×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin on Leaving His Mark on the WWE, Movies and Podcasts

The "Attitude Era" legend not likely to return to the ring; is focused on other projects that let him interact with his fanbase

It’s looking less likely that “Stone Cold” Steve Austin will ever return to WWE’s ring to wrestle in another high-profile match — unless it’s a videogame.

Austin, who represented WWE’s edgier “Attitude Era” during the 1990s, is one of the company’s legends (including  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson,” Rick Flair, the Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan) who are prominently featured in Take-Two Interactive’s “WWE2K14,” out the Oct. 29, and revolves around the past 30 years of “WrestleMania,” replicating matches from those pay-per-view events. Johnson is on the cover.

While he hasn’t completely left WWE, making the occasional appearance on the company’s TV shows, or hosting others like reality competition series “Tough Enough,” Austin said he doesn’t “want to go back” to the ring. Being in a game “is fun,” he told Variety on the eve of “SummerSlam,” at Staples Center. “It instantly brings back memories and good times and stuff like that, but it is what it is. These days when I see myself is in another videogame, it’s exciting and it gives me great satisfaction that i could have been part of something or been an entertainer that was so important that they keep bringing me back.”

Austin’s fans have long wanted him to return the way Johnson and Brock Lesnar have in recent years. But Austin is just happy to look back on his career right now and pursue film roles and produce his weekly podcast, “The Steve Austin Show,” with new installments out every Tuesday and Thursday.

“I’ve been gone 10, 11 years,” Austin said. “If you had a cow and you had a branding iron and it was in a fire and you put that branding iron on a cow you leave your mark and that mark is there forever. It can’t be erased. That’s why they brand cows. So if wrestling was a cow, I branded it and that mark will never go away. In another 10 years, in another 20 years, that mark I left on the business will always be there. I’m very happy about what I was able to accomplish and I had a great time doing it.”

“If wrestling was a cow, I branded it and that mark will never go away.”

Still Austin’s impressed with how he appears and moves in “WWE2K14.” In the game, Austin would be interested in seeing Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, or himself against CM Punk or Brock Lesnar.

“Obviously they did a pretty good damn job,” he said. “Maybe I should get them to wrestle at ‘WrestleMania 30’ for me.”

Looking back, Austin was surprised when a reboot of reality show “Tough Enough” only lasted one season on USA Network, in 2011. Austin hosted the series, which featured Booker T, Trish Stratus and Bill DeMott as trainers of aspiring WWE wrestlers.

“When that show didn’t come back, I was pissed off,” Austin said. “It was a great show. The numbers were very good. We had a great time doing it. Why they didn’t bring it back still baffles me to this day because I loved doing that show. It was a great way to be in the business I know and love without having to be in the ring taking lumps.”

Austin said the series gave viewers a look “in the right way” on what happens behind the scenes in the WWE.

“You (saw) what it takes to be good, some of the sacrifices that have to be made, some of the mechanical issues as far as timing,” he said. “There’s nothing better than when you see Miss USA try to start taking bumps and guess what, it hurts a lot. You either love to hit the mat or you hate to hit the mat. there’s not a whole lot of in between.”

WWE’s series “NXT,” that spotlights new wrestlers at the company’s training facility in Orlando vying for a spot on the roster, airs on Hulu Plus and has essentially taken over the role of “Tough Enough.”

Austin was quick to praise the show because “it doesn’t seem so produced,” he said. “It seems so organic and a little bit more true to what wrestling was. I fell in love with wrestling when I was seven or eight years old. It was a smoke-filled arena. It was Houston, Texas. It was the Houston Coliseum and you could barely see the second and third row in there. You could see the two combatants in the ring and it was about a championship belt. Back then it was real. Hey, we know the business ain’t real now, but you want to believe it’s real so don’t give me all of the shenanigans. I don’t want to laugh too much. If i crack a smile every now or then because something’s humorous or funny, that’s cool. But it’s all about a couple of cats, guys and gals, single or tag match going after championship gold, which actually means something and something that’s not too shiny and has so much gloss on it (but) feels gritty and dirty and tough like pro wrestling is supposed to be.”

Austin also isn’t opposed to doing more with the WWE.

“I’m always a business man, ready to listen to an idea.”

That includes starring in moves for the company’s WWE Studios arm, for which he headlined “The Condemned,” in 2007. He’s interested in returning for a sequel.

The actioner is the type of film that Austin’s been focused on starring in — low-budget pics like “Knockout,” “Maximum Conviction” and “The Package” that mostly go straight-to-video or get an international release, and generate considerable coin given his fan base.

WWE Studios has returned to putting those kinds of films on its slate, through its relationship with Lionsgate and a distribution deal with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, with “The Marine: Homefront,” “12 Rounds 2,” “Leprechaun” and “See No Evil 2” as recent examples.

