Exclusive: Kevin Owens Talks About Wrestling Stone Cold Steve Austin In His Historic Comeback Match

To be honest, in the year 2022, the chances of Stone Cold Steve Austin making an active return to professional wrestling seemed beyond slim and none. The annual rumours of his return had fallen quiet over the years, especially since they peaked around WrestleMania 25 with the Texas Rattlesnake’s Hall of Fame induction in his home state of Texas.

Then along came Kevin Owens.

The Prizefighter has made no secret of his hero worship of Stone Cold. Owens has previously shared the story of meeting Austin in an airport in 2005, while on his way to an independent show. The former WWE Universal Champion has revealed how Stone Cold offered him a piece of priceless advice that he has followed ever since.

Owens has also, more blatantly, displayed his admiration for the Bionic Redneck by adopting the Stone Cold Stunner as his finishing move in recent years.

One More Round

But even in the weird and wonderful world of professional wrestling, Owens could not have imagined that he would be trading Stunners with his hero in the main event of WrestleMania.

Yet two years ago, at WrestleMania 38 in Dallas, Texas, that is exactly what Owens was doing. Storyline wise, Owens had been left without a match for the biggest show of the year. So the former Intercontinental and United States champ began running down the state of Texas in order to get a rise out of the Lone Star State’s most notorious mudhole stomper.

And it worked.

“This is how you do it” – KO, learning first hand. Image: WWE

On night one of ‘Mania 38, what was billed as a main event edition of ‘the KO Show’ rapidly pivoted to Austin’s first match in 19 years, with the Rattlesnake not having the patience to exchange pleasantries with his host. Instead, the two exchanged fists, boots, chair shots, table bumps and stunners all over the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, until Austin had his hand raised in victory.

“The Most Special Moment of my Career”

Two years on from that historic night in Texas, SPORF caught up with KO to ask him how it felt to be presented with the honour of being the first person to lock up with Stone Cold in an official capacity since his lowkey 2003 retirement.

“Y’know, I’ve talked to death about it over the last two years,” Owens begins, “everyone always asks me about it right away and the fact that they’re still asking now, two years later, shows how special that was. Not just for me, but for everybody, to have Stone Cold back was just so unbelievably surreal.

“It’s just so hard to put into words. It’s still something I have to go back and watch to really feel like ‘hey, that actually happened’, because when I think about it, I know it happened, but it’s so hard to fathom that it actually was real.

“That’s the thing. Stone Cold coming back isn’t that hard to believe. But that it was me with him, for me, incredible. The most special moment of my career, for sure.”

From a meeting in an airport in 2005 to the main event of WrestleMania. Image: WWE

Nineteen Years – Well Worth the Wait

Austin’s final match had initially been his WrestleMania 19 encounter with The Rock, in 2003. The match was not billed as a retirement match, but Austin stepped away from the ring due to longstanding issues with neck and knee injuries.

Over the next few years, Austin was persistently linked with comebacks against the likes of The Rock, John Cena, Hulk Hogan, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton and CM Punk. Of course, the former WWE Champion made semi-regular returns for roles as either an authority figure or a special guest referee. And despite none of the aforementioned dream matches becoming a reality, when the Texas Rattlesnake did finally lace ’em up for one more round, it was well worth the wait.

Featured Image Credit: WWE

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