Steve Austin making the rounds in support of his new A&E show Stone Cold Takes on America has given the media plenty of chances to talk to the WWE legend about pro wrestling. Forbes’ Alfred Konuwa asked him about one of the hottest topics in the business right now, CM Punk.
A match with Punk was always high on fans’ wish lists for an Austin comeback, and the brief moments they shared together on screen (plus Punk famously wearing Stone Cold merch while delivering his “pipe bomb” promo) kept hope alive for a while.
Now, even with the Texas Rattlesnake having returned to the ring at last year’s WrestleMania, there’s not much possibility the two will ever lock up. But that doesn’t mean they don’t keep in touch.
Here’s how the topic of AEW’s estranged star came up, and what the WWE Hall of Famer had to say when he did...
Konuwa: You mentioned the importance of having mentors and people to learn from, and you seem to have a very positive relationship with CM Punk, who I’m sure learned a lot from you. CM Punk’s been in the news amid a lot of controversy regarding AEW. What are your thoughts on this current situation?
Austin: Man, I just sent Punk a message last night. I didn’t know he had torn his triceps. I haven’t been following anything. I don’t know what’s going on with that. Me and Phil trade messages every here and there. We rarely talk, probably once or twice a year. I love the guy, and I don’t even know if I mentored him because Punk’s probably a lot smarter than I am.
Great promo guy, great worker, he’s got his own thing going and we’re just friends. So I think I remember there’s a picture of myself and him from Chicago, my favorite town to work in, my favorite building. And I guess he had come down to where we were all hanging out. Maybe he looked up to me back in the day, but I don’t know if I so much mentored him because I think he paid his own dues. He learned it the way he did and he got over on his own merits. The fact that maybe I could have been somewhat of an influence would be flattering if that were the case. But he’s made his own career.
But I don’t even know what’s going on with the current situation or what they’re doing because right now I rarely watch any of the product. I watch all the pay-per-views and major pay-per-views, but he’s certainly carved out a hellacious career in his own right by his own right.
Austin deftly sidesteps the particulars of Punk’s current situation, which is smart if for no other reason than it helps keep the focus on him & the show he’s doing these interviews to promote.
Regarding what he does say, it’s not hard to imagine where Punk & Stone Cold could find common ground as “work friends”. They’re a couple of great talkers and in-ring storytellers who are passionate about the business and not afraid to take a stand for their vision of it.
It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall if Punk did ask Austin for his take on everything that’s gone down behind the scenes at AEW over the past year or so, though...
Even absent that though, Stone Cold’s chat with Forbes gives us his thoughts on if WWE will change post-Endeavor deal, the legacy of Superstar Billy Graham, and more. Check that out here.