Jim Ross Recalls Steve Austin Knowing The Rock Would Be Huge WWE Star

steve austin wwe the rock 2001

Jim Ross has provided some insight into how Steve Austin viewed perhaps his most legendary rival: The Rock.

Whenever WrestleMania season rolls around, wrestling fans and people in the business are oftentimes nostalgic about their favorite memories. When it comes to big-time rivalries, it doesn’t get much bigger than “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

The Austin-Rock trilogy started at WrestleMania 15 in 1999 in Philadelphia (the same city as this year’s WrestleMania) when Austin beat Rock to become WWE Champion. Two years later at WrestleMania 17 in 2001, Austin came back after missing most of 2000 due to a neck injury and Austin beat Rock again, except this time he turned heel while getting an assist from Vince McMahon as well.

At WrestleMania 19 in 2003, The Rock was in heel mode as he beat Austin in Austin’s last match as a full-timer.

Jim Ross is a man who knows Austin and Rock very well. JR was on the call for many of the classic Austin-Rock matches at WrestleMania and elsewhere while JR also ran WWE Talent Relations in that era, so he was a key man in bringing Austin to WWE as well as developing Rock into an all-time legend.

During a recent episode of Jim’s Grilling JR podcast, he spoke about how Austin saw Rock developing quickly in 1998, which was Rock’s second year on the WWE roster, and how Austin knew he would be working with Rock in the future.

“Austin always had an eye out for the other talents as potential opponents. And he — you know, you look at The Rock from head to toe with his physique, his mannerisms, his ability to talk, et cetera, et cetera. And it really becomes that no-brainer. And Steve paid attention.”

“He knew at some point in time that the day would come when he and Rock would begin some sort of little journey together. It wasn’t a little journey, because they headlined in one-on-one matches three WrestleManias. Three! That’s unheard of in today’s world.”

“But they were so good and their chemistry was so flawless, they headlined WrestleMania 15, 17 and 19. And I remembered them all very well. I called all three of them, and it was a great honor to see the greatness in front of me that includes Austin and Rock. So it was good stuff, man. It was good stuff. I’m sure lucky and glad that I was doing my trade in that period of time.”

Is Steve Austin Expected To Be Part Of WrestleMania 40?

We already know The Rock is stepping back into the ring for the WrestleMania 40 Saturday main event as he teams with Roman Reigns against Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins. It will be The Rock’s first officially advertised WWE match since WrestleMania 29 in 2013 when he dropped the WWE Title to John Cena. The Rock did “wrestle” at WrestleMania 32 in 2016, but that was just a six-second match where Rock beat Erick Rowan of the Wyatt Family with a Rock Bottom.

Concerning the Rattlesnake, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reported that Steve Austin is expected to be part of WrestleMania 40 in some role that is yet to be determined.

Steve Austin’s last WrestleMania appearance was at WM38 in 2022 when he beat Kevin Owens in the WrestleMania Saturday main event in what was Austin’s first match in 19 years after his 2003 retirement.

H/T 411Mania