Like Bryan, Austin also required surgery on his neck at the peak of his career. The Texas Rattlesnake suffered a serious neck injury at SummerSlam 1997 after receiving a botched piledriver from Owen Hart.
Austin underwent surgery two years later, forcing him to miss 11 months of in-ring action between November 1999 and October 2000.
Speaking on WWE Network show Meeting Stone Cold, Bryan recalled how Austin reached out to him when news of his neck surgery emerged. He said the WWE legend learned a new wrestling style during his absence from the ring, and he advised Bryan to do the same.
“He just called me and he was interested in how my neck was because obviously he had neck issues, and he said, ‘You know, when you come back, you should try to work a different style.’ He said, ‘When I hurt my neck, I studied a bunch of Jerry Lawler and learned how to tell stories with just punches and kicks so it would take less toll on my body.’ He said, ‘You still work your a** off.’ And so that was really kind of him to call and say that to me.”
Prior to his neck surgery, Bryan was known for his energetic performances and his occasional use of high-risk moves. The diving headbutt, for example, is a move that Bryan no longer uses on a regular basis. He has also added a low-risk move – repeatedly kicking his grounded opponent in the face – to his WWE move set.
Steve Austin’s WWE legacy
Meeting Stone Cold aired as part of “Austin 3:16” week on the WWE Network. The show featured stories from various WWE Superstars and legends about their most memorable interactions with Steve Austin.
Vince McMahon told the story of Austin changing his name from The Ringmaster to Stone Cold Steve Austin. The WWE Chairman admitted that even he was not sure if the Stone Cold gimmick was going to work.
Steve Austin won six WWE Championships, three Royal Rumbles (1997, 1998, and 2001), and the 1996 King of the Ring. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Vince McMahon in 2009.
Please credit Meeting Stone Cold and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.
Wrestling legend Dutch Mantell addresses the Ric Flair controversy from Dark Side of the Ring here.