Not wanting to put the ECW World Title on him immediately after joining the promotion in 1995: “I was a very good mechanic in the ring, but I wasn’t a superstar yet, although we would call myself ‘Superstar’ Steve Austin there in ECW. I said, ‘Man everyone is going to be expecting me to take the title. Let me chase it, let me earn it.’ I wanted to get over to that ECW crowd or where ever it is from a television standpoint.
“Those people in that sh**hole arena, that ECW arena, it was a dump. When I say that, I mean that as a compliment. It was just this raw crazy atmosphere with a lot of guys working their asses off to build that place up and doing a hell of a job and all those great promos. So I just didn’t want to waltz in there and get handed a belt. I wanted to earn it through the boys in the company and earn the fans respect.”
His experience working with Vince McMahon and his stance on creative: “At a very early stage I wasn’t afraid to ask. Don’t get me wrong, me and Vince got to be very very good friends, but as you know, talking to Vince or developing a relationship with Vince is a very intimidating thing when you first walk in there. I knew after seven and a half years that I needed to take care of my ass so I had the wherewithal to talk with Vince McMahon and establish a relationship with him and offer my thoughts and ask questions to the man himself.
“Like I told him, my response to him was, ‘Vince, you got guys here 6’10, 7 feet tall, 300 to 330 pounds,’ I said, ‘I’m 6’2, 250, black trunks, black boots. If you take my personality, from me, I can’t compete. If you give me my personality, I can compete with anyone you got.’ And he says, ‘Okay Steve.’ And then he stopped editing me and that’s when we starting flying. You got to control your destiny. You can’t just hang it up and say, ‘Hey, creative ain’t got nothing for me.’”
How he came up with the “3:16” gimmick and his “that’s the bottom line” catchphrase: “I wrestled Marc Mero, it was one of the first matches of the pay-per-view and I know I was going to work twice. I was going to work with Marc Mero and I was going to beat him and in the process he did this little whirligig behind
me where he’s basically going to hook his feet underneath my arms and do a rollup, but his toe caught me right in the mouth and busted the hell out of my lip. So I finished the match, but I needed to go to the hospital to get some stitches. We went to the hospital, they stitched me up in record time.
“They bring me back to the pay-per-view, I got all these stitches in my top lip. Vader really pummeled Jake and softened him up for me and worked his ribs and so they didn’t want me to bust all my stitches up, so it was going to be kind of a short match and then I was going to cut the promo. I show up backstage in an ambulance, I get out and there’s Dok Hendrix and Michael Hayes and he goes, ‘Steve, I just want to let you know, while you were gone, Jake cut a religious-based promo on you.’
“Back in the old days, when people were kicking a field goal for an extra point, they’d always hold up the John 3:16 signs in the endzone. Austin 3:16 popped in my head and I said, ‘Holy cow, I think I got one here.’ And that’s all I had was Austin 3:16 says, ‘I just whopped your ass.’ I’ll never forget, I got through with Jake, I beat him and there was PSAs waiting for me and I dropped that promo.
“I was a heel at the time, so if you go back and watch it, it didn’t elicit a huge reaction, although it did elicit a reaction. While I was still up there doing the promo with him, Vince was trying to wrap up the promo, he was on RF mic doing commentary feeding television and the house. I said, ‘I need a button on this promo.’ So that’s when I crapped out, ‘And that’s the bottom line cause Stone Cold said so.’”
You can listen to Austin on Chasing Glory by clicking this link here.