Many fans were disappointed not to see WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin make an appearance for any of the WrestleMania 33 weekend festivities. Even more were disappointed to hear rumors that Austin and WWE were on the outs due to Austin's criticism of the current product. Recently on The Steve Austin Show, WWE Hall Of Famer Steve Austin set out to clarify some of the rumors and reveal the real reason he wasn't in Orlando for 'Mania.
"In putting the place up for sale, man, you never know when all these things are going start lining up. And from a business standpoint and from a personal standpoint, I had a lot of irons in the fire and they were all heating up as WrestleMania became right down the road and then it happened. So you have all this speculation going on on the internet that, 'oh, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin is done with the WWE,' 'he's no longer a part,' 'his contract expired,' 'he's not satisfied with what's going on,' and just all this malarky, which was total B.S."
Austin said, "so I was frankly too busy taking care of my personal business, and some professional business I'm working on as well, to make it down to WrestleMania 33. But I just wanted to put to rest all these rumors and B.S. that say I'm at odds with WWE, this, that, or whatever. Hell, I was down there, selling my ranch, moving all my stuff."
Austin did appear at WrestleMania 32 in Dallas, so not having him make a similar appearance this year makes sense, but it was strange to not see Stone Cold at the WWE Hall of Fame.
"WWE reached out to me and invited me down to WrestleMania 33. They know I love going to the Hall Of Fame and I had some of my close friends going in on this year's induction, but, as it goes, I was having to drive down there, fly down there, to get all my stuff, drive back after just selling the place, getting all of our stuff. Man, I was too busy. I told the person who invited me to go down there, I said, 'hey man, I sure appreciate the invitation, but I've got so many things [going on].'"
Austin went on to say that he is on good terms with WWE and will be with WWE for life.
"I will always be part of the WWE. The WWE will always be a part of my life. Man, I'm in this thing for the rest of my life. That's the relationship I have with the WWE, so there has never been [any] heat, no this, no that, no whatever. I'm at a great place with those guys and I'm thankful for everything they've done for me. I'm sure they're thankful for the things I did for them. And, again, I'm a WWE member for life, so anybody that spreads any of the internet B.S. or rumors, you're hearing it straight from the horse's mouth. You're hearing it from 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin. I was down there taking care of personal business. And, anyway, I just wanted to clear that up because that was really chapping my ass and it was really bothering me."
On a prior podcast, Austin touched on the rumors that he is at odds with WWE, saying he simply cannot be at every WrestleMania.
"Jesus Christ, I just can't be at every single WrestleMania. I had a lot of personal stuff going on, and good stuff and professional stuff I was trying to take care of when all that WrestleMania stuff went down. I got an invite from WWE to be there. We never talked about me being a part of the show, just as far as being there for Hall Of Fame, an event that I really enjoy, but all of a sudden all of this because I wasn't there, because I had a busy schedule, there are all these reports that I'm at odds with the company when it couldn't be further from the truth. I'm fine with the company. I had a bunch of s--t I had to take care of, bottom line."
On the same podcast, Austin also spoke about the passion of current WWE stars and what was most missing from today's product.
"I can't say that the guys aren't as passionate as we were. I can't say that because I think they are, but, I think, Vince, it's the micromanagement, it was the freedom. I mean, if you go back to the older days and some of the glory days when [Russo was] watching and back at WrestleMania 1 through 3, which you really dug, those guys kind of had their marching orders or some direction, but everybody in that locker room was a character and almost everybody in that locker room was over. I think it has to do with the creative freedom."
Austin once again noted that WWE Superstars today "walk on eggshells" because there are no viable alternatives for work in the professional wrestling industry. Then, 'The Bionic Redneck' continued on his point that micromanagement in WWE has prevented people from getting over.
"I think these guys today in the locker room, I just think that the world… it's the whole world, Vince. Everything is so P.C. and the micromanagement. I think everybody is almost walking on eggshells because WCW is not around anymore. TNA, with all due respect, they're still around, but nobody wants to work there if you don't have to. The other promotions, I don't need to name it. WWE is the big leagues and the micromanagement, I think the micromanagement has got the ceiling keeping a lot of people from getting over.
You can listen to the entire podcast here. Thanks to WrestlingInc.com for the transcription.