WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin spoke with Bleacher Report about the tough decision to walk away from pro wrestling, and if he still misses getting inside the squared circle.
In 2003, Austin walked away from wrestling after a neck injury from a botched piledriver years prior began to really plague him. With a somewhat early exit from the business, Austin is still asked to this day if he misses it. He noted enough time has gone by and he’s been able to move on, even though a little bit of him wishes he was able to wrestle a bit longer.
“They always ask me, ‘Do you miss it?’ No, man, because it’s been so long now that … I mean, I have to be over it now,” Austin said. “But there is a small part of me, even though I don’t live in the past, that says, ‘Man, when you’re 38 years old, man, in wrestling, you’re really in your prime.’ All of the learning that I’d done, working angles, talking promos, psychology with the crowd. You’re really honed up at that age. And so to walk away from the table at seemingly a prime-time age was very, very tough for me to do, at many levels.”
Austin said it was “extremely hard to deal with” deciding to retire as he was the one who had to make the choice, on his own.
“I spent a lot of time hunting, fishing and drinking,” Austin recalled. “Just trying to deal with it. … To walk away from the business was hard. I was talking to Dale Earnhardt Jr. last year on my show on USA Network, about how all the concussions caught up with him, he had to pull his own plug. A doctor wasn’t going to tell him, ‘Hey, you need to quit.’ He pulled the plug on himself. I did the same thing.
“A doctor didn’t look me in the eyes and say, ‘Steve, you must retire now.’ It was a decision I had to make for myself. When you’re flying high, and you’re this badass, tough-ass Stone Cold guy, and all your peers are just as tough as you, and you’re riding down the road doing something you’re so passionate about and you love so much, it would be anybody’s dream to live that kind of life. And all of a sudden you’ve got to make a decision to take yourself out of the game. It was extremely hard to deal with.”
Austin is currently hosting the Broken Skull Sessions on the WWE Network, where he’s interviewed The Undertaker, Goldberg, and Kane.