The Steve Austin Show – Unleashed!
Release Date: June 22, 2017
Recap by: Chris Gaspare
Top Newsworthy Items
– Wade Keller has joined the Podcast One family and will have a new podcast within a month
– Austin disliked the finish to the women’s Money in the Bank match
– Austin is interested in seeing how both Cass and Baron Corbin fair with their new pushes
00:00: Sponsor Ad
01:52: Wade Keller announces he’s joining Podcast One with a new show
10:13: Sponsor Ad
14:34: Austin and Wade discuss the finish to the women’s Money in the Bank match and the Lana/Naomi title match
27:17: Jinder/Orton match and the men’s Money in the Bank
41:20: Shinsuke and Ziggler on Smackdown and the handling of Nakamura
47:05: Sponsor Ad
48:30: Austin and Keller continue on Smackdown: Jinder Mahal and Daniel Bryan’s MITB decision
58:04: Enzo/Cass, Roman Reigns’ attitude, and other tidbits
1:16:24: Plugs and end of show
Wade Keller announces he’s joining Podcast One with a new show
At the beginning of the podcast, the two joked about their need for a timekeeper to stop them from going over 15-20 minutes. Keller also announced that he will soon have a weekly podcast on Podcast One, who produces Austin’s podcasts. There were some details that Keller didn’t want to confirm yet, but he did say it will have a similar feel as what he does for PWTorch, but he also has some “cool ideas” and is excited to broaden his audience. The two men acknowledged that sometimes he sounds like they are being critical of wrestlers, but they love and respect the business and sometimes that means being critical. Keller hoped to have more details next week on Austin’s podcast.
Austin and Wade Keller discuss the finish to the women’s Money in the Bank match and the Lana/Naomi title match
Keller called the Money in the Bank PPV a “middle of the road” or a “slight thumbs up” show. They addressed the women’s Money in the Bank match first since “people were freaking out about” the finish that saw James Ellsworth climb the ladder and drop the briefcase to Carmella. Keller said fans were upset because WWE promised a “monumental” moment in the women’s movement, but chose that ending. Austin didn’t like the finish. He thought Ellsworth was going to take a crotch bump when he was atop the ladder. Austin wondered what the reaction would be if a female valet climbed the ladder to get the briefcase for a male wrestler: “You would never see it.” Keller thought the finish would have worked had it been a later women’s Money in the Bank and not the first ever. He figures that WWE probably thought that would make the heat even more, but instead the heat is going on the company. Austin said WWE’s thinking is “Austin and Keller are talking about it so we got what we wanted.” Austin liked Carmella’s promos on Smackdown and Talking Smack because it showcased more of her personality. Keller did as well although he liked the Smackdown promo more. In the end, Keller said that he wishes she still would have won “nefariously” just not in the way that she did.
Austin didn’t understand how the Naomi and Lana match “came to be.” Keller explained the situation and believed the entire ordeal made Shane McMahon, Naomi, and the title look bad. Austin would have rather seen the match be a non-title match instead of Lana getting a shot. He said that both Naomi and the title “deserves better.” Austin also liked Lana better as a valet, although he said if she wanted to become a wrestler then “more power to her.” Some have argued Lana did better than anyone would have imagined, but Austin thinks “pay-per-views are for people that are at a higher level” and only “the best of the best are on the show.” Keller said Lana’s story lacked a journey. She came in and received a title shot. He said fans were “still reeling from the Jinder push,” which was similar, and both lacked the same thing – the fans don’t get to see the character take a journey as they did with Bret Hart, for instance, many years ago.
Austin and Keller discuss the Jinder/Orton match and the men’s Money in the Bank
Moving onto the men’s matches, Austin believed that “Randy Orton carried Jinder to a pretty good match” and Jinder has “stepped up his game” some. Keller said that it was nice to see a “motivated Randy” and thought the match had good pacing and was “executed well.” Keller asked a great question: When WWE has Shinsuke Nakamura and A.J. Styles on the roster and they are losing the 18-34 demographic as the ratings indicate, will a competent Jinder Mahal and energized Randy Orton bring back viewers? He doubts it. Ultimately, he thought that match would be better lower on the card for the United States Title instead of the main event. Austin suggested Mahal needs to “loosen up” and stop “thinking about what he’s doing” so much in the ring because it makes it look as if he’s “going through the motions.”
