Is Stone Cold Steve Austin planning a comeback for WrestleMania 31?

steve austinIt’s funny how the Internet works. Stone Cold Steve Austin gives us a throwaway line in his podcast about training for a comeback, and the wrestling world turns upside down.

The why to that is obvious: it’s been a decade since Austin has done more than a Stone Cold Stunner in a wrestling ring, and it didn’t end right, with Austin going on the shelf due to the longstanding effects of a botched Owen Hart piledriver and never making it back.

So the idea that Austin, who turned 50 in February, could get back in the ring for a proper sendoff is one of those Holy Grail things for wrestling fans, like the 1980s dream match between Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan that the Apter mags used to get us to debate and otherwise salivate over.

But like the Flair-Hogan match, which we eventually got in the 1990s in WWE and later in WCW, what we long for doesn’t always turn out to be what we wanted. Such would be the case with a return for Austin, which he has made clear in the past would be next to impossible for him to even want to do in the first place, given how much time, training and max effort would be required for him to get himself into the kind of shape he’d want to be in for the match, and then given that he’d only want to do a one-off, why put that kind of work into one payoff?

And then there’s the question of who would be the best opponent for that retirement match. You pay Austin what it would take to get him out of retirement, get him in a gym and eventually into a wrestling ring, it needs to be a main-eventer. Maybe CM Punk, who himself would have to be lured out of retirement? Or maybe Bray Wyatt, as a way to further elevate one of wrestling’s next big superstars?

All conjecture: Austin confirmed this week on his podcast that his comment about a comeback didn’t have to do with a comeback to wrestling, but rather something a lot more basic. He said he needs to get in shape before getting back to the gym, because he feels like he’s not even in good enough shape to be able to work out in public.

Yeah, yikes. Doesn’t sound like a guy who is getting ready for WrestleMania.

– Column by Chris Graham


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