Steve Austin Talks About His New Show, Tough Enough, CM Punk Leaving, His Future & More
Steve Austin recently spoke with Donald Wood and the folks at Ring Rust Radio. Below are the highlights:
You are one of the biggest names in wrestling history and you are now making waves with your podcast The Steve Austin Show on PodcastOne. With a long list of exciting guests, how have you found the transition from wrestling and movies to the podcast medium?
Stone Cold Steve Austin: Well, you know, it’s interesting. Asking people questions, carrying on conversations, you certainly develop a rhythm and a style. I learned early on that one of the mistakes I was making early on was trying to cram too much stuff in an interview. I’d talk to guys who had 20- to 40-year careers and try to condense that into a two-hour session, and it just doesn’t happen like that.
So now, I just have bullet points and we start talking and it ends up just being a conversation. I don’t paint by numbers anymore. I just go by how I feel and try to take the conversation in different places and just go with the flow.
It has been an interesting transition. I enjoy doing it. It allows me to use some of the creative energy that I put into Monday Night Raw way back in the day and it gives me a way to maintain communication with my fanbase and to just simply and purely entertain them. I don’t talk about religion, politics, none of that bulls–t; it’s just audio whoop-ass for the working man and the working woman to take their mind off the task at hand.
You’ve already interviewed many of the biggest stars in wrestling on your podcast, but who’s the one person you haven’t had on the show yet who tops the list in terms of desired guests?
Stone Cold Steve Austin: I’d like to talk to Hulk Hogan, of course, because he’s one of the biggest names in the history of the business, if not the biggest. So, obviously I’d like to talk to Hogan. “Superstar” Billy Graham. I’d like to talk to Dusty Rhodes face-to-face, in person. I had a chance to talk to him on the phone in the early stages like some of the people who I’ve already interviewed. It’s always different talking to someone on the phone, of course. I’ve talked to Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Shawn Michaels on the phone, but a one-on-one conversation is the best.
I’ve actually just connected to Kevin Von Erich the other day; we’ve been trying to get together for a while and I’m actually going to make a trip out to Hawaii. The wife has been trying to con me into going to Hawaii forever. That’s one place that I have not been, so while we go to Hawaii to satisfy my wife’s desire to go and lay on the beach, I’ll be interviewing Kevin Von Erich, so he’s a guy I’m really looking forward to talking to. Hopefully, I get a chance to talk to him in the next few months.
I talked to [Mark “The Undertaker” Calaway]. I asked him if he wanted to do the show; he said he would, and that’s a matter of me getting out to Austin, Texas, and talking to him one on one, but he’s another one I’d love to talk to.
Another interesting addition to the WWE Network is a new season of Tough Enough. For many fans, your presence on the show was the highlight of the program. Are there any plans of having you back on the show and is that something you would be interested in?
Stone Cold Steve Austin: I’d certainly be open to it, but I get my Google Alerts and I read that they were bringing back Tough Enough, but then there have been delays in it. I would consider doing something along the lines of Tough Enough because that was my first endeavor into reality television and that is a world I know and love, and that’s why I was on that show.
I’m not going to blow smoke up my ass. I love the business of pro wrestling and it is something I know better than anything else I know about. So if I get a chance to do that show or they offer that spot to me and we could make it work, I’d love to do that show.
You are also now working on a new show called Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Ranch Challenge on Country Music Television. For the fans excited about the new program, will you explain exactly what should be expected from the series?
Stone Cold Steve Austin: The thing about the Broken Skull Challenge is that there’s really nothing else like it on television. I was talking on some interviews the other day that kind of brought up American Ninja Warrior, but that kind of plays more to the parkour-type athlete and crossfitting as well. Those men and women that do American Ninja Warrior are badass in their right, no doubt about that. They’re badass. But they’re competing on a course and competing against the clock.
At the Broken Skull Challenge, each week I bring participants to the ranch. We did 10 episodes—five episodes with guys, five with gals. It’s head-to-head competition for three rounds, and if you win, you go to the next round. If you lose, you leave the ranch immediately.
