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'WWE '13': 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin speaks, part two
The reviews are in, and THQ’s revolutionary “WWE ’13” is a bona fide smash-hit among fans and critics, thanks in large part to its incredible Attitude Era campaign mode. With that in mind, WWE.com decided to catch up with the catalyst of that time period, WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. ( READ PART ONE)
In part two of this candid interview, Austin talks to Extreme Announcer Joey Styles about the heyday of The Attitude Era, his thoughts on current Superstars like John Cena and what he thinks is the best interview in sports-entertainment history. As always, “Stone Cold” is honest and open, and nothing is off limits.
WWE.COM: When we talked to him about “WWE ’13,” Bret “Hit Man” Hart spoke highly of the rivalry you two had in the late 1990s. Can you talk a little about that rivalry? About working with Bret?
AUSTIN: Man, working with Bret Hart was some of the most fun matches I’ve ever had in my life. There was Chicago and WrestleMania 13, over in South Africa, in Germany — and Bret had a pretty good stronghold over in Germany.
Man, I loved working with Bret. I’ve got a lot of respect for Bret as a person, and everything he did as a pro wrestler. Hell, I remember one time we were working a show somewhere and Bret was in the main event. [Bret] got a flat tire on his Lincoln Towncar, and I changed his tire while he was in the ring working.
Every day you work with Bret, you could learn something. We had 100 percent trust in each other, and 100 percent respect for each other. He’s a badass guy, and I just — every night was a good night with Hart. That’s the damn truth.
WWE.COM: You’ve said before that “Superstar” Billy Graham would have been great in The Attitude Era. Can you please talk about that? What was it about him that would have endeared him to fans of The Attitude Era?
AUSTIN: Oh man, it’s like the DVD they made of “Superstar” — “20 Years Too Soon.” He was. Man, that guy was just the perfect guy. He could have lived in The Attitude Era rather than “Stone Cold,” had he been around a little bit later.
I just think everything that guy did was so entertaining back in the day — the promos he cut, the outfits he wore. His work style was a little bit different than mine, obviously, but he had such a great look. You just thought he was a badass, and he was just a highly entertaining guy.
Had they known, they could have done with Billy what they did with me, had they had the wherewithal or the chance to do it back then, but they didn’t think of it back then.
WWE.COM: Moving from the past to the present, how do you think John Cena would have fit in the heyday of The Attitude Era?
AUSTIN: John Cena in The Attitude Era. Man, that’s a good question.
Yeah, had he been placed in it, and been dealt with accordingly, the John Cena you see now — the face of the franchise, the leader of the pack? Not so much. But I guarantee if you’d have gotten him face to face with “Stone Cold” in an interview, and you know John cuts a good interview himself, if I slapped the s*** out of that son of a b****, I think we’re off and running to make a lot of money.
All he needs is to be poked and prodded in the right way. I think John Cena has a hell of a lot of fire and he needs to be in the ring with the right opponent, or the right cat, to bring that out. So in the current environment, you really don’t see that in him.
Place [Cena] back 10 years in the ring with “Stone Cold”? You’d have rung the cash register, big time.
WWE.COM: Paul Heyman played a big role in the creative process behind “WWE ’13.” What are your thoughts on Heyman? On the original ECW?
AUSTIN: I always give credit to Paul for helping me to understand what a promo was. And giving me a chance to cut them and giving me the confidence and the platform to cut promos. Man, if it hadn’t been for Paul Heyman offering me a job in ECW, I don’t know if “Stone Cold” would have ever been.
You look at those rosters they used to have down in ECW, and they had some damn good talent, and they also had a bunch of misfits. Damn near all of them? Damn good promos.
And that was a product of working with Paul Heyman, and Paul Heyman working — however he worked — with each individual talent. I can’t speak to that because I only know how Paul worked with me, but you look at all the great promos that came out of that territory, and I remember watching ECW when I could find it on TV and watching a lot of the old VHS tapes or whatever it was back in the day. Man, that was a badass show with a lot of energy, a lot of attitude and testosterone.
Paul Heyman — I give him that “G” word. I give him that “genius” word. I got nothing but respect for that guy. He’s an old buddy from back in the day, when we met in WCW and he was my manager and we drove down the road together.
WWE.COM: Speaking of interviews, what was the single greatest promo in sports-entertainment history in your opinion?
AUSTIN: Man, the single greatest promo in wrestling history? Man, I don’t know if I could say a single best promo.
The thing about “the single greatest promo” or “the single greatest match” or “the single greatest wrestler” — man, that’s largely subjective. That’s why I love to see everybody’s top five or 10 lists, because it’s all subjective, and they range.
So you ask me the greatest promo of all time? I’m gonna give you a three-word answer: I don’t know.
What’s your best promo of all time?
WWE.COM: I don’t know, it’s a hard question. We hadn’t thought about it either. Interviews that have a lot of reality behind them, like, most recently, CM Punk’s first “pipe bomb.”
AUSTIN: Man, I tell you what. You always hear people talking about the top three or five promo list, and not one of them has Jerry “The King” Lawler. Hell, Lawler was one of the best promos ever. Ricky Morton used to cut a good promo. Dusty Rhodes. Ric Flair.
But anyway, do I know the greatest promo of all time? No, I sure don’t. I’ve heard a bunch of them, and there’s no way I could sit here and try to do it justice, and I’m not gonna BS my way around it — I don’t know.