Stone Cold Steve Austin has opened up about his decision to return to WWE at WrestleMania 38, explaining that he’s doing it for one person, and one person only.
At WrestleMania XIX, Stone Cold Steve Austin was forced to call time on his Hall of Fame career as a result of a number of serious neck issues. The problems went all of the way back to SummerSlam 1997 where he broke his neck in a match against Owen Hart. Austin only underwent surgery to try and repair the damage in 1999.
With defeat to The Rock, Austin walked out of the ring as an active competitor one last time, and has been steadfast in his refusal to come out of retirement. That is until now.
At WrestleMania 38, Steve Austin has promised to open up one last can of whoop-ass on Kevin Owens. While the segment is officially being billed as a special edition of the KO Show, reports suggest there could be a little more physicality involved.
During an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, Austin was asked why he agreed to be part of the show. The Hall of Famer explained that it felt like the perfect time, adding that he was doing it purely for himself.
This opportunity comes up, Kevin Owens starts running me down and gets my attention. It was a thing where, I kind of said, ‘I’m never going to get in the ring again.’ In this business, never say never. I said I would never get in, but prompted by the right person at the right time, hell, I wish he would have pissed me off a little sooner than he did to give me more time to prep.
Once you step into the ring, it’s like stepping onto a football field, that’s where business happens. We don’t know what it’s going to escalate to. I’ve been working on my conditioning. Had it been anywhere else other than Jerry’s Place….it’s a two-night event, WrestleMania is biggest show of the year, to be part of that is really special to me.
I’m doing this for me. I’m going out there to have a damn blast. I’m gonna have fun and I’m gonna wear these two fists out on Kevin Owens. I’m sure he’s going to get some to because he’s had an amazing career. I’m glad he pissed me off when he did,”
Austin also reflected on meeting Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn at an airport many years ago, recalling the advice he passed on the young star.
“A long time ago, when I was still active in the ring, I was on the road somewhere, about to get on a plane. This kid come up from behind me, it was Kevin Owens, him and another guy. He said, ‘Hey Stone Cold, I’m Kevin Owens, I’ve been in the business a couple of years, can you give me any advice?’ He started telling me about all the offensive moves he was doing and all the crazy stuff and I said, ‘Kid, you need to stop learning how to do all those crazy moves and start learning how to run your mouth. You need to learn how to cut a promo.
Kevin Owens is a student of the game and now he cuts one of the best promos in the business and now he got my attention with one of his promos. He’s a guy who has had a career that many would love to have. He’s been in the business for over 20 years, longer than I have. It’s going to be an interesting challenge.
In my documentary, I said, ‘As an active performer, you never want to come off the road because you come off the road and you get soft.’ An NFL football player will tell you the same thing. You have to get calloused up and ready to go. He’s ready to go. I have my work cut out for me. I’m gonna be there whipping some ass.”
Stone Cold also admitted that when he was forced to retire, he didn’t want to go.
“When I left, I didn’t want to leave. WrestleMania 19, my neck had presented some problems. After I got spiked and dropped on my head back in 99, I had three, four fused up, and it was time for me to ride off into the sunset and do something else. This comeback means a lot to me as I’ve been getting back into in-ring shape. I’m gonna go out there and do the absolute best I can…”
“I’m doing this for the fans. I’m doing this for WWE. I’m doing this for me, number one”
During the interview, Austin also detailed how he came up with the majority of his famous 1996 King of the Ring promo on the spot. The promo eventually went down in history as the moment “Austin 3:16” was created.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.