Steve Austin Talks Current WWE Product, Working with Donald Trump at WrestleMania, His Beer
– WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin recently spoke with Men’s Journal to promote Broken Skull Challenge, his line of beer and more. The full interview can be found at this link. Below are highlights:
I wanted to talk about beer, of course, since you have the Broken Skull IPA. How did you get to that point? You were once known for chugging “Steveweisers” in the ring, and now you’re into craft beer.
Way back in the day when I was doing WWE, we were going to come up with a Stone Cold beer. We were pretty far into the project and it imploded, so all these years later, I’ve always wanted to come out with my own beer. I drank light beer for 30 years of my life. It’s good. I’ve got no problems with it, but I started drinking the craft beer because I [wanted to] try some of these things that I’ve been seeing laying around the store and experience what the craft beer movement is all about.
In the wrestling world, you had WWE, WCW, and smaller promotions that were like the independents. I look at it as craft beer being the independent beer makers. It’s the indie scene. You could be as little as you want or as big as you want. I started drinking these beers, started off with the pale ales, and then graduated to the IPAs, and that’s just what really resonated with me: the hops.
We went down to Texas to look for some breweries because that’s where I’m from, but everyone was at capacity or had their own plan going on. So we hooked up with El Segundo Brewing Company, which is just right down the road from where I live. We went in there and had a meeting with Rob Croxall, the owner and founder. We talked about doing a collaboration thing. I liked him. He liked me. I said, “Hey, let’s do this project. Let’s come up with an IPA.”
He concocted this formula. He presented it to me. We went down and we brewed that batch of beer — I poured all the ingredients in — and a month later I came back and we tasted the beer. I was real nervous when we were about to drink this beer because we’re trying to come up with a really, really good IPA that I’m going to put my name on. Who knows how long it’s going to take to do this? We’re sitting at the bar, and he pours us both a glass. I hesitated for about five or six seconds and I said, “That’s a good fuckin’ beer.” I took another swig. I had to confirm what I’d just tasted: “Man, that’s a good fuckin’ beer.”
Do you still watch the current product? You mention it sometimes on your podcast.
I try to. They made a three-hour Raw, but two hours is about my time limit. I ain’t got that kind of attention span. The roster has been decimated with injuries. the temperature of the product has changed. I like pure pro-wrestling, when it’s serious in its orientation and presentation — like it’s a legit sport with Jim Ross calling the action. Sometimes they kind of make it a little more lighthearted and too sugarcoated for me.
It also just felt more spontaneous back in the day. With the Monday Night Wars, it was almost a pay-per-view every single Monday between the two factions because they were trying to throw everything but the kitchen sink to win the ratings war. Even if you take the Monday Night Wars out of it and just look at the product, it was presented as UFC is presented, except as professional wrestling. I thought the in-ring work was a little better. I think today’s generation are better athletes, but I think the work inside the ring was a little better at the time. Specifically, it was better in the mid-’80s when Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, the Four Horsemen, and all those guys were in their prime. That’s the era that I enjoyed so much. If I think of pro-wrestling, of that gold belt? It’s real to me.
Recently, that clip of you performing the Stone Cold Stunner on Donald Trump has been making the rounds on the Internet. Did you ever think he would end up a presidential candidate?
Oh, hell no! I’ll say this: I showed up in Detroit for that, and Vince had talked to me a little bit earlier in the day and said “Hey, I’m going to go see if Donald will take a Stone Cold Stunner.” I was right there when he asked him. He goes, “Hey, Donald, I was wondering if in the end, do you mind taking Steve’s finisher?” We had to explain to him what a Stone Cold Stunner was, and Donald’s right-hand guy — I don’t remember his name, but everybody that high up has a right-hand guy or a posse or whatever — was giving him a million reasons why not to take the stunner, and what could go wrong, [how] it’s not going to look good. Donald and Vince had a relationship — I believe they’re friends — and Donald said, “Sure Vince, I’ll take it.” I briefly explained to him in literally five seconds how to take it. We went to the ring, we did the match, and at the end we did the Stunner, and it wasn’t the greatest Stunner in the world, but I give Donald Trump a lot of credit and respect for doing something like that that he didn’t have to do. But to answer your question: I had no idea back then so many years ago that he would be a candidate to be President of the United States.
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