For those that watched the Stone Cold Podcast with Paul Heyman on the WWE Network, you would have seen the the tense conclusion to the show that, in the eyes of many, may have just given us an indication of what the company have planned for next year’s WrestleMania.
As the show started to wrap up, Heyman turned the tables on his host and began asking questions of his own; first, what was Austin’s view on John Cena’s recent moveset addition of a springboard Stunner, before asking the question that everyone wants an answer to;
“Would you like to fight Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 32?”
Of course, it isn’t the first time Austin has been asked whether he would lace up the boots one more time, especially with Mania taking place in Texas, but this time Austin seemed to react a little differently; going into ‘Stone Cold’ promo mode, the host questioned whether Lesnar would want to wrestle him and “get his ass kicked in front of 105,000 fans”. Heyman appeared to be thrown off by Austin’s response and looked edgy as the show went off the air.
Given the recent claims that Vince McMahon has insisted that WrestleMania needs to be a sellout in Dallas next year, with Austin’s first match in 13 years surely a key to unlocking that particular achievement, it isn’t a stretch of the imagination to suggest that this may have been the first seeds to be planted for that match to potentially take place. There aren’t many better in the business of wrestling promotion than Heyman and, whether or not an Austin-Lesnar match is indeed on the drawing board for the big show next year, this provided a nice tease and something that will definitely get people talking.
From a booking standpoint, an Austin-Lesnar match would make sense. It has been well-documented that Austin previously walked out of WWE back in 2002 when he found out that he would be facing Lesnar on an episode of Raw, with Stone Cold aggrieved that such a high-profile match would take place on Raw with little-to-no build o or promotion. Heyman could easily spin it – given his verbal talents – that Lesnar has beaten everyone there is to beat, but never got the chance to beat Austin due to his walk-out. Equally, the story can be told that Austin has beaten the best that WWE has ever seen, but never defeated Lesnar. And if Austin is to return to the ring one more time, and obviously come out victorious given the occasion and location, it would not hurt Lesnar to be the one to lay down for a superstar of Austin’s calibre. It also gives Lesnar a meaningful angle to work, as his limited date contract does not realistically cater to another WWE World Heavyweight Championship reign, nor are there many genuine top-line superstars for him to work with.
As we are still some nine months away from Mania, it would appear far too early to seriously consider this as actually taking place, but with WWE desperate to bring the crowds into Dallas, Texas next April – see the ongoing public affection for Ronda Rousey and The Rock – and if Austin is willing to step into the ring again, we could have actually just seen the first step on the way to what could be one of the great WrestleMania matches.