Source: The Steve Austin ShowThe controversial Vince Russo was one of Steve Austin's most recent guests on "The Steve Austin Show," surprising the former WWE Champion with a few anecdotes about his career. Listen to the podcast here.
Russo, a former writer for WWE, WCW, and TNA, shed some light on Austin's career with the WWE, and how Vince McMahon wasn't exactly sold on the "3:16" marketing scheme.
McMahon used to call Russo into his office, who was doing the verbiage for many of the promos at the time, to see how the characters were going to be portrayed. Russo told Austin he loved his time as "Stunning" Steve Austin in WCW, but was unfamiliar with him in ECW.
When both Russo and McMahon got to The Ringmaster, Austin's in-ring name from his early days with WWE, Vince told Russo he didn't want Austin to ever say a word. He wanted Ted DiBiase -- his manager at the time -- to do all the talking.
Russo then proceeded to tell Austin he met with Rich Baker, who worked with WWE and had known about Austin's idea for a character, who would eventually become "Austin 3:16." Russo reiterated that Vince wanted to know nothing about Austin's mic skills, but he said he'd never forget the episode of Raw when Austin was given a headset.
"I remember putting you on the headset," Russo said, "with like, no direction, and just sitting back and saying, holy crap. I tell people this story all the time, because they talk about their push, their push, their push. I tell them all the time Steve Austin was given two freaking minutes on color. That's it. That's all he needed."
After Austin's promo at King of The Ring 1996, Russo said he was about to put the "Austin 3:16" title on a magazine the next day, and after showing the cover to Vince, the WWE head honcho asked what "Austin 3:16" was.
Having to remind Vince that Austin said it one night prior, the chairman told Russo he didn't get it and to take it off.
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