I don’t know about any of you, but I find myself being a big fan of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s interview style.
He’s not the most eloquent speaker you’re ever going to hear, but he isn’t supposed to be. The man you see and hear in his interviews is who he really is, and it comes across that way. The subjects he’s interviewing, at least in the WWE Network and Peacock versions of his shows, are people he knows, or knows of, very well. There isn’t a ton of research that needs to go into interviewing someone you wrestled a million times, you know?
Between the Stone Cold Podcast and Broken Skull Sessions, we’ve now seen 27 episodes of him interviewing people. Let’s take a look at the interview subjects, listed in chronological order, with the date their episode debuted:
- Vince McMahon (December 1st, 2014)
- Triple H (February 2nd, 2015)
- Paul Heyman (June 1st, 2015)
- Paige (August 3rd, 2015)
- Edge and Christian (September 7th, 2015)
- Brock Lesnar (October 19th, 2015)
- Shawn Michaels (December 13th, 2015)
- Ric Flair (January 11th, 2016)
- Big Show (February 15th, 2016)
- Mick Foley (March 31st, 2016)
- AJ Styles (June 20th, 2016)
- Dean Ambrose (August 8th, 2016)
- The Undertaker (November 24th, 2019)
- Goldberg (December 15th, 2019)
- Kane (January 12th, 2020)
- Big Show (February 23rd, 2020)
- Bret Hart (March 16th, 2020)
- Ric Flair (April 12th, 2020)
- Mark Henry (June 28th, 2020)
- Jerry Lawler (September 6th, 2020)
- Kurt Angle (September 27th, 2020)
- The Undertaker (November 22nd, 2020)
- Drew McIntyre (December 13th, 2020)
- Bayley (January 10th, 2021)
- Sasha Banks (February 21st, 2021)
- Randy Orton (March 21st, 2021)
- Chris Jericho (April 11th, 2021)
Not exactly a lot of “lesser” names on that list, as you can see.
Where do we go from here, though?
I’ve been watching a lot of these episodes recently, either finishing ones I only watched parts of, or watching ones I’ve been putting off. It got me to thinking about the future of the show and guests that I would love to see for one reason or another. Just for fun, I wanted to keep it to guests that haven’t been used before. Obviously, 2021 Edge has a lot more to talk about than 2015 Edge did, but he was excluded from being listed. Same for people like Vince McMahon, Paul Heyman, etc.
Hulk Hogan: I know. Trust me… I know. Yes, Hulk Hogan is one of the biggest stars in the history of pro wrestling and would. He would, no doubt, have countless stories to tell from his decades in the business. Then again, there’s that… other thing. You know the thing. Another thing I love about Austin’s interviews is that he has no problems with tackling the sensitive topics. If Hogan is going to be on an episode of The Broken Skull Sessions, Austin’s going to ask him about the racist comments Hogan made in that now-infamous 2012 tape. It would then be up to Hulk to be honest, give half-truths, or outright lie. I just think it would make for must-see programming to have Austin refuse to handle Hogan with kid gloves and to watch The Hulkster squirm in his chair.
John Cena: Makes sense to me. Whether you’ve heard it all or not, Cena has lived one of the most interesting and, perhaps, unlikely careers in wrestling history. One of wrestling’s all-time biggest names, he’s now transitioning to a huge career in Hollywood, so you’ve certainly got the star power there. While Cena wouldn’t have a Hogan moment where he’s backed into a corner and has to discuss some major controversy from his career, he’s someone who has shown himself to be very articulate and honest about anything sent his way.
Ted DiBiase: A lot of the interview subjects Austin has had on his shows are people who have some sort of connection to him. As Austin’s manager for his WWF debut as The Ringmaster, “The Million Dollar Man” fits that bill. DiBiase was only by Austin’s side for a little under five months, but it’s not exactly the only thing he’s accomplished in his career. He’s a second-generation wrestler, the son of Helen Hild and the adopted son of “Iron” Mike DiBiase, the latter going on to pass away from a heart attack in the middle of a match. That alone is a “draw” as a conversation topic. Ted would eventually go on to be trained by the legendary Funk brothers, Terry and Dory Jr. Teams and feuds with the likes of The Fabulous Freebirds, Ric Flair, Stan Hansen, The Junkyard Dog, and Jim Duggan would make for some more fun stories. That’s all before he ever became “The Million Dollar Man” in the first place.
Jake Roberts: Hey, if Chris Jericho can appear on The Broken Skull Sessions while working for AEW, why not Jake “The Snake” Roberts? Besides, if you watch the preview video for the upcoming season of the new A&E series, WWE’s Most Wanted Treasures, do you know who you would see making an appearance? Jake Roberts. One of the great orators in the history of the business, and with one of the most incredible backstories to go with it, Roberts is someone who would have no shortage of tales to tell. You want happy? He’s got stories about being one of the biggest stars in the WWF during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. You want sad? He’s got a well-known history of addiction and a tragic childhood filled with physical and sexual abuse that he has been open about in the past. There’s also the connection to Austin himself, as Roberts was the man Austin defeated to become the 1996 King Of The Ring. Jake’s born-again Christian gimmick at the time led to Austin’s infamous “Austin 3:16” promo that saved the WWF and changed the course of wrestling history forever. You think Roberts will have an interesting point-of-view about THAT?
