Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kevin Owens Planned for WrestleMania

Fightful.com broke the news last night that WWE has made overtures to Stone Cold Steve Austin for a match at WrestleMania 38 on April 2 and April 3 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. WrestlingObserver.com confirmed the plan is for Austin to wrestle Kevin Owens.

Austin’s final match occurred at WrestleMania 19 in 2003, where he lost to The Rock. Austin’s retirement stemmed from a neck injury due to bungled piledriver from Owen Hart at SummerSlam 1997.

WWE has made offers to Austin over the years for an in-ring return, but he always declined. However, this rumor is not chalked up to the typical offer and refusal. The story has enough steam behind where it could happen.

The big question is if Austin is indeed wrestling a match at WrestleMania, why now?

Many variables come to mind when deciphering why the biggest superstar in wrestling history will lace’ Em up again after a prolonged absence. The answer could be as simple as ‘They always come back, eventually.” 

However, the economics of the situation paints a clearer picture.

Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics.com reported that WWE has sold 47,000 tickets for each night of WrestleMania. AT&T Stadium’s capacity is 80,000, It’s a good number, but it’s also a sign of struggling ticket sales for such a large building.

Yesterday, WWE offered a special Valentine’s Day two-for-one WrestleMania ticket sale, which is a practice they’ve done with many shows since the return to live crowds. The sale ended at 10:00 PM, and Fightful broke the story at 9:30 PM, meaning WWE didn’t put the rumor out there for only a half-hour window to increase ticket sales.  

Perhaps, Austin and WWE were too far apart on money until now. WWE grossed over a billion dollars in revenue last year, the highest in company history. They are now willing to pay the high dollar price tag to get Austin for a match. Austin reportedly turned down 2 million dollars per match for the Saudi shows. 

Maybe Austin’s price tag is a lot higher than that number, or maybe he wants to avoid the controversy of working in the country. 

Austin said in a 2019 interview that he’s physically in a good place and could have one more match, but he thinks about the spinal stenosis and all the surgeries he’s had. At 57 years old and tallying all his injuries, the offer must be exceptional if he’s willing to risk living with increased of pain again.

While everyone is concerned about Austin’s neck, remember, he also has two bad knees (remember the big black knee braces). Will it be a short match? Can or will Austin even bump? The litany of injuries coupled with his age leads to some scary conclusions.

When looking at Austin’s legacy, he had the best ending possible, putting over The Rock. It would be a shame if his return ended up like Bret Hart at WrestleMania 26 or Shawn Micheals in Saudi Arabia. Stone Cold is the legend of legends and the last person you want in a cringe-worthy match.

Kevin Owens is heavily rumored to stand across the ring from Austin at WrestleMania. Owens is a top-tier worker who is safe and can carry Austin to a good match. He’s exactly the guy you want in this situation. 

A key ingredient in Austin’s success is a villain who people wanted to see Austin whoop in the worst way. Owens is the perfect antagonist for such a role. Plus, Owens is one of the best in the world at drawing heat from a crowd. The story writes itself since Owens has used the Stunner as his finishing maneuver over the last few years.

Stunner vs. Stunner with these two at the helm prints money.

The match is not officially announced, and it looks as if WWE started building towards the match last night on Raw as Owens cut a promo about how much he hates Texas, calling it the “ass of America.” Austin is Texas-born and Texas proud, so it’s a natural way to begin the feud. 

Hopefully, Austin and Owens will be given better material as it gets closer to WrestleMania. However, the build between these two might be a non-factor. Stone Cold Steve Austin’s return to the ring…enough said.

Still, Austin and Owens have a reputation for wanting good creative to work with. Even if Owens doesn’t have the clout (sorry, sorry. Stroke) to reject and use his own ideas, Austin certainly will, which can only mean good things for the fans.

I’m still convinced that WWE is positioning itself for a sale. One way to do that is to produce the most start-studded events possible. Between rumors and confirmed matches, here is WrestleMania’s card so far.

Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar

Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair

Sami Zayn vs. Johnny Knoxville (of Jackass fame)

Kevin Owens vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

Cody Rhodes appearance (More on that later)

Whether those matches speak to your inner wrestling fan or not, it looks and sounds like a high-profile event worthy of the “Showcase of the immortals.” That lineup alone increases the value of WWE’s portfolio, which ups the sale price for the company.

Random note: Wrestling is full of odd facts and figures. 19 is an odd number. WrestleMania 19 was Austin’s last match, 19 years ago.

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