Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 390

Austin speaks to Eric Embry this week
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: 390 (Dec. 29, 2016)
Run Time: 1:46:37
Guest: Eric Embry (4:15)

Summary: While still at the Broken Skull Ranch, Steve Austin took a break to place a phone call to Eric Embry. They talk about the 1992 car wreck that ended Embry’s career but potentially saved his life, then go back in time for Embry to share his memories of training with Lou Thesz, how he developed an understanding of wrestling psychology and tell some stories about his time in Dallas with the Von Erichs and Gary Hart at the Sportatorium. Embry explains how he leaned on Chris Adams to stop training Austin and turn him loose on the road, then reflects on the pressure of being a booker. After some shooting on Jerry Lawler, Embry explains his role in the process that eventually paired Vince McMahon and the USA network. Near the end, they discuss Embry’s AWA SuperClash III match with Jeff Jarrett, then tease some of the subjects that should come up on their next phone call.

Quote of the week: “I lived in the Sportatorium for a long time! Me and those big rats, the four-legged rats. And the winos right across the street … all the interstates and the underpasses right across the road from the Sportatorium. Steve, I could not count the times I would go to McDonald’s and buy 50 cheeseburgers, hamburgers, and go over there under the overpasses. And they would sing and play guitars and be drunker than skunks and party with the winos, the homeless under the interstate. I mean — unreal.”

Why you should listen: Embry is definitely a lesser-known figure from Dallas, Florida and Memphis wrestling, but he worked closely with the icons of each territory. As such, he’s overflowing with stories and opinions, and listening to this interview is most definitely a welcome walk down memory lane — or perhaps your first exposure to some of the business’ more interesting events. It’s always enjoyable when Austin taps into his childhood fandom, and his deference to Embry works well here to establish the guest’s credentials.

Why you should skip it: The guys talked for 90 minutes and still didn’t get to what’s probably the best part — Embry’s time in Puerto Rico and his promise to deliver the other side of the story of Bruiser Brody’s murder. There is plenty of good stuff in this episode, but if you’ve been listening to Austin with any regularity there’s also a fair amount of redundancy — how many different ways can we pay tribute to the Sportatorium? — and Embry’s particular conversational style doesn’t come across as expedient.

Final thoughts: If you come in to this understanding it’s little more than a couple of old running buddies hashing out stories of the old times — with the younger one frequently interjecting to press for more details about something he never quite understood in full the first time — you’re likely to enjoy the experience. It’s definitely a welcome break from another tipsy talk with Ted Fowler, and that he released this between Christmas and New Year’s showed Austin’s commitment to his audience, and if this one is judged in the context of what else was available at the time, it scores much higher.