"Stone Cold" Steve Austin famously walked out of WWE back in 2002 when it was booked for him to face Brock Lesnar in the opening round of that year's King of the Ring tournament on an episode of Monday Night Raw. Austin hated the idea, given how there was no build-up for the match and that he was booked to lose to "The Next Big Thing." Brian Gewirtz, a former Head Writer for WWE, confirmed in an interview with Cheap Heat this week that he was the one who pitched the idea, saying that interference from Eddie Guerrero would help kickstart the feud between "Latino Heat" and "The Texas Rattlesnake."
"I cop to it. I'm the one who proposed Austin vs. Brock that led to...it didn't lead to good things," Gewirtz said. "The story is, at the time, this was supposedly going to be a brand split that was a true brand split where it was going to be 'these guys are not going to face each other anytime soon.' The idea at the time, as we were talking with Vince in the creative meeting, was to really use it as a springboard for this Austin and Eddie Guerrero angle that we were doing at the time. Eddie was going to do a run-in and cost Steve the match. We had done stuff like that in the past. We did something somewhere similar with Austin causing a distraction that led to Hurricane beating Rock. I know Hurricane vs. Rock isn't a future main event and potentially the biggest match in WWE history, but at the time it was, 'we're not going to have this for years. When we do it, we're going to treat it like the biggest match in existence. We can afford to do this match and have it with a (distraction) finish,' and eventually, Vince (McMahon) changed it from a finish to a non-finish, with a DQ. 'Let's do this as a last hurrah kick-off before we truly split the brands.'
"I think everything, my part included, if I didn't know any better, when Steve gave an interview at the time to WWF Magazine and said, 'I don't need some kid straight out of sitcom school handing me a piece of paper.' I kind of deduced that he might have been talking about myself at that time," he added.
Austin would have three matches upon his return in 2003, culminating in a retirement match against The Rock at WrestleMania XIX. He would come out of retirement for just one night at WrestleMania 38, defeating Kevin Owens in an impromptu No Holds Barred Match.