‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin Talks Time In Original ECW, Says He Gives Paul Heyman ‘All The Credit In The World’

WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was the featured guest on a recent episode of The Taz Show on CBS Radio. The Texas Rattlesnake chatted with The Human Suplex Machine about their time together in WWF/WWE, as well as the heady days of the original ECW. Taz recalled the significance to Austin’s decision to sign on with ECW after leaving WCW, telling Stone Cold that the company’s roster was really excited to have him on board at the time. For his part, Austin fondly recalled the ECW locker room as a unique place of encouragement and camaraderie.

“At that time in my life, I guess I’d been in the business about six or seven years,” Austin recalled. “And so, going to a different locker room that was kind of established … man, that was just a hub of so much creativity. And guys going through the refining process trying things out and experimenting. Of course guys with great success with real cool gimmicks, laying down some heavy stuff. So it was a great learning process for me and it was a real eye-opener.”

In 2014, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin appeared in a humorous commercial for Wendy's with the likes of Alfonso Ribiero and Ralph Macchio. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Wendy's)

Steve Austin joined ECW in 1995 after he was fired from WCW by one of the company’s key players, Eric Bischoff. Although he worked for the Philadelphia promotion for less than a year, Austin delivered memorable performances in high-octane promos and vignettes as well as a number of in-ring bouts. As “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, he took professional wrestling to new heights during the industry’s celebrated “Attitude Era,” that spanned from late 1997 to mid-2002. But Austin nevertheless credits the work environment of ECW as one of the most important factors in the development of his iconic persona.

“As far as the creative freedom that Paul E. harbored down there, you were able to do anything that you wanted to do to get over and that doesn’t exist in today’s system,” said Austin. “So I really value my days in ECW in Philly. We didn’t get a chance to do a whole lot of stuff but it was a pivotal time in my career and I daresay that if I had not made my stop through there I don’t know that I would’ve ever became ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. I always give Paul Heyman all credit in the world for helping me get to the level that I got.”

Austin further praised Paul Heyman’s influence on his own style and career, offering some offbeat accolades to one of pro wrestling’s greatest talkers.

eric bischoff beer
Eric Bischoff, who infamously fired “Stone Cold” Steve Austin from WCW in 1995, recently made a special trip to an El Segundo brewery to sample Austin's new brand of beer. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“You know how Paul E. is, man,” Austin told Taz. “That dude is like Cesar Milan talking to a dog. Dude can just talk to a cat, I don’t even care if it’s a guy or a girl but he get you in the frame of mind where he opens your mind up or focuses you or give you confidence in yourself to spark some kind of creative spark in your brain. The dude just has a way to talk to talent to get them to crank out some badass stuff.”

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin also discussed his new brand of beer, Broken Skull IPA, explaining that the adult beverage is available in limited markets but also noting that it can be ordered online and shipped. Austin said that he still corresponds regularly with Eric Bischoff, sharing that Bischoff recently hit him up for a sample of the ale while he was in Los Angeles. He also noted that he was once in talks with WWE to market a “Stone Cold”-themed beer, but that plan was scrapped when the company wanted him to lose a match to Brock Lesnar.

Taz also spoke with “Stone Cold” about his reality show, Broken Skull Challenge. Hosted by Austin himself, the show features seasoned athletes competing in extreme conditions, both on a mountainside and in the desert. Austin noted that a number of contestants suffered injuries during tapings, saying that kind of thing “goes with the territory.” The new season of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge premieres on CMT on January 3, 2016.

[Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Wendy’s]