History 101: Lessons From The Master

Ric_Flair I know, I know, I’ve pimped the hell out of the Steve Austin Show in my articles lately but to be fair it’s a damn good show and you get to hear stories from the business you would never get elsewhere. I tried it out and after listening to his talk with Shawn Michaels and his first two-part interview with Kevin Nash he had me hooked on the show. If not for this podcast, I may not have been able to write my infamous “Wrestling Fan” article for this site. That entire thing, while wrapped in the Daniel Bryan versus John Cena and WWE versus TNA things going on, was inspired by my hearing that Steve watched GLOW when he interviewed Little Egypt because it was WRESTLING. Once I heard that Austin had the same thought I did with such a niche company made me feel that I needed to speak out about those of us who are so addicted to the business that we’ll take it wherever it’s about to be found. If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to the show, go to iTunes, download it, enjoy the shit out of it, and rate it five stars. From Hall, Nash, Michaels, Hart, and Storm, to Eric Young, Samoa Joe, Jim Ross, and even Jay Mohr, you’re bound to find a reason to love the show and keep listening.

This past week I downloaded one of the most recent shows and listened to it, another two-part podcast, and I have to admit I’ve found something that had me absolutely enthralled from start to finish. I’ve been hooked on his conversations with Scott Hall, just hearing where he started, what all he’s gone through, and looking at where he is now made my already large respect for him grow. Its part of the business, storytelling that is somewhat down in recent years but seems to finally be back on the rise, and these older stars are able to do it with ease. Even sitting in a room, whether it’s in the studio, on the phone, or in one case in a hotel room, just shooting the shit they’re able to weave the words together in such a way that it keeps you wanting more. I’ve had thoughts of different stars that I would love to hear Austin interview, just to hear their stories and perspective on the business from inside the ropes and locker rooms. Triple H is pretty high on the list, since the other three members of “The Curtain Call” have had their turn on the show, another at the top of the list would be The Undertaker, but this week I got to hear one that somehow escaped my list. If you haven’t listened to it yet, you NEED to download Austin’s show with Ric Flair, there are not enough words on this planet to help me describe how amazing this show was, just take my word for it and have a listen.

There are certain names in the business, when you hear them you immediately have respect and you just KNOW that they are what made this business what it is, and without them not only would the business possibly not be the same, but it may not even really exist. In the top 3 of this list would HAVE TO BE Ric Flair, love him or hate him The Nature Boy is flat out one of the best to ever lace up the boots. This is a man who started off as a massive heavyweight, right around the three hundred pound area, he grew up wanting to follow in the mold of a Dick The Bruiser, oddly enough the plane crash that could easily have killed his career was what helped create the possibly the most enduring character pro wrestling has ever seen. We all know the story about how he was in a crash that broke his back in three places, something that most of us would have given up on our dream after suffering, but to hear how Wahoo McDaniel threw kayfabe to the wind and walked right into the hospital to be by his side and let him know that he would make it through, talk about a “whoa…” moment. Back in those days, you just did NOT break kayfabe but at the same time, who the hell was going to tell Wahoo he couldn’t do what he wanted?

As someone who not only loves the era I grew up watching in the business, but loves the business as a whole and respects the hell out of the people who created everything we see today, hearing Flair’s just made it that much more special. Another thing that stuck out to me was the fact that Harley Race was one of the most respected men in the business, and one of the toughest of all time. People could already tell this, something about him just always-exuded badass, but to hear that he was sent with Flair overseas as a bodyguard, and wound up slapping the piss out of Jumbo Tsuruta for not protecting Flair in a match. Hearing how Piper and Flair got stuck in the arena in Puerto Rico because Piper pissed the crowd off so much that a riot ensued, and even the story of being in the locker room the night Bruiser Brody was killed, all the way up to his leaving for WWF with the Big Gold Belt because he had lost his confidence in WCW with Jim Herd telling him to cut off his hair and completely change his gimmick from The Nature Boy to some Spartacus garbage. The stories were amazing, I don’t want to completely ruin it for anyone, I just can’t stress enough that this is an absolute can’t miss if you are a wrestling fan and love hearing about the history and backstage deals. I’m actually sitting here listening to it again, looking up the old matches from the early days of Flair and some of the guys he came up with in the business, I’m hooked.

Toward the end of everything Flair and Austin went over their favorite workers and what they thought of them in the ring; both agreed on one man as the best they’ve ever seen inside the squared circle. No surprise, its Shawn Michaels, Flair actually put Michaels right in with Steamboat, another one of those “whoa…” moments. This show alone is enough to make a fan out of anyone who may not have listened yet, an it’s enough to make those of us who have been listening all along sit in awe as we listen to over forty years of history unfold right through our speakers. I’m going to be adding the current Shane Helms show and the third Nash show that I somehow missed over the next day or so, the show has become a serious addiction that I just can’t quit. I’m hopeful that we’ll get some Mick Foley, Triple H, Punk, Bryan, maybe even Jake Roberts and Sting in the future. There are so many stories to hear and so many people left to put history into words, and I’ll be sitting there listening along every time a new one is posted. I’m not doing this to blow smoke up anyone’s ass, as a somewhat avid podcast listener this is one of the top shows you can listen to online. Paraphrasing Mr. Flair himself concerning the Steve Austin Show, if you’re a wrestling fan or not, sit down, listen to it, because it’s the best thing going today.

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