As noted yesterday, Steve Austin shot down the idea that he would be doing a match at WrestleMania 32. Austin said the following in regards to what was said on the WWE Network podcast with Paul Heyman:
“We started talking that Monday night, and then about the last five, six minutes, whatever it was, Paul E kinda flipped the script.” Austin said that he didn’t know what Paul was going to ask him and he bit into it hook, line, and sinker. Austin said that he started cutting a half ass promo when he wasn’t trying to and ended up talking about beating Brock Lesnar’s ass because that’s the only way he could see the match going down.
Austin added, “But here’s the thing. What I did was kinda raised the hopes of people or halfway kinds half-assed booked myself into a match, which was not my intention. So at WrestleMania 32, I don’t believe you are going to be seeing Brock Lesnar and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same ring.”
“It wasn’t my intention to book the territory, or to spin a match, or to sell a match. So I just wanted to make that clear to everybody.”
The story is complicated. Austin and Lesnar have been talking about doing a match for some time. Lesnar and Heyman believe that it’s the biggest match that they could do. The feeling is that while a match with The Rock would be big, you’d have to play into the entertainment side with some of Rock’s promos but with Austin they could do promos like it’s a straight up fight. Also, Austin hasn’t wrestled since 2003 and Rock has already come back several times so Austin’s match would mean a lot more because fans are not used to seeing Austin on WWE TV. Lesnar vs. Rock was something that was planned at one point for a WrestleMania and Rock has said in the past that he’d love to wrestle Lesnar at a WrestleMania.
Austin and Lesnar’s side had conversations in August of 2014 just prior to SummerSlam in Los Angeles and they’ve had meetings at social gatherings going back several years. There was also a meeting in New York when they were in town for a UFC show in Newark, NJ. This would have been during the time when Lesnar was still under contract to UFC.
As Austin noted on his podcast and in interviews when the subject gets brought up, that he is open to the idea of doing one more match but all of the stars need to align and he would need at least six months to get into ring shape for the match. Like I mentioned earlier this week, WWE has Lesnar signed so he is not going back to UFC, WrestleMania is in Austin’s home state of Texas, and Austin and Lesnar could be the headline match for the show that draw over 100,000 fans. If they don’t do it next year then I don’t ever see the match happening.
The Texas death match idea was something that was talked about in previous conversations before the podcast. The idea for that match is that they could do things in the match that would protect Austin’s bad neck. I assume that it would include them brawling at ringside. That would limit the bumps Austin takes. Even though there have been conversations in the past, the impression being given is that Austin and Heyman did not go over what was going to be said on the podcast and Austin did not talk about hyping a WrestleMania match beforehand. Austin seemed ready for the question and the graphics guy seemed ready too since they had a graphic ready on the screen behind them. Apparently the story is that Heyman didn’t know how Austin would respond. Austin and Heyman had very little time together before the cameras started rolling and Austin tends to call his podcasts on the fly and literally nothing is planned out in advanced.
Austin is set financially and does not need the money and the reason he retired (and never returned) is because of his neck issues and the possibility of something going wrong if he took a wrong bump. I should note that Austin has said on his podcast that he is healthy and his neck is fine. He could be downplaying things but it should be noted that Austin did take a pretty hard looking bump when he was the special referee in the Lashley vs. Umaga match at WrestleMania 23 and seemed fine afterwards.
It should be noted that Vince McMahon did not know where Heyman and Austin were going during the podcast and he felt that they were creating big interest in a match that he (McMahon) would not be able to deliver and a match that may not happen that would be bigger than anything that will actually happen next year. McMahon and Austin had a discussion after the podcast. McMahon wanted the story to go away as quickly and quietly as possible and the idea was for Austin to address it one time and move on. Right now they are moving on and are acting like this never happened. McMahon does not want to have something as big as Lesnar/Austin hyped only to not be able to deliver, especially for the show that will be billed as the biggest event in history.
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