Steve Austin Talks about Vince McMahon Removing Restrictions On Him

Jan 25, 2020 - by James Walsh

Bleacher Report and Jonathan Snowden recently interviewed WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin, who discussed his run during the Attitude Era, the Royal Rumble, and more. Below are some highlights. 

Austin’s thoughts on Royal Rumble matches: “I think they’re fun to work, but at the same time they’re a pain in the ass to work because there’s a lot going on—there’s a lot to remember. You’re always going to have a couple of guys—I’ve been there myself—just standing around in the corner ‘trying’ to throw the other guy over the top. Doggone it, they just can’t leverage him enough, you know? Sometimes the ring is so crowded, you really can’t lock into anything because if someone tries to do something, it inevitably turns into a cluster because there’s too many guys in the ring. They are tedious.” 

Austin on how he was meant to be one of the final four in the ring in the 96 Rumble match: “I was supposed to be like the fourth-to-last guy left in the ring, a pretty damn good spot and a pretty good shove from the company for a guy coming in. I did a clothesline spot with Fatu and was going to hang onto the top rope and come back in. Well, the thing was, everybody was wearing baby oil in those days, so the ropes and everything were very, very slippery, and I couldn’t grab the top rope, and I ended up on my ass on the floor, eliminated early. I had to get Shawn Michaels’ attention and let him know I was out. He had to figure out how to fix my mess. I go back to the back, and I’m thinking, ‘OK man, here’s this company taking a chance on me, and I blew it.’” 

Austin on how Vince McMahon wanted Austin’s character to be a heel: “I was supposed to be a heel. They weren’t supposed to like me. I said, ‘Vince, I noticed when I’m watching the show back, you guys are editing a lot of things that I say on commentary.’ And he goes, ‘Well, quite frankly, Steve, you’re popping the guys in the truck.’ The TV guys who have seen and heard everything were laughing and getting a kick out of what I was saying. And to Vince, that didn’t work. … I told Vince, ‘Hey man, you got guys here, 6’10”, 7-foot, 300, 320 pounds.’ I said, ‘I’m 6’2″. I got black trunks, black boots, bald head and a goatee. If you take my personality from me, I cannot compete with anybody here. But if you give me my personality, I can.’” 

Steve Austin on Vince taking off his restrictions during the Monday Night Wars: “That’s when he took the restrictions off and I started really growing into that character, finding my confidence, flipping people off, flying the bird. And for some reason, I just think people wanted a different brand of entertainment than they had been used to. And I broke from the mold of being a traditional babyface. I was a guy that was running in the gray area. You didn’t know what Stone Cold was going to do, but you knew he was going to be wildly entertaining.” 

Steve Austin on how the fans were ready for his type of character: “I was operating as someone with an extreme attitude, and that was highly entertaining to the people just because of the energy I was emitting or giving off. It was captivating, and, in the end, the people thought it was awesome. I don’t like to sit here and blow smoke up my ass. I just think people were ready for a change.”

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