Stone Cold Steve Austin has discussed his work as a heel following his shocking alliance with Vince McMahon and how that led to him showing a comedic side to his character.
At WrestleMania X-7 Austin turned his back on his supporters as his need to be WWF Champion caused him to make a deal with the devil. Vince McMahon helped Austin defeat The Rock in the main event and the men sealed their unlikely alliance with a handshake and a beer.
In conversation with Chris Jericho on his Talk Is Jericho podcast, Austin has detailed his time as a heel in the then-World Wrestling Federation. Austin talked about the infamous heel turn and how despite his regrets, he was fully committed to making it work.
“When I turned heel after WrestleMania 17 and I wish I would’ve never done it and I wish I would’ve called an audible but I was a heel. When I commit to something, I am in so I’m gonna go to the end of the world – even though nobody wants to hate me, I’m kinda John Wayne of the wrestling world. But I was gonna do everything I could to make you hate me. So I was committed to doing that.”
Steve Austin discussed the different types of heel he played in his WWF run. The tough-talking Texas Rattlesnake persona had made him beloved by fans so when it was time to be hated, Austin had to think of something different:
“If you notice during my heel run, the heel I turned into after WrestleMania 17 was a different kind of heel than I rolled into. From The Ringmaster I turned into Stone Cold Steve Austin I was just beating people’s ass, cheating when they’d let me, talking all that trash. I couldn’t be that same heel when I switched against Rock again because that was the cool heel that turned me baby.”
Stone Cold Steve Austin then discussed the comedy elements of his character that came to the fore in 2001. Austin took part in fondly remembered skits with Vince McMahon and Kurt Angle that showed a new side to Austin. In one memorable segment, Austin presented McMahon with an expensive cowboy hat before revealing he had one of the same. Angle was then presented with a child’s cowboy hat, the Olympic gold medallist seemed pleased nonetheless.
Austin revealed it was an injury that forced him to go down this road:
“So it was an interesting way for me playing the heel that I was to go to the comedy stuff. Now that was because I had three broken bones in my back and they were shooting me full of Toradol every night and I couldn’t work. But you gotta do something. When all of a sudden the business deals you a sh*t sandwich and it’s like ‘ok I can’t get no heat from anybody let me just entertain people and just pull sh*t out of my ass to try to stay alive’. You don’t wanna get sent home, you’re a big part of the show so you start inventing these things to do.”
Steve Austin also discussed his favourite match of his career with Chris Jericho, the match in question being regarded as one of the best of all time.