PODCAST RECAP AND REVIEW: The Steve Austin Show with James Ellsworth on being trained by Axel Rotten, the legend who helped get him a tryout match, getting squashed by Braun Strowman, being paired up with Carmella, what he’s up to now

The Steve Austin Show

Release Date: March 27th, 2018

Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo



0:00 – Intro
10:28 – James Ellsworth
12:09 – What James Is Up To
16:43 – Wrestling Ricky Morton
21:25 – James Training And Breaking Into The Business
24:49 – What James Was Earning On The Indy Scene
28:55 – How Long James Was In Wrestling School
36:21 – Drugs and Alcohol
39:04 – James’ Worst Injuries
41:22 – Getting Into The WWE
45:56 – Relationship With The Creative Team
51:09 – Working Heel Or Babyface
52:54 – Teaming Up With Carmella
55:30 – Getting Released By The WWE
1:02:45 – James Booking Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler
1:07:21 – James’ Working Style and Influences
1:15:47 – Show Wrap

0:00 – Intro (The podcast starts at 2:01 after sponsor reads)

We are at 317 Gimmick Street in the mean streets of Los Angelese. Steve starts off talking about a black cat that he and his wife have been feeding for the last few months. They don’t know whose cat it is and have noticed that its collar is on too tight. Steve is setting up a Have A Heart Trap to catch the cat (without harming it) so they can cut the collar off and take it to their vet to make sure the cat is OK.

Over in Nevada at Broken Skull Ranch 2.0 he’s trying to trap a skunk with a have a heart trap so they don’t spray his dogs. He’s also looking to trap a muskrat as well and relocate too although, he still has to figure out how to transport the skunk without getting sprayed.

Coming up on the podcast is James Ellsworth who reached out to Steve on twitter. Steve enjoyed watching James while he was in the WWE but didn’t know who he was up until then. They’ll be shooting the breeze and talking about his run in the WWE and what he is currently doing.

10:28 – James Ellsworth

Steve asks how James is doing and James brings up the Austin 317 shirts at Hot Topic for St. Patrick’s day. James picked up a shirt and tweeted it to Steve. Noelle Foley also tweeted a pic of her wearing the 317 Austin shirt and both of them agree she most likely looked better in the shirt than James.

Steve asks what James is doing these days after his run with the WWE (12:09 into the podcast). James says he is doing a bit of everything and wants to give back to the wrestling fans. James believes the fans are the reason he got signed with the WWE. He is willing to do events such as signings, indy show or anything he thinks the fans want to see the James Ellsworth character do.

James started wrestling training after high school at the age of 17 in June 2002. On the side, he worked in different jobs like Burlington Coat Factory and helping special needs people find jobs. He worked on the independents for 14 years before getting signed to WWE which wasn’t easy for a guy like James who wasn’t the biggest guy in the world and not ‘cosmetically cleansing’ as the WWE would say but he kept going and never gave up.

James is 33 and says has more aches and pains than a ‘normal’ 33 year old but he tries to exercise and keep in shape. James does some yoga but says he’d like to try DDP Yoga and Steve says he’ll tell DDP directly. Steve also says he’s going to give DDP Yoga a shot as well.

Steve asks if James always wanted to get into pro wrestling coming out of high school or if he had any other aspirations (15:11 into the podcast). James doesn’t remember wanting to be anything but a wrestler. He started watching wrestling at an early age and even dressed up as a wrestler at school. He started watching when he was 4 or 5 years old in the late 80s. Ricky Morton was one of the first wrestlers he ever noticed and later on Macho Man Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior. Steve asks what James saw in Ricky Morton and James responds he noticed the big mullet and believed in what Ricky was saying.

James recently wrestled Ricky Morton at a show in West Virginia (16:43 into the podcast). James was the heel during the match and they were in the ring for about 20 to 25 minutes. Steve asks if James and Ricky called the match in the ring. James confirms they only discussed the finish and called everything in the ring which James loved. He has a lot of respect for old school wrestling. Steve talks about wrestling back in the day and how the heels and faces would be in separate dressing rooms with the referees would go back and forth telling the guys the finish. Steve said even though he was green, he didn’t have to worry about remembering anything but the finish because they were calling it in the ring. It made the matches easier and a lot more fun. Steve says calling matches has become somewhat of a lost art but James says that it still happens as John Cena and A.J Styles would call matches at live events. Steve says that’s really refreshing to hear and makes him feel good. Ellsworth would always watch the top guys and pay attention to them.

