Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 384

Marella is 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: 384 (Dec. 8, 2016)
Run Time: 1:25:05
Guest: Santino Marella (22:10)

Summary: Steve Austin is at the Broken Skull Ranch and on the phone with the former Santino Marella. They spend a little time bonding over neck injuries and discussing the end of Marella’s WWE career. They also discuss their various forays into acting, then Austin asks about the development of the Santino character. After some discussion of Marella’s extensive background on judo, he tells a few Rip Rogers stories and revisits his pro wrestling training days. The final segment focuses on Marella’s current life as a coach of various disciplines, their thoughts on the current mixed martial arts scene and Marella’s recent foray into hunting.

Quote of the week: “I knew that it was obviously a very serious issue because my disc, which had calcified and become a piece of bone, was touching my spinal cord, so if anyone — you know it came to the point where I’d lock up I’d get, like, shocks of, like, lightning down my spine. And it just — the last thing was Rusev gave me one of those, uh, the Accolade, like the camel clutch, and he was pulling my head back and I’d tap and he’d hold on to it longer and the pain was ridiculous. And that was actually my last match. It just flared up and I couldn’t move, I could not move at all, so I knew in my heart that something had to be done. I guess that’s why I kind of trusted their opinion.

Why you should listen: One of the things I respect most about Steve Austin the podcast host is his complete commitment to treating his fellow wrestlers with complete equality regardless of the nature of their WWE run or their relative success in the business. His fondness for Marella is on display throughout the interview, and their shared history of severe neck injuries makes for some interesting back and forth. Also, if you enjoy hearing Austin talk about hunting, you’ll very much like how he embraces the subject here, given the chance to pepper a newcomer with questions and information.

Why you should skip it: If you just listened to Marella’s recent appearance on “Art Of Wrestling,” you can absolutely take a pass on this one. The interview covers probably 80 percent of the same territory, and aside from Marella’s injury connection with Austin, Colt Cabana was much better suited to elicit interesting stories and insight. Aside from it feeling like a rerun, this one also might disappoint people only interested in Marella’s WWE career, as that’s probably the aspect of his life that gets the least attention in an otherwise detailed conversation.

Final thoughts: If you’re into critical analysis of podcasts, I might suggest listening closely to both this and Marella’s recent Art of Wrestling stint, just to fully understand the ways in which the Cabana and Austin shows present differently, despite ostensibly falling into the same broad category. If you’re just trying to decide whether or not you want to press play on this particular track, I should note it’s in no means a bad interview, it’s just utterly redundant with a show I just heard a few weeks ago and even standing alone doesn’t light any fires in my belly. It’s a pleasant distraction and I really like Marella, but it’s hard to recommend as essential.