Some old pro wrestling wounds were opened back up this week when former WWE & UFC champion Brock Lesnar and Steve Austin have called each other out in the media. Is this just two old friends having fun or is this the beginning of the road to WrestleMania 28?
It all started this past week when Brock Lesnar did the media rounds promoting his return to the WWE…err the WWE 12 video game that is. In an ESPN story, Lesnar was asked the obvious questions about returning to the WWE rings for another match and who he’d like to wrestle. The Next Big Thing kind of surprised everyone with his answer.
“Ironically it’s probably the guy that walked out on me. The guy that took his ball and went home. A guy that I was supposed to face and I think that he was just plain downright scared to get in the ring with me because he was one of those guys that was on top and saw a huge threat in Brock Lesnar at the time. That’s “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. I worked with everybody and anybody that was anybody there and if I came back, I think the guy that I would come back to fight is “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.”
This was a bit of a surprise, especially since all signs seemed to be pointing towards a Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker match. Lesnar did drop The Undertaker’s name, but Austin was never rumored to be in the mix for Lesnar’s match. Lesnar continued his verbal assault on the Texas Rattlesnake in an IGN.com interview.
[adinserter block=”2″]”There’s a guy that’s been on a winning streak for a long time that somebody needs to step up to the plate and finish the winning streak. But then there’s another side of me that says if there was a chance for me to come back to fight a guy, it would be the guy that I was supposed to fight that chicken-sh**ted out on me and didn’t show up, and that would be ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin chicken-sh*tted out on me and walked away and didn’t want to participate because he thought that I was getting something too fast too soon and he felt threatened by me.”
You know, I really like the realism that Lesnar is bringing to this story. For those of you unaware, Steve Austin did walk out of the WWE when he was asked to wrestle and lose to Brock Lesnar. Austin did return but the two never wrestled. However, for hardcore fans who know this story, it is a grudge match that they can easily sink their teeth into.
Well it didn’t take old Stone Cold long to respond. Austin also went to the media…the social media. Austin sent out a tweet on his Twitter account responding to Brock’s recent comments.
“So @DCBROCKLESNAR was talking trash about me…very interesting. Gonna finish my beverage and mull this one over…catch y’all tomorrow. Trying to go to sleep..but this @DCBROCKLESNAR thing is winding me up a bit…relax….breath…relax…breathe….no use..to be continued.. At a bit of a crossroads here. on one hand go after @DCBROCKLESNAR after his comments..on other hand deer season is very near. #decisions.”
This has some enormous potential here. As most fans that follow the Internet know, CM Punk had been calling out Steve Austin for a WrestleMania match a few months back. Austin seemed intrigued but a lot has changed since then. Punk is not being booked as strong as he was at the time, and he is a babyface. Coming back for a match against Punk would be big, but coming back for a match with Brock Lesnar would be huge…beyond huge!
So what are the realistic possibilities that this is going to happen? It is tough to say. I’d say from Austin’s side, it has to be incredibly enticing to return for what could be his biggest one night payoff in his career. Austin has said numerous times that he feels he has a few more matches in him, and quite frankly he looked great sparring in the ring with Luke Robinson on WWE Tough Enough. I’d say at this point it really just comes down to giving Austin an idea so appealing that he just can’t find a way to turn it down.
On the Lesnar side, it is much more complicated. UFC president Dana White blurred no lines recently when he was asked about allowing Brock to wrestle for the WWE while in the UFC.
“Brock Lesnar will never wrestle for the WWE while he’s under contract to me.”
I think everything rides on his next fight at UFC 140 against Alistair Overeem. Brock’s contract is coming due soon. If Brock does return (and that is still a question mark) and loses, his value will diminish greatly to the UFC. The UFC would never cut him, but maybe they are more open to him wrestling if he isn’t an elite heavyweight? It is only speculation right now but a Brock Lesnar on the downside of his MMA career is far less valuable than protecting the image of the indestructible UFC champion.
Lesnar’s contract is also key to making this happen. I have heard that Lesnar has anywhere from 1-2 more fights on his deal. Say Lesnar fights in December, maybe he fights in March again to fulfill his contractual obligations to the UFC and becomes a free agent for a few weeks…right around WrestleMania. It would be real tough for Lesnar to fight twice in 90 days but what if Lesnar wins a quick one-rounder against Overeem? Lesnar could find himself available to the WWE at just the right time to make this happen. Another possibility is that Lesnar’s next fight comes in June, his contract expires, takes a few months rest, and then starts to build for WrestleMania 29 next October?
Now most of this is just pure speculation but it is not out of the realm of possibility. Austin would be 48 years old, but he would be a 48 year old pro wrestler who hasn’t wrestled a grueling match in 9 years, and a 48 year old guy that looks better than any other 48 year old man I have ever seen. So I don’t think Austin’s age is a huge factor, but at some point something would have to give if he was to get this match in before he turns 50.
[adinserter block=”1″]As far as the match itself, it would be a real tricky one to work. I am not quite sure how Brock works a match with anyone that protects his MMA image while at the same time selling for his opponent (who would be 48 years old). On the other side, Austin as well would have to work a match that protects his toughness while selling to a UFC superstar. I have confidence that Austin could pull it off but the psychology of it would be fascinating.
I think at the end of the day that these guys are having a little fun, yet planting a seed. The common denominator here is Paul Heyman who remains close with both guys. I wouldn’t put it past the evil genius to have a deal brokered as we speak whether it is for WrestleMania 28 or 29. As a big fan of both, I can only hope.
In Heyman I trust!