By Connor Casey
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin has not stepped inside the ring for a match since WrestleMania XIX in 2003, but according to Fightful Select WWE is pushing for one to happen at WrestleMania 38 in Austin’s home state of Texas. Sean Ross Sapp reported on Monday night that the company was making “a significant overture” towards him, but noted WWE would not officially comment on the idea.
“We’re told that at the very least Austin is expected for a physical role. We spoke to many on the roster that assumed that Kevin Owens was being set up for that role based on his anti-Texas angle on Raw, but that was far from confirmed either,” Sapp wrote, referencing the anti-Texas promo Owens cut during Raw. The former Universal Champion and Austin have shared somewhat of a connection ever since KO started using the Stunner as his finisher, Austin’s signature move.
Austin appeared on Talk is Jericho back in April 2021 and explained why he has shot down every idea of him making a possible in-ring return, of which there apparently have been many. He said at the time, “I think Vince [McMahon] tried talking me to coming back a couple times, but you know Chris, I love the business so much. I love it more than anybody else. I can only speak for myself, but I love the damn business, and it hurt me so much to leave it. And to me, going back for one match, man, why? What am I proving? What are they going to remember? It ain’t about the money. It took me a long time, damn near three years to get over the fact that I left the business.
“If you’re really going to make a comeback, let’s say it was gonna be high-profile match at WrestleMania,” he continued. “Taker, when I talked to him, he trained all year or recovered from having surgery, and then write trained for a three or four month camp to get ready for one match. I would really have to undergo a three or four month camp. I’m one of those guys where I don’t have an addictive personality, but I’m addicted to the wrestling business. All of a sudden, I’m putting in all the hard work and get back to being around the ring, being around the business, that is my number one passions in my life.”
He also talked about his concern about the return match being “anti-climactic,” given that his last match completed a trilogy of WrestleMania main events with The Rock — “To get hooked on it again just for one match and to me, it would have been so anti-climactic. Go out there and do it, and then whatever the finish was. And then the people go home, but what does it all mean in the big picture? Stone Cold had a comeback, and the match was a three and a half Meltzer five star rating. ‘It ain’t great enough,’ and even if I crushed it, what would it mean? I just had to say, man, stay away, and I’ve stayed away.”
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