By late 2001, Vince McMahon was trying to hide the effects of Stone Cold Steve Austin's injuries from the television audience.
On the latest episode of The Kurt Angle Show (via AdFreeShows), the Olympic Gold Medalist and WWE Hall of Famer detailed WWE's Unforgiven 2001 and the lead-up to the event. At the show, Kurt Angle faced and defeated Stone Cold to capture the WWE Championship.
Austin, much like Angle, dealt with a number of different injuries over the course of his career, whether it was his back, knees, or neck. Asked whether he ever had a conversation with The Rattlesnake during this era about how he was feeling or what he was dealing with, Angle shared the following:
"Well, I knew he was struggling with his knees, and, you know, his neck, he never really sold it," Angle began by saying. "Even after the surgery, he came back, he was 100% and he was going hard. But what happened with him, and the reason why he retired, is his back started to go to. He was really playing with fire because when he'd get up on the second rope to pose, his legs would twitch, really hard. It was noticeable on camera so Vince McMahon was telling Kevin Dunn, the producer, a don't film, don't show shots of Austin's lower body. Just of his upper body because his back was starting to go too and he was gonna have to have surgery again. He went to the doctor and that's what the doctor said. The doctor actually said I can fix you and Austin was like -- I think Austin just got a little worried that this injury was going to get worse and worse and even if he had surgery it was gonna be bad. So, he actually walked out of the doctor's office and didn't even answer him. He just left because he didn't believe he needed surgery. I think he just thought he was done."
Austin's in-ring career would last less than two more years. His final match came in March 2003 at WrestleMania XIX where he was defeated by The Rock. He would appear as an authority figure for the next year, but his appearances became sporadic following WrestleMania XX. Nowadays, he can be seen on the WWE Network hosting his Broken Skull Sessions series where he interviews the Superstars of yesterday and today.
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