Vincent McMahon, Paul "Triple H" Levesque, Paul Heyman and now.....Paige. Given the high profiles of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's previous WWE Network-produced podcast guests, it was surprising to see the former Divas champion in the hot seat this week. One can only assume WNW stalwart Jamie Welton's interview with her father last week inspired "The Rattlesnake" to invite her on.
Austin opened things up asking Paige about growing up in a wrestling family but for people familiar with her background the major revelation was Paige's evolving Anglo-American accent. "The Rattlesnake" is growing all the time as a solid interviewer and continued to probe until he uncovered the fact that British wrestling legend and NXT trainer Robbie Brookside gave Paige her first bump as a foetus (it isn't as bad as it sounds) and that she also suffers with scoliosis. I don't know a great deal about the effects of scoliosis but I think it is good that she has shared this with her fans and may well have indirectly helped give a confidence boost to young sufferers struggling with the condition.
Austin was clearly blown away by Paige's unorthodox upbringing, especially the fact she worked as a bar tender and bouncer at the age of 14 when other girls are still playing with dolls, listening to Justin Bieber or watching Zac Effron movies. As the conversation continued it became clear why Paige had been selected to appear, she is a young lady from the "old-school" of wrestling just like Austin and has the type of old fashioned history in the business you see less and less of nowadays.
There wont be many children in England that can say they met Yokozuna and The Bushwackers, not only that but Paige had Jake "The Snake" Roberts live with her family for a while. With so much inspiration around her it now isn't so hard to believe she was signed by WWE at 18. I was watching through my fingers slightly when she started declaring her love for Austin but brilliantly, in true "Stone Cold" style, he barely batted an eyelid and maintained a look of total seriousness throughout. He is becoming as focused an interviewer as he was a wrestler and I thought it was brilliant (and quite funny) the way he handled the compliments coming his way.
Paige's anecdote about he first failed try out is an important lesson that is very relevant today with current superstars and writers. The best characters are those that are simply an extension of the owner, you don't always have to dream something weird and wonderful up. Just take the raw ingredients of the individual's personality and let them go a bit wild with it, just like Steve Austin did! Too many superstars look awkward in their skin.
There was a nice story about Dusty Rhodes which again just re-enforced everything that has been said about "The Dream" since his sad passing. I don't think it is any coincidence the quality of talent that has come out of NXT during his time there. It was also nice to witness a legend like Austin offering his advice to a young superstar. I've said it before but I think he should be involved creatively in WWE at a senior level. Not only has he got an amazing understanding of the business from top to bottom but he knows what it is like to carry the weight of a company on his back for years and how to handle the pressures of stardom. Austin was also on hand to reassure Paige who admitted she had received death threats after Tough Enough.
So the second half of this interview saw Austin become an agony aunt/adviser as well as an interviewer, but it is as fascinating listening to Austin as his guests so the anecdotes he contributes enhance the interview rather than detract from it. Although there was not as much controversy or talking points as with his first three subjects but it was an interesting hour and heart warming to see the biggest superstar of all time so willing to offer guidance to someone still incredibly young. Different to what we have seen previously on The Stone Cold Podcast, not a must-see but yet another hour of entertaining TV on the ever growing network.