Jim Ross Discusses Steve Austin Missing WWE WrestleMania 40

The fact that WrestleMania 40 is still being discussed as much as it is across the wrestling world nearly a month after it took place is likely a strong indicator as to how well the event was received. But one glaring omission that seems to remain is that of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, especially in the Night Two main event that saw so many other high-profile cameos. While plenty of other wrestling luminaries have chimed in, offering their opinions on why Austin did not ultimately appear, one voice we hadn't heard from until now on the matter was that of Jim Ross, a close friend of Austin's over the years, who boiled it down to two likely — and familiar — factors on the latest episode of "Grilling JR."


"The reason is twofold," Ross said. "Cash and creative." While Ross has invoked those simple reasons many times over the years when discussing wrestlers having disagreements over how to be used and in similar scenarios, with Austin specifically, he says, an impasse over those factors would make all the sense in the world. 

"Austin is probably the most particular guy as far as who he wrestles as anybody I've ever been around," Ross explained. "He knows what will accomplish the best results as an in-ring product and then of course, [there's] the cash."

Ross would clarify that he hasn't spoken to Austin in several weeks, so much of what he put forth was hypothetical, but given the nature of the finish to Cody Rhodes' story, in capturing the Undisputed WWE Championship, the absence of "The Rattlesnake" was noticeable.


"There was a spot there at the end where all those guys are getting their flowers," he reasoned, "that would have fit Steve perfectly. He would have been a great cherry on the sundae."

Did a Rock/Austin Rivalry Play a Part?

As for future WWE involvement for Austin, co-host Conrad Thompson opined that with The Rock now on the TKO Holdings board of directors, it seemed unlikely that we'd see him again anytime soon. Ross, however, downplayed the assertion.


"I don't know if that's a big deal or not," he said. "They get along. They were very instrumental in the other's career and the growth of those careers, so I don't know if one thing has to do with another. You might be right. I can see your logic. I just don't think it applies here in this particular situation."

Thompson continued, however, wondering aloud if, with both Rock and Triple H, former professional rivals to Austin, now in key administrative positions with the company, an Austin appearance in this new era might be less likely than when others were in charge of WWE. Specifically, he noted that the segment of the main event finish that featured The Undertaker chokeslamming Rock seemed like it was a replacement for an Austin spot, which Ross said would have been ideal. "Yeah, it would have worked perfectly," he concurred. "It would have been a great pop, great way to send the audience home."


Still, "JR" offered up that the main event of WrestleMania 40 didn't disappoint, even without Austin, and he complimented his former employer for a job well done. "The end of that show was very-well booked, bringing all those guys in. It was a nice surprise. I needed something else to send me home happy, to send me home talking, and they did that."

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.