Steve Austin Explains WrestleMania 38 Return

Steve Austin cuts a promo

‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin has spoken about his decision to return to WWE at WrestleMania 38, saying he’s glad Kevin Owens “p***ed him off” when he did.

‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin wrestled his last match against The Rock at WrestleMania 19 almost two decades ago, ending one of the most legendary careers in wrestling history. Austin made the decision to hang up his boots because of ongoing neck issues that had plagued him since SummerSlam 1997 when he broke his neck in a match against Owen Hart. ‘The Texas Rattlesnake’ eventually underwent surgery to try to repair the damage two years later in 1999.

After being defeated by The Rock in their third encounter on ‘The Grandest Stage Of Them All’, Austin left the ring as an active competitor for the last time and has refused offers to come out of retirement ever since. That is until now.

At WrestleMania 38, Steve Austin has promised to open up “one last can of whoop-ass” on Kevin Owens. While their encounter will officially be a special edition of the KO Show, the way Austin’s talking makes it likely there will be more than a little physicality involved.

During an interview on Rich Eisen Show, Steve Austin was asked why he agreed to the WrestleMania appearance. The multi-time WWE Champion explained that it felt like the perfect time and he wishes Kevin Owens had angered him even sooner so that he could have prepped a bit more.

“This opportunity comes up, Kevin Owens starts running me down and gets my attention. It was a thing where, I kind of said, ‘I’m never going to get in the ring again.’ In this business, never say never. I said I would never get in, but prompted by the right person at the right time, hell, I wish he would have pissed me off a little sooner than he did to give me more time to prep.

“Once you step into the ring, it’s like stepping onto a football field, that’s where business happens. We don’t know what it’s going to escalate to. I’ve been working on my conditioning. Had it been anywhere else other than Jerry’s Place….it’s a two-night event, WrestleMania is biggest show of the year, to be part of that is really special to me.

“I’m doing this for me. I’m going out there to have a damn blast. I’m gonna have fun and I’m gonna wear these two fists out on Kevin Owens. I’m sure he’s going to get some to because he’s had an amazing career. I’m glad he pissed me off when he did.”

Austin went on to discuss meeting Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn at an airport when they were in the early days of their careers and recalled the advice he passed on the young KO.

“A long time ago, when I was still active in the ring, I was on the road somewhere, about to get on a plane. This kid come up from behind me, it was Kevin Owens, him and another guy. He said, ‘Hey Stone Cold, I’m Kevin Owens, I’ve been in the business a couple of years, can you give me any advice?’ He started telling me about all the offensive moves he was doing and all the crazy stuff and I said, ‘Kid, you need to stop learning how to do all those crazy moves and start learning how to run your mouth. You need to learn how to cut a promo.

“Kevin Owens is a student of the game and now he cuts one of the best promos in the business and now he got my attention with one of his promos. He’s a guy who has had a career that many would love to have. He’s been in the business for over 20 years, longer than I have. It’s going to be an interesting challenge.

“In my documentary, I said, ‘As an active performer, you never want to come off the road because you come off the road and you get soft.’ An NFL football player will tell you the same thing. You have to get calloused up and ready to go. He’s ready to go. I have my work cut out for me. I’m gonna be there whipping some ass.”

‘The Bionic Redneck’ also spoke about how much the comeback means to him, especially since he didn’t get to retire on his own terms.

“When I left, I didn’t want to leave. WrestleMania 19, my neck had presented some problems. After I got spiked and dropped on my head back in 99, I had three, four fused up, and it was time for me to ride off into the sunset and do something else. This comeback means a lot to me as I’ve been getting back into in-ring shape. I’m gonna go out there and do the absolute best I can…”

“I’m doing this for the fans. I’m doing this for WWE. I’m doing this for me, number one”

H/t to Fightful for the above transcription.