"Stone Cold" Steve Austin hasn't wrestled a match since losing to The Rock at WrestleMania XIX, but there may be one Superstar who could lure the Texas Rattlesnake out of retirement.
Austin interviewed Paul Heyman during WrestleMania XXX weekend for The Steve Austin Show on PodcastOne, and the Hall of Famer admitted that a match against Heyman's client, Brock Lesnar, might be of interest to him:
Heyman brought up the possibility of an Austin vs. Lesnar match, and while Austin didn't fully embrace it, he didn't shoot it down either.
The interview occurred prior to Lesnar's historic WrestleMania XXX victory over The Undertaker, so it stands to reason that Austin's interest is now piqued even more.
Austin has a great relationship with WWE as evidenced by the fact that he was asked to open WrestleMania XXX by cutting a promo alongside Hulk Hogan and The Rock.
A potential Austin in-ring return has been rumored and speculated on for the past few years, but nothing has come to fruition.
The fans still respond to him in a big way, and Austin looks to be in excellent shape as well. He dealt with knee and neck injuries over the course of his career, but having not worked a match for 11 years, Stone Cold has had plenty of time to heal.
Austin is 49 years old, so age and ring rust might be concerns, but Austin was never an in-ring technician under the Stone Cold gimmick. With that in mind, there is reason to believe he can still have a great brawl with a guy like Lesnar.
Not only would Austin vs. Lesnar be a dream match that wrestling fans would love to see, but it has historical significance as well. Austin and Lesnar were supposed to have a match in 2002; however, Austin was unhappy with the circumstances surrounding it, so he temporarily left the company.
Austin discussed his decision to forgo a match with Lesnar during an interview on Talk Is Jericho with former WWE Superstar Chris Jericho, which was transcribed by Caylon Knox of WrestlingNewsSource.com.
(Jim Ross) told me creative wanted Brock to beat me. And I'm thinking, okay hold it. I'm drawing stupid money right now. Obviously WWF had spent a lot of money getting me into this position. I busted my ass getting myself in this position. Guys that draw stupid money don't just happen overnight. So now all of a sudden you want me to do a job for a guy, now I love Brock Lesnar and he's a monster, and as soon as he walked in the door everybody saw massive potential in the guy, but for me to do a job for him without any kind of buildup? A match but no two or three weeks talking about it?
While Austin may have felt like walking away was the best move at the time, he admitted that he would have handled the situation differently if given another opportunity.
It was stupid because you have to own up to some responsibility and accountability and show up. Honor your deal. You're packed with the boys and your job. So I should have showed up like a man, come up with a solution. Could have been a different solution, could have been just don't even do the match, but show up and talk to Vince face to face, solve the problem in some way or fashion, and get through it like a grown man.
Austin vs. Lesnar now would be far different from Austin vs. Lesnar in 2002, but Stone Cold could potentially right the wrong he committed so many years ago.
Even though Austin and Lesnar never had a match, they had their fair share of run-ins with each other on WWE programming.
Stone Cold served as the special guest referee for the disappointing Lesnar vs. Goldberg match at WrestleMania XX, and he put on exclamation point on it with Stunners to both men.
Although Austin was unwilling to lose to Lesnar without proper build, he clearly has nothing against Lesnar as a man. In a recent interview regarding Lesnar's UFC career, Austin put over the Beast Incarnate in a big way.
At the same time, Lesnar seems to believe that there is unfinished business between them in the ring. During an interview for WWE 12 prior to Lesnar's official return to WWE, Lesnar mentioned feeling "robbed" in terms of never getting to face Stone Cold.
Austin and Lesnar have always been huge draws, but the fact that Lesnar ended the streak would make a feud and match between them even more significant. There has been no indication that such a match will happen, but it would have to be at WrestleMania if it does.
An Austin vs. Lesnar match at WrestleMania XXXI would sell in a big way, particularly if Lesnar is booked as an unbeatable monster in the wake of his WrestleMania XXX triumph.
Austin and Heyman were absolute gold together on his podcast, and the build toward an Austin vs. Lesnar bout would be a dream come true for wrestling fans since Austin and Heyman would cut awesome promo after awesome promo.
It is entirely possible that WWE already has long-term plans for Lesnar that don't involve Austin, but if Austin comes to the company and expresses interest in doing a program with Lesnar, then WWE would be insane to not consider it.
This is a match that would sell in any era, and the discussion between Austin and Heyman will certainly fuel excitement and speculation within the WWE Universe.
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