Brock Lesnar vs Steve Austin: Looking at the possibility
Steve Austin has once again ignited the talks of a possible dream match against Brock Lesnar on his podcast, "The Steve Austin Show". He named Lesnar as the one guy he would love to work with if he ever wrestles again.
The former multi-time WWE Champion interviewed Paul Heyman, going over a litany of topics. What was most intriguing, though, was the end where Heyman decided to ask Austin a few questions. Refusing to pull punches, Heyman inquired about a potential Austin vs. Lesnar match at WrestleMania. To say that the discussion rubbed the legendary podcast host the wrong way would have been an understatement.
'Stone Cold' Steve Austin is one of the most popular professional wrestlers in history. However, that's just as noteworthy about him as is his toughness. We have watched him scratch and claw, from the purgatory of WCW to the highest plateau under Vince McMahon's umbrella. As fans during the beloved Attitude Era, many of us gravitated towards the foul-mouthed Texan, not only due to his charisma but the gritty fighting spirit he portrayed.
Brock Lesnar on the other hand, has been a far less sympathetic figure to most audiences. The average wrestling fan may find it difficult to walk a mile in the former UFC Heavyweight Champion’s shoes, especially from a physical standpoint. He knows how tough he is and, with this knowledge in mind, isn’t afraid to let others know it. If he isn’t punching one’s face to prove that point, the words of fans and advocates alike will make his larger-than-life presence all the more obvious.
While there are those who view Austin vs. Lesnar as a dream match to never become realized, we almost had it at one time. In 2002, Lesnar had become one of the hottest young acts in WWE and was well on his way to winning the King of the Ring tournament that year. WWE’s creative team had the idea of pitting the then-Next Big Thing against Austin, the latter putting over the former in an unannounced television match.
Austin, believing that there could have been big money in a feud between the both of them, outright refused. It wasn’t that he wouldn’t necessarily take the fall for Lesnar since he claimed he would have, but that the situation presented by creative wouldn’t elicit the utmost profit. At odds with WWE at the time, Austin walked out of the company, while Lesnar went on to have one of the best rookie years any wrestler could have.
As a matter of fact, Austin’s first big interaction with Lesnar occurred two years later, as the WWE Hall of Famer served as the special guest referee in the Lesnar vs. Goldberg match at WrestleMania XX. In simplest terms, the match was a flop.
The two combatants took more than their share of time to get underway and were so underwhelming in their performance that Austin was the only one that drew any positive reaction. This was especially true when, in response to Lesnar flipping him the familiar bird, Austin laid him out with the Stone Cold Stunner, treating the former WCW Champion in kind afterward.
This was more than a decade ago, and the concept of an Austin vs. Lesnar match has been discussed from time to time. What would have happened if Austin didn’t have his falling out with the company in 2002? What if Lesnar didn’t leave the company in 2004, in order to pursue other interests? Unfortunately, we will never know, though it is fun to imagine what could have been. Personally, I couldn’t imagine that Austin would have willed to compete back then, especially with doctors advising him not to compete after his match against The Rock at WrestleMania XIX. No matter how much Austin may have loved working in the ring, his health took precedence.
Lensar’s physical capabilities are not in question. The main concern is with Austin, given the multitude of issues related to his neck, knees, and back. However, it wasn’t until last year that it seemed like seeds of a return were planted. He said that he would consider a return to wrestling, " if the perfect situation or opportunity raises". It wouldn’t be farfetched to peg Austin vs. Lesnar as that scenario. This is especially true since, as far as we know, The Texas Rattlesnake’s health has been far better than it was more than 10 years ago.
As a fan, I would love to see this match unfold. Brock has built such a strong reputation for himself, as one of the most legitimate stars in WWE today. Despite his sporadic appearances from year to year, you know that he will make the most out of each date he is scheduled for. Whether it’s standing menacingly or throwing one of his patented German suplexes, he is an undeniable force. Then you have “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, one of the toughest wrestlers of all-time. His inclination to rebel works hand in hand with his scrappy nature, trading wristlocks and mat expertise for haymakers and stiff kicks. It’s this combination of styles that we, as fans, were robbed off during what’s been called the Ruthless Aggression era. More than a decade after the fact, it’s still an attraction that has money signs printed all over it.
There will be doubters, as far as a potential Austin vs. Lesnar match is concerned. While there is validity to their claims, I would argue that WWE has this concept in the back of their minds. These WWE Network segments, even the Stone Cold Podcast, are more managed than we believe. I have to believe that WWE wouldn’t allow the ending of the podcast to roll if there wasn’t, at least, some interest in this match-up. Pro wrestling is composed of several dream matches, some of which we were fortunate to see come to fruition.
Who’s to say that, come next year or the year after that, we won’t be witness to Austin vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania?Published 04 Dec 2018, 13:23 IST