On March 30th, 2003, Steve Austin wrestled what he believed would be his final match.
His clash with The Rock at WrestleMania 19 rounded off a strange 12 months for the Texas Rattlesnake, who had repeatedly found himself at odds with WWE.
After defeating Scott Hall at WrestleMania 18, Austin no-showed the following episode of Monday Night Raw. Despite returning to work Austin publicly criticised WWE and was arrested and charged with domestic abuse following an incident with his then-wife Debra.
During this period, Austin walked out on WWE for a second time after refusing to lose to Brock Lesnar in a King of the Ring qualifying match on Raw. Austin didn’t make his on-screen return until February 2003, and a month later he retired.
Fast forward 19 years and WrestleMania was heading to Dallas, Texas, and Austin was back on the card. Despite his lengthy list of neck and knee injuries, Austin rolled back the years to defeat Kevin Owens. The match was well received by fans and critics, with the WWE legend garnering near-universal praise for his performance.
Speaking to The Wrestling Classic, Austin revealed why he decided to come out of retirement for the match with Owens.
“I got a call from WWE. They said, ‘Hey man, would you like to take part in WrestleMania 38.’ It was in Dallas, Texas, and it was kind of a sentimental thing of I played football right outside of Dallas. I started in the Sportatorium with the world-famous Von Erich family, and what a fitting way…I always said I would never get back into the ring. I was done, but I always said I would if the stars aligned properly and they did.
They presented a storyline or a short angle with Kevin Owens, who I absolutely love, who is golden on the mic and awesome in the ring. Once they said, his name, the creative process continued into what it was. And not for it to not be a full-blown match, but a talk segment that turned into what a match would be. I love Kevin Owens and I was happy to share the ring with him,”
Steve Austin Comments On WrestleMania 39 Speculation
During the same interview, Austin was asked about potentially competing at WrestleMania 39. The WWE Hall of Famer was reportedly so happy with how his match against Owens turned out, that he was open to wrestling again. However, it is believed he has turned down matches with Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns.
Despite this, Austin claimed that WWE hasn’t contacted him about appearing at the event.
H/t to WrestlingNews.Co