Why did Stone Cold Steve Austin retire from WWE at 38?

WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin
WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin

Stone Cold Steve Austin is one of WWE's biggest and most iconic figures. He helped elevate not just the Stamford-based promotion but the entire wrestling industry. Unfortunately, his career was cut short in 2003 when he retired from in-ring competition at only 38 years old.

Stone Cold's WWE career began in 1995, and he quickly became a megastar. During his tenure, he captured multiple championships and had a notable feud with Vince McMahon.

The Texas Rattlesnake's health was put in danger at SummerSlam 1997 during a bout with Owen Hart. During the Intercontinental Championship Match, Hart was performing a Piledriver when he accidentally dropped Austin straight on his head. Stone Cold could not move for a while and suffered a broken neck.

The effects of the injury lasted throughout the veteran's active career, sidelining him from action to undergo neck surgery two years later. Stone Cold Steve Austin returned the following year but retired from in-ring action in 2003 as prescribed by the doctors.

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The WWE Hall of Famer later expressed how tough it was to retire at a young age while also detailing his love for the industry.

"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."

Stone Cold Steve Austin was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2009 by the former chairman. The wrestling legend made several appearances after retirement and returned this year in a No Holds Barred Match against Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 38.

Stone Cold Steve Austin had a health scare before his final WWE match before retiring

Steve Austin might be tough, but he is still not immune to the health concerns that come along with the sport of wrestling.

Before The Texas Rattlesnake wrestled Kevin Owens earlier this year, his final match occurred 19 years ago at WrestleMania 19 against The Rock. Unfortunately, Stone Cold Steve Austin had a health scare before the contest. He noted that the incident led to his retirement from in-ring competition.

"A doctor didn't look me in the eyes and say, 'Steve, you must retire now.' It was a decision I had to make for myself. When you're flying high, and you're this bada**, tough-a** Stone Cold guy, and all your peers are just as tough as you, and you're riding down the road doing something you're so passionate about and you love so much [...] And all of a sudden you've got to make a decision to take yourself out of the game. It was extremely hard to deal with." [H/T Bleacher Report]

However, Stone Cold Steve Austin has since been doing well, and fans might even see him return to the ring once again. It remains to be seen if he will perform inside the ring again.

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Edited by Pratik Singh
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