Austin welcomed Vince to the podcast,which is on the Network. Austin asked him how the Network was doing and Vince said it was doing great both from a subscription and a content standpoint. Austin asked him about the UK and Vince said it’s been a stop/start thing and they hope to have it wrapped up by the first of the year, but noted that wasn’t a promise.’
Austin asked him how in tune Vince was with the wrestling fans right now. Vince said that they don’t do wrestling but sports-entertainment. Vince said that not every match is going to “hit” and no one else does the content weekly that they do and then broadcast it worldwide. Austin said he’d like to see more in-ring over the course of the show and asked Vince if he’s wrong in wanting too much wrestling. Austin said that sometimes the early segments take too long. Vince acknowledged that and said that you do have to give the audience a hook or they won’t care about the matches.
Austin said that there are no other big leagues for other talents to go to and there are talents who are walking on eggshells afraid to do anything. Vince said, “Well don’t piss anyone off.” Vince said that there isn’t as much camaraderie and silliness backstage as there was in Austin’s era. Vince said the last guy to really try and reach for the brass ring was John Cena. He sees potential in Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns but they aren’t there yet. He said the talents don’t do what Austin did. Austin challenged the roster to take chances and try to get over. Vince said the roster is thin and he wants to see guys do it as well.
Vince was asked what he was looking for in Superstars. Vince said he’s looking for someone who’s hungry and wants to learn and keep learning every day. Austin told a story about a wrestler getting a bigger than usual pop at MSG and Austin pointed it out to Vince and Vince said that he hoped that person got over. That told Austin it wasn’t just Vince with a magic wand but Vince hoping guys took the reigns.
Austin asked why Cesaro hasn’t clicked yet. Vince said that perhaps it’s because he’s Swiss but he hasn’t shown the charisma but Vince hopes he does/ Austin pointed out that the momentum was lost for him via the booking and Vince said he doesn’t have all the answers and Cesaro isn’t being given up on.
Austin talked about the Creative Team and how different it was from the days of Vince working from his pool. Austin asked why creative got so complicated. Vince said that the company grew in leaps and bounds and went public and it’s not going to be a one man show. Vince said he can’t do it all and joked that he used to work Pat Patterson to the bone. He talked about how when people would come by his house, they’d end up in the pool because Vince loves ribs and described it being one of the funniest things in the world. Vince said you have to have fun to make fun. Austin told a story about Shane tossing Vince in the pool.
Austin asked where Shane McMahon is. Vince said he’s a happy camper and has his hands in a lot of pots. He said Shane’s departure was something of a mutual thing. He said being a family in business is difficult. Vince said he tried to do what was right for business. Vince said his dad didn’t want him in the business and he wanted his kids to do what they wanted to do.
Vince told the story of an announcer holding his father up for money and his father refusing, then deciding Vince would be the announcer with no experience, “and you’re going to do a good job.” Vince gave him a partner and it was Arnold Skaaland.
Skaaland was a man of few words so Vince asked him father for someone else to help him. There were a number of individuals who helped him.
Austin asked him if he wanted to talk about CM Punk. Vince said he wanted to personally apologize for him getting his termination papers on his wedding day. He said that in a company their side, the different areas of the company didn’t know what was going on. He said that he didn’t want to go through dirty laundry. Vince said there have been others who were disgruntled and they said things they later regretted and he hoped they would one day work together again. Vince said he didn’t listen to the Colt Cabana interview but heard Punk used a lot of expletives and things were said that were his side of things. He said that he had issues with Austin and Hulk Hogan but they eventually came back. Vince said he was willing to work with Punk again and admits that he has a big ego, but is willing to put it aside and work with him down the line. Vince later said Punk worked really hard for the company.
Austin talked about working with Vince and being in a similar situation. Vince said Austin was difficult to work with at times. They talked about Austin walking out when he was asked to put over Brock Lesnar, Austin said he was hard-headed and never returned Vince’s calls. Finally, Jim Ross sent him a card in the mail and offered to talk with Steve anytime Ross put them back in touch. Austin asked if there was someone who could bridge the gap between Vince and Punk. Vince said that unfortunately there is not and Punk is pretty much a loner and has a lack of communication. Vince said that when attorneys get involved it’s going to “hell in a handbasket.”
Austin told a story about Vince fining him $650,000 when he returned. Vince then told him what he thought was fair. He settled on $250,000. Vince said when you walk out, not on the company but the fans you have to do something or else the next time you don’t like the creative, you walk out again.
Vince said that Austin had the communications, perhaps not with Vince but with others and Punk was a loner. Vince admitted he himself can be introverted and shy and he understands it and talked about feeling uncomfortable when he was at political events for his wife and would often find himself talking to the bartender, who was more his kind of people.
Austin talked about watching The Undertaker losing at Wrestlemania. He asked about the background of ending the streak. Vince said that no one wants to give back to the business more than Mark Calaway. He said that it was time and when you look down the line on who he could work with, who else was it going to be. There was no one else it could be. He said that Brock was the one person that Mark felt was the guy. Austin challenged him and Vince admitted he made the decision to end the Streak.
