Time is running out.
If "Stone Cold" Steve Austin doesn't return within the next year or two for a mega-main event at WrestleMania 31 or WrestleMania 32, it seems unlikely that it will ever happen. Rule number one in the world of professional wrestling is "never say never," but if "The Rattlesnake" isn't lured back for a big money WrestleMania match soon, just based on his abilities diminishing with age alone, he physically won't be able to. At that point, you can pretty much throw wrestling's number one rule out the window and definitively say "Steve Austin will never wrestle again."
When Paul Heyman appeared on "The Steve Austin Show," which is my favorite PodcastOne.com weekly wrestling show, he managed to get the WWE Hall Of Famer to admit that a match against Brock Lesnar could potentially be interesting enough to get him to make a return to the ring. After hearing that, every once in a while I'll ponder about who the best person would be to compete with "Stone Cold" if he were willing to return, and was only willing to work one match.
With that being said, I decided to use that idea for my latest eWrestlingNews.com "Top Ten" editorial. We'll call this one, "Top Ten Superstars Steve Austin Should Return To Wrestle." We will take a look at ten-through-six of the countdown, concluding with the top five on Sunday. Let's take a look at who made the bottom-half of my top ten.
...and we're off!
10. Vince McMahon
I highly doubt this one happens for one very specific reason -- Austin has made it clear that he has no interest in returning for a match unless he's able to compete at a certain level. This is why he has turned down offers in the past for a "dream match" against Hulk Hogan at a few different WrestleMania events.
As long as we're looking at things from a hypothetical point of view, however, I feel that the resurgence of the Austin-McMahon feud, which was arguably the most successful and entertaining in history, would be a fun nostalgia program leading into a WrestleMania pay-per-view. The culmination in the match itself would surely be lacking, but in some ways, could be more beneficial to Austin, as I don't believe anyone would go into an Austin vs. McMahon match expecting a "catch-as-catch-can" classic.
Imagine the promos. Imagine the video packages mixing past clips with whatever current segments they would shoot during the build up. Imagine the history between these two being brought back and new chapters being added. It could be a very fun program to watch play out -- and at the same time -- wouldn't effect current up-and-comers, as neither guy is an active regular competitor.
If the in-ring performance is as important to "The Rattlesnake" as he says it is, a match against "The King of Swing" could be great for Austin, as it would pretty much be guaranteed to be an excellent match.
In a million years I can't see Austin laying down for the Cesaro Swing, but that's besides the point. I mean hell, there was a solid chunk of time where Austin refused to lay down for The Rock's "People's Elbow" spot because he thought it was a goofy comedy move and not something that belonged in a real pro wrestling match.
Even if Austin refused to do the job in a match against Cesaro, much like any up-and-comers currently on the roster, just getting the chance to rub shoulders with arguably the most successful Superstar in wrestling history would certainly be a great "rub" and would be incredibly beneficial to anyone who would be lucky enough to be on the opposite end of the ring against him.
8. Triple H
These two have history. They are from the same era. Austin got over at a monster level based on his character, one that defied authority.
Did you catch that?
The word "authority." It's not just a bad pun, given the fact that Triple H is the leader of a current little "faction" (if you want to call it that) known as The Authority, it was legitimately the key ingredient in turning "Stone Cold" into a huge box office success story.
The Austin vs. McMahon rivalry and the fact that Austin beat his bosses ass on a regular basis, is something that could be played out in a seamless fashion with WWE's modern story lines. Austin vs. Triple H. Good old "Stone Cold" back to buck tradition, defy authority, or in this case -- The Authority, all leading to one final showdown between "The Rattlesnake" and "The Game." There is definitely some potential there.
7. Bray Wyatt
Much like the case made for Cesaro above, if WWE wants to use Austin to give a rub to someone they plan on having a bright future in the company, there are few...