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Steve Austin, Batista offer damning indictment of WWE creative

While it's easy to ignore a fan of pro wrestling, be it a casual viewer or an outright smart mark, when they get to complaining about WWE creative, it's not so easy when two major stars of days gone by are doing the same.

That's what happened recently with both Stone Cold Steve Austin and Batista when both were asked about a possible return.

What Austin told Fox Sports:

"I was just at the pay-per-view Hell in a Cell and prior to that I was in Dallas at a Monday Night Raw and, man, the system is very constricted right now. I feel for the guys in the system. I had a lot more creative freedom back in the day. These days, it's a very rigid system and it's very political. Because of the system that I was in, I could never comply to the current system. I ain't knocking it. I'm just saying I couldn't fly in that system with so many restrictions on me."

What Batista told Chris Van Vliet:

"I don't, you know, know if it would go any different because it was just butting heads with the company. I was just constantly butting heads with them creative - creatively. Which is something we talked about well beforehand and I was promised things that weren't delivered to me.

"Because I really, for one, I didn't want to go back as a babyface. I said, 'it's not gonna work, man. They don't want to see me as a babyface. They're gonna be ahhh [gag gesture].' Nobody wants to see Batista as a babyface. I'm the worst babyface EVER. But I'm a good heel. I know how to be a heel. I'm comfortable being a heel, and the fans want me to be a heel. But they tried to shove me down everybody's throats.

"They [fans] rebel. They know what you're trying to do. You're being shoved down their throats. They're not idiots. And they don't like it, they don't want it. So it just makes them rebel more and it just became a state of confusion where they didn't know what to do with me, so they just sent me out every week regurgitating the same crap. And it was just horrible. And it was when I had finally been there for a few months where I finally just started to find my niche, they kind of just let me go with what my strengths were...when people started reacting to me in a good way, in a positive way...but then I had to go. Then I had to go and fulfill my obligations with Marvel and it's just kind of sucked."

That's the highest drawing wrestler in the history of the company and another main event star who headlined WrestleMania after a wildly successful angle making clear that what WWE is doing right now, at least creatively, isn't working. It should come as no surprise, then, that viewers are at record lows right now.

Would fans have turned on Roman Reigns during his big push if he was given the creative freedom Austin had during his heyday? How much better would Seth Rollins' long-winded promos be if he weren't forced to adhere to a script written by someone who has never been a wrestler and therefore never been in front of a live crowd hanging on his/her every word?

What's sad about it all is we may never find out.

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