In an interview with Busted Open Radio, wrestling legend Stone Cold Steve Austin was asked to name his wrestling Mt. Rushmore. The topic has been a popular one in recent months, though Austin decided to only name two wrestlers worthy of the spot, building what he called a half of Mt. Rushmore.
“I never build one, but I’ll build half of one,” Austin said. “Because in my mind you have to have Ric Flair, you have to have Hulk Hogan and I’ll leave the rest for anybody to do. I know you have Bruno Sammartino from that era, but my two guys that I’ll always go to are Hogan and Flair. And I’ll leave the rest to everybody else.
“I’m not going to put myself on there, because I’m not going to blow smoke. I had a good run, if someone’s got me on there that’s cool. But my two are Hogan and Flair. It would’ve been great to go against Hogan. He was still pretty primed up, he was on the backside but could still do it. My headspace wasn’t in the right place, but certainly I could’ve done it.”
Austin continued to praise Hogan and Flair, calling the former the best draw in wrestling and Flair the greatest champion. He also mentioned two of his contemporaries as being worthy of being mentioned as two of the greatest of all time.
“The guy’s drawing power is unheard of,” Austin said of Hogan. “And he did it for so long at a high level. Hogan was a great worker in his own right, and just had such an ear and such a feel for the people about how to draw them in. When it comes down to ringing that bell though the greatest world champion and my favorite of all time is ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair. I thought he represented the world championship title across the world better than anybody ever has. Shawn Michaels, when you ring a bell to when you ring a bell to end the match, is the best performer. As far as the reality of wrestling, who made it really seem like the truest sport in the world, Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart.”
Hart is considered to be Austin’s greatest rival besides Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, with their WrestleMania 13 match still considered among the best WrestleMania matches of all time. Austin talked in depth about the match and the double turn that came out of it.
“It’s almost never booked like that,” Austin said of his face turn. “Double turns are damn near impossible. The fact is Bret said ‘hey man, you need color.’ So we got color. And it was taboo back then, but Bret took me under his insurance policy because he had been there longer. He had the stroke. And again, boy that’s something you could’ve really got in trouble for. But because it go over at such a high level, and that crowd was just, everybody was just mesmerized by that match. We didn’t catch any flack for that, and I actually just busted my head open on a guardrail for the record (laughs).
“Bret Hart had a great mind for the business. And that was one of those, luckily we were in Chicago as well. I got to give a lot of credit to that crowd, because Chicago became a stronghold to me. I’ll never forget working a tag match there. It was a house show, we were working a tag and every time I got those people started really responding to me. I was like ‘hey man.’ This is Stone Cold, early days. And I said ‘hey man, these people are really starting to buy in to this character. I think we would’ve rocked the house any place we would’ve went out to, but for some reason Chicago has always been a great building for me. That Rosemont Horizon with the wood ceiling, great acoustics and the feel for that crowd because they love their wrestling. It was a hot angle, Bret’s a working son of a gun, and we just had great chemistry. We were able to pull that off. It doesn’t happen every day and if you tell someone to go out there and try it, man good luck. Because you’re going to need every bit of skill and the way you work that crowd to pull that off.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription