Stone Cold Steve Austin is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
On our list of the best WWE wrestlers of all time, he lands in on the number two spot, very narrowly missing out on the top spot. In the Attitude Era, Austin was the man.
He fought his evil boss, Mr McMahon, representing the disgruntled American worker who wished he could do the same thing every Monday morning in work.
However, Austin was not the perfect wrestler. Steve Austin refused to work with other wrestlers during his time in WWE.
Austin had his own reasons for what he did. He has looked back on some of the things he did, like walking out on the company, and expressed extreme regret.
Here, we will look at the times Steve Austin refused to work with other wrestlers, analysing the reasons why he did that.
When Stone Cold Steve Austin refused to work with other wrestlers
Brock Lesnar vs Steve Austin could have been one of the last big matches Austin had in his career. Lesnar was just coming through as Austin was in the twilight of his run in WWE.
Brock Lesnar was the next big thing, destined to be the future of WWE for years to come, while Austin was still a superstar who, to the knowledge of no-one , was retiring after the following Wrestlemania.
Because of this, a passing of the torch match seemed the obvious choice. The match could be built up for a blockbuster match on pay per view, where Lesnar would beat Austin to prove himself to be a star in WWE.
At least, that was Austin’s reckoning. Vince McMahon had other ideas.
The match was booked for an episode of Monday Night Raw in 2002. It was set to be a King of the Ring qualifying match, and taking place with little to no build.
Austin took offence to this. The day prior, he had been working with Ric Flair, in a steel cage match. He did not think that he should be putting over a young talent like Lesnar, especially with no build.
“Build it up to make money off it”
“Because it wasn’t time for me to do the favours yet for Brock in an unadvertised match in a tournament-style TV match whereas hey, man, I love Brock Lesnar, I’d lose to him any day of the week, but build it up so we can all make money off of it and it’s going to mean something.”Steve Austin on his scheduled match with Brock Lesnar
Rather than compete in the match, Austin would walk out on the company. From June 2002 to February 2003, he would not set foot in a WWE ring. He cited poor WWE creative as the reason for his departure, calling their recent storylines “piss poor”.
Austin would return in February 2003, and had his final match soon after. He faced off with the Rock at Wrestlemania 19, for the third Wrestlemania main event in four years. He never would face off with the Beast in wrestling, and it remains of the most wanted WWE matches that never happened.
Fans still wonder how that match would have gone if it happen. It certainly would have been one of Stone Cold’s best matches.
Steve Austin refused to work with Marc Mero and at WWF house show in the late 1990s.
It was a simple reason which is understandable. Austin had seen Mero being powerbombed by his wife Sable on TV just the week prior. Austin considered Mero unsuitable to face him thereafter. If a wrestler could be beaten by a woman, why would anyone believe he could beat Steve Austin?
The match never took place after that.
In October 1997, Jeff Jarrett returned to the WWF, and set his sights on a clash with Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin was red hot at the time, and well on his way to becoming the biggest drawing wrestler in history.
Jarrett returned to the WWF and began cutting “worked shoot” promos on Eric Bischoff, Vince McMahon and Steve Austin. Jarrett spoke about Austin, mocking him and calling his “Austin 3:16″ t-shirt’s” “blasphemous”.
That’s right. Saying the word ‘a**’ just to get a reaction. Just to get noticed. Stone Cold, you will always be the Ringmaster. And as far as your blasphemous merchandise, that offends me. Austin 3:16 offends me because what you’re doing is ripping off the Bible to put money in your pockets!Jeff Jarrett on Steve Austin
Jarrett shoots on Steve Austin
Austin was not made aware of the promo, however. He was not expecting Jarrett to run down his character, and felt insulted by the man. However, it wasn’t just the promo which soured Jarrett to Steve Austin, and made him refuse to wrestle him in WWE.
Stone Cold’s hate toward Jarrett went all the way back to when Austin was just starting out. As a young wrestler, Austin worked for Jerry Jarrett, Jeff’s father, in his promotion USWA. It was rumoured that Jerry Jarrett was known for not paying his talent enough money, something which Austin was unfamiliar.