Austin asked Vince why Brock Lesnar isn’t around more. Vince said you don’t want him around more, because he’s a special attraction.
Vince said Randy Savage would absolutely be in the WWE Hall of Fame. He said it would be soon but not perhaps this year. Austin cornered him and made Vince say yes.
On Sting, Vince McMahon said he made a great impression but he’s the type of character you don’t need to see every week but “I think you’ll see him at Wrestlemania.” Austin said that when he was hot, he was on every show and Vince said the business has changed and some of it is contracts.
They talk about the Monday Night War. Vince said he always felt WWE was more passionate and WCW having talent in charge of their own creative created chaos. Austin said they don’t have any real competition and Vince said that they compete with everything on TV. He said they and WCW were burning so hot and it was a question of who was going to burn out first. Vince always kept ideas in huis pocket. He said all the WCW issues eventually wore them down.
Austin talked about Vince expanding WWF. Vince said he was willing to buy the AWA but Verne Gagne blew him off. Vince said all he had was creative skills, a lot of luck and big grapefruits. Vince said the territory promoters had money but they didn’t put it back in the business. Vince kept reinvesting in the production and bringing in partners from the outside to help you grow while the others were happy just filming a show in a studio. He said Bill Watts the only promoter who tried to really fight against them. He didn’t want to compete with Watts but then he sold out to Jim Crockett and Vince said, “Aha, I see where this is going. Jim Crockett wasn’t the smartest branch in the tree. Vince said cable television was down 10% because of all the other choices and they still compete with everything.
Vince McMahon said that there’s no heat with Jim Ross and he likes him as a human being. He said he didn’t want to get into it but there was an incident in Los Angeles that surprised Vince in how Ross handled it but said he was sure they would work together again one day. Vince said that he helped Jim get to where he wanted to go, back to Oklahoma. He said Jim worked really, really hard for him and contributed greatly. Ross was the one who decided to take it easy and help some and didn’t want to work 24/7, 7 days a week. He said you have to be “all in” on the business especially now with how massive the company is now.
Austin talked about the feud with Vince McMahon. Vince said they tapped into Americana with the feud and it crossed all demos. He put over Austin for it and said that when you create you have to have a degree of common sense over how people think. He talked about the reaction people would have for someone flaunting their money and acting over others. Vince said the Austin character is really Vince on the inside, so he acted the opposite.
Vince said he enjoyed this and would do it again. Austin said they were going to keep going for his podcast. Vince said that since he owns the Network, he decreed they were going another 15 minutes.
They kept talking about the feud and Vince’s lack of coordination in the ring. They talked about all the different places Vince got kicked as Austin was setting up for the Stone Cold Stunner. Vince said he isn’t eloquent enough to describe what it’s like to entertain the audience. Austin said it’s like shooting in your veins and it’s addictive.
Austin said Vince always wanted to be a wrestler but his father didn’t let him. Austin put over Vince’s announcing saying he could hokey and could go off the rails. Vince’s dad said he couldn’t be the business man and the wrestler. Later on, there’s was that opportunity and it was always his dream to be a performer and he’s glad he did it because it was one of the greatest thrills of his life. Austin pointed out that Vince didn’t see a Superstar in him and told Vince to go back and push his locker room. He asked Vince what it was like for him to generate the sort of heat Vince had back in the day. Vince said when you use the truth and use it against them. Using that psychology, it was easy to do.
Austin talked about the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and Vince wanted to take a bump off the cage through a table. He said the way he hit the table, he had a bruise across the back of his cheeks to the back of his knees and noted he could have ended up bleeding out but looking back he wouldn’t change it either.
Austin talked about his blood loss at Wrestlemania 13 and the night they did the double turn with Bret Hart. He talked about Vince giving him the finish backstage. Before they went to the ring, Bret suggested that Austin should be bleeding for that finish and Bret offered to blade him. Austin’s took the idea to Vince and approved it. He talked about the no color policy and Vince’s reaction to it. Vince said that he was probably a little pissed off at the time but it’s not about what he wants, but what the audience wants. Vince said that when you get that reaction, yes it’s against policy but you gave the audience what they wanted.
Vince was asked if he was really giving the audience what they want today when there’s no competition and how fans can tell him what they wants. Vince said their future is good and they are holding up strong for ratings. Austin asked why the matches are so segmented these days and if it was short attention span theater. Vince said it’s a change in society and how we text and don’t have conversations anymore. He said the product can get better but he’s not out of touch. Vince said he listens to the audience, not Twitter.
Austin asked Vince when he’s going to ride off into the sunset. Vince said he enjoys the business now more than ever before and is healthy and works as much now as he used to. He hasn’t lost a step mentally or physically and said despite what critics say, he hasn’t lost touch. Vince said with NXT, the future is bright.