WWE Games’ YouTube channel released an interview with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin that centered around THQ’s Attitude Era WWE ’13 video game. Here are some of highlights.
On what separated WWE from WCW and ECW back in their hay days: “Man, it was a great ride back in the day. Obviously, I started out in WCW and I was a good mechanic back in the day. Got fired from that gig, made a turn for ECW. Hooked up with Paul Heyman, got a chance to kind of channel the pissed off energy that I possessed at that time. Got a chance to vent. Finally, it was time to ride off into the sunset and join WWF at the time, which is WWE, and — man, it was a pure free-for-all. It was a competition. Everybody was out to be number one.
“All of a sudden, it turned into the Monday Night Wars with WCW and WWE and [WCW] stomped our ass for two years. Then, due to some good booking, great characters and great story lines, we started kicking their ass and never looked back. It was a great time to be in the business, it was a great time to watch the business.”
On what set the Attitude Era apart: “A lot of people say, ‘What set the Attitude Era up or what started the Attitude Era.’ To me — and I was allegedly the leader of it — sports entertainment, pro wrestling, whatever you want to call it has always had an attitude. So, why that particular generation got labeled, I don’t know.
“Nonetheless, speaking for myself, I just channeled what I felt, gave what I felt. Finally, I unleashed the personality of me in a competitive environment which is a killer instinct to dominate and win everything I can and unleash that in a 20 x 20 ring. Good booking, great announcing with my buddy Jim Ross coloring and embellishing all the stories I partook in. It just turned into what it turned into — it turned into a damn monster.”
On what Jim Ross brings to an announce team: “Unbridled passion, knowledge and a great story teller. He tells it like it is. When you’ve got someone who can verbalize what’s going on in the ring like he can, it makes the match all that much better. So, he was an important part of my career, he’s had an outstanding career starting from everywhere he started all the way to where he ended up, that’s why he’s in the Hall of Fame. In my opinion, he was the best ever. But, when you bring passion, knowledge and the ability to tell stories and make people feel what’s going on in that ring, you’ve got a winner.”
On what the crowd reaction does to a performer and the match: “When that glass broke and ‘Stone Cold’ was making an entrance and that roof blew off that building, that sends you higher than life or anything that I know of. It’s an adrenaline rush you can’t explain. Now, when you get in that ring and you start working, start telling that story, you’re using that crowd to make your decisions. Based on what you do, it illicits a response. According to that response and what that crowd gives you, you proceed accordingly.
“You feel off that, man. You’re in there, you’re having a match and you’re feeding off that crowd. That’s the gasoline that fuels the match and that’s how you make your decisions. If you’re not listening to that crowd when you’re working, you’re missing the biggest part of what working is all about. Coming out to the ring, it’s an adrenaline rush. In the ring, it helps you make your decisions. The more that crowd gives you, the more you can give them. It’s a win-win situation for them watching and for us being in the ring working.”
On the differences between the Attitude Era and the PG Era: “I can’t get too carried away with today’s system, it’s more of a PG system. But, to me, by and large, it’s a little bit toned down. I’m not going to sit here and start a booking discussion. But, in the Attitude Era, it was a little more straight forward, it was a little more faster and a little more Raw. It had a different feeling.
“There was a feeling that when you watched Monday Night Raw, anything could happen and a lot of times it did. I don’t so much sense that (now). That’s my take on the business then and now, it’s still a great business. But, as everything changes, so has the business. So has the WWE.”
On whether or not a superstar like ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin find success in today’s WWE: “Could a superstar like ‘Stone Cold’ find success in today’s industry? You remember a guy named Jesse Owens in the Olympics? You remember Jim Brown, you remember Babe Ruth? You remember Micky Mantle? Would they be great if they played today? Would they be great if they were born at the current time and put into the system? … You would certainly think so? Absolutely! ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin would be on top — the top — of the WWE if he was currently in the ring in this system.
“When you look at what I did in the ring — people say, ‘Oh, if you took the filters on Steve Austin, he couldn’t say all the things he used to say. He couldn’t survive.’ When you look at any one of my matches and they hold up right now. In 2012 they hold up. So you’re damn right I would exist in WWE currently. I’d be a top guy and I’d be beating everybody’s ass just like I did in the Attitude Era. And I’m fixing to beat your ass if you ask any more stupid questions.”
On the comparisons between C.M. Punk and Steve Austin: “Well, you’ve got a guy who was pissed off back in the day at the system and ran through every one and everything to get to the top. You had a guy who a year or two ago was pissed off at the system, ready to walk away from it. If you poked him with a stick, he was fixing to. He went out dropped a pipe bomb promo, said what was on his mind. Meant what was on his mind and said what was in his heart and in his gut. It was a believable promo because it was a true promo.
“I think C.M. Punk reached a point that ‘Stone Cold’ was at a long time ago. So, I think the comparisons are fair. Now, obviously, two different styles in the ring. I think I was probably a little bit more wide open than him a little bit more violent. I think he’s a very sneaky young man in the ring. I think he thinks ahead, I think it’s a big Chess game to him. He thinks probably more than anyone in the game today going into a match.
But at the same time, I think he would use any method possible to win a match when possible given any particular story line. He’ll stop at nothing to win a match. He does have that killer instinct. Sometimes, I think you have to rile him up a little bit more then you do to rile ‘Stone Cold’ up. I think our ass-whoopings are two different things. But it is a valid comparison and it’d be a hellacious match whether it’s on a video game or in the squared circle.