The Steve Austin Show – Unleashed!
Release Date: January 11, 2018
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
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0:00 – Intro
Steve welcomes everyone to the show and was informed by his producer that today is Steve’s 500th show. He queues up Vince Russo who will be on today’s podcast talking about the Attitude Era. Steve says it’s always nice to talk with someone who was there because he’s forgotten a lot of stuff.
6:12 – Vince Russo
Steve starts off by telling Vince this is his 500th podcast but says that despite doing 500 shows, he still hasn’t worked out all the technical issues he has. Steve mentions he has no assistants or helpers but thinks he may have to hire someone to help him with the podcast.
Vince talks about moving to Indiana but had no internet or cable service and was barely able to do his show. Vince is glad that he moved back to Colorado as he was not having a good time in Indiana. Steve talks about L.A and that it’s a great city but also says he needs an escape valve. Steve goes on to talk about possibly getting something in Nevada, which is where he has been going since getting rid of his ranch in Texas.
Steve and Vince have a brief discussion about living in Atlanta. Vince says he hates Atlanta and was happy when the Georgia Bulldogs lost the National Title Game. He says he was in Atlanta for 9 years and would have left earlier had it not been for his kids. They were young at the time and he did not want to move them around until they got older. This segues into a brief discussion about the Alabama/Georgia game. Vince says he was not impressed with the amount of showboating by the football players and asks Steve what he thinks about it. Steve says the showboating in the NFL has become a bit much and he was brought up in an environment of sportsmanship. He talks about Earl Campbell and Barry Sanders not celebrating when they scored. They would just drop the football or hand the ball to the ref. Steve adds he’s not big into the celebrations.
Vince says there is a triangle in pro wrestling, the psychology of the match, the two characters in the ring and the storyline threading it all together (24:25 into the podcast). He says these factors have been there since he started watching in 1970s until the early 2000s. He says the three sides of this triangle no longer exist. There are no longer characters, stories, and there is very little ring psychology. Vince says that even though new rules have been introduced in sports the foundation is still the same. He says that foundation of pro wrestling is no longer the same.
Vince wonders what made wrestling change in the last decade. Steve answers short attention spans but Vince counters that the Attitude Era was crash TV. They were in and out of things due to short attention spans and adds that matches today are longer than they were before. Vince says he is not a fan of the longer matches. Vince compares the Rocky movies to pro wrestling and says if you take the characters and the storyline out of the movie, all that’s left is the ending and the boxing match and you won’t care about the boxing match if there are no characters or story. When you take the characters and storylines away from wrestling, all you have left is a choreographed fight and that’s what we’re seeing on a weekly basis. The casual fans (i.e. the fans that were watching Stone Cold Steve Austin) are the ones with the short attention spans and are the ones that are no longer watching.
Vince doesn’t understand why the WWE whittled down their fan base to a niche market and went from the world watching down to 2.5 million people. Steve asks if there’s not enough work to magnify or identify the characters. Vince says it’s bad enough that there are no characters as well as no stories.
Vince recalls the angle where Austin threw the IC Belt off a bridge (29:16 into the podcast). Even though it had been a long day of TV and it was freezing cold, he says if they didn’t do things like that, Steve Austin would never be who he was and the Rock wouldn’t be who he was. It was the constant of doing those types of things that made the Steve and the Rock iconic.
Vince adds that he takes nothing away from the performers and says their work effort is the same as the Attitude Era. But when you don’t give them any good stories, why should he watch? He goes on to say if he wants to watch a real fight, he’ll watch the UFC. Vince says some of his critics say he had nothing to do with the Attitude Era because they had the greatest roster of all time. Vince says they did have the greatest roster of all time but his job was to feed that roster on a weekly basis and when he had a character like Steve Austin, he would write every single week to keep bringing Steve’s stock up. They had to keep topping what they did the week before which was a great challenge.
Vince would never have dreamed of handing Steve Austin a piece of crap. Vince knew that Steve was great and had to write at a high level, which is why they did angles like throwing the IC belt off a bridge to keep upping the game. Vince continues saying they don’t do things like that anymore and says there is zero effort being put into creative.
Steve brings up Monday Night RAW and asks when Vince first started watching the product. Vince says he started working for the WWE on their website and said he was working on RAW during the early shows. Steve asks if Vince thought RAW would still be on the air 25 years later. Vince says no he didn’t think they would be on the air 25 years later and even though he is critical of the current creative, he tips his hat and says this is an unbelievable accomplishment.
Steve asks Vince what some of his favorite moments were from Monday Night RAW (37:09 into the podcast). Vince says the two things that really stick out in his mind.
