Stone Cold Steve Austin initially left the WWE back in 2002 due to disagreements with the company's creative team over the booking of his character.
The Texas Rattlesnake was booked to put over Brock Lesnar during their feud, which was something he didn't like as it made him look weak and didn't give The Beast a proper win to propel and solidify him in the main event spotlight.
So Austin, in all meanings of the phrase, took his ball and went home, much to the disappointment of WWE fans, and likely anger of the company's owner, Vince McMahon.
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Speaking on The Steve Austin Show, Vince's son and SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon revealed the feelings and emotions of his father around the time which Austin announced unexpectedly he would leaving the WWE, saying he was devastated.
He said, according to Wrestling Inc: "[Austin was] the guy that was drawing the houses and everything was built around [Austin]. So when you have that much equity at stake and you have your number one player in there and that's the one who draws money all of a sudden say, 'I'm out,' well, it's very devastating, obviously, to everyone else underneath and everyone felt it, just like, 'wow', so [Austin] specifically, you let a lot of people down."
McMahon continued: "Vince was hurt professionally and personally because you guys had been building a good relationship. If you guys did have a disagreement, you'd settle it quickly and talk about it. But at the end of the day when it got down to 'alright, this is the vision we're going with when I said we'd paint the room blue, well, you didn't want to paint the room blue at that time, so you took your paint and went somewhere else.'
"So that was a big blow personally as well because, again, it's the machine and we all put effort into building 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, and the company, and everything else around it. And when that cog leaves, it's like, 'oh wow! Jeez, that didn't feel good!' It didn't make any of us feel good. [Austin] let us down, man."
Austin would return to the company in early 2003, before retiring from wrestling later that year the night after he had his last match at WrestleMania XIX against The Rock. He ultimately had to retire due to medical reasons.
The Texas Rattlesnake has since stated that he did not handle the situation with the creative team over his feud with Lesnar very well and it is something he wishes he could redo.
He said on his on show back in October 2015, via Wrestling Inc: "I handled it in the worst way I could by saying that's when I effectively quit and I was gone for six or eight months or whatever it was. But, hell, it was basically career suicide for almost anybody! I lost a lot of money. The company lost a lot of money. It was just a bad part of my life that I handled in a horrible fashion."
Austin added: "I blew that one and it was on me."
How different would WWE be if Stone Cold had stayed and played out his feud with Brock Lesnar in 2002? Have YOUR say in the comments section below and the third episode of GiveMeSport’s WWE podcast is here! Check it out via this link. https://soundcloud.com/user-818579649/gms-wwe-podcast-all-the-fallout-from-wwe-payback
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