Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin 400, 401, 402

A trio of Austin interviewing legends
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: 400 (Feb. 2, 2017)
Run Time: 1:36:31
Guest: Bruce Pritchard (13:00)

Summary: Steve Austin dials up his old buddy Bruce Prichard to talk about the origin of his new podcast. That leads into discussion about Kurt Angle and how the WWE Hall of Fame inductees are chosen. After a few stories about Jim Cornette, Austin and Prichard recall their many years together working together on creative development. Austin asks Prichard for his input on what it takes for a wrestler to truly get over. Discussing how a crowd can control the product, they reflect on Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock at WrestleMania X-8. Austin solicits Prichard’s reaction to the John Cena-AJ Styles match, which leads into stories about the creative machinations behind a Royal Rumble match. They wind up discussing the technical side of getting a podcast off the ground.

Show: Steve Austin Show
Episode: 401 (Feb. 7, 2017)
Run Time: 1:27:09
Guest: Robert Gibson (14:31)

Summary: Steve Austin was so excited to hear about the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express getting into the WWE Hall od Fame he called Ricky Morton, and rather than pass on congratulations, Morton suggested Austin also call Gibson. That quickly turned into a podcast interview. After talking briefly about the induction, Gibson told Austin about how and why he learned sign language, shared stories about his family and starting out in the business, then recalls his brother’s car wreck, a real turning point. Gibson explains how he ended up partnered with Morton and some of their early breaks, talks a bit about their legendary feuds with the Midnight Express and dealing with being loved by fans. He tells the sad story of his knee injury and losing their gig with the NWA, then explains how Jim Cornette brought them into Smoky Mountain Wrestling. Wrapping up, Gibson speaks a bit about his wrestling school and other current affairs.

Show: Steve Austin Show — Unleashed!
Episode: 402 (Feb. 9, 2017)
Run Time: 1:18:52
Guest: Paul Roma (15:58)

Summary: In the first of at least a two-part interview, Steve Austin is on the phone with Paul Roma. They go over Roma’s athletic background, specifically his brief dalliance with professional football, then spend a good chunk of time discussing his early days in the WWF, notably the importance of his relationship with Mr. Fuji, how and who he learned from in the ring, a few stories about ribs and being close with Harley Race. Ausin asks about how contracts and payment worked in the mid-1980s, which leads into Roma’s stories about the formation of the Young Stallions, his falling out with Jim Powers and how he ended up teamed with Hercules. After a few stories about Paul Orndorff and others who provided key advice, Austin teased the second part of the talk focusing heavily on the Power & Glory years.

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I’m lumping all three shows in one posting her because they have so much in common — it’s essentially Austin chatting up some of the old boys, and if you like one you’ll like them all. The beauty of the guest lineup is there’s very little overlap in terms of where the guests worked, which means each conversation feels fresh, but listening to them in short order allows the guests to be compared, which is especially interesting with respect to Gibson and Roma because of their similarities and stark differences. Austin’s still doing solid work that doesn’t need to be spectacular to be appreciated.