Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 314

BADABOOM, realest podcast guests in the room. HOW YOU DOIN'?
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: 314 (April 7, 2016)
Run Time: 1:30:20
Guest: Enzo Amore and Big Cass (12:17)

Summary: From his hotel room in Dallas, Austin sits down with NXT superstars Enzo Amore and Big Cass. Bouncing between the two, Austin get’s Amore’s background in college football and moving pianos, flips to Cass going from studying medicine to wrestling training with Johnny Rodz, then back to Amore’s strength training and childhood Shawn Michaels. They briefly recount how they met, then Cass recalls his own childhood fandom, which leads to all three praising Bret Hart. After a break, they all go deep on tag team psychology, then Amore explains how connected with Triple H and his first days in FCW. Cass talks about battling nerves and developing confidence, then they end praising the NXT movement and explaining their general schedule. After closing the interview, Austin remembers Merle Haggard.

Quote of the week: Amore: “The boys wanna make sure that they do (Matt Bloom) proud, you know what I mean? Like we all go out there try to put on for Hunter, too, who’s our boss, who gave us this opportunity. ’Cause we started at FCW — 10 fans, 20 fans — now you just saw last night 10,000 people, roof gettin’ blown off the place, and me and Big Cass have had an opportunity to be a part of that from the get-go, really, and to watch the growth of this NXT product, to see a guy like Matt Bloom come in, take control of the Performance Center and to see this product that’s evolving on TV, and Hunter, and all the things that he, you know, said that he wanted to do that we all heard. And you never wanna say, your boss is blowin’, you know, gas, but then to see it happen, it’s just, it’s been unreal.”

Why you should listen: Of course Amore and Cass are great. That practically goes without saying. But the best part of this episode is hearing the joy in Austin’s voice as he connects with the up-and-comers. Austin listens to Cass explain how he became an Austin fan at Survivor Series 1996 and turns it into a Bret Hart lovefest. He tells Sportartorium stories about his own youth and flatters Amore by comparing him to wrestling legends. None of it is gratuitous or saccharine, and I sincerely hope this rub well-deserved rub translates beyond the podcast audience.

Why you should skip it: Well, you shouldn’t. But it could have been better, if only because it’s incredibly difficult to use one interview to get divergent life stories from two different people. Most listeners will end up wishing Austin had been able to dig much deeper into each guy’s past — more so Cass, as Amore seemed to clam up about some of his more salacious circumstances — or else spent the bulk of the show tracing the team’s past from when Amore arrived at FCW. (Also, maybe don’t ask Cass his shoot height? K, thanks.)

Final thoughts: Perhaps someone else might have been able to give a more balanced look at this episode, because I am so remarkably in the tank for Amore and Big Cass I had a huge smile on my face from the moment I saw the episode title to the very end of the interview. Even if you’re not as much in love with the Realest Guys In the Room, there’s some pretty good stuff on life in developmental, and catching Austin in the midst of his WrestleMania high is just pure fun. Enjoy this one, folks, because we might be headed into a bit of a guest lull.