Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 324

Hornswoggle, here in the gator costume with Heath Slater, was Austin's guest
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: 324 (May 12, 2016)
Run Time: 1:28:59
Guest: Dylan Postl (10:25)

Summary: Austin is on the phone with one of the folks let go in the recent round of WWE’s releases: the man who portrayed Hornswoggle. Postl explains learning of his release, then talks at length about his difficult childhood, which led into how he encountered Ken Anderson and got into wrestling. He shares road stories, explains the importance of working with Fit Finlay and describes how the birth of his sin forced him to get smart about money. The topic moves to his relationships with WWE colleagues, then his no-compete clause. After a break, the guys talk about their connections with Ultimate Warrior. Other topics are Postl’s WWE Cruiserweight Championship victory, working with Vince McMahon, getting over, the Wee LC match, his wellness policy violation, his movie career and physical condition after a decade with WWE. The interview ends with Postl discussing his immediate and future career plans.

Quote of the week: “It’s not that I don’t care about what I did in the business, because it means more to me than anything. I had a lot of memories on TV, a lot of awesome matches, a lot of awesome things that I’ve done, but the thing you take most from this business, and I honest to God mean it, is the friendships that you make. And it’s so cheesy and so maybe, you know, dumb and overly said … that really made me stay positive, was all these guys texting me saying that they felt bad and if there’s anything that they could do to let them know.”

Why you should listen: Austin does a great job of connecting with Postl — growing up with a stepparent, and also as wrestlers who have run afoul of bosses, endured injuries and especially been informed of their release. Postl paints quite a picture of being on the road with Shawn Daivari, Mark Henry and Great Khali, sheds new light on working with Finlay and ultimately does a great job explaining how he’s so much more than just a little person in wrestling, as well as how he came to embrace the opportunity he still isn’t quite sure he deserved.

Why you should skip it: While the wound clearly is fresh, Postl isn’t here to take shots at his former employer, so don’t hold your breath for that kind of hot fire. The closest we come is Postl explaining the specifics of his wellness policy violation, though that was softened both with his praise for the policy and Austin contextualizing the “shy bladder” excuse as widespread and normal, rather than follow with more probing questions. A good chunk of this was familiar ground Postl covered during his appearance on Art Of Wrestling, but that was several years ago. Also, Postl is comfortable calling himself a midget, but if that bothers you, well, fair warning.

Final thoughts: Postl might not be the first of WWE’s ex-employees I’d want Austin to track down, but he conducted a fairly thorough interview and, more importantly, really connected with him on a personal level. That this conversation was able to happen at all says something important about ongoing good relationship with WWE — which made it all the more amusing to hear Austin get hot about the clause that keeps released talent off any promotion’s television or Internet pay-per-view shows for 90 days. This won’t go down as a classic Austin episode, but it’s well timed and well executed. In the end, it was definitely entertaining and engendered a lot of good will for the erstwhile Hornswoggle. Well done.