Ahead of WrestleMania 39 in Los Angeles, rumors ran rampant that Stone Cold Steve Austin might once again return to the ring.
The WWE Hall of Famer officially retired from in-ring competition following WrestleMania XIX in 2003, but in 2022, he shocked the world by facing Kevin Owens in his first match in 19 years. After being photographed in phenomenal shape earlier this year, fans wondered if another return to the squared circle was on the horizon.
According to reports, there were multiple big-money pitches on the table for the Texas Rattlesnake, including opportunities to face both Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. However, as the blockbuster event drew near, it became clear that Austin wasn’t part of the plans, and the man himself confirmed in March that he would not be wrestling.
Speaking in a recent interview with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, Austin opened up about his decision to forego stepping into the ring in Los Angeles, confirming that he had talks with WWE about an in-ring return and discussing his experience the previous year.
“I haven’t spoken to this, but I’ll give you the story. I met with some people from WWE. We talked about the possibility of me wrestling at WrestleMania 39. The biggest thing in my mind was the presentation and what kind of match it was going to be. Going back to 38, the way the KO thing was presented—I love KO—I turned that down three, four, five times until the creative finally came to what it ended up being.
“I didn’t want it constructed as a real match, per se. I needed something that could turn into one, and it did, but I think that’s why we got away with it. The Dallas crowd was very receptive. I hadn’t been around, so the timing was right.”
“I Couldn’t Commit” – Steve Austin On Another Project Interfering With WrestleMania 39 Plans
Continuing, Steve Austin revealed that his work on A&E series Stone Cold Takes On America didn’t allow him the time to get in proper shape to compete at WrestleMania 39.
“But to do a proper match, I’d have to be in off-the-charts shape. I told them, and this is the exact truth, I said, ‘Guys, I’m just fixin’ to go into production on this show, Stone Cold Takes on America, and until we start production, I don’t know what my life looks like. I can’t commit.’ Sure enough, there were technical issues before we finished. I was supposed to finish a month before we did.
“There’s no way, with the schedule I was doing—driving an RV all over God’s creation, doing all I was doing—that I would be ready. I had two 30-pound dumbbells, a 45-pound sandbag, and a 25-pound kettlebell. Working 15 hours a day, then getting in a 30- or 40-minute workout, that doesn’t get you ready for WrestleMania. And I was really protected at WrestleMania 38. This time, that wasn’t going to be the case. That was a true statement: Until this show was over, I couldn’t commit.”
Stone Cold Takes On America A&Epremieres on April 30th on .