On the latest episode of “Grilling JR”, Jim Ross discussed Steve Austin’s neck injury in 1997 and his subsequent return. Here are the highlights:
On Whether He Expected Austin To Return:
Well, we were hopeful obviously, because we knew that we had stumbled onto the hottest thing that we’d had in years, maybe ever, arguably. But there was no guarantee, Conrad, that he was coming back. The diagnosis was, ‘If he heals as we think he can, and he might, then if those stipulations are in place you might get him back in a couple, three months.’ But a lot of things had to happen and get in play before that was possible. And I know that he had a back neck to start with, football and things like that. But we didn’t realize the stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal cord. So there was no guarantee when he was coming back and you can’t book him. When I was booking the house shows at that time, and I was, I couldn’t go down to my booking and go, ‘Okay, I’ll do three months here, and I’ll book Steve on this card in three months,’ because t would have been false advertising. Because we weren’t sure that he was going to come back during that time frame or ever. So it was very touch-and-go, very tenuous. Nerve-wracking, to say the least that you want to get your guy back that you’re planning on giving a bunch of carries to. It was challenging, to say the least.
On How Often He Spoke To Austin During His Injury:
Every day, we got updates. I made more than one trip to San Antonio from Stanford to go check on him. He saw a great doctor there named Lloyd Youngblood, I believe that’s the fella’s name. He’s great. And here’s the thing: he was local, he was a neck expert, and Steve trusted the guy. And that really meant the world. He found a doctor that he really trusted, and he could be in his comfort zone at home in San Antonio while they got that taken care of. So no guarantee, man. There’s no guarantee at all. It was very hand-wringing. We weren’t sure, and so every day I would be on the phone with Steve or Debra, his wife at the time, and make sure that ‘Hey, what’s going on? How’s he feeling? How you feeling today? You got the tingling?’
On How Austin Dealt With His Injury:
He was going through a gambit of emotions. You know, Steve’s a very emotional guy. And that’s one of the things that has made him great in the things he does, he’s very very passionate. So he was in peaks and valleys, Conrad, on his moods. Because he didn’t know either. He didn’t know if his career [was over], and he was making a lot of money … he’d have made over 10 grand on the house alone [for Badd Blood], 5% of the net gross. And then PPV money. So point being, is that he had never made that kind of money in his whole entire life, and had been in the business seven years — starving in Memphis, working in Dallas, which is a dysfunctional world. So he finally got to where he wanted to be with that one stop off in ECW and we hire him. He was very moody, very emotional that his dream is over. And all I could ever do is continue to encourage him that ‘Your dream isn’t over. It’s not over until the doctor tells you it’s over, and he hasn’t said that! So give Mother Nature a chance to heal your big ass, and let’s see what happens.’
You can listen to the podcast below:
Credit: Grilling JR. H/T 411Mania.
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