Stone Cold Steve Austin is one of the most interesting voices in professional wrestling, never afraid to tell it like it is.
That's perhaps one of the reasons his podcast, which would have featured episodes on the WWE Network, hasn't had a new segment published on the platform in months. That's also why his contract to make that content was reportedly allowed to expire.
Stone Cold has addressed his status with the WWE, stating he's with the company for life, and that hasn't stopped him from laying out his controversial insight on the company. Steve Austin had some interesting thoughts on what's keeping talent from going over today.
Vince Russo, a writer from the Attitude era, was a recent guest on The Steve Austin Show. Stone Cold and Russo discussed some of the differences from then and now, and The Texas Rattlesnake had some pointed thoughts to share. All quotes were transcribed by Wrestling Inc.
"I can't say that the guys aren't as passionate as we were. I can't say that because I think they are, but, I think, Vince, it's the micromanagement, it was the freedom... I think it has to do with the creative freedom," Austin said.
That's an interesting point to make, and "creative freedom" could definitely be holding talent back from some of their own ideas about where to take their characters. The WWE has seen significant changes, moving to a more "PG" product than when Stone Cold filled arenas.
It also may echo some of the sentiment that Austin infamously challenged Dean Ambrose with. Austin was critical of The Fringe Lunatic, saying he wanted to see more from his character. Perhaps the point is someone like Ambrose has ideas they simply aren't allowed to pursue.
The video below does a good job of explaining and pinpointing the kind of micromanagement that Stone Cold is alluding to, particularly when Ambrose explains some of the ideas he pitched for his match against Brock Lesnar being shot down at the 3:52 mark:
"I think these guys today in the locker room, I just think that the world… it's the whole world, Vince. Everything is so P.C. and the micromanagement. I think everybody is almost walking on eggshells because WCW is not around anymore," Stone Cold said.
"TNA, with all due respect, they're still around, but nobody wants to work there if you don't have to. The other promotions, I don't need to name it... I think the micromanagement has got the ceiling keeping a lot of people from getting over."
What Stone Cold is describing is part of the problem with WWE no longer having legitimate competition. They company can set its own bar without worrying about another promotion overtaking it, and talent is cornered into falling into line to keep their jobs secure.
On the flip side, the WWE is giving these same wrestlers an opportunity to live their dreams, so it's a tough situation. Still, Stone Cold makes a great point about how tightly everything is handled in the WWE today compared to how organic matches and promos were in the past.
That comes with good and bad implications, ultimately.
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