As previously noted, WWE Hall Of Famer Steve Austin recently participated in a fan Q&A session on The Steve Austin Show. Among many other things, Austin talked about the white rope used in tag team matches. Also, Austin shared his thoughts on crowd pops and what he missed most about pro wrestling when he retired from in-ring work.
In response to a fan submitted question, Austin explained the purpose of the white rope in tag matches. The white rope is meant to keep the inactive tag match participant in his corner of the squared circle. Additionally, the rope is used for dramatic purposes.
"I was watching a tag match on Monday Night RAW just the other night and there was a guy in the corner standing there with that white rope in his hands and that is supposed to be, when you hold onto it, when you hold onto the end of the rope, that's the furthest you can get down that apron. You must be in contact with that rope, so you just don't walk up and down that apron or try to edge your way out there to try to get a tag. This is supposed to negate that, but guys don't know how to work the ropes anymore. Dude's sitting there holding the midway part of the rope or they're alligator-arming their partner or their opponent and no one's controlling the ring, no one is cutting off the ring, and so the rope serves a purpose. And, back in the day, man, we used to use those things to choke people and do stuff like that behind the referee's back." Austin summarized, "obviously, these days with so many corporate sponsors, you can't use the ropes for half the s--t we used to use those ropes for, but they are essentially there to keep a person within a certain boundary in a tag match."
Austin went on to say that WWE may as well remove the white rope in tag matches altogether because of how unused and misused they are in tag matches.
"But they're rarely used correctly; they're rarely even used; no one makes mention of them. They might as well take them off the goddamn ring and just have guys there hang onto the corner because there's nothing worse than a guy standing there kind of haphazardly holding onto the rope and then alligator-arming his opponent or his partner because they're too close to the f--king corner. So they may as well do away with the son of a b-----s, to be honest with you." Austin concluded, "but that's my thoughts on the tag ropes, but it goes way back, I guess."
On the subject of crowd pops, Austin said it is an adrenaline rush to get a big crowd reaction. Additionally, Austin described how the crowd pop is a measure of a performer's success and relative place on the card.
"If I got a good one, it was like, 'f--k yeah! s--t's on, man!'" Austin explained, "and it's an adrenaline spike. You feel it more than you think about it. You don't really think about it, but you hear it, so you're registering and inside, hey, man, I had that 'BMF' walk and I didn't let the crowd in until I hit that first turnbuckle. And that's when I let them in. That was my signal. Sometimes these days or even back then, when many people come out of that curtain or make that entrance, they're already playing to the crowd. And that's their entrance. My deal was come through that curtain - this is once I got into WWE, WWF back in the day - my deal was, bam, glass breaks, and then, when I get into the ring, that's when I acknowledged the people because I was spending most of my time trash-talking, cussing, just being me in a competitive mode. The business was a work, but that is what I was doing. But you live and die by those pops because those pops are based on how you've been booked, how you've been performing, what you've been up to, are the crowds buying into what you're doing, what is your relationship with the crowd, do they love you, do they hate you, how are they feeling about you. This is the time they're going to let you know how the f--k you're doing and how you're being booked! So, man, you lived and died by those things."
According to Austin, pro wrestlers who say they do not pay attention to crowd reactions are being deceitful.
"Don't let anybody ever tell you, 'I don't pay attention to the crowd' because anybody that ever says, 'hey, I don't pay attention to the crowd,' meh. Name me one top guy, one top guy or a guy who knew his ass from a hole in the ground, that didn't care about what the crowd was doing. Horse s--t! People that were in the middle get the middle pops, boos, and cheers, they are very aware, whether they want to admit it or not, what the f--k that crowd's doing. That's the business. You understand the business, you dissect whether it's boos, or cheers, or whatever, but that's what you lived and died by and you have a very distinct knowledge of where you are within the program and the big picture based on those pops. And there are people who can go out there and get big pops when they're really not that over, but once you get into that rarified air, it's a feeling of adrenaline. You know what you're doing is the right thing or people are identifying with it. You're not sitting there thinking, 'oh, that wasn't loud enough - maybe I need to change things.'" Austin noted, "but it's definitely something that you pay attention to."
Austin divulged that he missed the crowd reactions most of all after retiring from pro wrestling. 'Stone Cold' went on to reminisce about the massive pop he garnered for coming to the aid of Mankind en route to winning the WWE Championship on RAW, a move that surely put butts in seats.
"One of the biggest things I missed about the business - I'm over it now - you miss the paycheck. f--k the paychecks. What you miss the most is the adrenaline from that crowd. Whether it's a boo or a cheer, it's the desired reaction you're trying to achieve at the time at the highest level. That's what you miss. Man, when I turned babyface, and I preferred working heel, but when I got over as a baby, so that's the way we went. When I blew the roof off of a place when they had a scenario set up for me like Mick Foley winning the [WWE] title from [The] Rock when [Eric] Bischoff announced the results on WCW [Monday] Nitro." Austin continued, "that pop I got that night for helping Mick out, well, they had built that moment up. Mick, and Rock, and everybody out there had built that moment up so that the stage had been set for me to get that pop. And it was all about Mick because Mick won the championship that night, but I'll never forget it."
Listen to the show here. If you use any of the quotes that appear in this podcast, please credit The Steve Austin Show with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Steve Austin Show