In terms of the men’s Money in the Bank match, both Austin and Keller were glad to see the match had less “risks” in the form of big bumps. Keller said he wants them to “make every spot, every risk count.” Austin thought it was “structured well and told a good story.” He wondered to Keller if Baron Corbin was ready for the position they are giving him. Keller said everything has been “a little ahead of the ideal schedule” with Corbin, but he was “not at all against him” winning. Keller buys “this is who he is” and likes Corbin’s act. He did criticize his ladder climbing abilities referring to something Austin had mentioned briefly a few minutes earlier. Austin criticized a number of the wrestlers in these matches for climbing too slow because they were waiting for the next spot which took him out of the match. Austin said Corbin has a “lot of pressure” on him now. He also “still needs to work on singles matches” because Austin feels he looks green in them. Much like what has happened with Jinder, he said “putting a title on you doesn’t make you.”
Keller feels like pushing someone to a title too soon can make fans look at someone with “more scrutiny,” and Austin agreed that “[i]t can expose you.” Keller was happy that at least everyone is on a journey with Corbin right now, and likened the Money in the Bank to how King of the Ring was in the 1990s – it gives the wrestler “a chance.” Keller said some fans complain that Corbin can’t keep up with A.J. Styles, but Keller feels he doesn’t need to keep up with A.J. and simply “wrestle his size” as he already does. Austin said that Corbin needs only be an “effective version of himself.” Keller mentioned that he liked them keeping Nakamura out of most of the match because it didn’t make him feel like everyone else, but Austin didn’t like it. He wants “to see more” from Nakamura and see him work with the other guys “doing crazy s**t.”
The two talk Shinsuke and Dolph on Smackdown and the handling of Nakamura
On Smackdown, Austin didn’t like Baron Corbin’s “victory lap” with the briefcase because it was the same thing Carmella had done already. He also criticized that Baron is too big to taunt. He “didn’t buy it.” Keller brought up the Nakamura and Dolph Ziggler match. He thought it was a “good match,” but having a seventeen-minute back-and-forth puts Shinsuke “one notch above Dolph.” Austin agreed and said it “made him seem ordinary.” Austin criticized some of the work in the match. He said that some of the waistlocks looked nonchalant as if they were “going through the motions” and they need to “snug it up.” He said he’s noticed people are “sitting back on the match” in their reaction, meaning there’s something they don’t like about it. He believes that the “mystique” of Nakamura is “coming down.” Keller claimed Nakamura needs a “mission.” When someone came into a territory years ago, they had a stated purpose for being there. WWE could easily cast Nakamura as having conquered Japan and is here to test himself as the best, but they’ve failed to give him any purpose. He “showed up and is floating around aimlessly.”
Austin and Keller continue on Smackdown: Jinder Mahal and Daniel Bryan’s MITB decision
Coming back from an advertisement, Austin clarified that he’s a big fan of Nakamura and Ziggler, but feels the booking of their matches has let them down. They then moved onto talking about the Jinder Mahal and Luke Harper match. Keller was glad to see the World Champion was wrestling in the main event and believes the World Champion should always be the main event. However, WWE gave no reason to invest in Luke Harper in this match. Plus it seemed to be a non-title, so why have the match at all? Austin said they need to have “more logic on the setup.” He didn’t even think Harper should be wrestling against the champion; instead, he said Harper should be facing a top-rated guy based on a win/loss record, but that “don’t seem to matter” anymore.
