During a recent episode of his “Steve Austin Show” podcast, WWE Hall Of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin told a story about establishing a relationship with The Undertaker early in both of their pro wrestling careers.
As Austin explains, he was new to the business and was trying to find a riding partner to travel with. Mark Calaway, the man who would go on to become The Undertaker, would accept, but not before Austin made a parting remark when the two were speaking on the phone.
“I was the guy who was just new to Tennessee. I’d just driven in. I was working babyface and I was trying to find someone to ride with.” Austin continued, “I was talking with The Undertaker. I guess he was The Punisher. I don’t know what [ring name] he was working with down there in Tennessee. And so, we were going to ride together, but since he was heel and I was baby, we had to kayfabe, so we didn’t ride together. And I knew we had a six-man tag that night, me and Dutch [Mantel] and somebody else against him and Soultaker and somebody else and I said, ‘alright, dude, I’ll see you tonight.’ I told him to watch out, [and said] ‘I might end up stretching you out there’. You know, just words to that effect and I was just kidding. I actually have a pretty good sense of humor.”
As the story goes, Undertaker didn’t take kindly to Austin’s joke and proceeded to stretch him during their match as a result.
“Well, Mark is a man’s man and if you know anything about the WWE, he’s the king of the locker room. He’s the go-to guy in the WWE. It has been that way forever. And I didn’t know his sense of humor. He didn’t know me from Adam. And, of course, all of a sudden, there’s a time for me and Undertaker or The Punisher to lock up in that match and because I just got out of [professional] wrestling school, I only know a little bit of chain wrestling. I know how to take a bump and he puts a couple of damn sugar holds on me and I’m just kind of laying there. It was Evansville, Indiana. No, it was a Tuesday. It was in Louisville, Kentucky. And there I was in the middle of the ring for about a minute and a half. He proceeded to put two or three holds that he had learned in Japan and he was a big MMA fan way back in the day, so I’m in there laying in the middle of the ring, getting twisted up like a pretzel. And all of a sudden, he decided enough was enough.”
While Undertaker wasn’t purposely trying to hurt Austin, he did teach him a lesson that he would take with him throughout the rest of his career.
“Now, he wasn’t hurting me, but he was just stretching me and letting me know what time it was. And so, I tagged out and someone else goes in the ring and Dusty [Rhodes] looks over at me in the corner right there by the ring post and he goes, ‘what was that all about?’ and I just shook my head. I didn’t know at the time. I said, ‘hell, I don’t know.’ But hell, I had insulted him on the phone by telling him that I was going to stretch him. This punk kid from Dallas, Texas with long blonde hair, two months in the [professional wrestling] business and I was going to stretch him. And he didn’t take a liking to that, so I quickly learned from that point on. I didn’t call him Mr. Punisher, but I learned a lesson that night that would stick with me forever.”
The “Steve Austin Show” podcast airs twice a week at PodcastOne.com.