LaBar: One-on-one with Stone Cold Steve Austin
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin is one of the most profitable and famous professional wrestlers in history. Once taking the world by storm during his popularity in the 1990s in the wrestling world, he moved on. After retiring from in-ring competition, he has found himself in major Hollywood action films, hosting a successful podcast and now is conquering the world of reality television.
Austin and I spoke on a variety of topics from his new television project to his opinions and memories in the wrestling world. The following is an excerpt of our conversation.
LaBar: Tell me about “Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge” debuting on July 6 on CMT. It sounds like redneck Cross-fit.
Austin: The idea of this show was born off of “Redneck Island.” That's a competition show, but you're voted off. There's a lot of drama. I love that show. While we're doing that, I was thinking to myself there's gotta be another show that's straight-up competition. Just through all my athletic endeavors, whether it's football, baseball, track and field or the ranks of professional wrestling — I'm an extremely competitive person. I wanted to set the table for athletes to come to my ranch, compete against each other. No drama, well there's drama, there's some injury, there's some storylines, but it's all about the competition. Each week, eight athletes come to my place and at the end of the day, one is left standing. That one person takes on my obstacle course which is called the “Skull Buster” the next day. When I designed the “Skull Buster” I designed it to whip a man's ass. You better be a badass to come to my ranch and beat my course.
LaBar: Anybody from WWE roster you think could handle this?
Austin: Boy, I tell you what Justin, that's a hell of a damn idea right there. One person comes to mind because of his background, Seth Rollins. Very athletic guy. Does some cross-fitting himself. I think his skills, size and strength would lend him to this. It's not all about agility; there's some head-to-head combat with other human beings. That's what makes the show unlike anything else on television, any other competition show. Seth Rollins might be able to do pretty well. You know what, a season with WWE superstars on that thing would be highly entertaining.
LaBar: I agree with Seth Rollins. The guy I was thinking about was Cesaro.
Austin: You know what, you're right. I think Cesaro ... it's a half-mile course, that guy is a physical specimen. To your point, yes, he'd be great as well.
LaBar: Just a few days ago was the 18-year anniversary of the Austin 3:16 speech. Does it feel like it was 18 years? And I guess a little thanks always has to go to Jake Roberts, who you were cutting the promo on, and religion was such a big part of his deal because without him, Austin 3:16 may have not been born.
Austin: I can't believe it's been 18 years. I had so many people send tweets to my Twitter account @SteveAustinBSR , reminding me it was the 18-year anniversary. It was a long time ago. I remember it like it was yesterday. Anytime I've ever talked about the birth of Austin 3:16, I've always given one of my favorites of all time, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, credit for that. Had it not been for Michael “P.S.” Hayes telling me about the promo when I stepped out of the ambulance that would have never happened either, because I didn't know. It was just one thing after another that led me to Milwaukee, getting kicked in the mouth by Marc Mero, another thing that set the whole table for me. And let's go back to the (Madison Square) Garden where the Kliq hugged, because Triple H was going to be the guy who was going to win that event and they put the screws to him. When you look at all the things that had to line up for me to win that event and cut that promo, it was like it was pre-planned.
LaBar: WWE Network is the new hot thing this year. Have you got to experience the network? With pay-per-views and DVDs going straight to the network, is this going to be a game-changer on a financial standpoint with how guys structure their business?
Austin: Obviously this is going to be a big financial changer because you're not going to get all those buy rates. I've had a brief experience with the WWE Network. I signed up for it. I'm not a real gadget guy. I've had an iPad for damn near two years, but I hardly ever use it. I put the WWE Network on there, and I typed in certain matches, they didn't have certain things from NWA or WCW. So I've been going more to YouTube. I think they need a little bit more original content. I need to get on there more to familiarize myself with it. One of the things I've enjoyed is the old Garden stuff and from World Class (Championship Wrestling). I think it was smart to come out with the network. I think it's going to catch on more in the next two or three years, and that's when it will pay off.
To hear the full audio conversation which features other topics including how wrestlers put their matches together, driving the different vehicles to the ring on RAW, almost breaking his neck and more — listen Tuesday at 2 p.m. to TribLIVE Radio.
Justin LaBar is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7949 or firstname.lastname@example.org.