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Steve Austin Explains Why Fans Didn't See Him at WrestleMania Goes Hollywood
Austin's absence caused many fans to question his relationship with WWE – but are those rumors unfounded?
Stone Cold appearing at WrestleMania earlier this month was a proposition that was definitely on the table – and something that Steve Austin seriously considered in the months leading up to the event.
But for the past few weeks, the fans have been itching to know: Exactly how close was Austin to returning?
Steve Austin Breaks Silence Surrounding WWE Absence
Fortunately, Austin has broken his silence surrounding this controversial topic. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Steve Austin revealed why the WWE Universe didn't see him perform at WrestleMania in Los Angeles.
"I met with some people from WWE," Austin admitted. "We talked about the possibility of me wrestling at WrestleMania 39. The biggest thing in my mind was the presentation and what kind of match it was going to be. Going back to 38, the way the KO thing was presented – I turned that down three, four, five times until the creative finally came to what it ended up being. I didn't want it constructed as a real match, per se. I needed something that could turn into one, and it did, but I think that's why we got away with it. The Dallas crowd was very receptive. I hadn't been around, so the timing was right."
Calling the jam-packed Dallas crowd "very receptive" is an understatement. In retrospect, Austin opening up a can of whoop-ass on Kevin Owens nearly blew the roof off AT&T Stadium. The impromptu bout was an instant classic and showed that despite being out of the game for so long, Stone Cold still had plenty of gas left in the tank.
It's Not a Matter of Time; It's a Matter of Timing
As it turns out, Steve Austin wasn't quite physically ready to get into the ring again this year, and his busy schedule these days prevented him from getting in the shape needed even if he wanted to! But, in what is good news for any retired professional wrestler, Stone Cold has a little passion project on his agenda.
"But to do a proper match, I'd have to be in off-the-charts shape," Austin said. "I told them, and this is the exact truth, I said, 'Guys, I'm just fixin' to go into production on this show, Stone Cold Takes on America, and until we start production, I don't know what my life looks like. I can't commit.' Sure enough, there were technical issues before we finished. I was supposed to finish a month before we did."
So there you have it: Austin found himself with a schedule that rendered him unable to compete at WrestleMania – despite it sounding like he would've loved to be there. According to Austin, the show he's working on consists of him working 15 hours a day, which would prohibit him from getting into ring-ready shape.
"There's no way, with the schedule I was doing – driving an RV all over God's creation, doing all I was doing – that I would be ready. I had two 30-pound dumbbells, a 45-pound sandbag, and a 25-pound kettlebell. Working 15 hours a day, then getting in a 30, 40-minute workout, that doesn't get you ready for WrestleMania. And I was really protected at WrestleMania 38," he explained. "This time, that wasn't going to be the case. Until this show was over, I couldn't commit."
Whenever a Superstar on the level of Stone Cold or The Rock is rumored to return, expectations are sky-high for the WWE Universe. Thankfully, fans can now breathe a sigh of relief. There is no bad blood between Austin and WWE creatively or logistically – Austin simply couldn't fit a WrestleMania match into his constantly-evolving schedule.
Austin's Reasons For Missing WrestleMania Mirror Another Superstar's
Interestingly enough, Austin's reasons for missing WrestleMania seem to mirror Paul Heyman's theory about The Rock missing WrestleMania this past year. The harsh reality is that for many WWE legends, their bodies need extra time to prepare for high-profile matches. Steve Austin is 58 years old, with his heyday in WWE coming nearly 25 years ago. Twenty-five years is a long time to be past your prime, so it shouldn't be a shock to the WWE Universe that Austin couldn't make it to WrestleMania Goes Hollywood.
However, Stone Cold's comments do come with an interesting caveat. The multi-time WWE Champion heavily implied that he couldn't commit until his "show was over." So does that mean Austin is leaving the door open for a WWE return once filming Stone Cold Takes on America wraps up? That would be music to the ears of many fans worldwide – WWE is better when Austin is a heavily-involved participant (although probably not in the eyes of Kevin Owens).
So while the WWE Universe saw Austin memorably steal the show at WrestleMania 38, and the Texas Rattlesnake was conspicuous in his absence at WrestleMania Goes Hollywood, one question remains: Will one of the most popular Superstars ever return for WrestleMania 40 in Philadelphia next year? So, in a way, Steve Austin's Road to WrestleMania starts right now.
One thing's for sure: The rumor mill for next year's Show of Shows is starting early this year – and the WWE Universe wouldn't want it any other way.
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