Steve Austin has admitted that retiring from professional wrestling nearly 19 years ago was the toughest decision he's made in his life. The Texas Rattlesnake recently spoke to Sportskeeda Wrestling's Bill Apter and opened up about walking away from something he loves the most.
Austin was forced to hang up his wrestling boots at 38 and stayed away from the ring until his one-off return at this year's WrestleMania to face Kevin Owens.
Despite being one of the biggest names from the Attitude Era, Steve Austin could still have had a few more years in the wrestling business as an active competitor had he stayed injury-free.
Professional wrestling was Steve Austin's biggest passion, and he was saddened when doctors informed him that he could no longer wrestle in 2003. Here's what the WWE Hall of Famer recalled about the career decision:
"Believe me, retiring at 38 was the toughest, one of the toughest things I've ever had to do, walk away from the business that I love so much. This is one of the things that I love more than anything in my life," said Steve Austin. "I have my family, and of course, they are very close to me, but professional wrestling, you want to call it Sports Entertainment, it's all the same to me. This is one of my biggest, if not the biggest, passions of my life. So it was very hard for me to walk away at 38 years of age." [2:05 - 2:47]
Steve Austin on how his WWE run could have lasted longer
Steve Austin didn't become a massive draw overnight for WWE as the veteran worked his way up in the industry before he came into the company in 1995.
Austin felt he could have enjoyed a much longer stint at the top had he adopted his anti-authority gimmick early on in WWE. In addition to his character, Austin had to make a significant change to his wrestling style after breaking his neck at SummerSlam 1997.
The former world champion added that he transitioned from being a technical wrestler to a brawler after his injury, which helped him prolong his time in the ring:
"There is no telling as to what I would have done had everything else played out the same with respect to the development of the character. But you know, things along the way, getting dropped my head forced me to turn into a brawler but god, if I could have had that kind of physicality and you know, that kind of health that I had in my youth. The run would have lasted a lot longer." [1:41 - 2:04]
How different would Stone Cold's career have been without the career-ending injury? Sound off in the comments section below.
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