Should Stone Cold Steve Austin Wrestle One More Time?

In a huge week that saw a rare interview from Brock Lesnar, Executive Vice President Cody and Brandi Rhodes leaving All Elite Wrestling, comes the news that former multi-time WWE Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin may wrestle for the first time in over 20 years. The last time the WWE Hall of Famer fought was against The Rock at WrestleMania 19. Fans of the attitude era know who the Texas Rattlesnake is; The former WWE Champion was by no means an overnight success, dawning several different gimmicks since his debut in World Championship Wrestling. It wasn’t until Austin realized that his ringmaster gimmick was going nowhere, and the rise of Stone Cold began in late 1996. Mr. 3:16 has a plethora of classic moments such as his infamous promo against Jake “The Snake” Roberts where the term, Austin 3:16 was born. Or his unforgettable Submission match against Bret Hart, and of course, his legendary rivalry against Vincent Kennedy McMahon.

Stone Cold Steve Austin is the perfect package in terms of what fans wanted in a wrestler; He was by no means an in-ring technician like Bret Hart, but he knew how to have excellent matches, and his character was simply perfect for sports entertainment. There’s no denying the legendary status of Austin and he’ll always be an important figure when it comes to the world of professional wrestling, but realistically speaking, Stone Cold Steve Austin shouldn’t return to the ring for another match. One of the biggest issues is Austin’s age as he’s in his late 50’s. Just because the former WWE Champion is healthy doesn’t mean that he’s in ring shape to come back and wrestle a good 10 – 20 minutes, even if the rumored opponent is Kevin Owens. Look, I’m not some in-ring technician so perhaps I’m overstepping my boundaries in this area but given the fact that this sounds like a rush job to replace the special attraction match that originally hosted Shane McMahon, it doesn’t inspire much confidence in me that Austin could easily step back into the squared circle with three months to prepare. It doesn’t help that the news has yet to be confirmed, meaning that Austin isn’t likely training his butt off to make sure he’ll be able to hold his own against his opponent.

Now, it’s not like Austin needs to perfectly hit a shooting star press. His style is more ground and pound, but it’s not just about hitting a couple of moves. The timing needs to be correct as well as in-ring conditioning. Had the company planned this a year out in advance then I would have more faith that Austin could possibly perform in a quality level. However, all I can remember is flashbacks of Shawn Michaels going against his perfect retirement match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania 26. This is a guy who’s considered one of the best wrestlers on the planet and was a bit younger when he decided to make a return for one last match. The tag team match at Crown Jewel 2018 was a sad display of four legends who shouldn’t be in the ring at their age. The advantage for Austin is that Kevin Owens would be able to do a better job of carrying him because he’s still at the prime of his career. But the company is taking an extreme risk by advertising Stone Cold Steve Austin’s first match in over 20 years. Fans don’t want to see some squash bout that buries Kevin Owens. People want to see the guy that had tremendous encounters against The Rock, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, or even Vince McMahon. If the company desperately wants Austin to return, then they’re better off giving the Texas Rattlesnake a year to prepare first before sending him out there to perform another match. I get it, it won’t be in Texas, but the moment will still be special, though the concern of Austin’s age and in-ring prowess will still linger over fans minds regardless.

Let’s be honest here, WWE is desperate to bring Stone Cold back this year due to the fact that the company continues to fail at creating new stars. Vince McMahon and creative has had plenty of opportunities to do so on multiple occasions, but they’ve made it clear that it’s Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, then everybody else. What’s going to happen in 20 years when the company can no longer rely on Austin or even Lesnar to help with ticket sales? It’s no secret that WWE needs to create new stars, but the company doesn’t seem to be in a rush to do so anytime soon. Austin’s final match against The Rock at WrestleMania 19 was perfect. Should he make an official return then I wish nothing but the best and hope that the former WWE Champion can create magic with his opponent. Though I fear that it’ll be another case of a legend who should’ve turned down the big paycheck.

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