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Let’s overanalyze Stone Cold Steve Austin’s advice for AJ Styles

Stone Cold’s ‘Humble Apologies’ face
WWE Network

A moment which begs interpretation occurred early on in Steve Austin’s conversation with AJ Styles on the latest Stone Cold Podcast from WWE Network.

The Hall of Famer’s relationship with the company, and its Chairman Vince McMahon, are the stuff of legend - in kayfabe and out. During his run as a wrestler, their feud was of course one of the biggest draws in history. That always makes you wonder when, even in Austin’s retirement from the ring, they play up a contentious relationship. These are two of the best minds in the business, and the know what sells.

Still, since landing this gig on Vince’s streaming subscription service, Austin either took or was put hiatus following appearances by McMahon and Triple H which generated controversy, and admitted to dialing back his questioning to both protect his guests and adhere to the company line.

All that backstory brings us to his conversation with Styles on June 20. For one thing, Stone Cold doesn’t dive into his review of AJ’s matches with Roman Reigns. He praises the work in general, but doesn’t get into the who “carried” who discussion which generated some chatter when he made those comments on his audio-only podcast a couple weeks ago.

He does give the Phenomenal One some advice for his current feud with Vince’s biggest star however:

Next time you get John Cena down on the mat and get a chance - get a chance to stomp the snot out of him? [muted by Network] because those opportunities are few and far between... you know what I’m saying? Just a little advice. Turn the volume up, because you don’t want to get lost in the shuffle [muted by Network].

The editing was for cursing, but the decision to take out whole sections of his dialogue rather than just beep some f-bombs is interesting. Stone Cold addressed the profanity - probably after Vince or a producer got in his ear about it - following a promise from Styles to take the advice next time he gets chance:

And I want to apologize for those two four letter words, but I figure when you pay $9.99 for a Network and you get all the quality programming that’s on this thing, that you get two four letter words from Stone Cold Steve Austin every single month... For those that I offended? My humble apologies.

Back to that advice, though.

It’s a few seconds of an hour long interview, but it’s a loaded few seconds.

Austin draws comparisons between Styles’ place in WWE now and where he was when he arrived in the mid-90s. Is this a continuation of his critique of Reigns, trying to help a guy he identifies with rise to the top while dealing with Vince’s hand-picked aces like Roman and Cena?

Those who believe Cena holds down, or at least doesn’t stand up for, the guys he feuds with will likely latch onto the quote for its implication that rivals don’t get many shots at the Face That Runs the Place.

And that Stone Cold dances around the topic at all (you know what I’m saying?) while WWE chopped up the broadcast version is just conspiracy theory fuel.

What do you think? How many chances will AJ get to “stomp the snot” out of Cena? Is Austin worried about Styles’ chances swimming with the sharks in WWE? Is Vince pissed about his long-time nemesis bringing this up at all on his Network? Am I getting worked? All of the above?

Give us your bottom line, Cagesiders.

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