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Wrestling Legend Jim Ross Shares Surprising Thoughts On Stone Cold Steve Austin's WWE Return For Wrestlemania 38

Stone Cold Steve Austin addressing Kevin Owens in WWE
(Image credit: WWE)

Stone Cold Steve Austin shocked the wrestling world when he announced an upcoming appearance at WrestleMania 38, which initially seemed like it'd be a match with Kevin Owens. Of course, the WWE's official wording so far for Austin's return is very cryptic, and while it’s possible a match could happen, there is now skepticism about how involved it will actually be, with a decent enough chance that it could amount to a short segment meant to hype up the Dallas attendees. Such doom-laden theorizing just got bolstered by wrestling legend and current AEW commentator Jim Ross, who shared some surprising thoughts on Stone Cold’s return. 

Jim Ross talked about Stone Cold Steve Austin on a recent episode of his podcast Grilling JR, and to put it simply, he doesn’t feel like fans should be getting their hopes up for Stone Cold going ham in a full-on match against Kevin Owens. Ross spoke about his recent conversation with the WWE legend, and shared his assessments based on what they spoke about.

It looks like Austin is not going to do anything at WrestleMania as far as wrestling in the ring. He and I have talked, but at the time we talked, he didn't know what he was going to do, and he didn't sound overwhelmingly enthusiastic about it.

That doesn’t sound like anything fans excited to see Stone Cold Steve Austin return would want to hear, especially the fact he allegedly wasn’t “overwhelmingly enthusiastic” about  Of course, Jim Ross is an employee of AEW currently, and while I don’t think he’d intentionally misrepresent a friend that he has a repertoire with like Stone Cold, it does warrant a consideration that Ross isn’t necessarily incentivized to hype up any planned WWE events.  

Jim Ross went on to say that Steve Austin is a perfectionist, and someone who stays in shape in order to put on the best show possible, whatever that show might be. Ross added that if he had planned out this event, with wrestling absolutely being involved, then he’d have had Austin’s involvement locked down at least six months in advance, so that the retired star could have enough time to train and readjust to taking bumps. It’s not entirely clear when the WWE confirmed Stone Cold’s involvement in WrestleMania 38, though the official announcement of his involvement came less than a month before the two-night event. 

Jim Ross added a few other predictions to the mix, based on his past experience with Stone Cold Steve Austin, that cast further doubt on the Texas Rattlesnake actually having a match at WrestleMania 38. Ross admitted he might be wrong, but that the Stone Cold he knows likely wouldn’t put on a match with so little lead time. 

I don't have a lot of optimism for it. I don't want to be a negative Nelly, but he's not going to do it unless he thinks he can pull it off as something perfect, and I don't know that he can do that even in my mind or his mind with only a few weeks to prepare for it. It all can change by the time people hear this. It could be the biggest announcement of the day, the trending news of the day, I have no idea, but I know him, and he doesn't like surprises. He likes to prepare and, if anything, over prepare because he always wants to give the fans their money's worth. He's got a legacy that he's built around the Stone Cold brand that he's not going to purposely, or by his own hand, make himself look bad, and I don't blame him.

The sad truth of many legendary wrestlers' returns is that the idea is often much better than the execution. I’m sure few would declare that asome of Undertaker’s final return matches in the WWE are among his best, and the same goes for Goldberg and others. (Maybe Sting gets a pass here. Maybe.) Those guys remained active in wrestling longer than Stone Cold Steve Austin did, thanks to his career-shorting neck injury, so it’s hard not to take Jim Ross’ word (even if he has some unpopular opinions at times) that there may not be much wrestling happening. Of course, he doesn’t know that, but he also knows a bit about the situation to make an educated guess that fans can trust. Another educated guess? That Austin will smash up at least a 12-pack of beer just on his way to the ring that night.

Regardless of how he’s involved, WrestleMania 38 will feature Stone Cold Steve Austin. Anyone interested in watching will need a Peacock premium subscription or a willingness to order it on pay-per-view on Saturday, April 2nd, and Sunday, April 3rd. Here’s hoping, whatever that WWE has planned, that fans aren’t left disappointed. 

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.