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Live Steve Austin podcast with Triple H updates and open thread

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Immediately following tonight's airing of Monday Night Raw from Denver, Colorado on USA, a live episode of Stone Cold Steve Austin's podcast, The Steve Austin Show, will stream live on the WWE Network with special guest Triple H.

What we can expect, according to a WWE press release:

STAMFORD, Conn., February 2, 2015 - WWE Network will air a live "Stone Cold" Steve Austin podcast featuring Triple Htonight, immediately following Monday Night Raw. The WWE Hall of Famer and host of the popular podcast The Steve Austin Show - Unleashed sat down with Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO last December for an unprecedented interview and the same can be expected tonight.

Considering Austin's podcast with Vince was a slam dunk that helped create this one, we can only hope Austin will go just as hard with his former Two Man Power Trip tag team partner.

Perhaps we'll hear about Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Cesaro, NXT, and the rumored ongoing tug of war between McMahon and Triple H backstage.

We'll have live highlights right here when the podcast goes live tonight!

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Highlights

- Triple H put over the WWE Network and the first thing he did was mention NXT being so great and the next live special happening on Feb. 11.

- Austin remarked that kayfabe has died based on the fans being smartened up to both the on screen product and the behind-the-scenes goings on. Triple H called it "tough" and said the Internet brings a different component to the mix. He brought up their being a vocal minority, saying he hates to say it like that, but even dating back to the days of the Attitude Era, there were towns that everyone went to where heels would get over and others where babyfaces would. He said the idea of just pushing a storyline is gone. They have to worry about both casual fans who see TV and the hardcore fans who know what's happening backstage.

- He said the beauty of what makes WWE work is that one man, Vince McMahon, is calling the shots. He said they debated the Royal Rumble and there were many suggestions but there was one guy who took all the suggestions, figured it out, and that's what they went with.

- Triple H said the business hasn't changed. They call audibles whenever they need to, both in front of the audience during a match or with storylines. He brought up that fans have said things like "well, they would have done that if we hadn't done this" and said that's how it has always been. If Hulk Hogan wasn't cheered wildly, they wouldn't have made him the babyface leader of the promotion.

- He brought up fans saying they weren't listening and changing things with the likes of John Cena, but while Cena would get huge reactions both positive and negative he was still selling out buildings.

- He more or less admitted that being a babyface would almost be bad at this point because half of the fans will cheer and the other half will boo.

- Austin asked about the reality era and Triple H said kayfabe is dead. He brought up dirt sheets no longer being a thing because everyone has access to all the same information and mainstream media like Grantland and newspapers and the Miami Herald are giving the inside of the business. "The reality is the business now." Everything crosses over so much that you can't deny behind the scenes stuff anymore.

- "When we don't tell the story well, people don't buy it. They'll be critical of the writing and critical of the execution, especially when they know the reality of it." Austin said people want to go along with the story, though, and Triple H said they do and they can use reality in their favor by changing things around as they see how the fans respond to things. This year, fans felt Bryan was jobbed in the Rumble, Reigns was pushed hard, and they've adjusted to it. "It's working the work of the reality."

- Triple H talked about guys being ready for the top spot. He doesn't believe anyone is ready for it, no matter how ready they may be in anyone's mind. It's a tough spot to be in and everyone wants a piece of it once you get to that spot.

- "This is the thing that always makes me laugh -- we are the book that never ends. ... You can't full knock today because the book never ends." Essentially, he says because they don't have an offseason, it's not fair to criticize everything that's happening today. That's ridiculous, of course, but there you go.

- Austin asked about Triple H having an exit strategy. Talk turned to his having a relationship with Stephanie McMahon and that dictating opinion that he didn't have to earn his way to where he is. He said Undertaker helped him get past that. He says he thinks if he never met Stephanie he would still be in the same place, maybe not exactly where he is but still behind the scenes working in wrestling at WWE.

- When asked if it's better for a wrestler to come from the indies or straight through the Performance Center, he said it depends on the guy. Some guys come in and they're a sponge and some guys come in and just do what they do and don't change from what they're comfortable with. They want guys to run their playbook, which has proven successful.

- Austin brought up NXT and how it's such a great show in comparison to Raw. Triple H admitted he knows who his audience is on the WWE Network and he know how to build a show for them. He tries not to script the wrestlers as much, allowing them freedom to learn and grown. He has advantages in NXT where it's loose and more fun because the stakes aren't as high.

- He said NXT is still a developmental territory but he does feel as though it's become something of an alternative brand to WWE. His goal is to take NXT on the road to help the performers learn more about how to succeed on the big stage in WWE.

- Austin asked about the creative process in NXT and Triple H brought up that guys have to be who they are and buy all the way in. That's the key.

- Twitter question: Do you see anyone on the roster right now who has the potential to be the next John Cena or Hulk Hogan or Steve Austin? Triple H said he sees a lot of potential in a lot of people but it's what they do with it. The business is different now. You have to be well rounded, you can't just be a good promo or a big guy or just a high flyer; you have to have it all. Those are all pieces to the puzzle and they have to be put together and as they come together the picture becomes clearer. Still, some of those pictures aren't going to be masterpieces even when completed. That's a damn good analogy.