At the end of the day, we narrow it down from eight to one individual, and that individual will take on my personal obstacle course. It’s a half-mile course, 10 badass obstacles that you must overcome.
I made my course the skullbuster because it is specifically designed to whoop a man’s ass. You beat my course, I’ll give you $10,000. If someone has already beaten my course and you beat their time, I give you $10,000 and you will be my returning champion, and until someone beats your time, you will get that $10,000.
It’s nothing fancy; it’s down and dirty and you need strength, stamina, determination, will power, a lot of heart and determination to beat my course and to win and succeed at my competition. It’s badass and we had some hellacious athletes come out to the ranch. On Redneck Island, a show I love, there was a lot of drama and storylines going on because someone’s always voted off the island through process of elimination. Here your fate is in your own hands. I set the stage for these athletes to come out here and put on the best performance of their lives or they have to go home—simple as that.
A lot of people were buzzing when on your podcast Paul Heyman brought up the idea of a potential future match between yourself and Brock Lesnar. Have you 100 percent closed the door on having another match or is it something you would consider if the right situation arose?
Stone Cold Steve Austin: I’d consider anything if the perfect situation or opportunity arose and it would be more than a million-dollar question. I don’t want to sit here and promote a match, sell a match or talk about making a comeback. The dirt sheets, or whatever you call them, and I talk to Dave Meltzer and Wade Keller all the time and they’re nice guys and I would consider them friends. I see Dave at almost every MMA fight, but I don’t want to stir any pots or hint or tease anything.
People get their panties in a wad and say, “Stone Cold, either do it or not.” So, anything can happen, but I’m not going to endorse, promote, sell or tease anything in regards to a match.
You haven’t been shy in weighing in on CM Punk’s absence from WWE. If he were to make a return to WWE, how would you bring him back?
Stone Cold Steve Austin: Man, I don’t know. I haven’t made too much of it. I predicted he would make a comeback at WrestleMania 30 and obviously that didn’t happen. He left the company and whenever he comes back, that’s up to him.
I don’t know how I would bring him back. I just know that when I got out of the business for about six-to-10 months, I lost a **** load of money and I believe that if you have got some miles left in the tank, you should make your money while you can and don’t leave it on the table because you’ll never make that money back.
At the end of the day, you can say, “It ain’t about the money.” Well, it is about the money because you need to make as much of it as you can before you can’t make that money anymore.
I don’t know how you bring him back. Certainly the fans would welcome him back because he was doing a great job before he left. And when he gets his head right and wants to come back, I believe he will. As far as me playing Mr. Booker, I don’t have a clue.
You were always viewed as a hugely talented performer throughout your career, but you reached unimaginable levels of success when you developed the Stone Cold character. Do you see anyone on the current WWE roster who may not be a featured part of the show right now, but has the potential to become the next top star and take a path similar to yours?
Stone Cold Steve Austin: Man, I think it could be any one of a pool of people. I can’t sit here and drop names because I haven’t paid that much attention to the roster. I’ve been trying to DVR the shows. I am several months behind. I just subscribed to the WWE Network and I watched half of the pay-per-view so far. Just from guys on the radar right now, I think all of the guys from The Shield have got big futures ahead of them. I don’t think they’re all carved in stone yet and there are still some missing pieces within each individual part of The Shield.
Antonio Cesaro still has a hole somewhere in his game, but he’s certainly there. I predict a lot of success for that guy. I think Bray Wyatt is starting to kick ass and do a lot of great things. When they put Cesaro with Heyman, that was an interesting move because there were a lot of people starting to get off on Cesaro, and so they put him with Heyman, which put him back as a heel. The rest of the roster, I don’t know enough about.
Here’s one thing that I will say; I remember watching some of my matches from Dallas on my email, and I was watching them back and I see an athletic body and a guy that’s stable, but the look was just not that great. So there are some guys down there that, as they go through the process and they’re not afraid to embrace making some changes and making some alterations to their gear, to their look to find the right gimmick and package to bring it all together.
Man, there’s probably two or three diamonds in the rough down there because they’re not close to an appearance that is going to be the final thing that actually helps them get over and be received by the crowd as a heel or a baby face.