Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 378

Lynch sits down with Austin for an interview
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: 378 (Nov. 17, 2016)
Run Time: 1:32:28
Guest: Becky Lynch (9:00)

Summary: Steve Austin’s guest at 316 Gimmick Street is Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch. The lengthy conversation doesn’t linger too long on any one topic, starting with Lynch’s background, time in the independents and training with Finn Bálor at age 15, her more serious injuries and the importance of journal writing. Then they talk about the support of her parents, her interests in music and television and how she made it to NXT. The next topics are connecting with a crowd, how Lynch feels about carrying a championship and leading a division as well as her personal influences and the travel obligations of being on the main roster. They bond over the idea of characters being able to express a range of emotions, match preparation and being judicious with use of high spots. Lynch revisits her recent European tour, then they trade thoughts on mixed martial arts before Lynch revisits her time as a flight attendant and explains her philosophy of maximizing opportunities.

Quote of the week: “Whenever I get the time, whenever I get the focus. And I’ll just sit down, or what I love to do is go find a café and just go sit there and just like have my coffee and just sit for a couple of hours, people watch and just write. And just write and write and write and write everything that’s gone down, write everything that I’m feeling and everything that I want and everything that I’m shooting for and it helps, you know, like, sometimes, you know, you get in your head and you’re thinking and it just puts everything out and on paper and it’s looking at you and you can just sort everything out and it’s brilliant. My dad used to have me do it when I was a kid, writing down the price of sweets, you know? Like I went the shop and I got a half a pound of sweets and it was however much, I don’t know, he just said it was great to look at when you got older. And I’ve done it ever since.”

Why you should listen: There’s no doubt Lynch is crucial to the short- and medium-range future of WWE, and anyone already in her corner should come away emboldened in a sense by Austin’s full-throated endorsement. There’s not a ton of new actual information here, but Lynch is an absolutely engaging personality and Austin does a great job presenting as a fan and supporter than a crusty veteran trying to teach a young prospect. The highlights are when the two are on equal footing discussing the actual work of being a pro wrestler, in that those moments leave the listener both more informed about the job in general and feeling they’ve learned something about both host and guest.

Why you should skip it: While I’m glad this wasn’t a two-part interview, there are plenty of times where it seemed a topic warranted more attention than either party was able to commit. Austin clearly was trying to hit on as many parts of Lynch’s life as possible, and Lynch is prone to rambling off her main point, though to be fair it seems some of that is attributable to her nervous energy, justifiable given the situation. This almost certainly would have been a more enjoyable experience within the constrains of (and benefitting from the additional capacities of) a WWE Network live interview.

Final thoughts: I love me some Becky Lynch for a lot of the same reasons I love me some Kevin Owens and any other WWE star whose professional origin story starts with them watching the same WWF shows I grew up on and saying, “I want to do THAT!” and then making the dream a reality. That same spirit is how Austin’s podcast made me a much bigger fan of his career than his actual wrestling did at the time. As such, the combination of the two is great, because Austin is able to communicate the way he sees Lynch as a peer, or at the very least a worthy professional descendant, and I came away feeling thrilled for Lynch she got the opportunity to experience this interview and looking forward even more to what her career holds. If you’re indifferent on Becky Lynch or current WWE, then by no means is there any reason to press play, but I have a hard time imagining anyone with at least a passing interest in the modern product won’t be at the very least entertained by the conversation.