Raw 1000 came and went. It was a rare spectacle that few fans—even among the nitpickers of the IWC (Internet Wrestling Community; of which I am a proud member)—could say they had problems with. It started with the chairman introducing DX to the ring, had The Rock announcing his participation in a title match in the near future, Bret Hart appearing for a cameo, the Brothers of Destruction laying waste to jobbers, Brock Lesnar accepting a SummerSlam match with Triple H and CM Punk turning heel.
Yet, there was one man conspicuous by his absence. That man has had moments with all the superstars mentioned above. And, his presence alone would probably have earned the loudest "pop" of the night. But, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was the most notable name missing from the card. His absence was—unsurprisingly—the victim of much unhealthy speculation including criticism of both WWE management and the "Texas Rattlesnake" himself.
Austin was quick to quick to clarify, on his blog, the real reason for his absence.He had recently undergone knee surgery and was in crutches. As his appearance would not be as awesome without the Stone Cold Stunner, he decided to sit out on the party:
The surgery was a complete success. I am currently three weeks post op. I began physical therapy a few days ago. I had a world class surgeon and a great medical team working on me. I am now working with a top notch PT team. I am still on crutches and will probably lose the crutches in another week. Then I will be in a custom knee brace much like the braces I wore in the ring for 9-12 weeks.
STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN IS A 100% ASS KICKING MACHINE. There was no way I was going to limp down the ramp on crutches for RAW 1,000. It was time to get my knee fixed. The decision to no-show RAW 1,000 was made by me and no one else. I have always taken pride in making my shots and have never faked an injury or illness. Pro Wrestling is a tough game and it was time to pay the piper for some of the damage I incurred in the ring. No gripes. No complaints.
While wrestling fans understand understand and accept the reality of injuries in the sport, they are never silent. Stone Cold will have to make up for his current absence in a big way, to keep his die-hard fans satisfied. He will need to make sure that his next appearance is as remarkable as his recent absence. He will need to appear where nobody can miss his presence.
What better way for Austin to make his mark, than by stealing the spotlight from everybody else? The Rock is scheduled to face the WWE Champion—whoever he is—on the grand stage of the Royal Rumble. Whether it is John Cena, CM Punk (perhaps even Brock Lesnar or Triple H? Maybe even all of them!) that meets The Rock in the squared circle on that fateful night, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin has to be in charge of things.
No matter how big the superstars—or how many there are—and their egos, there is only one man capable of putting the competitors in their place. And, on that historic night, if he thinks he is fit enough to have a go himself, he can end the show by laying the hurt on any opponent of his choosing and saying to the fans, "If you want Austin 3:16 to open a can of whoop-ass on this SOB all the way to Wrestlemania, give me a Hell Yeah!!"