Here are the highlights:
If he spoke to Steve Austin about using the stunner:
Oh, yeah yeah. I had a conversation with him years ago, actually. I want to say it was in 2016. This is the thing, people were doing the Stunner – you know, you’d have the odd guy do the Stunner in a random match as kind of just something they were doing and that was it. Like, nobody was using it as a trademark but I had seen guys use a Stunner here and there, but not to the extent that I felt it should be used. And then, everybody at the time, and I guess it’s still probably true.
But I remember sitting there watching the shows and thinking, everyone does powerbombs in some way, shape or form. And you know, my finishing move was the Pop-Up Powerbomb obviously, but I was getting annoyed. Not at everybody doing a powerbomb, but at the fact that every match had something that looked like a powerbomb. So I started thinking, maybe I need something else.
At the time, I was a heel or antagonist or however you want to put it … I remember thinking, if I were to start doing the Stunner, some people might love it and some people might really hate it, but nobody would be indifferent to it.
Importance of inspiring people to care about what was going on inside the ring:
It’s something that in what we do, is so valuable, is making sure that people aren’t indifferent. And like, I’ve never really worried about getting really cheered or really booed, I just want people to make a lot of noise. Because I think that’s the best. I remember being in the ring with John Cena, or getting ready for a match with Cena and I would come out first, right? And my music would stop, and then there’s a couple seconds of dead air just to let the anticipation build.
Then his music would hit, and you were just hit with two very distinct noises. You’ve got the fans that hate him and are booing him, and you’ve got the people that love him that are cheering him like crazy. And it’s just a crazy noise but it’s so intense, and it’s so great, the energy. Because then you get the people that hate him are trying to out-do the people that cheer him, and you’ve got the people that are cheering him trying to be louder than the guys that are booing him, and it just becomes this great, crazy atmosphere.
And you know, Roman [Reigns] for a long time had the same kind of vibe going. So I’ve always strived for that kind of reaction. Of course, if a reaction is overwhelmingly positive, that’s great, or if you get a lot of heat that’s great too. But I think being in the middle isn’t a bad thing. I actually think it’s really great. Very few people I think will get to the point where they’re as admired as they are, you know, despised … Polarizing – that is what I strive for. Polarizing is a very special thing to be in our industry, I think.
And the people that can claim to be legitimately polarizing are the ones who are made for life. Because nobody will ever not care one way or another, and that’s great. The stunner, in my head, was something that could be a great way for me to try to get there.
Approaching Austin about the stunner:
So I went to Steve and I asked him if I could use it. And he was very happy that I asked him, you know, me giving him the respect of it. But more than anything, he was happy that someone asked him because he’s like, ‘You want to use it as a finisher.’ I’m like, ‘Yes’. He’s like, ‘God, it’s about time. I can’t believe nobody’s tried this yet. I can’t believe no one had come to me and said, ‘Hey, I’d like to use the Stunner as a finisher. It’s a great finish, like, why not — why?’ And he was saying, ‘Some people use it and it means nothing.
People in WWE stopping him from using the stunner:
So I said, ‘Okay, that’s great.” But then I tried to go through other channels and was shut down, so I wasn’t able to start using it at that point. Even though I kind of snuck it in one of my matches with Roman [Reigns], which ended up leading to a funny exchange between me and Steve on his podcast later on where he tried how to do the Stunner properly because I couldn’t beat Roman with it that night.
But anyway, I’ve had Steve’s blessing to use it for a long time and I was just waiting for the right time. And you know, this year felt like that was it. So that’s what I’ve been going with. And some people love it, some people really hate it. But again, I’m fine with that. I love doing it.
Wanting to add his own twist to it:
More and more now too, I — eventually I’d like to start doing it in ways that kind of my own. But for now, I’m doing boot, Stunner just like Steve used to do, because I’m still trying to do right by it. I don’t want it to become ‘My Stunner.’ I don’t call it the Stone Cold Stunner because I would never be arrogant enough to compare myself to Stone Cold. It’s the Stunner. But I still want people to look at it like what it’s always been, which is boot, Stunner. Eventually maybe I’ll try to hit it in different ways that are a bit more my own, put my own spin on it but for now I’m perfectly fine doing it this way.
H/T 411Mania for the transcriptions