Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 305

The second part of Austin's Russo interview is this episode's fodder
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: 305 (March 8, 2016)
Run Time: 1:17:49
Guest: Vince Russo, part two (10:43)

Summary: The second half of Austin’s phone call with Vince Russo opens with the guest detailing has aborted 2002 return to WWE. Then Austin asks about the rash of concussions and injuries plaguing WWE. After a break, the topic turns to WrestleMania — in generally and specifically the next one in Dallas, which bleeds into discussion regarding Roman Reigns and Russo’s thoughts about the need for wrestlers to take risks in regards to furthering their character. They end with more of Russo’s big-picture criticism of WWE’s general approach.

Quote of the week: “The second that Vince put Stephanie in charge of creative, I knew he made the biggest mistake in the history of his company, and I’ll tell you why. Because if Stephanie did a bad job, and if she didn’t deliver in that position, Vince ain’t gonna leave egg on his daughter’s face. That’s his daughter, bro! That’s his little girl! So no matter what happens with the numbers, no matter what happens, he’s got to stick with his daughter ’cause he’s not going to, embarrass — he’s not gonna do that! First and foremost, the guy’s a father. Bro, anybody else in her position, bro, they woulda been gone over six months to a year. Gone! Goodbye! So I think that mistake cost them dearly and I don’t think they’ve rebounded. And you know what, Steve? It’s nothing against Stephanie, but you can’t teach people creative. Bro, you’re either creative, or you’re not creative. You can’t teach people creative!”

Why you should listen: You could spin this as a component of the current Shane-Vince-Stephanie story — the opening at least — but that’s probably the most generous light in which to consider the episode, and it really only covers about 10 minutes of conversation. After that, you should only listen if the alternative is literal physical torture. And even then…

Why you should skip it: The more Russo says “bro,” the more Austin says “dude.” Which is about the least bad thing going. I weighed in on Russo plenty last week following part one, but it should be noted that in this installment he’s a different kind of aggravating because he is so full of contradictions. Back when he was a kid, wrestlers looked like wrestlers, but you can’t run a promotion like you did in the 70s and 80s. Wrestlers need to be encouraged to take risks on the microphone to stand out, but they should stop being so flashy in the ring because it confuses the crowd. People like UFC because it’s a real fight, so wrestling needs to go back to its roots of character and story development. All the writers now are young Hollywood types who don’t understand wrestling, but Vince McMahon can’t fix the company because he lives in a wrestling bubble and doesn’t understand what’s popular on TV these days. I could go on, quite a bit, actually, but the essence is this: If he makes a point you come close to thinking is logical, give him a few minutes when he negates that argument and somehow things he’s advancing the cause. That anyone thinks his opinion is even remotely valid is beyond baffling.

Final thoughts: Here’s the thing about Russo; it’s not just that he’s abrasive and full of himself. Hell, most of the people I love in wrestling can wear one or both of those — proudly, in some instances. But Russo is so consistently, aggressively, brazenly wrong it makes no sense why anyone, let alone Austin, would give him a platform. He has an interesting story and a career worth remembering if only because of his influence. But his opinions on anything he wasn’t directly involved in are wholly invalid — and the reason is he’s the one who invalidates them with his own tortured logic. Please, for the love of all that is holy, spare yourself and listen to something else, even if it’s Jim Ross interviewing “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. You will thank me, I promise.