After a show one day, Austin was reportedly looking at the check Jerry had given him for his work. Shocked at the low amount, Austin was in disbelief how much he had been paid. However, a passing Jerry Jarrett made a remark that Austin would never forget.
“You can keep looking at that check but it ain’t gonna get any bigger”
This angered Austin, and he never forgot it. When it came time for Jarrett to work with Austin, who was at the top of the card, Austin refused. He didn’t want to help Jarrett make any money, which he definitely would have working with Austin.
Steve Austin refused to work with him, feeling slighted since all the way back then, and wanting to return the favour to Jarrett by denying him the main event spot, and a main event payout.
Two years after his retirement at Wrestlemania 19, Steve Austin was set to step back in the squared circle.
He healed up his injuries, and got into mentally the right place to return to the WWE. He was ready to return to WWE, and had a ready made storyline ready to go to facilitate this.
Steve Austin is a real life friend of Jim Ross, the legendary former commentator in WWE, now in AEW.
Jim Ross had lost his job, and Austin was set for a match with Raw General Manager Johnathan Coachman to win JR his job back. Taboo Tuesday was the setting for the match, and Austin vs Coachman the match to bring Austin back to the fold in WWE.
However, the match never took place. Austin backed out before the pay per view, and was replaced by Batista. The reason Austin gave was that he hurt his back moving furniture, and on tv they said he was attacked before the match backstage.
However, the real reason was that WWE wanted to make Austin’s return the time for a big Johnathan Coachman victory.
They wanted the Coach, who wasn’t even a wrestler, to beat Stone Cold Steve Austin in his first match in two years.
I’d have walked out too. Austin would never wrestle again, despite coming close to a match with CM Punk some years down the line. That would be a much better match than Austin vs The Coach.
Two of the biggest star in wrestling history are Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin. However, you will have noticed that while Hogan faced the Rock at Wrestlemania X8, he never managed a match against the Texas Rattlesnake.
Why this match never happened is for a number of different reason. Executive Direct of Raw and Smackdown Bruce Pritchard gave his take on why the match didn’t take place.
I think eventually the match probably could have happened had everybody stayed healthy, but you’ve gotta keep in mind at that time Steve was dealing with a lot of health issues, Steve was dealing with a lot of trust issues.
So, to say that, that match never would have happened, that’s crazy to say. I think you just had to get over some of the issues that were basically rearing their head at the time, and that reality in and of itself was something that you had to take into considerationBruce Pritchard on Steve Austin vs Hulk Hogan
One thing Pritchard alluded to was the “trust issues” on Steve Austin’s part. Austin had been very protective of his spot in WWE, and didn’t want to lose unless it was necessary for the story.
In addition, he had been burned by Hulk Hogan before, when the pair were both in WCW. Hogan was on top in WCW, and it is rumoured that he held Austin down, and wouldn’t let him progress up the card.
However, those rumours are unsubstantiated, and Austin has been quoted saying the reason behind the pair not wrestling due to his own physical shape.
Austin on match with Hulk Hogan
I gotta say, Hulk Hogan, because one of the biggest draws in the history of the business. Everybody thought that match between ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan should have happened a couple of years back, and it never did. Just for whatever reason, I didn’t feel like stepping back in the ring. It sounds like a good match on paper, but I didn’t think it would look so good once you got into the ring. I think Hogan was ready to go, but I wasn’tSteve Austin on a potential match with Hulk Hogan
The match would have been one of the biggest in history. The biggest star of the 1980s versus the biggest star in the 1990s. It could’ve been the biggest money match in wrestling history, and its a sad thing that it never happened in WWE.
The pair did compete in a ring together in WWE, however. On an episode of Monday Night Raw in 2002, Steve Austin teamed with the Rock to take on the NWO. They faced Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan in a 3 vs 2 handicap match. You can check out that match below.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.