Eric Bischoff: I understand that Austin doesn’t exactly want Bischoff to get hit by a bus these days, but there’s still a lot of fun that could be had by having these two in the same episode. Even if you don’t talk about their history together, Bischoff has tons of material to use for an interview show like this. The main selling point would definitely be Bischoff firing Austin while he was running WCW, though. Like I said with Hogan, it would be a lot of fun to see Bischoff squirm in his chair a bit while he talks about how he didn’t think Austin was a marketable wrestler that you could push to the top, all while Austin sits right across the table from him.
Mike Tyson: I kinda went back-and-forth on this one. There’s no doubt “Iron” Mike has lived the equivalent of 20 lifetimes in his almost 55 years on Earth. Obviously, he also has a major connection to Steve Austin’s career, being there on the night Austin defeated Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 14 to win his first WWF Title. It would be nice to have a major celebrity fan on the show, just as a change of pace, where he could talk about his history as a fan and all that jazz. The problem with Mike Tyson is that he remains a lightning rod and controversy follows him around. Over the last year or so, we’ve all seen the stories and accusations that have come with the #MeToo movement reaching the world of wrestling. So, so, so many wrestlers and wrestling personalities accused of some downright disgusting behavior, ranging from plain creepy to completely illegal. Well, in 1992, Tyson was convicted of rape and sentenced to prison. Nearly 30 years later, there are a lot of people who want him to have no place in the sport because of his history. To make the entire thing even more flammable is the fact that Austin himself has been in trouble with the law for alleged physical incidents with the women in his lives. Announcing Mike Tyson as a guest on The Broken Skull Sessions would create a ton of buzz. Unfortunately, not all of that buzz would be of the positive variety. In the end, I’ve decided to include Tyson in this column. Not because I’m downplaying his legal issues or anything along those lines, but because I think there’s a lot to be said about second chances and people paying for their sins. He was sentenced to prison time, served that prison time, and has been clean of that type of crime ever since. Legal issues and arrests since then, yes, but of the tax and drug variety.
Becky Lynch: Hey, let’s lighten the mood a bit after all that, shall we? This one is pretty simple. Austin has already had two of the “Four Horsewomen” group on his show, so let’s just keep it moving and have Becky Lynch on the show, too. You could easily have this section be for Charlotte Flair, too. I just happen to like Becky more, so I listed her instead. Austin is a well-known fan of these women and what they’ve been able to accomplish, so I don’t think there’s any doubt all four of them will end up as show guests before all is said and done.
CM Punk: Tons of people are still holding out hope for a CM Punk in-ring return. Count me as one of those people. With each passing month, though, that becomes less and less likely. Punk is going to be 43 years old later this year, and hasn’t wrestled in over seven years. He continues to show signs of being happy with his post-wrestling life. I guess the “never say never” tag comes into play here, but like I said, it’s just becoming less and less likely that we’ll ever see Punk return, at least in a WWE ring. Well, the next best thing would be to have him in an episode of The Broken Skull Sessions. The obvious problem with this one is just how honest WWE would allow Punk to be. It is an interview airing under their programming umbrella, after all. A lot of the shine in a Punk appearance is dulled immediately if he can’t be honest about the end of his WWE run, what happened after he left the company, and how he views the current product. If there was ever going to be a vehicle for him to provide that honesty, though, this would be it. Can you just imagine what would happen if Steve Austin or WWE tweeted a teaser about Punk being on the show? It would be insane.
Kevin Nash: Austin and Nash have crossed paths before, but this is one entry that is more about the guest’s career than any connection they have with the host. Kevin Nash is one of the most charismatic people to ever step foot in a wrestling ring, and I would love to hear him tell stories on a show like this. Nash has had plenty of frustrations with the way his early-90’s WCW run went. He jumped to the WWF and saw a meteoric rise from silent bodyguard for Shawn Michaels to becoming the WWF Champion and one of the biggest stars of that era. Then, of course, his game-changing jump back to WCW and forming the nWo. It would be fun to have Austin and Nash talk about that era, specifically, as the nWo was largely the reason WCW started dominating the Monday Night War, only for the rise of Austin to help win the war in the end.
The Rock: Come on. This is THE episode. This is what everyone is waiting for. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of the biggest celebrities alive today. One of wrestling’s all-time greats, he has gone on to dominate Hollywood, becoming one of the biggest and highest-grossing stars ever. Like The Undertaker, The Rock is someone who could be brought back as a guest for a second round because there’s just so much to talk about. You could have one episode on Austin and Rock’s history together all by itself. This would be a tough, tough act to follow. I’ve already seen people say that they should save Rock for the series finale of The Broken Skull Sessions, because you’re not going to be able to top that. I’m in partial agreement with that. It would be tough to go from The Rock to, say, JBL or someone like that as the next guest.
