WWE’s current product has yet to come close to the highs that the Attitude Era was able to reach. The face of the Attitude Era, Stone Cold Steve Austin, gave his reason as to what is missing in today’s WWE when he made an appearance on Pardon My Take.
“To me, and I’m not picking on today’s product, but I just think the spontaneity is lost,” Austin said. “Braun Strowman has done some real cool things with displays of strength [and] turning sh*t over, stuff like that. That’s all cool. Sense of urgency is what I think is the most important part.”
Austin explained that sense of urgency was there during the Monday Night Wars with Nitro and RAW both doing their best to one up the other.
Austin was asked about his relationship with Vince. While things are good now, Austin talked about a time where he was not in favor of a booking decision involving another wrestler.
“We got along, for the most part, all the time. It’s funny. I tell people this that are still in the game. There was a day back when I was ‘the guy’ [where] if I called Vince, his phone didn’t ring one full time because I was ‘that guy’. Hell, now it rings to voicemail, and I’m lucky if he calls me back,” Austin said. “Every now and then we wouldn’t see eye to eye on certain things. I remember one specific time in Cleveland, [I] got into the arena, and they had me booked with someone who I had already said I would not work with, and we were in a room the size of this one and man I let loose with some real colorful language.”
Austin did not disclose who the wrestler was, but he did go on to talk about the time when he was asked to put Brock Lesnar over.
“I let everybody know exactly what I thought because I told you, ‘don’t put me in this situation.’ You did, and now I’m the f*cking bad guy. I said, ‘I told you not to do this to me’, and it was much worse than that, so there’s been those times and the time they wanted me to fly to Atlanta for Monday Night Raw and put over Brock Lesnar,” Austin said. “The night before I was working in Columbus, Georgia with Ric Flair in a cage so I was like a kid in the candy store working with the GOAT right. Of course, I didn’t show up because it wasn’t time to do the favors yet for Brock in an unadvertised match in a tournament style TV match.”
He went in further detail as to why he did not want to put Lesnar over explaining that kind of moment should be built up and be made to have been the biggest event possible.
“I love Brock Lesnar, and I’ll lose to him any day of the week but build it up so we can all make money of it and it’s gonna mean something,” Austin said. “When you get guys that really draw stupid money, that’s a delicate balance that you don’t take stupid liberties with or you’ll kill it off and you can never recreate it, so I was very protective of myself, maybe too much so, but it took me seven and a half years to get there so no one was gonna yank the carpet from underneath my feet not even Vince.
One of the biggest moments in Austin’s career was his heel turn at WrestleMania 17. He shared his thoughts on his heel turn that night and how he wishes he could go back and change it.
“I’ve rethought that thing so many times. If I could call the audible now, I would have just told him [Vince], ‘hey man, I ain’t feeling it’ because here’s how I was feeling into that. I thought I was starting to flat line just a little bit, and I said OK man, a change is good and Vince always likes to do something big at a WrestleMania,” Austin said. “Well, I didn’t really have anything big there so I was like, ‘hey, I’ll turn heel.’ That’s what we do. You get hot, then you turn heel, and its even hotter. Most times, yes, but it has to be warranted and it has to be for a reason, and all of a sudden when I did that night, if I could go back, I would’ve said hey man, I’m calling an audible. Watch the stunner and stunned his ass and maintained my babyface run.”
Finally, Austin was asked about the amount of creative input he had for his character. He admits that he was the worst at telling people what he didn’t like without an alternative plan.
“I had a lot of control, and for the most part, they always put me in really good positions to do great things,” Austin said. “If I didn’t like an idea, I would flat out tell you, ‘that’s bullsh*t. I ain’t doing that.’ They would say, ‘well do you have a better idea?’ I’d say no. [They’ve] got three hours for live TV, and they’ve gotta come up with something completely different for Stone Cold to do. I was always the first guy in the building. I was always the last guy to leave. I’ll work my ass off. If I don’t like creative, I’ll let you know about it.”