Finally, he’s back! After a hiatus that caused rumors to fly out of control, Stone Cold Steve Austin returned to the WWE Network for a new podcast, this time featuring longtime friend and collaborator Paul Heyman. WWE’s other podcast personality Chris Jericho puts on a perfectly competent show (I really enjoyed his chat with Finn Bálor), but I feel like Stone Cold was the right man for the job of sitting down with the innovator of attitude. If you don’t have the time for a whole hour of the chat, here are condensed versions of the most interesting points of conversation:
- On the Dangerous Alliance: Austin joining the Dangerous Alliance was Heyman’s idea. After convincing Dusty Rhodes, Heyman added Austin to the stable. Also, Heyman does a solid Dusty Rhodes impersonation.
- On Brock Lesnar’s whereabouts and future: Heyman says it’s “public knowledge” that Brock Lesnar will be returning before long, possibly referring to recent schedule leaks. “He’s been on his farm. He’s a farmer, and he’s a hunter.”
- On the subject of Lesnar’s limited WWE dates: Brock has a deal that allows him to put his family first. As Heyman says, “He loves the business, but he loves his children more. And his children need a father more than WWE needs Brock Lesnar.”
- On the possibility of adding more “Paul Heyman Guys”: “When you put me with somebody else, it’s always Brock Lesnar’s guy, Brock Lesnar’s advocate with that other person. And that’s a hard position to put the other person in. Now, the one person that it did work with was [CM] Punk because we also have a friendship.”
- On talking to CM Punk: Heyman says he and Punk communicate almost every day. “We text more than we talk… but yeah, almost on a daily basis. Our friendship’s not based on the business itself. We have a friendship outside of the business. So yes, I talk to him all the time.”
- On CM Punk’s move to the UFC: “I don’t think money is the motivating factor in CM Punk’s life whatsoever. I think it’s the challenge to do this. I think this is something he’s been eyeballing since he was a kid, and I think he looks back and he probably regrets not getting into it five or six years earlier.”
- On the secret to captivating promos: “Old school is new school, just updated into today’s environment. And I think that the one thing you have to think of in everything you say is, ‘Where’s the money in this? What am I selling?’… I think that we have lost the art of engaging the audience, and we are preaching and pontificating to the audience.”
- On his first paydays from the WWE: Heyman got his start as a teenager, taking pictures that eventually impressed Vince McMahon, Sr. His first compensation was $50, given to him by Howard Finkel. “The old man greased me through Howard. I never got the fifty bucks directly from Vince, Sr.”
- On Captain Lou Albano: “Lou Albano got fired more times than anybody else in the history of WWF, WWWF, WWE… [At Madison Square Garden] he had a 64-ounce bottle of Tropicana grapefruit juice with about a drop of grapefruit juice in it. He was hammered… he hated [Vince McMahon, Jr.] because he was loyal to the old man… Lou just couldn’t accept the transition.”
- On Rick Rude’s dislike for certain words: Heyman tells a story about how Austin’s penchant for using the word “goddamn” got under Rude’s skin. “Rick Rude is sitting in the front seat, and he is turning purple. The veins in his neck are coming out, and he just reaches over and says ‘Pull over the car… Steve, must you take the f*cking Lord’s name in vain?'”
- On traveling with the Samoan Swat Team: Another story from the road involves Heyman, who was riding with the Samoan Swat Team, getting into vehicular warfare with Sting and the Steiner Brothers. “We’re throwing bottles and food and baseballs, anything that you possibly could have purchased. By the time I got the rental car back to Charlotte… Dollar Rent-A-Car declared the car totaled.” Heyman says he’s blacklisted to this day from renting cars in Charlotte.
And then, of course, there are the last 5 minutes or so, wherein Heyman pitches a Lesnar vs. Austin match for WrestleMania 32. Austin got very amped up about the whole thing, saying the stars would have to align, and even if they did, he would want a “Texas Deathmatch” rather than a clinic of scientific mat wrestling. On the off chance we actually do get Beast vs. Rattlesnake at Mania, I’m glad I’m just a few hours away from Dallas.