Steve Austin spoke to Power Slam to promote his latest movie, Tactical Force. The discussion turns to present-day WWE and he is asked to name which wrestlers he believes can evolve into "money-drawing players" for the sports-entertainment organization. CM Punk heads the top of the list.
"Well, I love CM Punk. That guy is already a star, and he's just breathed a much-needed breath of fresh air into the wrestling business," Austin said. "He's been working for over ten years. I'm a big fan of hisólove his skills, love his promos."
The WWE Hall of Famer then mentions Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan and the current Superstar most often compared to him, Randy Orton. Austin, however, feels "The Viper" still needs to work on his character and promo ability.
"Of the other guys, I'm still waiting for Wade Barrett to grab me by the throat and let me know who Wade Barrett is. Daniel Bryan could continue to move up the card," Austin said. "I'm interested to see where Randy Orton goes next. His promos need work, and right now, he's a little one-dimensional. The crowds are digging him, but there's still another step on the ladder for him to climb to."
Austin also feels that Alberto Del Rio needs to work on his promos.
"Alberto Del Rio reminds me of Gino Hernandez from the old [Dallas] Sportatorium. [He is] another one who needs to work on his promos-I don't like them worth a s--t right now-but he has great ability," said Stone Cold.
"He just needs to add a few pieces to the puzzle."
Austin is also high on two SmackDown! talents, including the newly crowned World Heavyweight Champion.
"Christian is a hell of a performer in the ring, and he's just had a hell of a run. He's recently added a few exclamation points to his work and his promo style-but, again, there's at least one more level for him to step up," he feels.
"Mark Henry has finally put the pieces together. His Money in the Bank match with Big Show was not a great match in the ring. But I love the intensity Mark is putting into his work recently. This persona is really an extension of himself: he's a big, mean, strong man, and they are presenting that well."