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Steve Austin podcast with Vince McMahon: Live thread

Immediately following tonight's airing of Monday Night Raw from Tulsa, Oklahoma on USA, a live episode of Stone Cold Steve Austin's podcast, The Steve Austin Show, will stream live on the WWE Network with special guest Vince McMahon.

What we can expect, according to WWE:

The WWE Universe can expect "Stone Cold" to be his usual brash and in-your-face self, like only he can be, during WWE Network's first-ever video podcast presentation.

What fans are actually expecting is that Austin, who has his credibility to protect, will ask McMahon about the CM Punk interview that dropped on Thanksgiving Day. This was always going to be an interesting interview, if only because McMahon rarely does media and has such a rich history with Austin, but the decision to broach the subject of Punk's podcast, whether they do so or not, is what will drive most of the interest in this show.

You can use this space to talk about the show as it airs live.

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Some highlights

On CM Punk:

"I would like to do this. I would like to apologize. Sometimes in a big corporation, the legal people don't necessarily know what talent relations are doing and conversely. Punk got his severance papers moreover on the day he got married. That was coincidence. So I want to personally apologize for that.

"Other than that, the only thing I want to say about Punk is there have been a number of individuals in the past who have been disgruntled (and) said a lot of things about the organization. I'm not going to wash the dirty laundry in public, I don't think there's any reason for that. I think there are a lot of things that he may say that he may regret one day in terms of looking back at it. But nonetheless, I hope that one day we'll be able to get back together again. You and I got back together again; we had our differences. (Hulk) Hogan, oh my god; we got back together again after differences. Ultimate Warrior; you know, there's a list, a long list of them. In essence, what I try to do is to give the audience what they want. I try to give them what's best for business. I know that's like... we use that phrase on television back-and-forth but that's always been my philosophy. I take my ego, which is sizable, and I'll put it over here and say 'okay, my ego is over here, Vince, and here's how you really feel but what is the best thing for business?' So I'm hoping that one day we can get back together.

"Sure, I (would be open to working with Punk in the future). No, I did not (listen to Punk's interview with Colt Cabana). I understand that he used a lot of expletives and things of that nature and I don't know, I don't want to speak for Punk. He speaks for himself. I just heard it was a number of things that he said that's his point of view. There are always two sides to every story."

On if there's a guy like Jim Ross to bridge the gap between Vince and Punk:

"Unfortunately, there wasn't. That's really, I think, more often the problem. It's a lack of communication. I think I can legitimately say that Punk has some degree of lack of communication skills. He's pretty much a loner. And had there been a Jim Ross or someone like that to get us together I think it could have worked out. But it didn't happen that way and any time you get attorney's involved in something it's going to hell in a hand basket. And I'm not so sure that's what happened here, was a lack of communication."

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On how the WWE Network is doing:

"It's doing great, thanks. Subscriptions are good. Entertainment, I think, is great. We've got about a 97-percent satisfaction level on it, so that pretty much tells you whether or not people like it."

On the Network UK launch:

"(The Network launch in the UK) has been kind of like a start, stop, start, stop, start, stop kind of thing. We hope to have it pretty much settled by the first of the year. That's about all I can say about it right now. I don't want to say anything definite because then it's like 'oh, okay, that's a deadline', you know, but soon."

On if the Network will meet his expectations:

"I do have high expectations and I think it definitely will. It takes a little time. It's a subscription model, much like Netflix. It just takes a little while to build up all the content you want to build up and make sure you're listening to the audience and give them exactly what they want. I think we're giving them exactly what they want tonight. I'm on your show."

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On guys being afraid to go out on a limb because there is no other option than WWE and if they piss someone off then there goes their career:

"Well, don't piss anybody off. ... You have... this is a different group of guys and gals -- it's millennials. They're not as ambitious, quite frankly. And they're not trepidatious at all. I just don't think they necessarily want to reach for that brass ring. The last person to really reach for that brass ring, in all likelihood was John Cena. There are others coming up now who definitely want to reach for it: (Dean) Ambrose is one of them, Seth Rollins is another one, Roman Reigns is another one, Bray (Wyatt) is another one. So I think you've got some people here chomping at the bit to make a difference but when you're walking around backstage you don't hear as much camaraderie perhaps and laughter as in your era. But then again there are some other things they do. ... I would suggest (this locker room is not as ambitious as the one you were in), correct. It's a different... Again, I said it's millennials. It's a different point of view. If you reach for that brass ring and you fall on your butt... no one wants to fail and there's this feeling, this insecurity, that if you fail you're exposed. I think that's largely pretty much what it is. Because you give everybody the opportunities, you give everyone resources, which you never had. The things that we do now from a television production standpoint, social media. Oh my god, social media is huge. It helps talent in so many different ways. It gives them the tools that you did not have, and other people like you didn't have. It's the utilization of those tools that's very important for talent to use. And they do use them but not in the way you did."

