The wrestling industry has changed since the days when “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson were the biggest stars in the industry. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, both superstars were integral to WWE’s popularity, and two of the fiercest rivals onscreen rivals to boot.
They also competed during a time when the line between reality and fiction was blurred. Prior to the rise of the internet, wrestling was portrayed as real, and superstars went out of their way to ensure people believed they were just like their characters. Back then, you wouldn’t have believed that Austin and Johnson have always been good friends in the real world.
Times have changed, though, and these days both men are openly complimentary of each other’s work. Citing KFC Radio, 411Mania reports that Austin recently commented on Johnson’s acting ability, while claiming that he learned how to be a great performer as a result of taking Stone Cold Stunners while praising the actor for the way he sold them.
“Yeah because who would have figured, that guy, I hit him with that damn stunner and half the time I’d have to watch out because he’d crash over me. And The Rock, I mean he’s always been like 275, and when his legs or whatever careened off the ropes and hit you in the head, it’s like, ‘Goddamn, that hurts!’ And who would have thought then as he was flip-flopping around the ring for a Stunner that now, today as we speak, he’s the biggest movie star in the world. You’re welcome, The Rock.”
After the interview was made available, a fan took to Twitter to criticize Austin for breaking kayfabe. In the world of pro wrestling, kayfabe means portraying staged actions as genuine. Back in the day, it was commonplace. These days, everyone knows that sports entertainment is all an act.
Get ready for two of the toughest S.O.B.’s walking God’s green Earth to cross paths on Monday, August 19, 2019 on @USA_Network. American badass @SalVulcano is my special guest on Straight Up Steve Austin. 11/10C right after @WWE Raw. pic.twitter.com/9vdMidkryA
— Steve Austin (@steveaustinBSR) August 18, 2019
In response to the fan, Austin claimed that everyone knows that wrestling is fake these days and told the fan to “wake up.” The Austin of 20 years ago may have had different words to say, but even he isn’t trying to pretend that wrestling is anything other than what it is.
There are some characters who use their social media profiles to get their characters over. Tomasso Ciampa, for example, has been known to use his Twitter account to troll fans and further storylines. In All Elite Wrestling, MJF has even appeared on podcasts in-character. Kayfabe still works in pro wrestling, but it’s rare to see in the current climate.