Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 321

Keller and Austin run down Payback
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: 321 (May 3, 2016)
Run Time: 1:34:29
Guest: Wade Keller (9:11)

Summary: Austin calls his regular pay-per-view reviewing partner. They open with praise for the Chicago crowd and the Payback video package that put over WWE’s fresh faces. Then they begin to go through the card, from the opening tag match to the McMahon family setting up Extreme Rules — and they catch the preshow based on its recap package. There’s a bit of looking ahead to the next Roman Reigns/AJ Styles match, but it’s otherwise wall to wall Payback.

Quote of the week: Keller: “I also really liked that they talked about Kevin Owens as a future world Champion, and then Byron Saxton jumped in and was like, ‘Hey, both of them have a tremendous upside.’ I like that they talked about both guys as future main-eventers, not just, ‘Aren’t they nice workers and they’re little guys but they don’t have the body type.’ It’s like that wasn’t even implicit or in the undercurrent to their commentary. The announcers gave credit to not only the wrestlers, but I think gave the fans of these two — whether they’re newer fans or longtime fans of their work — the narrative that they wanted, which is these two are fighting and scratching and clawing to get to the championship, not just settle a lower card feud. So I thought the announcing served this match well.”

Why you should listen: Are you down with Austin raving about the WWE product? This is the show for you, because Stone Cold loved him some Payback. The match pacing, the booking decisions, the ring work, the whole shebang. He even loves the theme music, especially for recent NXT products, which I personally think is a fantastic point that analysts far too often overlook. Keller fits in well, such as when he springboards off the Enzo Amore injury with a question that gets Austin talking about being thrown around the cage during an amped up Big Show making his WWF debut, or when he pauses to praise Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens for reviving the crowd in a crucial moment.

Why you should skip it: This show will be a dud really for only two types of potential listeners. One, people who don’t pay attention to current WWE and only really come around for Austin’s personality and nostalgia; and two, those who make up their minds about a wrestling show and aren’t interested in anyone else’s take, regardless of credentials. If you fall into either camp, perhaps we’ll see you on Thursday for episode 322.

Final thoughts: Unfortunately for my ego, y’all don’t really need me to tell you whether or not to listen to this type of episode. The main upside of Austin having Keller as his repeat review guest is getting small talk out of the way and focusing entirely on the show at hand, which is what elevates his recaps beyond what Jim Ross and Cheap Heat offer. I can’t imagine not enjoying happy Austin reveling in his wrestling fandom, with a few dashes of his professional experience for seasoning, but I’m sure there’s someone out there who would rather hear him talk about hunting knives or microbrews. You’ll have your day eventually — just not this one.