Wednesday, March 2, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 303

Russo is Austin's guest this week
Photo via Russo's Facebook
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: 303 (March 1, 2016)
Run Time: 1:01:54
Guest: Vince Russo (14:30)

Summary: Austin opens up his phone call with human lightning rod Vince Russo with small talk and plugs, which leads into a discussion about booking guests and the difficulties of talking to those actively (or hoping to be actively) working for WWE. Austin takes a hard right turn into mutual admiration for Lucha Underground, which leads Russo into highlighting the importance of character vignettes. After brief praise for New Japan on AXS, Russo lists his reasons for why WWE shouldn’t tailor to hardcore fans and why WWE isn’t getting people over, then answers Austin’s question of if the product should be edgier. Austin then loops Russo into his episode 302 talk with Court Bauer about Shane McMahon’s return before heeding the go-home signal and announcing there will be a part two next Tuesday.

Quote of the week: "When you create these strong characters, the characters need to remain true to themselves. In other words, when I used to write for ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, literally I’d sit there behind my desk writing, I’m putting myself in your boots. What would ‘Stone Cold’ do if this happened, what would ‘Stone Cold’ do if that happened? Because ‘Stone Cold’ would do something completely different than what The Rock would do, than what Triple H would do. They’re all different people, they would react differently. So I would immediately get in Steve’s head — what would Steve do if this happened? If you stay true to all these strong characters that are different, the show writes itself."

Why you should listen: Um… hold on a minute, it’ll come to me. Because there’s not enough people in your life who say the word “bro” every time they take a breath? Because you can’t quite put your finger on the difference between the RAW of the late 1990s and the RAW of the mid 2010s? Because you just need that delicious moment of hearing someone earnestly refer to the Internet Wrestling Community as if it hasn’t undergone a similar evolution as televised entertainment? Because you really need to know what Vince Russo thinks about what Steve Austin said about what Court Bauer thought about Shane McMahon’s return to WWE? If you check those boxes, find that play button daddy.

Why you should skip it: You’re a sentient being with a reasoned outlook on life and especially professional wrestling. Actually, perhaps not even sentience is a requirement for having literally anything better to do with your time.

Final thoughts: Bro, bro, bro, as someone who still listens to Jim Ross’ show every week, I think I’m qualified to say how much worse it is to listen to Vince Russo discuss literally anything. I suggest anyone who values Russo’s opinion does so with such fervor they’re already a paid subscriber to whatever it is he calls whatever it is he sells (I didn’t write down the name and I’m sure as heck not giving it a plug) and as such have already consumed the viewpoints expressed herein. Austin fans should rest assured that he breaks no new ground himself, so if you’ve listened the last few weeks, you know where he stands on the topics of relevance. In other words, remember the time the bulk of the episode was Austin reading an Uberfact and then Kevin Nash making an unfunny dirty joke? That was more enjoyable than this. I would rather hear Austin call another imaginary wrestling match with a fly, or perhaps interview the alligator that lives at the Broken Skull Ranch. Russo might be less obnoxious than hearing Ted Fowler explain his preference for the personal hygiene standards of his romantic companions, but it’s almost impossible to think of a lower bar to clear.