What say you, ReaderLand? Who do you want to see on future episodes, and why? There are some mighty big names out there that I didn’t include (not for any particular reason, before anyone tries to jump down my throat about it). As usual, hit me up in the comments section below, or on Twitter (@HustleTheSavage), and let me know what’s on your mind.
Weekly Power Rankings
- The Young Bucks vs Pac & Rey Fenix: This is a pay-per-view main event that we got on an episode of Dynamite. Can’t go wrong with that, as long as it isn’t something that happens all the time. The match itself was entertaining as all hell, even if the outcome was never truly in doubt. I can’t really say I’ve been a huge fan of the Bucks and their acting over the last few weeks, but at least I got a bit of a break from that here.
- Riddle vs Randy Orton: This was one of those matches where everyone ASSUMED the outcome wasn’t in doubt, but then Riddle pulled off the upset victory. Even if it went the expected route, it still would’ve been a really good match. Riddle’s booking has been all over the map, but he still puts on really good performances in his matches. Orton is a veteran that can adapt his in-ring style to whatever opponent he’s facing, which all the greats can usually do.
- Ronda Rousey: Congratulations to the expecting mother after the announcement that she is pregnant. Definitely a cause for celebration. As far as wrestling is concerned, I guess it just means she won’t be returning to the ring as soon as many expected, if she returns at all. That’s not important, of course. Just something to mention after all of the “Ronda should be returning to the ring soon” rumors we’ve seen in the last few weeks.
- Kyle O’Reilly vs Cameron Grimes: I still don’t know how I feel about the new version of Kyle O’Reilly, but he’s still going to be putting in quality matches, so I’ll take it. As for Cameron Grimes, I am, once again, contractually obligated to mention that he nearly broke my leg at an independent show a few years ago. Grimes has been relatively protected in his NXT stint, but he doesn’t have a ton of wins to show for it. That’s pretty strange to me.
- MLW Coming To Vice: Who’s ready for even more wrestling action on television every week?!? I am, actually, especially when it’s something different. MLW has been one of the better independent promotions going for a while now, and this is an opportunity for them to grow their audience some more. Wrestlers like Jacob Fatu are going to become bigger names now, and I love that.
- Sarray vs Zoey Stark: Zoey Stark, like Cameron Grimes, has been protected in her NXT run, but she continues to lose. She’s 2-5 since debuting for the company, but she has performed well in the losses. She appears to be on the verge of something bigger. It’s just a matter of when that happens. Sarray, on the other hand, had an impressive debut and looks like she’s going to be a force in the future. The always-strong NXT women’s division just continues to get bigger. They keep losing women to the main roster, but they always rebuild and reload.
- Chris Jericho vs Dax Harwood: Another nice brick in the build to the upcoming Blood & Guts Match between The Inner Circle and The Pinnacle. I can’t help but feel the story has been rushed a bit to this point, but I’m still enjoying it. It’s all about that Blood & Guts Match, though. That’s going to be a bloodbath.
- Cesaro Potentially Moving Up: I like the tease of Cesaro moving up to feud with Roman Reigns over the Universal Title. People have been waiting for Cesaro to reach that level for a while now, and he might be on the verge of getting there. He just has to deal with Seth Rollins again at WrestleMania Backlash, but then maybe at WrestleMania Money In The Bank or WrestleMania The Horror Show At Extreme Rules or WrestleMania SummerSlam. My biggest concern with Cesaro being in a singles feud with Roman Reigns is those darn promos. Cesaro has never been known as the greatest promo man in the business, and putting him up against Reigns and Paul Heyman (and even Jey Uso) could be a very one-sided battle. That’s not going to help things. We’ll have to wait and see. It could be one of those situations where Reigns’ opponent steps their game up and puts out their best work after having the spotlight placed on them.
- Open Challenges: You get an open challenge! You get an open challenge! Everyone gets an open challenge!
- Bye-Bye, Retribution: The group dumped Mustafa Ali, and now T-Bar and Mace have been unmasked. Add that to the fact that Reckoning and Slapjack have been sent to Smackdown, and it seems like Retribution may finally be done. Eight-ish months of, arguably, the worst stable in wrestling history, and it might be over now. Nature is healing.
This Week’s Playlist: “Maybe She’ll Dream Of Me” by The Foreign Exchange… “I Wanna Know” by The Foreign Exchange… “Save Room” by John Legend… “Refuge (When It’s Cold Outside)” by John Legend… “My Baby You” by Marc Anthony… “Superman” by Tarrus Riley… “You Are” by Charlie Wilson… “Feel So Good” by Razah… “No One” by Alicia Keys… “Still The One” by Orleans… “All I Need” by Sterling Simms & Jadakiss… “Swim Good” by Frank Ocean… “I Belong To You (Every Time I See Your Face)” by Rome… “What You Won’t Do For Love” by Bobby Caldwell… “All I Want Is You” by Miguel & J. Cole… “Sure Thing” by Miguel… “They Don’t Know” by Jon B… “Pretty Girl” by Jon B… “Someone To Love” by Jon B & Babyface… “Rock Wit’cha” by Bobby Brown