Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 404

Roma is on for the second part of his Austin interview
Photo via Online World of Wrestling
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: 404 (Feb. 16, 2017)
Run Time: 1:16:14
Guest: Paul Roma, part two (18:46)

Summary: It’s part two of Steve Austin’s phone call to Paul Roma. After some talk about his ring pacing and how soon he felt he understood the business, Roma tells a story about running afoul of Koko B. Ware and revisits the creation, rise and fall of Power and Glory. After an aside about why Lex Luger failed under Vince McMahon’s province, Roma explains how and why he decided to leave the WWF, how he became a member of the Four Horseman and why that never clicked. He gives Austin his take in the difference in working for the two companies, then talks about coming together with Paul Orndorff and his series of matches with Alex Wright that led to Roma getting fired. They wrap up discussing Roma’s wrestling school and share a few quick road stories.

Quote of the week: “I said, ‘Took care of me?’ I said, “I could have lost my arm in that WrestleMania. And I still went out there ’cause you begged me to go out there ’cause we were wrestling against Demolition. I said Ray had a torn groin, he re-tore it the night before, he could hardly move.’ I said, ‘My elbow, they told me in the hospital I could lose it if I land on it, yet I still went out there for you. You took care of me? You didn’t do shit for me.’ So he swelled up, you know, Vince starts swelling up, and I said, ‘You better sit your ass down. I ain’t fucking playing with you.’ And he was at the other end of the table. I said, ‘I’m done.’ I said, ‘So, have a good life, basically,’ you know? ‘I’m on my way.’ Walked out the door. Never looked back. That was it.”

Why you should listen: Unlike many of Austin’s other two-part shows, in which he places two separate phone calls, this seems to be just the second half of one long session, which leads to a lot less repetition than usual. If you enjoyed part one (I wrote it up as part of a look at two other episodes), you’ll definitely want to stick around here. Roma is certainly telling his side of every story, but when was the last time you thought about Paul Roma? He comes off as a deeper person than most would give him credit for based on his on camera career alone, and that’s worth something.

Why you should skip it: At the end of the day, it’s still Paul Roma. Aside from being a fellow human being deserving of the same basic respect we should afford all of creation, does his career really warrant a second thought? His tough talk for Pat Patterson and Vince McMahon is a fun listen, though it’s hard to take him any too seriously (46-year-old Vince is not backing down from a fight with Roma in 1991), even if you don’t care the WrestleMania match he referenced was against the Legion of Doom and not Demolition (honest mistake, right?). Long story short, if you gave the first part a chance and weren’t moved, don’t bother here. And if you skipped the first one hoping the second would be better, well, this isn’t exactly your lucky day either.

Final thoughts: I really don’t want to bag on Paul Roma. I thought it was fun to hear from him, especially since this type of nostalgia interview is usually reserved for someone who engendered actual fan affinity somewhere along the way or had some real highlights before being cartooned up in New York. Roma doesn’t fit either of those categories, but he’s still part of the 1980s and 1990s wrestling fabric, and after hearing so many spins on the same major talking points, sometimes it’s nice to hear something totally fresh, even if it’s entirely inconsequential.