The Steve Austin Show
Guest: Mick Foley
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Recap by Corey Freedman
Top Newsworthy Items
– Austin’s guest today is Mick Foley.
– Foley pleas for Vince McMahon to leave Sasha Banks alone and let her do her thing.
– Both Austin and Foley believe that the current WWE is too overproduced and that not letting talents take risks and learn is greatly hampering their ability to become stars.
– The two also talk talent walking on eggshells because they are too afraid to piss off the higher-ups as well as having too many things to memorize.
– Foley believes The Authority angle is played out, and he worries that with declining ratings, the WWE will only amp up The Authority’s presence on Raw.
Subjects Covered (w/ timestamps)
0:00 – Sponsor Ads
1:40 – Introduction
5:00 – DDP Yoga Ad
7:00 – Start of interview with Mick Foley
8:40 – Foley’s facebook post
13:00 – The Authority
20:15 – Thoughts on Roman Reigns
24:20 – Overproduction
36:40 – Sponsor Ads
38:22 – Finishing thoughts on overproduction
43:00 – Divas
52:25 – Vader and working punches
56:25 – Sponsor Ads
1:04:00 – Walking on eggshells
1:08:50 – Where to start change?
1:13:20 – Foley’s website/wrap up
1:27:00 – Show ends
– Introduction: Austin starts by talking about how he read Mick Foley’s Facebook posts about the state of WWE and reached out to him to discuss just that on today’s show. He also talks about the upcoming return of the Broken Skull Challenge on CMT.
– Mick Foley intro: Austin talks about how he doesn’t want this conversation to come across as two bitter veterans griping about the industry.
– Foley’s Facebook post: Foley talks about having to fight the tendency to put something on social media immediately. He says that his most recent Facebook post stemmed from trying not to over-react last week but feeling the need to get his opinion out. He says he is on the verge of not watching Raw anymore. He talks about not enjoying Raw anymore, but rather being annoyed during his viewing. Foley says that he viewed his feelings on potentially not watching anymore to be indicative of a large portion of the audience (i.e. if Foley isn’t interested anymore, perhaps a large portion of the audience feels the same way).
– Authority: Foley specifically worries that the WWE is going to double-down and make the show even more Authority-heavy than it is right now. They talk about the lack of babyface authority figures on the show. He talks about Triple H being the positive voice for NXT and Stephanie doing such great charity work, and how both of those things make it confusing to watch them be the heel Authority on Raw every week. Austin talks about many of the storyline lacking substance. He also mentions how the storyline never seems to change with The Authority standing in the way of some people winning the title and handing it to others.
– Thoughts on Reigns: Foley think they are trying to put Reigns in the Austin role of trying to fight against The Authority, but he says, obviously, that is a very difficult role to play. He talks about wishing he could talk to Roman very briefly just to give him a few tips (like not crinkling his eyes). Foley talks about Reigns being a hard working and deserving of a top spot, but believe that he could benefit from something like acting classes. The two talk about his facial expressions being off-putting.
– Over-production: Austin talks about how many of the talent are overproduced and that creates a disconnect. He thinks it creates a caricature of what a pro wrestler should be. The two talk about the spontaneity during the Attitude Era playing a huge role in their success. Foley mentions that people benefit greatly from trying things and learning from the reactions (e.g. you can learn a lot from trying something and having it fail miserably). He goes on to say that the overproduction leads to things that are too safe. He says you take away the chance that something truly special will take place.
Foley notes that many of his and Austin’s best promos weren’t scripted and involved them going off the rails a bit. He continues that you couldn’t have asked a writer to script Dusty Rhodes’s “Hard Times” promo. Austin says that when the promos feel genuine, it forces people to listen intently rather than tuning out because everything feels scripted and disingenuous. Austin talks about giving Reigns a couple of bullet points but generally letting him respond and try to be himself as he is trying too hard to be what the WWE sees him as. Foley brings up a meeting with Vince before the Attitude Era began where Vince admitted he needed to do things differently (e.g. getting more input from the wrestlers themselves).
