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Steve Austin On WWE’s Current Product And Donald Trump

WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin recently spoke with Men’s Journal to promote Broken Skull Challenge. Here are the highlights.

Do you still watch the current product? You mention it sometimes on your podcast.

I try to. They made a three-hour Raw, but two hours is about my time limit. I ain’t got that kind of attention span. The roster has been decimated with injuries. the temperature of the product has changed. I like pure pro-wrestling, when it’s serious in its orientation and presentation — like it’s a legit sport with Jim Ross calling the action. Sometimes they kind of make it a little more light-hearted and too sugar coated for me.

It also just felt more spontaneous back in the day. With the Monday Night Wars, it was almost a pay-per-view every single Monday between the two factions because they were trying to throw everything but the kitchen sink to win the ratings war. Even if you take the Monday Night Wars out of it and just look at the product, it was presented as UFC is presented, except as professional wrestling. I thought the in-ring work was a little better. I think today’s generation are better athletes, but I think the work inside the ring was a little better at the time. Specifically, it was better in the mid-’80s when Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, the Four Horsemen, and all those guys were in their prime. That’s the era that I enjoyed so much. If I think of pro-wrestling, of that gold belt? It’s real to me.

Recently, that clip of you performing the Stone Cold Stunner on Donald Trump has been making the rounds on the Internet. Did you ever think he would end up a presidential candidate?

Oh, hell no! I’ll say this: I showed up in Detroit for that, and Vince had talked to me a little bit earlier in the day and said “Hey, I’m going to go see if Donald will take a Stone Cold Stunner.” I was right there when he asked him. He goes, “Hey, Donald, I was wondering if in the end, do you mind taking Steve’s finisher?” We had to explain to him what a Stone Cold Stunner was, and Donald’s right-hand guy — I don’t remember his name, but everybody that high up has a right-hand guy or a posse or whatever — was giving him a million reasons why not to take the stunner, and what could go wrong, [how] it’s not going to look good. Donald and Vince had a relationship — I believe they’re friends — and Donald said, “Sure Vince, I’ll take it.” I briefly explained to him in literally five seconds how to take it. We went to the ring, we did the match, and at the end we did the Stunner, and it wasn’t the greatest Stunner in the world, but I give Donald Trump a lot of credit and respect for doing something like that that he didn’t have to do. But to answer your question: I had no idea back then so many years ago that he would be a candidate to be President of the United States.

You can read the full interview at this link.