Former WWE superstar and WWE hall of famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin hasn’t been shy in the past about voicing his displeasure with how WWE operates, and on a recent edition of his podcast, Steve Austin Show, Austin was extremely critical of WWE’s current approach to its product.
On Austin’s podcast, a caller phoned in to discuss the greatness of the WWE 2K15 commercial in which John Cena was narrating. Austin followed up on the caller’s praise of the commercial, and expressed that WWE should follow the direction of the WWE 2K15 commercial, and begin to be more of a serious product that has more of a “sporting event” feel than a “soap opera” feel.
“You can put it under the umbrella of ‘sports entertainment’,” said Austin. “But when two guys or two gals get in a 20-by-20 squared circle and start wrestling, it is professional wrestling and that is the end of the story.”
“I’m all about ‘yeah, we know it’s a work, but we all want to believe,'” Austin continued. “In a world that’s a work, all you can do when the storylines aren’t so great, make the people believe in you. But that being said, here’s the thing: WWE is its own world. They say ‘WWE Universe,’ so whatever they create and put out there is what they create and put out there. So create and put out something that people can buy in to on a serious note, and don’t make it the three-ring circus that it’s become, and let it be wrestling.”
“Create that atmosphere. Talk about that match, why is he going after that body part,” said Austin.
Stone Cold says that WWE coming across as more of a sporting event needs to start with how WWE is training their young, up-and-coming talent at the WWE performance center in Orlando, Florida.
“Whenever I get a chance to walk in there, to the Florida training center, that’s what I hope it’s about. I hope it feels like professional wrestling.
“I’m not saying that you’ve got to go back to the Attitude Era. I ain’t saying that. I’m not saying you have to say one cuss word. It’s about believability and telling the story in the ring. It just needs to be wrestling. It can be PG as hell.”
Stone Cold also went on to talk about how he doesn’t like that WWE calls its performers “sports entertainers” and “superstars” instead of “professional wrestlers,” and that he cringes every time WWE calls one of their performers a “sports entertainer.”
“It’ll always be pro wrestling. You can put in under the guise of sports entertainment, but I don’t know anybody on the current crew, and maybe John Cena would, and I love John Cena, he’s a friend of mine, but I don’t know anyone who when someone comes down, in the airport, anywhere in the world, the United States or wherever, ‘hey man, you look familiar, are you one of those sports entertainers?’ They say ‘are you a pro wrestler?’
“I was out somewhere the other day, someone recognized me and they said, ‘hey man, you look like one of those pro wrestlers” and, of course, they didn’t say who I was, but that was already a compliment when they said I looked like a pro wrestler. They did not say sports entertainer. I cringe at that.”
WWE does at times try to add elements of reality into their storylines, but those elements of reality rarely evolve around competition and being the best. Austin would like to see WWE head more in the direction of “professional wrestling” like it was in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, instead of the way they do business now as a “sports entertainment company” that’s focused on putting smiles on people’s faces.
Austin maintains that he has a very good relationship with WWE, but he just has a different philosophy than Vince McMahon.
“I maintain a great relationship with WWE,” Austin said. “But when you talk about the product – and I did it for 15 years — I have my opinions that I stick by. Reality and real stuff, real issues and real angles.”
Austin’s opinion on what WWE should be is a popular opinion among fans, however, as long as Vince McMahon is the head man at WWE, it’s unlikely that Austin’s desire to see “sports entertainment” become “pro wrestling” will come to fruition.
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