Most WWE watchers noticed a change from the first couple episodes of WWE Network's Stone Cold Podcast series and the version that returned after a hiatus where Steve Austin's show was replaced by a similar interview set-up hosted by Chris Jericho.
Those early editions felt edgy, and produced multiple water cooler-type moments which were debated for days - or in the case of things like Vince McMahon's brass ring comments or Triple H's reasoning for Joanie "Chyna" Lauer's not being considered for the Hall of Fame, to this day. The ones since have been fun, but more along the lines of the "friends telling stories" format for which Jericho was often criticized.
In his latest audio-only podcast, Austin fesses up to the critique, and explains why. And it's pretty much what we all assumed. But it doesn't seem to be about fear of losing his Network gig, but rather not trying to screw up anyone else's business:
A lot of the time, I hold back because I'm one of the boys and I've got to show up every damn month for a podcast.
It's not my goal to run anybody down [or] run anybody down that's in control. I love the [professional wrestling] business, but it is what it is. I have my opinion. Sometimes, believe me, I'm holding back when I'm talking about my opinions because I don't want to shoot a hole in anybody.
Personally, I believe there was a decision to change the tone of the monthly version of the Podcast, but it's not something I think Stone Cold was "wrong" for agreeing to. He's got those gimmicks they call bills to pay, after all.
He shares that the wrestlers and others who appear on his show have things they can't talk about, so his agreeing not to ask them about those topics is essentially moving away from the "no holds barred" format of his episodes with Vince and Trips:
Sometimes, in talking, quite frankly, with WWE talent, you can't go certain directions... there's a line that is drawn that you really can't cross over because they can't bury themselves [and] they can't talk about certain things, so, sometimes, it just is what it is.
While I miss those hard-hitting interviews, the more conversational ones are fun, too. And I quite respect Austin for addressing the issue head-on and not pretending he and other Vince employees are given free rein.
Agree or disagree, Cagesiders?