'WWE '13': 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin speaks, part one
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.
In this candid two-part interview, Austin talks to Extreme Announcer Joey Styles about the heyday of The Attitude Era, his wars with Mr. McMahon and even his thoughts on current Superstars like John Cena. As always, “Stone Cold” is honest and open, and nothing is off limits.
WWE.COM: You will be forever associated with The Attitude Era. What was it about you and your personality that made you the guy for that time period?
“STONE COLD” STEVE AUSTIN: That’s a damn good question; I don’t know if I’ve got the answer for it. I guess I was just an entertaining guy. It’s hard for me to answer that question, because it’s cool to be that guy. But I’m not gonna sit here and blow smoke up my a**. I guess I just turned it up to be loud and aggressive, and I meant what I said and I did what I said.
I think the character of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, he was a pretty honest and straight-shooting cat, and he was digging and scratching and clawing to get to the top in the business that he loved and it showed in the work and in the persona I created.
That’s the best that I can figure. I was the guy who did it.
WWE.COM: Well, without “blowing smoke,” we can say that it was magical to watch. And sure, you were all business, but it looked like you were having a lot of fun in your war against Mr. McMahon. Is that fair to say?
AUSTIN: Oh yeah, man, that was a great time. I had a good time every time I went to work, and that was back in the day when we were on the road [even more than Superstars today]. It was just a blast to go to work every single night, and not just on Monday Night Raw or on a pay-per-view, and it was a blast going to WWE Live Events, because that was all that you did, that’s what you focused on.
You’d get out on the road, be gone for three weeks and be dying to get home, but as soon as you got home, you’re bored and itching to get back on the road. So it was just a great time in the business. The window that I happened to slide in at — I’m very appreciative that I came along when I did.
WWE.COM: Is there a Superstar you didn’t get to work with during that time that you would have liked to work with?
AUSTIN: It’s always fun to think about what it would have been like if me and Goldberg had gotten into the ring, to see what would have happened if me and Hollywood Hogan got involved in serious matches, and not in a one-off match. It would have been fun to have worked with a guy like Ultimate Warrior, it would have been fun to do a bunch of matches with Randy Savage, or [Ric] Flair — I would have liked to work a high-profile series with him.
Hell, just because Bruno Sammartino just threw me under the bus a couple of months ago, it would’ve been to fun to work with him. You talk about the entertainment aspect, that’s what wrestling’s all about.
WWE.COM: What did Bruno Sammartino say about you?
AUSTIN: Oh it was just a thing, you know, when someone brought my name up in an interview, he just kinda — I guess the obscenities that came out of my mouth were a little too much for him, and he just turned it off. And again, it was a totally different interview, but it would have been interesting to work with a cat like that, Bruno Sammartino.
I guarantee ya — he would have been chasing his tongue around because he would’ve been tired working with me. I’d give him everything I had and a little bit more.
Like I said, I’ve got a lot of respect for Bruno Sammartino, and I say [the above] in a competitive manner.
WWE.COM: The Attitude Era certainly stretched the boundaries of what was acceptable on live TV. Was there ever a moment that you thought went too far, or that you looked at and said, “I can’t believe we got away with that”?
AUSTIN: No, no. I said, “a**,” “hell yeah” — stuff like that. And “a**” is about every other word that came out of my mouth back then, as it is in my current life. I happen to love that word. There is nothing I ever said that pushed the envelope too far from a language parameter.
You look at the time when Bret Hart flipped out and said, this is garbage. Everybody back in that dressing room knows that promo when he pushed Vince on his a** was further than anywhere I ever went within a language — I never went there.
Man, I thought that my stuff was straight-up, grade-A, saying words you could get away with saying. Don’t get me wrong, I could say those words and someone else could say them, and they’re going to mean two different things. I had a lot of intensity; a lot of my delivery was such that you sure took what I said seriously. And I could make you laugh if I wanted to, as well.
I could start rambling about promos and how I talk, but it is what it is, it was what it was. Let me streamline my answer — I never said anything that I thought was pushing the envelope too far.
WWE.COM: On the flip side, was there ever something you wanted to do — either verbally or from a creative standpoint — but weren’t allowed to do?
AUSTIN: No. No, man, you know, when I started flipping people off, Vince asked me to kind of rein that in a little bit and I said no, and that’s when we really started cashing in. We did exactly what we wanted to do, and I thought it was all in good taste.