Stone Cold Steve Austin Accepts Kevin Owens' WWE WrestleMania Invitation

'The Texas Rattlesnake' returns at the 'Showcase of the Immortals'
12:00, 09 Mar 2022

“Whether you want to call this ‘The KO Show’, a match, a fight, a brawl. Whatever. I’m gonna guarantee you this. At WrestleMania, Stone Cold Steve Austin is gonna open up one last can of whoop ass on you, Kevin Owens.”

With these words, Stone Cold Steve Austin reminded the wrestling world exactly who the hell he is. Arguably the biggest star in WWE history, Austin targeting WrestleMania 38 instantly elevates the Texas extravaganza to new heights of significance. The two-night April show might be headlined by a winner-take-all match between WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Universal Champion Roman Reigns, but ‘The Texas Rattlesnake’ is likely to be the most talked-about aspect.

Kevin Owens has been needling the state of Texas, putting heel heat in the bank for the big night. The idea is a time-honoured one. Bad guys have used local insults to draw money throughout history, wagering that residents will pay to see the person running down their town get beaten up. While wrestling’s true nature is known by all these days, there is still a catharsis to seeing a hated heel get his comeuppance. Thus, Owens’ insults riling the legendary Stone Cold should make for an incredible moment at WrestleMania.

The word “moment” is here in a placeholder form, as nobody is yet quite sure what form this confrontation will take. Rumours have swirled that the pair would engage in a wrestling match, which would be Austin’s first in a staggering 19 years. ‘The Toughest S.O.B. In The WWE’ had his career shortened due to persistent neck issues, and has appeared in a sporadic non-wrestling capacity ever since. The fact Austin even touched upon the idea of a match when wording his promo is a major development. However, the qualifier of “a fight, a brawl.” hints that WWE are hedging their bets.

Reports emerged a few months ago that Austin had commissioned the building of a wrestling ring at his house. This was taken to infer he was eyeing some sort of in-ring return. However, reports emerging from WWE via Wrestling Observer suggest the Owens/Austin segment is pencilled in as a “confrontation” as of right now.

The fact Austin’s promo, delivered with the fiery charisma and focus of his very best work, offered “match” as an option alongside the more fluid like of “brawl” suggests the idea this will be a proper bout is not dead in the water. Stone Cold did make extensive reference to the fact he had been out of the ring for 19 years, detailing his final 2003 bout with The Rock. Austin’s ring past has never been invoked in this way when he has returned in the past, even on the occasions those encounters have turned physical. 

If Austin is coming back to deliver a Stone Cold Stunner to Owens and drink beer, WWE are overselling something he has done hundreds of times before. The impassioned sell-job from Austin and the invocation of a reversal of his retirement could come back to bite WWE if we are in for the usual Austin angle.

Whatever happens with Stone Cold at WrestleMania 38, it is bound to be newsworthy. Unlike a lot of veterans, who come back frequently to diminishing returns, Austin has been used sparingly enough that his presence feels like an event. With the Undertaker retired, John Cena and The Rock making Hollywood their own, and the likes of Ric Flair and Sting out of the company, Steve Austin is one of the few icons of the past WWE can still call on. His participation is sure to be a highlight of the ‘Showcase of the Immortals’.

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