Foley talks about the feeling of being part of something that was taking off. Austin brings up the notion of the lack of scripting/overproduction making it feel less like a real sport. He mentions that great things can come from a little chaos. Foley mentions that wrestlers doing the same moves over and over again also make it feel less like a real sport and more like something that is choreographed too clearly.
– Divas: Foley brings up being really disappointed last week when Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks only got four minutes on Raw. Austin tells a story about wrestling Chris Benoit on Smackdown and telling him that they were going to wrestle until Austin said “go home” because the amount of time they were given simply wasn’t enough. Both agree that the women are working a more classic pro wrestling style than some of the men. They both talk about the 50/50 booking that goes on in many matches that creates a lack of storytelling. Both Austin and Foley talk about how great Sasha Banks is. Foley mentions that she really captures your attention when she is wrestling. Foley makes a plea to Vince McMahon to “let her do her thing.” Foley continues “you are 70, Vince, she is 23, you don’t speak for everyone out there.” He continues by mentioning the “we want Sasha” chants, and pleas that Vince leave her alone and give the people what they want. He notes that it genuinely makes him sad to see someone work so hard and be so talented and be led in so many different directions.
– Vader/Working punches: The two talk about Vader deserving to be in the Hall of Fame. They also talk about how strong Vader’s working punches were. This leads to a discussion of whether Austin’s working punches were too strong. Foley talks about Vader being able to give a face a bump just by putting on a good match with them/garnering heel heat. He continues talking about how when he came to the WWF, Vader was mis-used and had too many people in his ear telling him how to be a heel.
– Walking on eggshells: Austin brought up Vader in the WWF because he felt like he was walking on eggshells (he was told to do so many things that he ended up not taking any risks and tried to please too many voices). He and Foley believe this to be a big problem with today’s roster. Foley talks about talent being too concerned with memorizing and not allowing themselves to be genuine and take risks that might lead to greatness. He mentions The Rock, along with himself and Austin, as people who had natural talent that they were allowed to flesh out and explore without fearing consequences backstage too much.
– How to create change?: Foley mentions that he has offered numerous times to go to the WWE offices and express his opinion. He notes that there is no cost to them of hearing his opinions, but he feels like it would benefit them to at least hear what he has to say. He thinks they need to hear some hard truths. Foley thinks they could do worse than to sit down with people who have been successful and hear their thoughts on the current product. Foley says that once guys are afraid of making mistakes, the show loses quality. Austin says that making mistakes and picking yourself up is how guys thrive and vault to the top.
– Foley’s website/wrap up: Mick talks about his website and “Sock Tuesdays.” He also talks about the road starting to kick his ass. Foley brings up Drew Galloway (formerly Drew McIntyre) as an example of the creative environment being stifling. He mentions that Galloway instantly changed and elevated as soon as he left the company, which should be indicative of a problem within WWE.
– Conclusion: Austin talks about some of his new shirts as well as the new season of Broken Skull Challenge on CMT starting in January. He mentions Broken Skull IPA from the El Segundo Brewing Company.
Score and Review
Score (10): This is a must-listen podcast. There is no other way to spin this. Austin and Foley are two legends of the business having an honest discussion about things that bother them in today’s WWE. They talk about many of the complaints commonly heard in regards to today’s product and tell some good stories from their time in the company as well. If you watch today’s WWE product and have complaints/criticisms, I think this is absolutely a must-listen episode. You can read this review or others, but I think fans will truly benefit from hearing the genuine passion and emotion that Austin and Foley bring when talking about the pro wrestling business. Their criticisms are legitimate and they do a great job of explaining why things bother them and how they would like to see them changed. There is almost no distractions/sidebars in this interview. They jump immediately into the conversation with Foley and continue pretty much until the episode ends. This is pro wrestling podcasting at its best.