WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin recently spoke to Ring Rust Radio about a variety of topics. He talked about giving advice to Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan’s retirement, his role at WrestleMania 32 and more.
You can check out the full interview above. You can also listen to it here and you can read a few highlights below.
Ring Rust Radio: One of the greatest matches of your career in my opinion was your bout with The Rock at WrestleMania 17, which is well known for your heel turn during the aftermath. We recently had Jim Ross on the show and he said you almost went the other way with it by taking out Vince instead, and you’ve said it’s something you considered doing as well. Why did you ultimately decide against it, and how do you think it would’ve went over with Vince if you would’ve called an audible?
Steve Austin: Well first of all, it was my idea to turn heel. If I could do it over again I would of shook Vince’s hand and told him, “I’m calling an audible, watch the stunner,” and that’s what I would’ve done. Some people say they were glad I turned heel because I got to show different levels and ranges and all that other stuff. Yes, I did but the money was in Stone Cold Steve Austin being a baby face. At that point, people didn’t want to hate me, and I tried like hell to get them to hate me. I did the best I could, but then again it didn’t matter if I had opponents are not, it just wasn’t the right call and it was my idea. Vince would have totally gone along with anything I called because he always told me I had the best game day gut instincts of anyone he ever knew. I felt it, but once I committed man that’s where I wanted to go. Hindsight being 20/20 had I called that audible, he would’ve been fine with it.
Ring Rust Radio: The biggest story recently has been Daniel Bryan’s retirement. As someone who also had their career shortened by injuries, what are your thoughts on Bryan’s decision to walk away and what advice would you give him moving forward?
Steve Austin: I think the guy absolutely made the right decision. I think Vince kind of helped him to make up his mind. I had heard a story that he wanted out of his contract so he could go wrestle elsewhere. I don’t know. Then I heard the part about his seizures, then all of a sudden it was what came first, the chicken or the egg? He absolutely made the right decision. We find out years later with all these NFL guys and some guys in our business that have brain issues. If you’re having seizures and the doctor says your brain is kind of getting jellified here, and I’m no doctor that’s just working man speak, then damn right he made the right decision. Moving forward my advice to him is I don’t think he needs much advice. Daniel Bryan is a very smart kid, he is very passionate about some of the green projects he’s involved with that we talked about on my podcast about two years ago. I don’t know him real well, but I talked to him while he was at home on his hiatus from the business. He will find another way just like I did. I remember when I was going to have to ride off into the sunset, my good friend Paul Orndorff looked me in the eyes and said, “Steve there is life after wrestling” because a lot of us don’t think there is. We don’t have an exit strategy from the business. I asked him, “There is?”, and he said “Damn right there is.” That’s the only thing I told Daniel Bryan as well, is that there is life after wrestling.
Ring Rust Radio: The WWE Universe is getting excited for WrestleMania 32 from Dallas. What are your expectations for the show overall and what kind of role should the fans expect to see you in at the event?
Steve Austin: I know Vince is going to throw everything but the kitchen sink at them. You got a big ass building in AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play. It’s going to take some creative booking to put together some intriguing storylines and matches, and that’s going to be the place for everything to culminate and pay off. In a way WrestleMania kind of sells itself because it’s WrestleMania and all these fans make the pilgrimage to this one location. Along with that there does have to be a big attraction. I’ll never forget when I was fortunate enough to work with the Rock at 17. I worked in SafeCo and there were a lot of people there. I worked Ford Field when I was a referee. When you’re the main event of the card and all those people come, that’s a gigantic reason to come when you want to see Stone Cold and the Rock, and you know it’s good to be a special moment. Roman Reigns isn’t quite there yet, but he will be one of these days, so he does have a great opportunity if he ends up taking on Triple H or whoever they put in the ring with him. They got work to do. As far as my role, I don’t know yet. I haven’t talked to anybody about it. I expect to be in Dallas, Texas, and I expect to do something, I just don’t know what it is.
Ring Rust Radio: Speaking of WrestleMania 32, I think most fans are probably expecting a main event of Triple H against Roman Reigns for the world title, and that isn’t necessarily going over well with everyone due to the perceived predictability of the angle. How do you see the world title scene playing out leading up to and at WrestleMania, and how would you handle it if you had a say?
Steve Austin: I really don’t know how to play it out. I just talked to Wade Keller on my Tuesday show, and he had some interesting scenarios, but I can’t remember what they were. As far as predictability goes, sometimes the writing is on the wall and it’s easy to predict things then there are times you think you know what they’re going to do, and then they pull the old switcheroo on you. I haven’t sat there and dwelled upon it really to be very frank with you. I try to watch some of the highlights of Raw because I was just there. I got a chance to talk to Roman Reigns and he is going to be fine. When you talk to him one-on-one, he is a super cool dude. I told him just be yourself in your promos and you are going to be fine. Some people think he has been a little bit entitled or pushed too fast and too hard. It’s just like when Vince McMahon told me when I was going to win King of the Ring or drop the championship on me at WrestleMania 14, what was I going to say? Not so fast, I think I need to earn more, so let’s wait a little bit on that. Roman Reigns has a good body, good looking guy, but he does have to bring the work up and he is starting to develop a little bit of a promo when he is himself. The company is going to him, and with that being said, he does have to bring up his end and that’s in the work and the performance. The IWC wants things their way and their favorites and or the people that are not given enough attention like Cesaro before he went down with his injury after Tyson Kidd rode off after his injury. Those two guys were doing great, but then Cesaro kind of fell to the wayside and everyone wants him to get a push because he’s earned it. After all my years in the business, yes the business has changed a little bit, but I just like to watch it and see what it is. The fact is these guys are better athletes than we were in there putting together more athletic sequences, so just kind of enjoy the ride. I was in the business for 15 years, and if I sit there and try to break down everything they do, then I’d have a headache. I just try to watch and enjoy it.