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On where Cesaro is not connecting:

"He's not connecting yet and we hope he will. He doesn't quite have the charmisa. He doesn't quite have the verbal skills as well, and maybe because he's Swiss, I don't know, in terms of the European style. But those are the big things that he's lacking. The audience needs to care about you. They need to be able to feel your presence. You need to be able to project that. He's an extraordinary physical talent, extraordinary. But at the moment, and hopefully he'll get it, he lacks 'it.'"

On how they can book him better to help further his cause:

"I'm not certain. I don't have the answer to everything, you know? I mean, I'm not certain. I listen to a lot of people, and a lot of people's advice and I listen to the audience. I'm not so sure that I have that answer. I'm not giving up, don't get me wrong. And he's a great talent, in ring talent, physically. I just... there's something missing and quite frankly, I don't know, I can't quite put my finger on it exactly to say 'okay, now we're going to the dance.'"

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On Undertaker's streak ending:

"Well, no one wants to give back to the business more than the Undertaker, more than Mark Calaway. And he knew it's important to give back to the business. There comes a time in which it's time to do that. So why not then? When you consider, well, who else was -- looking down on the line when looking at the talent roster -- who else possibly could Undertaker work with and at that time give back in the biggest possible way he could to help someone be a star? When you look at that talent roster, who was it going to be? There was no one on the roster, potentially, and the following year or the year after that. It was timing. The one person whose time was there at that moment, who Mark thought 'okay, this is it,' that would be Brock (Lesnar). I made the decision. ... No one wants to give back more than the Undertaker. I think you would agree with that. He is one of the most unselfish people in the ring. I think it did (come as a shock to him), I think there's no question. It was a shock to everybody. That's on me. Those decisions aren't easy to make, you know, but you have to make difficult decisions sometimes. That's my job, to do that. I think I made the right call at the right time. Coming into this year's WrestleMania, I don't think that Brock Lesnar could be any hotter than he will be reminding everyone of what happened, of Brock Lesnar breaking the Undertaker's streak. So, to me, it was the right call."

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On why Brock Lesnar isn't on television more:

"I don't think you want him on television more than he has been. He's a special attraction. ... Brock, per the contract we made with him, only allows us 'X' number of dates. So, to me, it's not about the title. It's not about the title that draws people into the arena. It's about the performer and about his opponent and about the story and how they're going to resolve that story. So it's not really about the title. Does it help sometimes? Sure it does, but it's not just about the title. And if you see a lot of Brock, you're going to see a lot of the same thing. How many people can he beat up? If he beats up half of the babyface roster, who's left? And it can't be just one match at WrestleMania, it's got to be a whole bunch of matches at WrestleMania. Sometimes -- you and Rock, things of that nature -- that was the main event at WrestleMania but more often than not there's more than one. So you can't just rely on one match these days. The business has changed and you have to appeal to different segments of the audience as to what draws."

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On if we're ever going to see Macho Man Randy Savage in the Hall of Fame:

"Oh, absolutely. Definitely. I'd say soon. Not so sure if it's this year, but it will be soon. That's a yes. Of course it's a yes. Yes, he's going in."

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On what Sting's role will be in WWE:

"Well, he made a hell of an impression his first time in. His character is one in which you don't need to see a lot of because you become accustomed to it. I think you will see some of Sting and I wouldn't be surprised if he shows up at WrestleMania."

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On if there's heat with Jim Ross:

"There's no heat from my standpoint. I think that there was an incident in Los Angeles, which you were a part of and you stated your opinion as part of that situation, and I would rather not go into it, but nonetheless, I think that it was like 'oh, man, you just don't do that.' It was very unprofessional, and very unlike Jim. Jim and I work very well together. I like Jim as a human being. He has a lot of institutional knowledge and I'm not so sure we won't get back together too."

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On when he's going to retire:

"I work as many hours now as I always have. I'm enjoying the business now more than I always had, and I've always enjoyed it. I'm healthy, knock on whatever. And I think I haven't lost a step. Physically I haven't, mentally I haven't. Some people think I'm out of touch but most people who say that are critics and things of that nature. And, again, I listen to the audience. It's important to give them what they want. Well, how do you know what they want? You've got to try any number of things. I think with NXT and some of the guys coming up from there, they're getting great reactions. It's going to take them a while and maybe somewhere down the line there will be another Stone Cold and if there is, we're good to go."