Wednesday, August 10, 2016

About That Awkward Ambrose/Austin Interview....

So this past Monday Dean Ambrose appeared on the Stone Cold Podcast in what was anticipated (by me anyway) by many people.  How does Dean Ambrose, the apparent red headed stepchild of the Shield, feel about being WWE Champion and actually winning the first (and thus far only) match between all three Shield members?  Did he resent the initial pushes his former stablemates got?  Does he think his current push is the result of Reigns' suspension?

Unfortunately, we didn't really get any of that.  And while I didn't think it was an overall bad interview, it certainly didn't live up to expectations.  At the very least, it can be described as awkward or uncomfortable.

I searched the #StoneColdPodcast on Twitter to see what the fans thought.  The responses were about 50/50, with half saying "if you liked Ambrose before, you'll love him now!" and the other half saying "was Ambrose high?" or "that was terrible."  Likewise, those that didn't like the interview were split with half blaming Ambrose for his poor interactive skills, and the other half wondering why Austin kept pushing certain questions and issues that didn't really relate to wrestling or Ambrose's career.

So, who is to blame?

I'm sure Ambrose will get a lot of heat for it (the poor performance PLUS insulting the scripted promos PLUS making fun of a producer PLUS badmouthing, pretty harshly, Brock Lesnar) but I after thinking about it for a couple of days, I think most of the blame should fall on Austin who simply didn't do a very good idea interviewing an atypical personality.  Admittedly, I am a big Ambrose fan, but I also appreciate Austin and have enjoyed pretty much every single one of his podcasts.  But honestly, I think if Jericho or Foley had hosted this interview, the result would have been like night and day.

First and foremost, Austin devoted far too much time to Ambrose's childhood and teen years.  And while those topics are the norm and they are important (to an extent), he didn't let Ambrose run with the topic.  If the topic didn't go in the direction that Austin had wished, Austin would cut him off and ask him (almost badger him) about what Austin wanted to hear.  For example, Ambrose didn't seem to want to talk about his father, yet on two separate occasions Austin brought the conversation to Ambrose's relationship with his father.  Ambrose didn't bite either time, but Austin still forced the topic.  I don't know if there's a story there, but nonetheless Ambrose wasn't making it an interesting discussion.  And again, when Ambrose mentioned dropping out of school, Austin cut him off -- twice -- to see how his parents reacted.  Again, Ambrose brushed off the topic.  Austin again cut him off to say that his parents would have kicked his ass.  Ambrose didn't bite, so why force it?  What impact does it have on anything fans would actually care about?

The real eye opener to me, though, was when Ambrose told the story about receiving the call about being hired by WWE, and Austin literally cut him off to say that he didn't like the way Ambrose told the story.  And Ambrose answered that he's a mellow guy so despite being excited at the time, he's not that expressive in retelling it because of his natural calm demeanor.  That showed me that Austin cares more about responses than what his subject is saying.

And finally, for all the pushing and prodding that Austin did during Ambrose's formidable years, he really didn't ask any of the interesting, hard hitting questions that people actually would have cared about.  He ever so briefly asked about his feelings about the path each member of the Shield took, he didn't really push it as far as he could have.  And that's the sort of thing I think even casual fans would care about.  Not to mention that the censorship made entire portions of the interview unintelligible.

And then at the end, Austin begins to criticize Ambrose.  Again, this isn't unusual, he tends to have constructive criticisms for all of his guests (recently telling AJ Styles that he needs to make his offense seem more aggressive).  Except Austin's criticism of Ambrose was either vague or something he has little control over (Ambrose can only push the envelope so far under strict rating limitations).  Ambrose is far from perfect, why couldn't Austin be more specific with the areas where he can improve?  Why couldn't he say that his offense looks weak and that he needs to fight like he's the best wrestling in the company?  That would have been fair and I would have been interested in hearing his response.

Honestly, Ambrose was not the best subject (which is unfortunate), but it ultimately came down to two very differing personalities that weren't working together.  And as the interviewer, I think that responsibility falls on Austin.  Jericho and possibly Foley would have gotten a much better interview out of Ambrose.

What do you think?  How did you see it?

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