While Stone Cold Steve Austin Austin has certainly been a proponent of new WWE champion Roman Reigns, he is quick to advise Reigns that the pressures that he may have felt leading up to his big night are nothing with what he’ll face as the franchise player. Steve Austin offers some harsh advice for the brand new champion in a brand new interview.
Stone Cold Steve Austin is certainly familiar with the spoils and pressures that come along with being the top WWE guy. Austin fought hard to achieve that top spot in 1998 and has publicly spoken about the pressures he faced once he reached that mountain. He recently shared those pressures with Wade Keller on a PWTorch Livecast with a warning for Roman Reigns.
“With [Reigns] being champion, it’s going to remain to be seen how they book this guy. You’re talking about a guy whose work has really improved, but he’s got to be more aggressive and he’s gotta have a sense of urgency. Now, he’s defending that belt, not chasing it, but he’s still pretty green in that regard, especially with respect to holding a championship belt. Man, he’s really got some pressure on him with the fact that now he is the champion. Right now, he is their number one guy.
All of a sudden when you become that top guy or get that belt, it’s put up or shut up. It’s always good to have a goal, but when all of a sudden you’ve been kind-of prematurely pushed and kind-of rejected and then all of a sudden you’re the guy, now the pressure is on more than ever. All he’s got to do is shine, but the bottom line is he’s got to shine. He’s got to make chicken salad out of chicken scratch.”
One thing that Austin doesn’t do is sugar coat a situation. While Austin has been critical of WWE creative on his podcasts and media interviews, he has been just as hard on the talent. So while Austin was rooting for Roman Reigns during his struggles the last year, he has also pointed some of the blame squarely on Reigns. The message Austin is sending here is that if Reigns thought he had it rough before, he has not seen anything yet.
Some of the greatest in-ring professional wrestlers have cracked under the pressure as WWE world champion. Nobody better epitomizes than one of Austin’s past rivals, Shawn Michaels. Michaels has documented numerous times the pressures he felt once he became WWE champion and the struggles he had as the top guy.
It will be very interesting to see how Reigns reacts under the pressure over the next year. He seemingly struggled early in his push with comments he made in the media but to his credit, he turned it around rather quickly. While Reigns has certainly worked hard to earn his spot, he also never had the struggles that past world champions had before him, including Seth Rollins who put in some hard years on the independent pro wrestling scene before his big run in the WWE.
Whether Reigns’ lack of experience pre-WWE hurts or helps him adjust to the new demands will be seen in due time. The timing couldn’t be better for Reigns, getting that spot at the same time the company heats up for WrestleMania. It’s the months coming down that will truly test him in that top spot and those will be some fascinating months to watch.