- Triple H brings up that Undertaker, the character, which was Vince McMahon's concept and creation, and how that gimmick would die a miserable death with a ton of different guys. Meanwhile, Mark Calloway took that character and made it legendary. Triple H admitted that even today the character sounds ridiculous but 'Taker still made it such a big deal and he's so well respected.

- Austin asked about the brass rings and brought up e-mailers telling him it seems like WWE is handing one to Roman Reigns instead of his working for it. Triple H responded with "everyone works hard," including Reigns who "busts his ass." Same for John Cena, who can be criticized for various things but no one can say he's not a hard worker.

- Austin told a story about a fan beating him up during a match with Triple H in Germany.

- He didn't outright say it but Triple H hinted that Chyna isn't in the Hall of Fame because of her porn career and he doesn't want his kid getting on Google on seeing that. That's complete crap considering he's talking to Austin, who has multiple domestic violence arrests, and Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist, is in the Hall. That's without mentioning the likes of Jimmy Snuka, Scott Hall, and others.

- He brought up being so into pro wrestling history and mending fences with the likes of Bruno Sammartino, Ultimate Warrior, and others. Austin asked about the heat between Vince and Sammartino and Triple H said they both just thought the other didn't like the other and Triple H worked hard to bring them back together. Warrior was different because there was a history between the two, some bad blood and a complete lack of trust. He brought up the WrestleMania 12 match with Warrior and the fact that he's so different now than he was then. It was a rough deal but he still looks at it as an awesome experience.

- Austin asked who was more influential in the business: nWo or DX? Triple H said the nWo was massively influential at first with what they did for the reality aspect of the business but the massive impact they had quickly dissipated when they overloaded the group with a bunch of lower card guys. DX had more staying power and remained relevant far longer.

- If he could go back in time and have a match with anyone he wanted, Triple H chose Buddy Rogers. "He was the first guy to me in the business that transcended... he wasn't just a shooter. He had this look, and just the way he carried himself. He wasn't the biggest guy but there was just this way about him."

- Austin brought up CM Punk and if they're cool. Triple H said they are. "I've never had a beef with him." He brought up the Summer of Punk storyline after the pipe bomb promo and said Vince McMahon made the calls and it just didn't work out for whatever reason. Then he said Punk is a bit of a weird guy and not a great communicator. He said if the WWE Universe wants it and it's what is best for business they'll bring him back. But if he doesn't have a passion for it, he shouldn't be doing it.

- Word association time.

Shawn Michaels: Greatest in ring performer ever.
Ric Flair: Greatest all around performer ever.
Kevin Nash: Great mind for the business but a personality that hides it.
Scott Hall: The guy he learned more from than anyone and really underrated in ring.
Eddie Guerrero: Awesome. Miss him and he was really fun.
Goldberg: Intense and explosive, enough so that it changed the business.
Brock Lesnar: FREAK. (That's a positive.)
Paul Heyman: He toes the line between genius and crazy.
Owen Hart: One of the nicest, funniest guys. 
Bret Hart: Unbelievable technician who maybe sometimes takes himself too seriously.
Undertaker: Respect.
Kane: Underrated. "If I had to say one word, he's the constant."
Pat Patterson: A genius for the business.
Michael Hayes: Underrated for his contributions to the business.

- Austin brought up the difference between pro wrestler and sports entertainer. Triple H said he understands the difference between the two in the sense that anyone can be a wrestler but making it to the WWE is different because it's like being in the NFL against just playing football.

- Austin asked about Lesnar's WWE deal and Triple H said it all comes down to Brock and what he wants to do. He kept saying it depends on if Lesnar feels he has "unfinished business" or not without actually bringing up MMA.

- Should Undertaker's streak have been broken? "I don't know. I can look at it both ways and I can see the value of both." He said in some ways it's the home run record that should never be broken, a living breathing thing that should last forever. But on the other side, a guy like 'Taker to give it back, to give all of it back to let someone else benefit off of it... that's huge. He can see both sides and Lesnar has benefited a great deal because of that.

- They talked about the Super Bowl finish, with Seattle blowing it on the last play when Russel Wilson threw an interception to Malcolm Butler. Triple H thinks they overthought it.

- They did a bit where Austin tried to wrap it up but Triple H said they couldn't wrap him on live television and they were going a little longer. Kevin Dunn was in Austin's ear saying they had five more minutes.

- Austin asked about promos and Tripe H said some guys are scripted, some guys get bullet points, and some guys add things in and what not. It's a trust level with certain guys. Down in NXT he tries to let guys come up with their own stuff to get better and the hope is to get to a point where guys can get a premise and then be let go instead of scripted.

- He was blunt in saying if he could change anything about Monday Night Raw, he would go back to two hours because it's incredibly difficult to write for three hours. Austin asked about the show being married to three hours and Triple H said that's a Vince call and a financial issue.

- If he could change anything else, he would like to let stories to develop. He's a slow burn kind of guy and he likes to let things build for a big payoff.

- As for when he might return to the ring "I don't want to give anything away but it's coming. Stay tuned. Otherwise I'm training twice a day for nothing." He said training is going well and he doesn't have aches and pains.

That was the show.