When Steve came into the WWE from ECW, Vince McMahon knew nothing of ECW. Vince Russo was a big fan of ECW. Whenever a new character came into the WWE, McMahon would give Russo marching orders about that character. When it came to the Ringmaster, McMahon said that Austin was to never say a word and that DiBiase should do all his talking. Russo had to relay this to Austin and Austin would constantly bug Russo to get him on the mic somehow. Russo was able to get Austin on commentary and tells young kids today, Austin was given a 90 second window and from that window became a millionaire because Austin knew that was his shot and his opportunity. Vince uses this story as a learning tool for kids who tell him they are not getting a push. When Vince goes back to that time and sees the evolution of Steve Austin, it gives him goosebumps because he hasn’t seen that kind of evolution since.
Steve also asks about the Rock (41:16 into the podcast) and tells the story of how he told The Rock to do his promos in the third person. Vince said once he did that, he knew the Rock was going to be big. Vince continues that he wrote his book in 2000 when all these stories were fresh in his head. He brings up that he was hurt when Bruce Prichard did a podcast about Vince Russo and disputed the story about the Rock.
He says the two stories above highlight when both Austin and the Rock became the two biggest stars in the sport which were the most memorable to Vince.
Steve asks if Vince had anything to do with choosing the opening music for RAW. Vince said he had nothing to do with that and puts over Jim Johnson as a genius. Vince says the hardest sell and biggest chance he took with Austin’s character but also one of the greatest moments in RAW, when Austin saved Stephanie McMahon from the Ministry of Darkness. Vince said it was a hard sell because Austin had not shown that side of his character before and had to explain to Steve that she was an innocent kid (at the time) and he was a human being.
Vince asks about how the glass breaking in his theme came about (49:39 into the podcast). Steve talks needing a new theme song when he became Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin mentioned he was a Rage Against the Machine fan and during a meeting with Jim Johnston, he played a Rage song for Jim called ‘Bulls on Parade’ which was the feel he wanted for his entrance music. A few weeks later Steve heard his new theme music and says that Jim added the glass breaking. The glass breaking was an instant shot of adrenaline. Steve says he doesn’t know where the glass came from, it was Jim who thought of it. He says the fans erupted whenever they heard the glass break because people were invested in the Steve Austin character.
Steve brings up the angle of being tied to the Undertaker’s symbol on RAW (55:05 into the podcast). He remembers asking the crew if everything was going to hold up. The crew re-assured him everything would be OK. He remembers being on the symbol and says it was such a surreal moment for him that he relaxed and took it all in. He adds it was weird and thought they had either crossed a line or roped people into the angle or maybe even repelled some people. Ultimately he knew it was an effective angle that they would talk about on Tuesday morning.
Vince asks Steve what his most memorable moment was on RAW (57:10 into the podcast). Austin says one of the coolest things they did was going to Brian Pillman’s house and doing the gun angle because it was so impactful and some people even said they went too far (here to watch the angle).. Vince said he watched that angle on TV and didn’t know how to react. He says that in order to be great, you have to take chances. They didn’t play it safe in the Attitude Era but in today’s business, they are playing safe.
Steve asks whose idea it was for the Zamboni (1:01:49). Vince said they weren’t sure if the building they were going to had a Zamboni (thankfully it did) and adds that beauty of that scene wasn’t the Zamboni but the way Austin drove the Zamboni. While driving the Zamboni, he ran over a lighting truss which was not scripted and that was the beauty of the scene as it painted the picture of Austin being reckless.
Steve says there have been a lot of times he’s gotten lucky. He brings up learning how to drive and operate the cement truck in 10 minutes before filling up Vince McMahon’s car with cement (click here to watch the angle). He says he had one chance and drilled it on the first shot. He also brings up driving the monster limo and crushing the Rock’s car with a Monster Truck. He also brings up crushing the D-X express bus (which was on Smackdown not RAW. 1:04:37 into the podcast). He says there was a moment when he thought the cement block was going to crash into the cab and while he no-sold it, he was prepared to die. (Click here to watch the angle).
Vince brings up one of his favorite moments (1:06:49 into the podcast). He feels this was the official start of the Attitude Era. He says McMahon’s decision to bring Mike Tyson into the WWE was genius. During the early days of the Attitude Era, Russo would tell McMahon they had to go left when the expectation was to go right. During discussion with the old school guys such as Prichard, Cornette or Kevin Dunn, he would stay quiet to see where they would organically go with something. The idea with Tyson was to have him come in as a babyface and side with Austin, however, Russo said they should bring him in on the side of D-X to get that face to face with Austin. Austin adds that Tyson being in the match between he and Michaels at WrestleMania 14 added a lot to the match. Vince says he thinks McMahon was entertaining the thought of managing Mike Tyson’s career. Austin didn’t see that at all but did notice Shane was attached to Tyson’s hip while he was working with the WWE. Austin remembers having a discussion with McMahon about doing a boxing match with Tyson.
Vince talks about going into WrestleMania 14 (1:15:17 into the podcast). During this period, McMahon and Shawn Michaels were not speaking to each other and Russo was their middleman. Vince asked if this caused any issues for Austin or did he see it as an issue between McMahon and Shawn. Austin says he knew Michaels was burnt out but felt that everything was going to work out. He says after that match he had a discussion with Vince and said he didn’t think that match was very good. McMahon said not to worry about it and that they’d be off and running at RAW the next night. Vince says the lead up to the WrestleMania 14 match was about Shawn’s back injury. When Shawn did a kip-up during the match, Vince wonders to this day how hurt Shawn was (he was laughing so I’m guessing he was not being all serious). Steve does say Shawn was beat to shreds and his back was hurt but says even if he was hurt, he was still a great performer.
Vince asks if Steve was ever disappointed in anything (1:22:32 into the podcast). He brings up the WrestleMania 14 match didn’t work out like he wanted it to. He also mentions a match in Madison Square Garden where the Undertaker knocked him out during a back drop spot which wasn’t very good because he had been knocked out.
Vince says the one thing that stood out about the Undertaker was after an amazing match, Taker would try to find a secluded place and would be laid out in agony (1:24:58 into the podcast). Vince said he gained so much respect for Taker because of this. Steve talks about kidding around with the Undertaker about which one of them would last longer. Undertaker got 14 more years than Austin did in the business.
Steve mentions there were times that he didn’t want to give the Stunner when he was hurt. He talks about giving a stunner to Goldberg who didn’t take it well and crushed Austin like an accordion.
Vince asks Steve if he was a Francois guy or not (I’m assuming they mean Francois Petit. (1:29:00 into the podcast). Austin tells a story about Francois who was a massage guy and self-taught chiropractor who would work on all the boys. Austin had injured his neck and Francois called up McMahon saying he could fix Austin. Austin went to see Francois which was torture and said that Francois couldn’t fix the problem Austin had with massage. Austin doesn’t discount what Francois did to help some of the boys but says that you cannot fix spinal stenosis with your hands. That takes surgery. Vince tells a story about being in a sports car with Francois and they come neck to neck with another sports car (1:32:36 into the podcast). The guy in the other car starts revving the engine and when the light turns green, they start racing. At the next stop light, the other guy rolls down his window and it ends up being Warren Beatty.
Steve brings up a story about Brian Pillman asking Steve to go for a ride in his Porsche (1:34:24 into the podcast). They get onto the highway Pillman starts driving fast. Austin is a little concerned, looks over at Pillman and asks how fast are we going. Austin knew they were in trouble when Pillman responded “who cares.”
Steve thanks Russo for being on the show. Vince does 6 shows a week on Podcast One and you can catch him on Twitter (@TheVinceRusso). Vince signs off.
1:37:37 – Show Wrap
Austin thanks Russo for being on the show and talking about some pro wrestling. He says thanks to everyone who has listened to him for 500 shows. And that’s a wrap.
Show Rating 7/10
I really wanted to like this show more than I did. It took awhile for them to start talking about wrestling and I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of Vince Russo. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for what he’s done in the business but just don’t like listening to him. That said though, there were some really cool stories and they did bring up some good memories of the some of the notable angles in the Attitude Era.
0:00 – Intro
6:12 – Vince Russo
24:25 – The Triangle of Pro wrestling
29:16 – Austin throws the IC belt off a bridge
37:09 – Steve asks Vince what his favorite RAW moments were
41:16 – The Rock in the third person
49:39 – The Breaking Glass in Austin’s theme music
55:05 – Austin and the Undertaker’s symbol
57:10 – Vince asks Steve what his memorable moments were
1:01:49 – The Zamboni
1:04:37 – Crushing D-X’s bus
1:06:49 – Vince brings up one of his favorite moments
1:15:17 – Vince talks about Wrestlemania 14
1:22:32 – Vince asks Steve if he was ever disappointed
1:24:58 – Steve and Vince talk about the Undertaker
1:29:00 – Francois Petit
1:32:36 – Francois and Vince go racing
1:34:24 – Brian Pillman drives Steve in a Porsche
1:37:37 – Show wrap
Joe lives in Toronto, Canada with his wife and two boys. He’s been watching wrestling for about 40 years (give or take) but don’t consider himself any sort of expert. He just likes wrestling. Check him out on twitter and instagram @ja113.
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