Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 300

The Big Show live show is recapped this episode
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: 300 (Feb. 18, 2016)
Run Time: 1:12:55
Guest: The Big Show (13:17)

Summary: It’s the audio-only version of Big Show’s post-RAW appearance on Austin’s live WWE Network podcast. Once Show catches his breath, the talk moves into what Show misses about wrestling from when he started, his reaction to fans who want him to retire and how his unusual size affected his childhood. After a break, Show discusses his sense of humor and how he hit a low point in life before a chance meeting with Hulk Hogan led him into wrestling. Show recalls winning the WCW World Championship in his first match, explains the World Championship Wrestling side of the Monday Night Wars, how the jump to WWF came about and the positive influences he encountered working in New York. Austin asks about career regrets, then they fondly recall the Floyd Mayweather story and talk about film work before riding off into the sunset.

Quote of the week: “If you had put a piece of coal up my ass I’d have made you a diamond. I was terrified out of my mind. I was so wound up on not knowing what to do with myself — I was truly petrified because I knew what this business is about, I knew what that championship signified, I knew the responsibility was put on me, but I had no idea how to handle it because I had no idea what to expect. … That championship is a weapon to pull tickets in, to fill seats with asses, to draw money for your fellow coworkers, and they’re looking to you to do that.”

Why you should listen: If you missed this when it aired on the Network, or if they’ve gone back to clean up the cursing, or if you just don’t have Network access, by all means give a listen. Show has talked about his life and career on various podcasts, but not with this degree of detail and honest emotion. I was especially interested in the stories from the earliest days of the Nitro era and Show’s frank analysis of not just his own character but his understanding of his value to WWE.

Why you should skip it: This, more than any earlier Austin Network show, appeared to rely heavily on visual content, especially still photographs from Show’s personal life, which are much more frustrating to the audio-only listener than a clip from a match that can be easily remembered. If you’ve heard Big Show on any podcast, especially Austin’s, some of this will be old hat. If you missed the video version but read a detailed write-up in between that airing and the podcast release, it’s safe to say you don’t need to hear the words said out loud to fully appreciate the interview.

Final thoughts: Even though I don’t assign letter grades here, I sometimes think these Network episodes need to be graded on a curve because they’re so much different from what Austin does on his independent podcast (independent from Titan Towers, at least). That said, the purpose here is not to evaluate this show against the earlier episodes with Ric Flair or Shawn Michaels and so on, just to tell you if it’s worth the hour you’ll spend listening. And in that context, it’s absolutely a strong interview, easily the most useful and enjoyable hour of wrestling audio from the week it aired.