The two criticized the storyline involving Daniel Bryan’s decision to have another MITB match next Tuesday. He said it was portrayed as Bryan not having enough power to do that and that was sold well enough that it made Bryan’s decision not seem real. Austin’s biggest takeaway was Bryan not banning James Ellsworth from ringside on Smackdown. He did that on Talking Smack, but Austin isn’t sure how many people watch Talking Smack. Regarding the Kevin Owens and Chad Gable match, Austin wondered what gave A.J. Styles the authority to make that match? He said that Owens is “not being treated like a champion.” Keller said they easily could have done the angle differently by having A.J. play on Owens’s ego or by having Owens accept the challenge in a cocky heel way. Austin said the attitude should have been: “Make this kid, then f***ing crush him. You get over then the kid gets to shine.” He said this kind of failure of storytelling is on the company.
Austin and Keller move to Raw where they talk Enzo/Cass, Roman Reigns’s attitude, and other tidbits
Keller said Raw was a “memorable show” this week. Austin liked the Cass heel turn and thought Cass “lived up to this.” He is interested to see where this is going and wants to see if Cass can handle it. He thought the segment came across “as a shoot” and was impressed with the amount of “verbiage” Cass memorized. Keller wondered where Enzo goes from here, and Austin feels it “remains to be seen” but sees him as a “valuable asset” who he doesn’t think “will be discarded.” Keller thought Roman was his “most authentic” this week as he was snarling and reacting to boos. He said this attitude was similar to the reports he received from fans that saw last week’s Raw dark match. Austin said he went on the Network and watched his earlier heel stuff: “I like him as a straight up heel.”
Austin is interested to see when it all “clicks”, meaning when everyone gets on the same page with Roman’s character. Only then will he be a “top guy.” He is also looking forward to Great Balls of Fire for Samoa Joe and Brock Lesnar. Keller thinks Joe making Reigns look good will make Vince see Joe, much like what happened with A.J. Styles, as a guy to plan for come WrestleMania time. Keller was glad to see the reaction Strowman got on his return. Austin likes Strowman but said he needs to stop raising his arms in the air and roaring after each thing he does as it hurts the perception of him. He likened it to giving the middle fingers and how it can be overdone. Still, Strowman has “big money player written all over him.”
Elias Samson was brought up next, and Austin has liked what he’s seen. Keller said that some are worried Finn Balor is being paired with Samson, but argued that if Balor could help Samson, it would look good on him and help him too. Austin interjected that the backstage promos are “so forced” though especially with the attacks during the interviews. Keller said sometimes an interview should just be an interview. He compared it to a handoff to a running back in football. Sometimes they make a fifty-yard run, but rarely. Most of the time, they are three to four-yard runs, but it’s those runs that make the fifty-yard run special. The last item discussed was Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt. Austin liked Bray’s promo this week as it was short and more serious. Keller thinks Rollins should be further along in finding his babyface voice and still shouldn’t be bringing up regretting his time with The Authority and the fans giving him a second chance. Austin said, “Maybe this is Seth’s voice” and the Seth we see is who he is.
Plugs and end of show
Keller plugged MMA Torch and PWTorch and the subscription service. Austin recommended watching the Samoa Joe and Brock Lesnar pull-apart on Raw in slo-mo and also suggested watching Mojo Rawley’s promo from last week’s Smackdown. He promised to keep Keller and himself to fifteen minutes next week and go air his conversations with callers.
Score and Review (9/10)
Outside of subscription services, this podcast was one of the most informative and detailed looks at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, Raw, and Smackdown that you’ll find. Keller’s professionalism and studiousness and Austin’s blunt, real-life experiences make the back-and-forth between these two men a joy to listen to. Austin’s small insights into character and mannerisms are astounding sometimes as they help explain certain feelings one might not be able to verbalize completely; this week, for instance, he mentioned Braun is raising his arms too much and explains why, which is such a small, but significant insight for fans of wrestling.
Chris Gaspare is a teacher from Maryland who has been watching wrestling since 1989 when he saw his first WCW Saturday Night episode and quickly rented as many NWA and WWF VHS tapes he could find in local stores. He also attended Tri-State Wrestling Alliance and early ECW shows in Philadelphia, which really kicked his fandom into high gear. He lapsed in the mid-2000s, but returned to the wrestling fold a few years ago.