Austin Views AEW as Competition to WWE

Nov 21, 2019 - by James Walsh

Sports Illustrated recently spoke to WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was promoting the premiere of his new WWE Network interview series, Broken Skull Sessions. The show will debut on the WWE Network on Sunday, Nov. 24. Below are some highlights. 

Austin on the name of the show and the format: “I didn’t want to call it the ‘Stone Cold podcast.’ In theory it’s like a podcast, but it’s not. We’re doing this right here in my studio in Los Angeles, and the show’s name is more personal. The reason ‘Broken Skull’ came about ties back to when I had my ranch back in South Texas. I called it the ‘Broken Skull Ranch,’ and I’d always wanted my whole life to own a ranch. In order to finally buy one, I literally had to break my skull in the business of pro wrestling to do that. So it became the ‘Broken Skull Ranch.’ I’m still ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, I’m still that guy, but WWE owns ‘Stone Cold.’ I liked the sound of the Broken Skull Sessions. We’re here at my place and we’re getting inside people’s skulls, so it just made sense. That’s how it came to be.” 

Austin on WWE pitching the show to him: “I was so happy WWE reached out to me and pitched this show to me. If the show does great numbers, I’ll do it for as long as I can do it. If the show doesn’t do any numbers and I s— the bed, they’ll say, ‘Hey Steve, we’ll catch you down the road.’ I really believe that’s how it’s going to happen. There are going to be more episodes, for sure, but they’ve got to perform to keep doing more.” 

On a potential second season for Straight Up Steve Austin: “I believe 100 percent that we’re going to get to season two. Based on the performance and the numbers that it generated this past season, I think it’s a no-brainer. But I haven’t heard the official word and they haven’t made the announcement, so I can’t say.” 

Austin on loving pro wrestling: “Pro wrestling is one of the things I love most in my life, and I’m still attached to the business I grew up loving. Doing this show, being on the Network, talking to some of the highest-profile people in the history of the business, man, I love it. I love pro wrestling. I love what it did for my life, I’ll always be a fan. So to be reconnected with the greatest sports entertainment company, which I call a pro wrestling company, in the world in WWE, that’s a thrill for me.” 

Austin on why he views AEW as competition to WWE: “Without competition, who knows what would have happened in my career—who knows what will come out of Wednesday nights, but I believe in competition. I know AEW is doing their thing and they say they’re not competition, and WWE might say it’s not competition, but if it’s on across from each other, it’s competition.”

“I remember when WCW’s Nitro kicked our ass for two years in the ‘Monday Night Wars.’ I couldn’t believe it, I thought our show was better, but they kept winning. Finally, we started turning the tide when everybody got so hot. The fact that we had competition, man, that made everybody push the envelope. I certainly wasn’t afraid to push the envelope, and I did. I’m thankful for the ‘Monday Night Wars.’ They helped define me. They helped Vince, and it helped us go out on a limb with some of the crazy stuff we did in our feud that became water-cooler talk and transcend the business.”

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