On episode 157 of Sam Roberts' Wrestling Podcast, 'The Last Professional Broadcaster' Sam Roberts shared an interview with 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin from 2010. In this lost conversation, Austin talked about whether he could have wrestled longer, his thoughts on pro wrestlers performing past their prime, and Bret 'Hitman' Hart making amends with WWE in light of the so-called Montreal Screwjob.
According to Austin, he could have wrestled longer, but the time was right to retire when he did and he did not want to jeopardize his health over the long term.
"The reason I got out of professional wrestling was because my body said, 'hey Steve, you've had enough.' And, like I tell everybody, and it's also true, I could get a couple of more years out of my body. I could, but why? I had a very physical, aggressive style; I took hard, fast, quick bumps; the piledriver in '96 or '97, whatever it was, took its toll. Now, I'm 100% as far as doing normal human being stuff, but it was time for me to ride off into the sunset and preserve my health. And I want to live an active life for 10 to 20, 30 more years doing the stuff that I do, riding my dirt bikes, four-wheelers, and the outdoor stuff that I love to do for a long, long time. And it was just time."
When asked what Austin makes of Hulk Hogan and other pro wrestling veterans wrestling past their prime, 'Stone Cold' said he respects Hogan's legacy, but he and Hogan were never particularly close.
"That's interesting. I get asked the question, 'is he ruining his legacy?' and I think I always respected what that guy did with his career, an unbelievable box office draw and a charismatic performer that so many people grew up [watching] and idolized. A lot of respect [for] him and that as far as what he did. I don't like to talk too much about what are these guys doing still in the ring. That's a personal decision. I made mine to get out and I live with that decision. I'm cool with it and I'm sure he's cool with what he's doing if he's still doing it.
"Me and Terry [Hogan's shoot first name] don't trade phone calls. We're not the best of friends. We're not enemies. People say what they want to say or try to stir up animosity. I don't hold anything against the guy. At the end of the day, we're two of the guys. We're pro wrestlers. We have a lot of things in common, [and] a lot of things that aren't in common. But he does what he does and I think it is what it is. That's all I can say."
Also during the interview, Austin shared that he is happy Hart has made amends with WWE, as a huge burden has been lifted from 'The Excellence Of Execution'.
"I was glad to hear it. There was so much real animosity between [Bret Hart and Vince McMahon] because of everything that happened in WWE with the Screwjob in Montreal [Canada] with Bret and Shawn [Michaels]. Then, Bret leaving [WWE]. There was just a lot of animosity there and Bret really thinks he got screwed. Not so much in the storyline, but in real life. And for him to come back and put this behind him, at some point, as I've gone down the road a few more paces, I seem to be making better decisions than I did back in the day, I think, and anything in life, experience makes you a better person or a smarter person anyway and the ability to take advantage of being able to make better decisions. And I think enough water was under the bridge that he can finally say, 'okay, this is cool. I can accept this now. I can live with this.' And I think it was like taking a big, 100-pound weight off his back and for them to be able to have closure in that storyline as a WWE angle, and closure to their real deal angle in life, the animosity between them, I think it's a good thing."
Check out the show here. If you use any of the quotations from this article, please credit Sam Roberts' Wrestling Podcast with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.
Source: Sam Roberts' Wrestling Podcast