Recently on The Steve Austin Show, WWE Hall Of Famer Steve Austin conducted a Q&A session with questions submitted by fans by email and social media. Among many other things, Austin talked about whether the 'Stone Cold' character would have gotten over if he had 'Stunning' Steve hair at the time, what character inspired 'The Ringmaster''s buzzcut, whether the late great Dusty Rhodes would have gotten an opportunity in today's WWE, and whether he enjoys the current WWE product.
According to Austin, the 'Stone Cold' gimmick would not have worked with his long hair from his WCW days.
"Hell no." Austin admitted, "I'll tell you what, man, back in the day, when you broke into the business of pro wrestling, I broke in in 1990, I was the [Wrestling Observer] Rookie Of The Year. Back in the day, all the wrestlers had mullets, they had long hair. That was a thing. They had to have long hair if he was going to be a pro wrestler. I thought the same damn thing. I remember going through the phases of haircuts in WCW. I go back, I still look at my Twitter account these days and I'll see these people, they send me pictures of my 'Stunning' Steve days with Col. Bob Parker or these other incarnations or styles I was going through and [sighs] I looked like s--t. I had beautiful hair back in the day, but I was starting to lose it at the age of 23 or 24."
Notably, Austin divulged that his buzzcut as 'The Ringmaster' was inspired by Bruce Willis' Butch Coolidge character in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Moreover, Austin admitted that going bald was the best thing that could have happened to him for his pro wrestling career.
"Fast forward all those years, I came in as 'The Ringmaster' and I had that buzzcut and that was inspired by the Pulp Fiction movie, Bruce Willis's character, and that one night, I've told this story many times, but we were working Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania], Mellon Arena, and I was traveling with Dustin Rhodes, Goldust, and I said, 'man, eff it, I'm going to shave all this s--t off, can't see it either way.' I grew in the goatee, came up with the 'Stone Cold' gimmick, and that's when all of the pieces started falling into place. That's when I got some direction. I'd just seen a light at the end of the tunnel." Austin added, "it turns out losing my hair was the best thing that ever happened to me. 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin would not have been 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin had that hair remained. Bald head plus 'Stone Cold', great gimmick, hard work, great storylines, great creative, great opponents, equals money. And that's the bottom line."
When asked whether becoming a pro wrestler is difficult, 'The Bionic Redneck' responded that it is "hard as s--t".
"Haha! It's hard as s--t!" Austin continued, "there ain't nothing easy about being a professional wrestler. You can be the best damn athlete in the world, come from a football background, a track background, basketball, baseball, wrestling. Mister, learning to be a professional wrestler is not an easy task. Just the mechanics of it, the psychology of it, the character development part of it… it took me, hell, it took me seven-and-a-half years to put all the pieces together. Yeah, I was a pretty good mechanic at a year, a year-and-a-half in the business, [but] the psychology of it needed some work. If I was in there with somebody, I could have a good match, but, man, to get to the top, it's just like an AC/DC song, 'it's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll.'"
Austin went on to say that as talented and skilled as Dusty Rhodes was, he does not know if 'The American Dream' would have gotten a shot to be a WWE Superstar in today's environment.
"It's a tough ass business, man." Austin added, "even getting an opportunity, especially in 2018 and moving into the future. Some of the guys who don't really have bodies, I don't know if they'll even get a shot at the business. Look at Dusty Rhodes, one of the greatest of all-time, one of the reasons I got in the business was Dusty Rhodes, and if Dusty Rhodes came along in today's business… It's funny to think, people always ask me, 'hey man, would 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin have gotten over in today's PG landscape?' Well, hell yeah, I would have. It's intensity and it's talent and that's the bottom line. I don't need [any] cuss words. I'd get over. My ring style with my ring presence and that would have gone with any era that has ever been in the wrestling business. But Dusty, just because he, first of all, Dusty could work his ass off. Everybody knows that. And he was hands down one of the single best talkers in the history of the business, bar none. The guy was magic on the microphone and there was just this likability factor to him. You could identify with him 100%. 'The Working Man', 'The Blue Collar Guy', 'The American Dream', but if you just looked at him, from a physicality standpoint, and if you're a 'body guy', I don't know if Dusty gets a shot."
Also during the podcast, Austin claimed that he does enjoy the current WWE product, though he does not like to compare 'The Attitude Era' to 'The PG Era' as it is a different time.
"I watch the business for what it is these days. I know that everything has changed. Everything [has] evolved or just gotten a little bit faster. So I watch it for what it is and I enjoy it for what it is, as long as they can give me stories where I can suspend my disbelief. I want to watch as a fan. I don't want to watch as a grizzled veteran. I guess I did that for a couple of years, but I'm done doing that now. Now, I just watch as a fan and it's fun when you can watch WWE Superstars or someone you know in the business rip it up and you can send them a direct message or a text message to say, 'man, lights out match - that was awesome', is a pretty cool thing to do, so the business is what the business is in this day and age as I record this podcast in 2018. And I had my time. My time ended in 2003, so many things have changed, many years have gone by, but I dig it." Austin mentioned, "it's not really fair to [compare generations], so I just enjoy it."
Put a little stank on it. If you use any of the quotes found in this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Steve Austin Show