WWE CEO and Chairman Vince McMahon sat down with former WWE Superstar “Stone Cold” Steve Austin LIVE on the WWE Network to talk shop, creative, CM Punk, Undertaker, and more. The show was done as part of Austin’s podcast, The Stone Cold Show. Vince could potentially be the biggest guest Austin has had on the show. WWE was in the public eye a lot in the last few weeks, but especially this past week due to former WWE Superstar CM Punk.
Most of us assumed that Austin would ask softball questions to Vince, or at least make them seem more company friendly. We expected Vince to then answer questions from a company mindset. Happily, that didn’t happen. Vince did go corporate a bit, but for the most part he was quite candid with Austin in this interview.
Austin started off the interview by asking about the WWE Network. He asked about what the issues with the U.K. were and why it was where it was currently. Vince explained that there were some issues with the U.K., but that he hoped all of it would be resolved by the first of the year. This is a good sign for those wanting the network in the U.K.
Austin asked about the current crop of guys, which he felt were not really reaching for things like they were back in his time. He feels that since the WWE is the only game in town, many guys are not speaking up over fear of losing their job. Austin then challenged people to do just that, to speak up and work hard. Vince feels that there is some lack of ambition in today’s locker room compared to when Austin was full-time. Austin feels that guys are walking on eggshells and are afraid to piss anyone off.
Vince says simply, “well, don’t piss anyone off.” Obviously Vince lacks the understanding of how hard that can be.
Vince claimed that there isn’t as much camaraderie and silliness backstage as there was in Austin’s era. He said the last guy to really try and reach for the brass ring was John Cena. He sees potential in Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns but they aren’t there yet. He went on to say that the current WWE talent does’t do what Austin did.
Austin then asked about Cesaro and why he hasn’t gotten over. Vince feels it could be because he’s Swiss, but he hasn’t shown the charisma that Vince hopes he does. Austin pointed out that the momentum was lost for him via the booking. Vince countered with “sometimes, I don’t have all the answers.”
Austin then asked where Shane McMahon is. Vince said that he’s a happy camper, and has his hands in a lot of pots. He said that Shane leaving was a mutual thing. He said being a family in business is difficult. Vince said he tried to do what was right for business. He claimed that his dad didn’t want him in the business and he wanted his kids to do what they wanted to do.
Austin then asked the question we knew was coming to Vince, “do you want to talk about CM Punk, yes or no?”
Vince said he did. He wanted to personally apologize for him getting his termination papers on his wedding day. He said that in a company, on their side, the different areas of the company didn’t know what was going on. Basically Vince is claiming it was sent out and just so happened to get to him on this day, but it was not done on purpose. This could very well be true or Vince doing damage control.
Vince said that he didn’t want to go through dirty laundry. He said there have been others who were disgruntled and they said things they later regretted and he hoped that he and Punk would work together again someday.
Vince claimed that he didn’t listen to the Colt Cabana interview, but heard Punk used a lot of expletives and things were said that were his side of things. He said that he had issues with Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Ultimate Warrior and others….but they eventually came back. Vince said he was willing to work with Punk again and admits that he has a big ego, but is willing to put it aside and work with him down the line. Vince later said Punk worked really hard for the company.
Vince was far more open about CM Punk than many thought he would be. It felt like, although he tried to keep it politically correct in way, he was not trying to dodge much regarding it. Austin said that Jim Ross was a good mediator between he and McMahon, and asked that if there was someone like a JR to help between he and Punk…would there have been a different situation. Vince said it was possible. He felt that communication was the issue with he and Punk. He claimed CM Punk was a loner and that got in the way a bit. So he feels if someone was there to sort of mediate between, things could have gone down differently.
Austin spoke about watching The Undertaker lose at Wrestlemania. He said he was just as shocked as the guy in the front row whose eyes got huge seeing it.
Austin wanted to know the when, where, and why the streak ending idea came about. Vince said that no one wants to give back to the business more than Mark Calaway. He said that it was time and when you look down the line on who he could work with, who else was it going to be. There was no one else it could be, Vince felt. He said that Brock was the one person that Mark felt was the guy. Vince admitted that he made the ultimate decision to end “The Streak.”
Austin asked Vince why Brock Lesnar isn’t around more often. Vince said you don’t want him around more, because he’s a special attraction. He feels that it loses the specialty if he is there all the time. Austin asked about Sting, which McMahon replied with pretty much saying we’ll see him wrestle at WrestleMania.
Austin then asked about Randy Savage and if we’d see him in the WWE Hall of Fame. Vince says that we certainly will. Austin asked about a timetable, and Vince replied with “soon.”
Finally, Austin asked if Vince was really giving WWE fans what they wanted. Vince says that he listens to the audience and tries to give them what they want. He said he tries to give something to all demographics. Austin asked why the matches are so segmented these days and if it was “short attention span theater.” Vince said it’s a change in society. He explained that we text and don’t have conversations anymore, and it is similar to that. Times simply change and the product has to evolve with it. Vince said the product can get better, but he’s not out of touch.
The interview was really good and well worth the watch. Vince even extended it 15 minutes, saying that he owned the WWE Network and could do that. He was very up front in answering Austin’s questions. This was certainly a bit more tame compared to other Austin podcasts. Clearly, Austin cannot use the same language he normally would on his podcast, due to this being on the WWE Network. However, it was still good. The interview was about an hour long and it felt like it was a mix of corporate, and just “Vince being Vince” answers. It was really fun to see, and many are calling for Austin to do these interviews every week. Honestly, I’d want to see that myself.
[IMG Credits: WWE.com, Fansided.com]
[Transcription Credit: WrestlingNewsSource.com]