WWE Hall of Famer "Stone Cold" Steve Austin hasn't wrestled a match in over 16 years, but he believes he has enough left in the tank for one more showdown.
Speaking on Tuesday's Steve Austin Show podcast (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Marc Middleton), Austin discussed his physical capabilities at the age of 54:
"For the last couple of weeks, down there at the Raw reunion in Tampa, down there at the Madison Square Garden show at Monday Night Raw—people always ask me, 'Hey man, you're still in really good shape. You got one more match left in you?' And I tell them, 'Man.' I say, 'You know, it's a tough thing to think about.' Physically, would I be able to have one more match? Yes, most definitely, and I could make it to that match without being injured. Although the risks are always there, just because I think all of the surgeries I had. ... Where I had the spinal stenosis, and getting that bone spur taken off my spinal cord—I'm in a good place. Nerves are feeling a lot better than they used to. So, you know, in theory, could I have a match? In theory, yes."
While there is no indication that Austin is pushing for or being given one more match, he will be back in the WWE fold next week when he appears on the debut episode of SmackDown on Fox.
The Texas Rattlesnake retired from in-ring competition in 2003 due primarily to a longstanding neck injury. He fell to The Rock in his final match at WrestleMania 19, and while he hasn't returned to in-ring action since, there have been some teases along the way.
In 2011, Austin and CM Punk did a backstage segment together, and then in 2012, they took part in a sit-down interview with Jim Ross for the WWE 13 video game. Despite fan interest in the potential match, nothing ever came of it.
Then, in 2015, during an interview with Paul Heyman on WWE Network, Austin and Heyman seemed to work an angle regarding a potential match between Stone Cold and Brock Lesnar. Again, it was merely a tease, and Austin remained retired.
Austin has had a much greater presence on WWE programming recently than at any point in the past several years with multiple appearances on Raw to, in part, promote his USA Network show Straight Up Steve Austin.
If Austin were to ever make an in-ring comeback, the current landscape is ideal to do so. For starters, with All Elite Wrestling debuting its weekly show on TNT next week, WWE is likely open to anything that will grab big ratings, and a Stone Cold return would undoubtedly do that.
Also, legends such as Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker and Goldberg have competed in matches for WWE in Saudi Arabia over the past year, and Austin could likely net a massive payday to work one of those shows.
Austin can't necessarily go out and work a 30-minute classic at this stage in his life, but given how big of a star he is, merely stepping back inside the squared circle in any capacity would be one of the biggest developments in wrestling of the past decade or more.
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