On the latest episode of the Grilling JR Podcast, Jim Ross spoke about Stone Cold Steve Austin during the 1995-96 wrestling year. The AEW commentator spoke about one of the most intense conversations he had with one of WWE’s biggest stars of all time, mentioning his exact conversation with Austin.
“One of the most intense conversations we had on time was about him turning babyface,” Ross mentioned. “G*d damn, he hated that. He cussed me and he said, ‘I’m not going for it.’ I said ‘Oh, Jesus Christ. You’re not going to go for it? Why are you here? I know why you’re here, you’re here to make money. Right or wrong?’ I gave him some merchandise numbers of what Hogan earned back in the day and it had been years later, the information had been obsolete but it was accurate.
“I said ‘You don’t want that t-shirt money? You don’t want that no-bump money? I know you’re smarter than that, that doesn’t make any sense, Steve. Here’s the beautiful part about it, the way you work, you don’t beg off much and you don’t do typical heel s**t.’ I said you’re missing the boat and then I remembered when the checks were coming out and I asked the check guy to bring me a list of all the royalty checks, and Austin got a million-dollar check for selling t-shirts, Austin 3-16’s.”
It was rumored that Steve Austin would appear at this year’s WrestleMania 38 in Dallas, but it has yet to be confirmed by the company. The two-night event is scheduled to take place Saturday, April 2nd, and Sunday, April 3rd from AT&T Stadium.
Jim Ross continued to talk about his friend Stone Cold and what he and The Rock were better at than anybody else in the wrestling business. The WWE Hall of Famer mentioned how Austin played a part in all of his merchandise and was similar to Vince in being able to touch everything that had his name associated with it.
“He and The Rock understood how they got paid better than anybody else,” Ross said. “They would ask questions and they would participate, and it motivated them. Austin had all those shirts, those were all his deals. I don’t know if he would’ve had it any other way. He touched everything he handled as Vince does. In every phase of the business that Steve was involved in, he had some input, significant input. He learned to trust a few people and his instincts were right.”
Of all the great things Stone Cold Steve Austin did in the wrestling business, Jim Ross mentioned the one battle he dealt with during his time on top of the company. The AEW commentator mentioned how he and Austin had a drinking problem during the Attitude Era and spoke about Vince McMahon treating certain talent differently started with Austin.
“The drinking was an issue and he’ll tell you that today, for both of us,” Ross mentioned. “Drinking was an issue but that’s how you escape. It’s an excuse, not a reason folks. It’s an excuse, a big escape and that’s what we all had to do. You have to find your exit in that room and that’s what Steve found, his room. Vince had to change his thinking a lot. We all knew Vince over the years was partial to some talents and ironically, they were the talents that drew the most money. Vince changed a lot in how he managed talent, using Steve as a starting place.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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