Steve asks about James’ training with Axel Rotten and how he broke into the business (21:25 into the podcast). James says Axel is usually remembered as a hardcore wrestler in ECW but could wrestle scientifically. Axel’s work in ECW made him famous but before that he traveled around the world to wrestle and did a gimmick as a British wrestler. At the wrestling school James went to, Axel was one of the trainers. After wrestling school James went on the road with Axel who taught him about the business at shows and while they were on the road. James said he was very smart about the business and feels fortunate that he got to learn from Axel. Steve talks about some of the veterans he travelled with and asking them questions about the business. James says he was the same way with Axel and says he hopes he doesn’t get on people’s nerves for asking so many questions. James says a big part of the business is asking questions otherwise you’ll never learn or move on.

Steve asks James what kind of money he was making while on the indy scene (24:49 into the podcast). When James got out of wrestling school, he just wanted to wrestle and learn. If the promoter paid him $20.00 he saw that as a bonus. Seven or eight years later, he would try to make a little money but was still more interested in gaining experience and ring time. He was able to work and learn from guys who had previously worked in WWE. In 2011, he took over an independent wrestling promotion called Adrenaline Championship Wrestling and ran his own shows. That’s when he started making some decent money. James says there’s a lot of work involved in promoting a show and putting a show together especially on the independent level.

Steve asks about life on the road and what James’ parents thought when he got into pro wrestling. James’ parents did not like the idea of him getting into wrestling but were still supportive because they knew he wanted to get into wrestling.

Steve talks about his experiences in wrestling school with Chris Adams and asks how long James was in wrestling school (28:55 into the podcast). James started training in June 2002 and had his first match in July 2003. At first, James would go to school 5 days a week but after nine months of that, one of the trainers told them to take some time off and come 3 or 4 days a week because they were bumping a lot. James doesn’t feel he was good at wrestling until about 6 or 7 years into the business although, when he first got into business at 18 years old, he thought he was pretty good (like many of the younger wrestlers do).

Steve talks about the evolution of a wrestler and says by the 10 year mark, if you’ve been getting reps and booked a lot, you should be a seasoned pro and ready to work a major program. He adds that if you’re not accomplished by your 6th or 7th year, you may want to consider doing something else. Steve says a lot of wrestlers on TV today are really green because of the way the industry is, wrestlers are being put on TV faster even though they may not be ready for that level. James is glad he was able to get into the WWE after 14 years of learning about the business instead of 4 years. He doesn’t think he would have been as successful if he hadn’t had that time under his belt.

Steve asks if James got into the ‘ugly side’ of the business such as drugs or alcohol (36:21 into the podcast). James did not get into any of that stuff. His trainer Axel would binge on drugs for two months during which time, James would not want to talk to him. James admits to having a casual drink but never got drunk or got into drugs. He’s seen and understood what wrestlers were putting their bodies through and understood they may take things to help cope but it’s something he never got into. Steve gives James props for not getting into any of that stuff as he’s seen a lot of the wrestlers get into drugs or alcohol.

Steve asks what the worst James has been injured in the ring (39:04 into the podcast). James has broken his hand twice trying to catch people and has cracked a few ribs but thankfully, nothing too serious.

Steve asks how James got into the WWE (41:22 into the podcast). James always tried to work as an extra whenever the WWE came into his area. He worked a few times as one of the Rosebuds. In Pittsburgh, July 25th, 2016, Arn Anderson wanted to see one of James’ punches on one of the other extras. After one punch, Arn told James the punch was great which was one of the biggest compliments James has gotten. Arn asked him to try the same punch or Braun Strowman and they booked him against Braun in a squash match. One of the writers approached James and said he would be getting a 20 second promo which was the ‘any man with two hands has a fighting chance’ line. He thinks that’s when the fans caught onto his character. James said after that match, there were memes and hashtags about him which was something he had never experienced before in the business. James was hopeful the WWE was seeing the buzz and would bring him back but they didn’t call him back until 6 weeks later.

Steve asks what James’ relationship is like with the creative team (45:56 into the podcast). James would talk to Road Dogg a lot as he was the head writer of Smackdown. James said Road Dogg was great to him and was excited for him. James was a fan of the New Age Outlaws so it was cool for him to be getting his direction from Road Dogg.

Steve asks when James started to realize he was getting over and how in tune James was to the crowd. After his first appearance, James was wondering if all the attention he was getting was just an internet thing or if people actually cared. On his first appearance on Smackdown, he was teamed up with A.J Styles in a match against John Cena and Dean Ambrose. When he walked out, he heard the crowd react and afterwards, Shane McMahon came up to James who was excited about the pop James got. This is when James realized this was real and that people wanted to see this character do something.

Steve asks if the people in the back treated James different as he started to get over or if he started to act differently. James says he felt like the same guy he was 5 or 6 years ago and never thought anything other than he felt blessed this was happening. James said everyone in the back was cool and he never had any issues. He says after the superstar shakedown, the Smackdown locker room was the most fun locker room. Everyone got along and it felt like a family atmosphere.

