It was hard for Stone Cold Steve Austin to walk away from the wrestling ring and never look back at 38 years old, but it was a decision he said he had to make.
Austin's final big match took place at WrestleMania 19 when he lost to The Rock. Austin lost the match and retired from being a wrestler. In an interview with Jonathan Snowden of Bleacher Report, Austin spoke on constantly being asked whether or not he misses wrestling.
"They always ask me, 'Do you miss it?' No, man, because it's been so long now that ... I mean, I have to be over it now. But there is a small part of me, even though I don't live in the past, that says, 'Man, when you're 38 years old, man, in wrestling, you're really in your prime.' All of the learning that I'd done, working angles, talking promos, psychology with the crowd. You're really honed up at that age. And so to walk away from the table at seemingly a prime-time age was very, very tough for me to do, at many levels," Austin said.
Despite clamors from the wrestling world for him to come back, Austin has succeeded in avoiding coming out of retirement for one more match. Austin said he tried doing a variety of activities as he is retired and recalled a conversation he had with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. about walking away from the sport they dedicated their lives to. The former WWF Champion said he knew he had to be the one to make the decision to end his career.
"I spent a lot of time hunting, fishing and drinking. Just trying to deal with it. ... To walk away from the business was hard. I was talking to Dale Earnhardt Jr. last year on my show on USA Network, about how all the concussions caught up with him, he had to pull his own plug. A doctor wasn't going to tell him, 'Hey, you need to quit.' He pulled the plug on himself. I did the same thing. A doctor didn't look me in the eyes and say, 'Steve, you must retire now.' It was a decision I had to make for myself. When you're flying high, and you're this badass, tough-ass Stone Cold guy, and all your peers are just as tough as you, and you're riding down the road doing something you're so passionate about and you love so much, it would be anybody's dream to live that kind of life. And all of a sudden you've got to make a decision to take yourself out of the game. It was extremely hard to deal with," Austin said.
Since retiring, Austin has done a lot in media, from acting in movies to launching a successful podcast, hosting a show on the USA Network and the WWE Network.