This week’s episode of “Grilling JR” with Jim Ross and Conrad Thompson covers a rough time in Steve Austin’s life where he walked out of WWE. Ross talked about what led to him leaving the company and some backstage stories from that time period.
Here are some highlights:
Ross talks about Austin turning down the match against Hulk Hogan: “Austin had it in his mind that Hogan’s style and Austin’s style were oil and water. He just didn’t feel the chemistry. Austin was never about having good matches. Austin was about having great matches. He knew better than anybody else in the world who he could work the best with. Hogan wasn’t on that list. Steve could be wrong too. I’m not saying that Hogan and Austin couldn’t have a good match. Look at the match Hogan had at WrestleMania 18 with the Rock. Steve is a stubborn guy and he just didn’t feel it. That’s what we are trying to explain in meeting with these guys is that there is a new sheriff and town and his name is Stone Cold. It is not Hulkamania anymore. But if we could use Hulkamania in a bitter way, in an angry way, maybe we could get a WrestleMania out of it. That was the idea but it never came to fruition. It didn’t happen because Steve didn’t push for it. I believe Hogan probably would have gone along with it because it would have been a great payday and he could have worked with Austin.”
Ross on Austin not wanting to work with Scott Hall and having the finish at WrestleMania changed: “It (the match) felt so thrown together with no thinking. We had guys on the roster that would have been and deserved that opportunity to work with Steve at WrestleMania. To work with Steve at WrestleMania is going to help you get over whether you win or lose. Vince and I were looking at the card for WrestleMania 17. I looked at the card and I said it is a hell of a card, but we have two guys that aren’t booked. He said, who? I said Undertaker and HHH. They got booked as a cold match. It was an oversight.”
Ross talking about the interview he had to do saying Steve took his ball and went home after Austin went home because he didn’t want to do a job for Brock Lesner with no build up: “I know Vince wasn’t pleased with everything I said because everything I said didn’t make air. I tried to give Steve an out, if that’s a good wrestling term, to tell the whole story. I had tears in my eyes because I failed. I failed as his friend. I failed as an administrator to intercept these issues.”