For the first time since 2003, Stone Cold Steve Austin put his working boots on at WrestleMania 38 to take on Kevin Owens in a headline bout.
In the lead-up to WrestleMania 38, rumours began to swirl that the unthinkable was going to happen and Steve Austin was going to return to the ring. Kevin Owens turned his ire on WWE television to Texas and Texans only increasing speculation that KO was on a collision course with Stone Cold.
It was finally announced that Austin was to be a special guest on The KO Show at WrestleMania 38 which was held deep in the heart of the Lone Star State. Instead, when both men were in the ring, the real plan quickly came to light with Owens challenging Austin to a match then and there.
Austin gamely accepted and the two stars broke out into a fun brawl that saw the Texas Rattlesnake pick up another win in a WrestleMania main event in a career littered with such things.
Speaking on the Out of Character podcast, Steve Austin revealed that he steered clear of the wrestling ring to prepare for his big comeback and says he found inspiration from Becky Lynch:
“Zero in-ring training. I was doing cardio. Here’s an inside tip for you. I love Sheamus. He’s got a great YouTube channel, the Celtic Warrior workout or whatever he calls it. I got on there. I watched Edge’s routine. I watch Daniel Bryan or Bryan Danielson or whatever his name is.
“I watched his training routine. But the one that really got me was Becky Lynch’s comeback routine. So I did Becky Lynch’s routine over and over and over again and then I invented my own out of that. So I was training hard at my house, but I didn’t have a ring.”
A couple of days before WrestleMania itself, Steve Austin noted that he was helped by Drew Gulak who finally got Austin back in a ring:
“Once I got to Dallas, I got there three or four days early because I always do, I ran the ropes a lot with Drew Gulak, who’s absolutely wonderful. He’s a great talent, super guy, and very intuitive in the ring. We did a lot of crisscross stuff, locked up, grabbed a headlock, did a couple of spots, and just a little bit of that and I was gassing.
“When I tell you I’m in good shape, I was. But doing cardio at the house, as hard as I was working out, it’s not the in-ring activity. It’s very specific, cardio is. So like when K.O. comes in or Drew, they’re Road Warriors. They’ve been on the road. It was short notice, but as hard as I worked out, I still wasn’t in shape because they were doing a specific task.”
There have been reports that Steve Austin was approached by WWE for a return at WrestleMania 39 with a variety of scenarios put to Austin but it does not look like the WWE Hall of Famer will be part of that event.