Source: The Steve Austin Show

Recently, WWE SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon stopped by 317 Gimmick Street for a conversation with WWE Hall Of Famer Steve Austin. Among many other things, McMahon talked about how this generation differs from the territory days, whether WWE Superstars walk on proverbial eggshells backstage, criticisms of the current WWE product, and how long he plans on sticking around WWE.

According to McMahon, things are drastically different now from the old territory days, as performers were relatively finished products by the time they arrived in WWE back then.  

"That learning is so crucial and so important and it doesn't exist today. Well, let me rephrase. It's just much different today. Well, the territory system primarily dried up, it dried up, so therefore, it used to be, by the time you got to New York, you were polished. You were ready to go, so that kind of dried up!"

McMahon admitted that some WWE talent may walk on eggshells for fear of job loss and the former WWE European Champion said that performers do not get much freedom to deviate from the script because there is not a lot of television time.

"I'm sure there's some of that. The freedom to kind of try things out is limited a whole lot more. I mean, you can do a whole lot more, then, on house shows, and as [Austin is] well aware, when you're trying certain things, did this work [or] did this not work? When it comes to TV, and it's so finite, of the amount of time you have."

Moreover, McMahon suggested that a lot of WWE Superstars are scared to try something new because they do not know if it will work.

"Also, I think a lot of the guys, again with the territory system drying up, they never really had the ability to go try it somewhere else, so they don't know. It's like any experience." McMahon opined, "there's not that maturation process that it used to be, so we've had to recreate it and that's really what NXT is now there to be."

Interestingly, McMahon shared that WWE wanted ECW to be that developmental system originally. Additionally, 'The Crown Prince Of WWE' credited his brother-in-law, Triple H, for his work with the NXT.

"Paul [Levesque], Triple H, has done a phenomenal job with a whole cast of guys of really building that territory. Dusty [Rhodes] prior to him and Paul [has] taken it to a-whole-nother level. Prior to that, that's originally what we wanted ECW to be when we first purchased it. I wrote the business plan for ECW just to be that AAA system because we needed guys. Whether you're coming up or coming down, you have certain guys that are going to peak. You can't stay at the peak forever, so as they come down, well, start [sharing] that knowledge."

McMahon claimed that he understands the criticism that the current WWE is too micromanaged; however, 'The Boy Wonder' attempted to distance SmackDown Live from Monday Night RAW and boasted that the program is freer than RAW.

"SmackDown, I don't know if [Austin] would agree with this, has a lot more spontaneity than RAW and I also think it's because it's not as regulated as much as RAW. RAW was number one." McMahon continued, "I think, and kudos to Brian James and the creative group there. Everybody's trying very hard to create more of that spontaneity and to give guys and girls opportunities they would never have had if it's all under one brand, so going back to our theme of our entire podcast here, is having the right opportunity, but telling the right stories."

When asked what the future holds, McMahon divulged that he enjoys his current role with the world's largest sports entertainment promotion and that the man whose power and money got him crazy cocky loves the business of professional wrestling.

"Yeah, I'm very much enjoying that and as long as I can continually make a difference and help guys now, watch greener guys grow and help them learn psychology and the product better, I'm in. It makes me feel great. I love to be able to do that. I love to teach. And I love the camaraderie of it all. I love the business."

Take a swig of water for the working man here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.

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