Steve asked if James liked working heel or babyface (51:09 into the podcast). James liked working both heel or babyface but his favorite moment was working babyface against A.J Styles for the WWE championship on Smackdown. Steve says he was a big fan of A.J Styles and knew A.J would do well once he got a chance in the WWE. Steve asks how it was working with A.J. in the ring. In James’ opinion, A.J is the best in the world. He has all the tools, can do anything and work with anyone. Whatever position A.J is put in, you expect him to do well. James says A.J is also great outside the ring.

Steve asks about James’ pairing with Carmella (52:54 into the podcast). James says it was Carmella’s idea who pitched it to him during a UK tour. The idea was that she would manipulate James to help her win matches and pretend that she liked him. She pitched it to Vince who loved it and they went from there. Steve says that’s very cool and loves that one of the women was pitching ideas. James says Carmella is great and very smart.

James favorite moment working with Carmella was helping her win the first ever Women’s Money In The Bank ladder match. Steve couldn’t believe James did that and says James had shooting heat with Steve but he loved it. James says it was great they were able to make everybody believe even if it was only for an hour. James loved having that heat where even the RAW women were tweeting the outcome of the match was a catastrophe. He stayed up all night having fun on his social media creating that controversy.

Steve asks about James’ release (55:30 into the podcast). James got released November 15th, 2017. All told, he had a 16 month run. He had come back from a UK tour, spending time with his daughter when he got a text from the office. He called and they told him he was being let go which caught him off guard. After the call, he went for a walk and put his phone on silent as it was ringing off the hook. He wasn’t mad but was sad. James still hasn’t gotten over it yet and still isn’t sure what happened. He hopes he’ll get back to the WWE but for now, he’ll work the independents and try to make a living in the business as he had prior to the WWE.

Steve asks if James asked why the WWE why he got let go and they said Vince felt the Ellsworth character had run its course. James plans to keep his nose clean, work hard and hopes the WWE notices what he’s doing. James says one of the best things about leaving is the reaction wrestlers get when they come back and that’s what James is looking forward to and what keeps him going.

James says the WWE is a business and there are so many other performers that they need to give opportunities. James has nothing bad to say about the WWE or any of the people there and he can’t wait to do it again someday.

Steve asks what James about his Adrenaline Championship Wrestling promotion. If anyone is interested in booking James, they can email bookellsworth@gmail.com. In one of his first shows back from the WWE, he wrestled Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler and drew a good house in his hometown. His next show is March 31st and Mick Foley will be making an appearance at that show.

Steve asks a question to the promoter side of James about booking Jerry Lawler (1:02:45 into the podcast). James got to know him during his WWE run and basically called him to see if Jerry would wrestle in his promotion. They had so much fun, Jerry was talking about potentially doing it again in Tennessee. Steve puts over Jerry as a great worker and a great promo. James is also a fan of Jerry Lawler and watched a lot of his old stuff.

Steve says he remembers James more for his character work in the WWE but wants to know what his work style is and who his influences were (1:07:21 into the podcast). James says his character on TV was more comedic than work rate. At WWE, he talked a bunch of trash and would hit one move (the superkick). In the indies, when he is working babyface, he takes a lot of heat then hits the superkick. As a heel, he takes every shortcut in the book like a true heel should. James says when he wrestles babyface, he thinks about how Ricky Morton worked. When he wrestles heel, he thinks about Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts’ work.

Before signing off, Steve asks if James has any hobbies. James is a huge sports fan and also tries to spend as much time as he can with his daughters. He watches RAW and Smackdown a little but it’s still tough to watch as the release is still fresh in his mind.

You can find James on twitter (@realellsworth) or on IG (@jamesellsworthwrestling). You can visit www.adrenalinewrestling.com to check out James’ promotion who have an event on March 31st. Mick Foley, Mark Henry, Emma, Hurricane, Gillberg, Tony Atlas and Adam Rose will be making appearances. James thanks Steve for having him on the podcast and Steve asks James to say hello to Tony Atlas for him as they were travel partners years ago. Steve thanks James for being on the podcast and they sign off.

Show Wrap – 1:15:47

Steve thanks James Ellsworth for being on the podcast and recommends watching James’ match and promo with Braun Strowman. He hopes James gets back to the WWE someday. Steve talks about his appearance at Wrestlecon on Wrestlemania weekend. He thanks his sponsors and that is a wrap.

Rating 8/10

This was a fun podcast. I liked the James Ellsworth character a lot, especially his match with A.J and the first MITB. He’s also comes across as a genuinely nice person and has an interesting background and told some good stories about the WWE and the indies. I find myself rooting for this guy and hope he does well and does make it back to the WWE someday.

Writer Bio

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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