Steve Austin Talks Quitting WWE Over Brock Lesnar Match, Who Was Responsible For Him Returning

As noted, on episode 157 of Sam Roberts' Wrestling Podcast, professional broadcaster and pro wrestling enthusiast Sam Roberts, shared an interview he conducted with WWE Hall Of Famer Steve Austin. Among many other things, Austin discussed walking out on WWE in 2002, how he made amends with the company, his legacy, and whether we will ever see another 'Stone Cold' to take pro wrestling to even greater heights.

On walking out on WWE in 2002, Austin said he still feels like jobbing to current and defending WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at that point in 'The Beast”s pro wrestling career, in a WWE Monday Night RAW match with no hype or storyline, makes no sense, but regrets no-showing. Austin admitted that he should have gone to TV and told Vince McMahon he was not willing to do the job without leaving the company.

"When I look back, I was running so hard and the level of intensity was so hot and I was just white-hot in the business and I made a knee-jerk reaction to, they wanted me to do a job in Atlanta [Georgia] in a really non-publicized match with Brock and I thought that was real piss-poor business and it was," Austin said. "I've always been willing to do business, when it was time to do business, but that wasn't business. When you have a guy, and I never blow smoke up my own ass, but when you have a guy like me that draws big money, you don't just job him out on a bulls–t Monday night TV, so I got to jazz up the language because that was something I was very passionate about and it really comes from my heart and my guts. That being said, I shouldn't've got on an airplane and taken my ball and went home as they said. But hindsight being 20/20, yeah, I should've [gone] to the arena. I should've talked to Vince and said, 'I'm not doing it,' but just stayed with the company."

Austin added, "I would have handled the situation much differently today and it would've been great had I handled it differently back then. I lost a lot of money. They lost a lot of momentum. We all lost a lot of money and the crowd lost a part of the product that they loved to watch."

Also, Austin divulged that he never would have made amends with WWE had 'Good Ol' J.R.' Jim Ross not reached out to him.

"That was a year out of my life and because of the personality type that I am, had it not been for Jim Ross sending me a card in the mail, saying, 'hey, if you ever want to talk, I'm here.' And I picked up my phone and we talked for two hours and he put me back in touch with Vince and me and Vince buried the hatchet. Had it not been for Jim Ross, I had already basically told the company to go f–k themselves without saying that. I was just not going to have anything to do with them."

With respect to his legacy in pro wrestling, Austin reflected that he brought some grey area to the black and white world and sold a lot of tickets.

"I had blinders on back in the day. I was all about selling tickets. It took being away from the business. It took me a long time just to be able to see what I did. And now I get asked the legacy question or what I thought I meant to the business or where am I, and I like to keep it? my new answer, the way I really feel about it, long story short, bottom line is I brought grey to a black and white world. And the last bottom line is 'Stone Cold' sold tickets. That's it. I sold tickets."

Austin continued, "and I was never a great wrestler, but I'm one of the greatest wrestlers to ever step foot in the squared circle. So bottom line is if people want to ask me where I fit. I just say, 'I sold tickets, a s–t pile of them.'"

Austin acknowledged that he is always on the lookout for a new pro wrestling star to break all of his records and hopes it happens one day.  

"To be at the level I was at, to take the world of professional wrestling to a zenith, which it had never seen before, and, quite frankly, no one thought would surpass what Hulk Hogan did in the 80s, and what I took it to. It's just what you do as time goes on – you can take things to a bigger, better, and higher level."

Austin said, "I would love to see another 'Stone Cold' come around and I hope to see it. I really do because I would love to see my records smashed and watch what this new cat does and how he does it. But with that being said, it's going to be tough to do, but I'm looking forward to it."

Get in Not Sam Mode here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Sam Roberts' Wrestling Podcast with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.

Source: Sam Roberts' Wrestling Podcast