– Steve Austin recently spoke with Sports Illustrated’s Extra Mustard site. The full interview is at this link. Below are highlights:

Leaving pro wrestling in 2003:

“My neck wasn’t in a good way. I was living pretty fast. I hunted, I fished, and I drank. And not specifically in that order. It took me three years to get the business out of my system and really come to grips with what was going on. Retirement always sounds good, but man, it’s boring as hell. I got caught up having a good time, but it wasn’t getting me anywhere.”

Triple H’s role with WWE:

“Shane McMahon’s not there any more. He cashed in his chips and went his way, and now Stephanie McMahon and Paul are a force destined to take over whenever the old man bows out. It was very interesting when I went down to Denver to interview Triple H [for the Austin podcast broadcast]. We sat together for an hour and a half before the podcast started, and I’ll never, ever do that again. That conversation before we rolled cameras was ten times better than what we put on the podcast. He has changed dramatically. Now I don’t know if he’ll ever be perceived like Vince McMahon – that’s on him once he gets the reigns fully in his hands, but future success or failure will be in the hands of Paul Levesque.”

John Cena’s springboard stunner:

“There were even people saying I was hot that John Cena was using a version of the stunner. Man, there’s not a bigger John Cena fan on Planet Earth than Steve Austin. There’s no one I respect more on that crew than Cena. If he wanted to use the ‘Stone Cold Stunner’ exactly as it was, I’d have no problem with it, and that’s the bottom line. But here’s the thing – he already wasted it. Cena should have started beating people with it and making it one of his alternative finishes. Everybody’s finishing move has been prostituted to death now, and that goes back in the day when I wrestled The Rock at WrestleMania 17 at the Astrodome and I kicked out of a Rock Bottom and he kicked out of a stunner. You can only do that so many times. And now it happens three or four times in a match. Enough is enough.”

Seth Rollins:

“They’ve got the belt on the right guy at the right time in Rollins. If you want to go through the roster, there’s not a whole list of well-rounded workers – and this is being very frank – with the presence to actually carry that belt. There is no one better carrying that belt right now carrying that story than Seth Rollins.”

WrestleMania 31 and 32:

“There was no creative for me at WrestleMania XXXI. Now with WrestleMania XXXII coming up in Texas, I would be pretty damn sure I’m going to be there. It’s my home state and it just makes more sense. As much as I love the business and I love my fans, I don’t want to be at every WrestleMania. I was really happy to watch it in my house. I wanted to see Sting and Triple H wrestle, and I was excited for all my buddies in DX and the NWO, but I want the younger generation of wrestlers to experience it and have all the time dedicated to them. That’s the future. Some of the segments that weren’t wrestling went on too long. I love The Rock, but his segment was too long. That was time that could have been given to a talent to make or not make an impact. That’s their proving ground.”

Vince McMahon and their relationship:

“At times he’s been like a father figure, a brother, a mentor, a best friend, and an enemy. That was a short window of time when I say enemy, but we were at odds every now and again. This is a high-stakes business that is extremely personal.”

“Vince barely sleeps. He will outwork anybody I’ve ever met. He’s built an empire and worked his ass off to do it. No one ever handed him anything. The vision and the guts that he’s had – I can’t say enough about the guy. I have total respect for him.”