During a recent appearance on Sam Roberts’ Wrestling Podcast, Old School WWF Legend Stone Cold Steve Austin recalled leaving WWE in 2002 over his planned match with Brock Lesnar.
Austin explained how if it wasn’t for Jim Ross, he would’ve never returned to WWE. Below is what he said:
“When I look back, I was running so hard and the level of intensity was so hot and I was just white-hot in the business and I made a knee-jerk reaction to, they wanted me to do a job in Atlanta, Georgia in a really non-publicized match with Brock and I thought that was real piss-poor business and it was.
I’ve always been willing to do business, when it was time to do business, but that wasn’t business. When you have a guy, and I never blow smoke up my own ass, but when you have a guy like me that draws big money, you don’t just job him out on a bullsh*t Monday night TV, so I got to jazz up the language because that was something I was very passionate about and it really comes from my heart and my guts.
That being said, I shouldn’t have got on an airplane and taken my ball and went home as they said. But hindsight being 20/20, yeah, I should’ve gone to the arena. I should’ve talked to Vince and said, ‘I’m not doing it,’ but just stayed with the company.
I would have handled the situation much differently today and it would’ve been great had I handled it differently back then. I lost a lot of money. They lost a lot of momentum. We all lost a lot of money and the crowd lost a part of the product that they loved to watch.
That was a year out of my life and because of the personality type that I am, had it not been for Jim Ross sending me a card in the mail, saying, ‘hey, if you ever want to talk, I’m here.’ And I picked up my phone and we talked for two hours and he put me back in touch with Vince and me and Vince buried the hatchet.
Had it not been for Jim Ross, I had already basically told the company to go f*ck themselves without saying that. I was just not going to have anything to do with them.”