Jim Ross has done his best to explain why Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan didn’t have a singles run when they were in WWE together.
When Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall (aka the New World Order) signed with WWE in early 2022 after the death of WCW one year earlier, the immediate thought of wrestling fans at the time was that it should lead to some dream matches.
It was especially true in Hogan’s case as the former top WWE guy from 1984 into the early 1990s, fans wanted to see him against top WWE guys like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, Kurt Angle and many others. While the likes of The Rock, Triple H, and Angle got to wrestle Hogan in singles matches in 2002, Steve Austin never got that chance.
Steve Austin never got to face Hulk Hogan in a WWE singles match, but they did take part in the same tag team match with Austin teaming with Rock against Hogan, Hall & Nash on the March 11, 2002 edition of Raw. That match was one week before WrestleMania 18 when The Rock beat Hulk Hogan in one of the most memorable WWE matches of all-time.
Jim Ross recently did a Grilling JR podcast about WWE No Way Out 2003 and gave his opinion about why there was never an Austin-Hogan match.
“Austin didn’t want to work with it. How’s that answer for you? It was the wrong place at the wrong time. There was a time in both their careers that that, man, should have been the dream match, the two biggest stars in the last two generations of wrestling fighting each other. But you know, again, I am not trying to make excuses for Hogan.”
“But the truth be known he should not have been in a ring, because he couldn’t get it done anymore. Because, you know, I saw him on the A & E stuff for Hogan and said he had 10 back surgeries or something. That’s amazing. That’s cruel and inhuman punishment. So Austin wasn’t real high on that, and it’s all about the calendar.”
As JR continued, he made it clear that Steve Austin simply didn’t want to do the match with Hogan.
“It just wasn’t gonna work. And he didn’t want to do it. It was never pushed that hard, quite frankly. Because Vince knew that Steve would want to go at a breakneck pace. He was kind of a middle linebacker in a squared circle. And he liked to hit people and he liked to be aggressive. And obviously, no one thought that Hogan could maintain that on that given calendar here.”
“Again, doing it earlier, you know, 5, 6, 8, 10 years earlier, you know, who knows? But Steve just didn’t have a good gut feeling that they would have passable chemistry and just to be passable. What is good enough for Austin, he couldn’t live with himself if that’s what he was doing.”
At No Way Out 2003, Steve Austin made his long-awaited WWE return after missing about eight months following a dispute with the creative team in the summer of 2002. Little did we know at the time, Austin would have his retirement match a month later at WrestleMania 19 as well.
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