Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 407

Owens gabs with Austin this episode
Photo Credit:
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
Episode: 407 (Feb. 28, 2017)
Run Time: 1:39:58
Guest: Kevin Owens (12:41)

Summary: Backstage at the Staples Center, Steve Austin finds a tiny room to hit the record button for reigning WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens. After a little small talk about why he has few sports interests outside wrestling, they talk about the recent jaunt to Alaska and some other travel stories. Owens tells Austin about his many years on the independent scene, trying to earn his work and working side gigs. They talk about the moves he uses and those he keeps in reserve, then talk at length about the Stunner Owens used on Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble. Owens explains why he ended things with Chris Jericho and why he’s ready to face Goldberg at Fastlane, then goes back to the start of his main roster career and why he felt like he belonged. They dial back further to starting with NXT, being told not to get his hopes up and getting his WWE name. After sharing thoughts on the importance of microphone work, the guys also talk a bit about social media interaction before riding off into the sunset.

Quote of the week: “As great as my time on the independents was, and as much as I enjoyed myself and as crucial as it was for me to get here, I feel, I was really ready for it to be done. Like, I always wanted to be in WWE. So now that I am, you know — it’s funny, ’cause I kinda had this talk with somebody last week in Alaska, when we showed up in Fairbanks and the bus that was supposed to pick us up wasn’t there for some reason, and we had to take cabs, and we had to wait for ten minutes in the blistering cold. The next day, someone that shall remain nameless at the show, was kinda complaining about it in the trainer’s room. And I saw his point, or her point… but I said, ‘Look, look, if I came to Alaska for an indie show, I would have been dragging my giant suitcase full of merch, everything, there wouldn’t have been a bus anyway, I would have had to hop in somebody’s car that’s too small, that doesn’t have heating, and he would’ve driven me to his place and I would’ve slept on his couch or in his basement, somebody I don’t know, like this is nothing. Who cares? We have to wait ten minutes in the cold and catch a cab. You know what I mean? Like, now we’re wrestling in front of thousands of people and we’re taking a charter back to Vegas.’ Like, you know what I mean? So to me, that’s nothing. … I feel like if you’ve been around on the indies and stuff, this is — the road is just a very easy sacrifice to make in order to live this life and, you know, achieve this dream.”

Why you should listen: This is such a magnificent interview I wish Austin and Owens would release at least 15 minutes of fresh audio each day. There’s no highlight, it’s all great. Austin actually is learning from Owens, since the host never had to book himself onto shows or experienced the modern WWE developmental environment. They straight up bust each other’s chops about the Stunner, starting with Austin teaching Owens the proper form for maximum efficiency and Owens noting the Rock still was able to kick out despite taking a Stunner from the master. Owens is brilliant at keeping kayfabe (such as with respect to Jericho and Goldberg) while also revealing far more than WWE television allows, and Austin is all too happy to get the chance to participate in the working aspect of it all. Like his earlier calls with Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady or Bull James, you leave this episode being that much more invested in the guest’s professional success, but because Owens is on the other microphone — someone who could by all rights headline WrestleMania this or any succeeding year — it genuinely feels like a meeting between two titans that we’re lucky enough to witness (well, audibly witness).

Why you should skip it: If you’re full out on WWE’s current product, pass. If you love Kevin Steen and not Kevin Owens, then go look up an old Art of Wrestling appearance. Other than that, I cannot imagine a current fan listening and not enjoying.

Final thoughts: WWE should promote this show. It might not have gone this well had it been done in their studio for the Network, but now that it has, it’s a shame if they don’t let everyone see this side of Owens. Both guys come across as good as ever. If you haven’t listened yet, I don’t think we’re friends.