“I’ve been making these movies for a long time and it’s great that they’ve finally figured out that’s what they need to be doing too,” Austin said. “We’re talking to-DVD movies on a dime. Not spending too much money, That’s the ballpark they needed to be in. That’s the ballpark they’re in. That’s the ballpark I’ve been in for a while. I’m glad they’ve figured it out and I’m glad they’ve had success. It’s a great promotional machine in terms of what the WWE is. It makes sense. Don’t spend a shitload of money if you don’t have to.”

For now, Austin is also focused on his podcast.

“The reason I wanted to get into podcasting was the creative outlet,” he said. “When I  used to do ‘Monday Night Raw,’ it was work, but it was a creative outlet for me. I got a chance  to express myself.  And once you get off that global platform, you lose contact with your fan base. The reason I started a Twitter account was mainly to stay in contact with my fans. I started the podcast to maintain contact with my fans and to grow new fans. I’m loving the experience. It helped my brain start working again. I hang out by myself all the time. I’m married, but I’m pretty much a loner, so it’s not like a sit and talk to people all the time. I’m talking to all kinds of cool people now. It’s an absolutely wonderful thing for me.”

One upcoming guest will be Flair, always ready with stories to tell of his history with the WWE.

“Whether’s it one hour or six hours or whatever, he’s my favorite pro-wrestler of all time,” Austin said. “I had a wonderful career that I’m proud of, but when I look in the dictionary  of pro-wrestler, i see the picture of Ric Flair. I’m looking forward to talking with him about his career in ring.”

More Biz

  • Pete Frates, who is stricken with

    Pete Frates, Inspiration for The Ice Bucket Challenge, Dies at 34

    Pete Frates, the inspiration behind 2014’s wildly successful ALS movement, the Ice Bucket Challenge, died on Monday. He was 34.  The historic Ice Bucket campaign raised over $115 million to combat ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, which Frates also suffered from.  “Pete never complained about his illness,” his family said in a statement.  “Instead, he [...]

  • CBS HEADQUARTERS

    ViacomCBS Will Explore Sale of Black Rock CBS Headquarters

    ViacomCBS will explore the sale of the famous Black Rock building, which has served as the headquarters of CBS since the mid 1960s. Bob Bakish, CEO of the company, which was created last week from the merger of CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc., said the newly combined entertainment conglomerate would explore the sale of sundry [...]

  • The recipients of the 42nd Annual

    Heartfelt Tributes Trump Politics at Kennedy Center Honors

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Political chatter was kept to a minimum Sunday night as the Kennedy Center Honors presented elaborate tributes to “Sesame Street” — made more poignant by the death of legendary puppeteer Caroll Spinney earlier in the day — as well as Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt, Earth, Wind and Fire and conductor Michael Tilson [...]

  • Chris Cornell’s Widow Sues Soundgarden

    Chris Cornell’s Widow Sues Soundgarden Over Royalties, Unreleased Recordings

    A long-simmering battle between Chris Cornell’s widow and the other members of Soundgarden broke into the open Monday morning when Vicky Cornell announced that she is suing the group over hundreds of thousands of dollars in allegedly unpaid royalties and the rights to seven unreleased recordings made before the singer’s death in May of 2017. [...]

  • Stephen Colbert Julia Louis-Dreyfus

    Julia Louis-Dreyfus Talks 'Seinfeld,' 'Sexist' Environment at 'SNL' in Q&A With Stephen Colbert

    Stephen Colbert and Julia Louis-Dreyfus swapped stories about “Saturday Night Live,” Northwestern University, “Seinfeld” and the possibility of running for office during a Q&A held Saturday as part of Montclair Film Festival’s annual “Evening with Stephen Colbert” fundraiser. Colbert, a Montclair resident, has long been a booster of the festival, which is going into its [...]

  • 2019 Kennedy Center Honoree singer Linda

    Linda Ronstadt to Mike Pompeo: Stop 'Enabling' Donald Trump

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Linda Ronstadt, one of this year’s Kennedy Center Honorees, had sharp words for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday night during a State Department reception for the Kennedy Center kudos. Ronstadt and Pompeo faced off in the U.S. State Department’s ornate diplomatic greeting rooms at the traditional event that precedes Sunday’s [...]

  • pharrell brain child show

    'Blurred Lines' Flares Up Again - Marvin Gaye Family Claims Pharrell Perjured Himself

    Like a zombie that just won’t stay dead, the “Blurred Lines” case keeps coming back. While the 2015 verdict, in which Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and the song’s publisher were ordered to pay nearly $5 million to Marvin Gaye’s family for infringing upon the late singer’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up,” was basically [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content