WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin appeared on the State of Combat podcast recently and discussed whether he is flattered about WWE Superstars Kevin Owens and Becky Lynch paying homage to him with their characters.
"Becky Lynch is doing her own thing. Her promos are a different kind of promo," Austin explained. "But that swagger, maybe I inspired some of the things that she was doing. She has done it all on her own.
"For Kevin Owens to borrow the 'Stone Cold Stunner,' sometimes when I see that trademark stomp in that corner I know that might have come from me, whoever is doing it. Everyone stomped someone in the corner but I had a way of doing it so when you see your influence on the younger generation that is still out there doing it it's very flattering and you want them to take it as far as they can go because you look for everyone to get in the business to have success.
"Sometimes, the greatest technical workers aren't having the greatest success; it's the character people or a combination of people, so anytime that you see something of yours and ran with, tweaked, and made it a part of their own--it's like The Superkick. Everybody was doing the Superkick, but when Shawn Michaels started using it was really effective for him, so yeah, it is really cool."
Austin reflected on who inspired him throughout his career stating that one man, in particular, had a huge effect on his career, especially in the early days before suffering a devastating neck injury at WWE Survivor Series 1997 against Owen Hart.
"Right before I got dropped on my head I was a Ric Flair clone," Austin revealed. "Ric Flair is the G.O.A.T in my opinion. I wasn't trying to copy him I was trying to emulate him.
"I was trying to use his style as it pertained to my athletic ability and getting dropped on my head I dare say I didn't enjoy that, but it was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me because I had to change my style to be more of a brawler and then combine the 'Stone Cold' character with it.
"That turned me into the superstar that I ended up being, but it was Ric Flair who I looked up to."
That neck injury back at Survivor Series, and subsequent years of taking bumps in the ring, ultimately ended Austin's career with his in-ring retirement taking place in 2003. Austin was then asked if he's been tempted to come back to the ring in the past.
"Man, not close at all," Austin stated. "Not close at all. I am done. No one in the wrestling business or in show business---you know, they all say never say never, and hey man, I was talking on an interview earlier and when WWE rebooted Tough Enough I loved that because I was as close as I wanted to be in the business.
"This is a business that I love more than anything in my life and I had gotten a chance to be a part of it and I wasn't taking bumps or getting beat up but I was able to be 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin and be influential to help these kids start a career and that is why I am fired up about the 'Broken Skull Sessions,' I am that close to the business, I'm rubbing shoulders and talking to some of the biggest stars in the business.
"I am part of the company and it's a company that helped put me on the map; I did things for them too, but they put me on the map and I love being in business with WWE and I get a chance to live vicariously with the stories who come on my show and talk to me about. That is as close as I want to be in WWE. I am not saying that I don't have a Stunner or two left in me, but a full-blown match, it is not happening."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit State of Combat with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.