“Stone Cold” Steve Austin changed the way people watch wrestling when he and the other headliners from the Attitude Era (and in part, his competition in WCW) became responsible for the biggest ratings boom in the history of professional wrestling, before or since. Now Austin is trying to change the way fans think about the product as he’s watching alongside them instead of swigging beers and tossing up middle fingers.
Austin has still made the occasional appearance on WWE programming, though he did hint that his run-in during WrestleMania 32 might have been the last time we’ll see him in a wrestling ring. The Texas Rattlesnake is mostly relegated to making his own craft beer, and of course, the podcast arena.
Nowadays, there are two versions of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. There’s the unfiltered version that hosts his own podcast, The Steve Austin Show, and then there’s the slightly buttoned-up version on the monthly WWE Network specials. Austin is still entertaining in the latter, but he’s somewhat restricted by what he can say and ask, leaving the viewers with a little to be desired. Austin’s next WWE Network podcast will feature the company’s hottest new star, AJ Styles.
We should expect Austin to heap a ton of praise on his next guest based on his recent interview with Sports Illustrated. Fortunately, “Stone Cold” conducted the interview in an unfiltered manner, and despite claiming on many occasions that Roman Reigns has what it takes to be a star (he just needs to be booked differently or have the personality turned way up), Austin is bestowing all the credit from the Reigns/Styles feud on the Phenomenal One.
“AJ Styles just carried Roman Reigns to two world class matches back-to-back. The second one wasn’t as good as the first, but it’s hard to top an all-time classic. Reigns carried his end, but that was all AJ. They keep beating that f****** kid, and they’ve got a potential superstar on their hands. He’s only been working 16, 18 years, f***, he’s got it figured out. Put a rocket on his a** and send him to the moon. I would love to see them run with Styles. I called him over the last time I saw him, which was before he got into that string of really good matches, and we’d never met. I said, ‘Hey man, good luck.’ When you see guys like that–who have been around the world and are veterans, you want them to finally get paid. He’s paid a million dues and he ain’t made no money. I want to see the kid go out and have a seven-figure year finally.”
The upcoming brand extension will give Styles another opportunity at a world title, even if it isn’t as a result of a match with Roman Reigns. Austin has long been a detractor of the two world championship system, but there’s no doubting that it opens doors for a good portion of the roster that might not have gotten them otherwise. Styles may be a future champion, but Austin has another up-and-comer in mind for that role, too. He might not always look the part, but neither did Mick Foley.
“I think they’ve got to give Kevin Owens a run with the belt. He’s a veteran and he’s really clicking on the mic, and the kid is super talented. Give him a f****** run. I don’t know why you wouldn’t give the guy the opportunity, he’s just too good.”
Austin may very well be onto something, what with the recent reports stating that Vince McMahon has become a huge fan of Owens and may have big plans in mind. Those plans may include a win this Sunday at Money In The Bank which would certainly jump start him towards the goal Austin just laid out.
[Image via WWE]