Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 311

Waltman is Austin's guest this episode
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: 311 (March 29, 2016)
Run Time: 1:15:52
Guest: Sean Waltman (10:42)

Summary: Austin gets on the phone with his old pal Sean Waltman in advance of their in-person meeting in Dallas later this week. The wide-ranging conversation covers the three-hour RAW format, personal and current roster injuries, advice for young wrestlers, ring construction, Shane McMahon, the 1993 WWF locker room mentality and memorable ribs, the Triple H/Roman Reigns match, Roadblock, engaging a crowd, the influence of Curt Hennig, Scott Hall and Rick Rude, catching up on Scott Norton, distractions and roll-up finishes. Austin’s match of the week is a 1976 Madison Square Garden cage match between Stan Hansen and WWWF Champion Bruno Sammartino.

Quote of the week: “And then he took one of the — one first-class butt-whooping from me. I’m not used to just saying butt, but I’m just trying to be mindful. … Vince asked me to work with Shane at ’Mania, and I was like, at first, ‘Aw man, I want to wrestle a wrestler at WrestleMania.’ Like, I’m so — such a knucklehead back then and so stubborn, and I want everything to be my way, my idea, everything like that, I didn’t understand: Vince is asking me to have a match with his son at WrestleMania. … And he was great! He was great. We had 20-some minutes, man. And I beat the living tar out of him. I told him, I said, ‘If I don’t, like, you know, everybody’s gonna—’ he goes, ‘Yeah, yeah, just gonna have to do it.’ ”

Why you should listen: Waltman usually has a pretty hard time keeping things family friendly, but when he’s not working blue it’s even easier to appreciate his mind for the business. He and Austin are great together, and the upshot there is that it’s a deeper, two-sided conversation that teases out more from Austin than he might otherwise drop in a monologue, yet it doesn’t come across as Waltman seizing control of the show. I especially liked the story about skydiving with Shane McMahon and Madusa, but my biggest takeaway was feeling like these guys are just as excited for WrestleMania as a devoted fan — if not more.

Why you should skip it: The main knock you could hang on this one is it’s somewhat scattershot. It’s billed as a WrestleMania preview, but there’s actually very little discussion about the card itself. The result is a more conventional Austin-Waltman conversation that just happens to take place in late March. Also, there seemed to be a lot more ad breaks than usual. Get that 15-second skip button ready.

Final thoughts: If you’re one of those mopes still clinging to the concept of X-Pac heat, you might see Waltman’s name in the episode title and run for the hills. If so, your loss. This isn’t the best podcast to get a true feeling for the life and times of a truly interesting figure (for that, look up his earlier appearances on Austin’s show, or perhaps his episodes of the Art Of Wrestling and Ross Report), but he’s a smart, funny dude who genuinely loves and understands pro wrestling as a fan and performer for nearly three decades. He’s got good things to say and this is the perfect venue. If you have any time to give on the final stretch of the Road to WrestleMania, this will be worth it for your listening pleasure.