Jim Ross recently talked about a wide range of topics on his Grilling JR podcast.
During it, the former WWE commentator talked about Steve Austin’s neck injury from an Owen Hart piledriver at WWE SummerSlam 1997. Here are the highlights:
Austin’s neck injury and Austin’s reaction after the match:
“That was so scary that night there in the Meadowlands. All the signs led to bad news – losing feeling and all these things, the delicateness of the neck and how that affects everybody. You can’t take a flatback bump well because of the sensitivities of the injury. So, it was a scary ass night, I can promise you. Steve was so despondent because I truly believe in his heart that his run was over. It was almost like cruel irony. Here’s a guy that worked all his life to get to WWE and get his break, he made it happen, and then all of a sudden, it looks like it was over. That was a very emotional night, to say the least. A lot of late-night phone calls and follow-up with the doctor and things like that, and trying to talk Steve off the ledge, so to speak. As he should be, he was looking at multi-million dollars of money out there floating around that he was gonna earn, and it was just one of those deals.”
Austin continuing to be on WWE television after the injury:
“He was hell-bent to do whatever it took to keep his presence on television alive, and quite frankly, as fun as it was to call Austin’s matches and I called a ton of them obviously during that period of time when he was hottest, we didn’t use our best judgment there. Steve insisted that he be on television. It wasn’t like, ‘Let’s talk about it.’ There’s no talking about it. ‘I’ll be there Monday, and we’ll do whatever I gotta do.’ The fans, as I started to say, how much they loved watching Austin wrestle – they just wanted to see him. They wanted to hear him and his swagger and bravado and all that stuff. People lived vicariously through that. Getting Steve on television, it was good in a sense that it helped Steve and it helped the show and it helped the ratings, but it probably wasn’t the smartest thing we could’ve done. In hindsight, he should’ve taken some more time off, but he was insistent. It wasn’t an option, ‘I’m going to work, and I’m gonna entertain these people. I’m not gonna lose my spot.’”
H/T to 411 Mania for the transcription