Looking back at the time Steve Austin quit WWE because he didn't want to lose to Brock Lesnar.
Conrad Thompson and Bruce Prichard return to the MLW airwaves this Friday at noon for the “Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard” podcast to discuss “Stone Cold” Steve Austin walking out of WWE in 2002.
“I want to know how and why and the full details on how Austin came back,” said Thompson. “I want to see what else we know about him leaving, coming back, and then what they did to try to teach the boys a lesson about the way Austin came back. He didn’t get to just walk back in; he had to write Vince a check to come back. Vince did that so he could save face with the boys and discourage anyone else from walking out.”
Thompson provided context on Austin walking out, which he did after learning he was supposed to lose cleanly to Brock Lesnar on an ’02 Raw.
“The business was rolling pretty good at the time,” said Thompson. “People had been a little disappointed at the way the ‘Invasion’ angle had been booked, and then obviously the NWO in the WWE didn’t end up being the huge success that many thought or felt it could be, but it was an interesting time. It felt like a changing of the guard. You had WrestleMania 18, where it felt like the real main event was Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock. In the ring, it was actually Chris Jericho vs. Triple H. Austin, the biggest star in the history of the business, wasn’t even figured into those plans.
“We’ll talk about some of Austin’s frustrations, and when the WWE knew he was frustrated and how he voiced those frustrations. It’s been said that Austin was one of the more difficult talents to work with, and I’ll be interested to see when Vince decided to stop giving in to Austin, who is a guy who earned his right to have his say. Yet Vince pushed back, and that feels like a calculated decision. It’s an interesting story, and I look forward to breaking down the Vince McMahon end of it with Bruce. That’s what we’ll find out for the very first time this Friday.”
Thompson and Prichard just delivered their second ever live show, which took place in Baltimore this past Sunday, and they kept the unpredictable nature of their live shows alive with another surprise by bringing back Nikolai Volkoff to sing “With My Baby Tonight” with Prichard.
“The goal is to bring the parts people enjoy about the podcast to the stage,” said Thompson. “We have some props that we use, but we still do our usual hallmarks, too. We love to give a surprise. We’ve had some luck delivering some interesting guests, and you never know who or what is going to happen at one of our live shows.”
Thompson was asked if Volkoff, who once delivered a stirring rendition of the song Cara Mia on the 1985 Wrestling Album, was a better singer than Jeff Jarrett, who sang on stage with Prichard at their live show in Orlando.
“Everybody was too drunk and rowdy to remember or hear Jeff Jarrett at our WrestleMania weekend show, but Nikolai Volkoff proved again this past weekend that he is a national treasure,” said Thompson. “I don’t know if that’s an American treasure or a Russian one, so we’ll stick with a national treasure.”
Thompson also made news this past weekend on Twitter, as he was blocked by Hulk Hogan after last week’s Hogan-themed podcast aired.
“I’ve listened to the podcast, and I don’t remember saying anything derogatory,” said Thompson. “Maybe he blocked me when someone else tweeted something negative and had me in the tweet. Either way, I’m blocked, brother. Bruce and I will address it on the show this Friday and decide whether I should reach out to Hogan or just let it ride.”
As for the live June 18 show in St. Louis, Thompson promised there are more surprises in store.
“This is our biggest undertaking yet,” said Thompson, whose show is nearly sold out. “We’re trying to coordinate something that is going to require quite a bit of planning, but it will be a stunt that people who are hardcore supporters of our show will really get a kick out of.”