run Time: 1:40:50
Guest: Chris Bell (10:00)

Summary: Austin conducts an in-person interview with repeat guest Bell, the filmmaker behind Bigger Stronger Faster and the new Prescription Thugs. In a conversation that doesn’t play out sequentially, they spend a lot of time discussing Bell’s late brother Mike, who was an aspiring pro wrestler, Chris’ personal addiction story, making the new movie and the role of the pharmaceutical industry in America, his relationship with his parents as well as with other addicts like Scott Hall and Jake Roberts. There is some talk with his girlfriend, Lauren, a positive life influence. At the end they look at his future plans, including a World’s Strongest Man competition project, and discuss Lucha Underground and the Super Bowl.

Quote of the week: “You don’t want do be a bad person, like, I don’t think any of us want to be an asshole or a bad person or a drug addict. It’s like, we get into that position, we don’t know how to get out of it and then we don’t know how to communicate to our friends and family like we’re in that position and we don’t know how to get out, you know? It becomes difficult.”

Why you should listen: Are you a chemist? If so, you might be interested in hearing drug names and dosages thrown around with abandon. Beyond that, anyone who is a fan of Bell’s movies most certainly will relish another chance to go behind the scenes of more than one of his well-known projects. It’s nice to hear Bell’s girlfriend get pulled into the conversation, as she brings a true outsider’s perspective neither Bell nor Austin can provide.

Why you should skip it: This episode is first and foremost a story of struggles with addiction — and there are some losers in that battle, which can be a rough experience for those also traveling this lonesome road. If you’re OK with that aspect but hoping for a bit more insight into the pro wrestling world, it must be said that’s really not what this interview delivers, as the wrestling elements seem incidental at best.

Final thoughts: Since his return to Marina del Rey, Austin has been doing well bringing in real guests. While most have had limited appeal, Bell is perhaps the most broadly interesting. That said, the credit goes more to his topic than Bell himself (especially in contrast to the Broken Skull Challenge contestants) as the actual interview comes off as a bit too rambling and repetitive. If a talented editor got a hold of it and applied some cutting and sequencing, the end result might be quite strong. What we actually got leaves a bit to be desired, but careful listeners will be rewarded with some decent conversation.