"Stone Cold" Steve Austin had been ruled out of appearing at WrestleMania XXIX due to ongoing issues with his troubling knee injuries.
But according to the man himself, these physical issues may not be as debilitating as some think.
Speaking to Busted Open on Sirius 92 this week to promote WWE 13, Austin spoke about his injuries and who he'd fight were he to make a sensational return to the ring in the near future (h/t Wrestling Inc):
I'm 100 percent fine. Once I had my fusion done in 2000 and I went into the recovery phase and then got back in the ring, everything was fine and dandy. Passing the physical isn't the issue."
I really like John [Cena]. He is the face of that company right now and he has done a hell of a job and I got a lot of respect for him. You look at a guy like Triple H, that was one of my favorite guys to work in the ring with. Undertaker is kind of beat to shreds, kind of like me. [But] is CM Punk at the top of the list? Yes!
Austin's comments are interesting considering the thought that he wouldn't be physically cleared to compete until WrestleMania XXX in 2014.
A report from PWInsider earlier this year claimed that "Austin's final match isn't expected to happen until WrestleMania 30 in 2014." (h/t Wrestling Inc).
"The story is that Austin won't come back for anything but a WrestleMania main event. Those familiar with Austin's situation note that he's not physically or mentally ready for the match to take place next year."
It is also unlikely that an Austin comeback at WrestleMania XXIX will happen due to The Rock also being scheduled to appear and higher powers possibly not wanting two main events worthy of selling a Pay-Per-View on their own distracting from the other on the card.
Austin and CM Punk have built on a potential rivalry in recent months with the release of wrestling video game WWE 13.
In October, the two had a back-and-forth that led the Texas Rattlesnake to say "You call yourself the best in the world, you're a damn joke and I ain't going to get carried away here because I haven't seen the promos, I just know that the words you had to say weren't flattering" (h/t Wrestling Inc).
While a showdown in the near future, surely it's an inevitability that these two superstars meet in the ring somewhere down the line.
Though Austin has revealed that there are a number of guys he'd willingly fight, everyone knows Punk is at the top of his list.
What do you make of Steve Austin's comments? If and when do you think we'll see him back in a WWE ring?