"Stone Cold" Steve Austin officially retired from the world of professional wrestling following his match with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at WrestleMania XIX in 2003. Unlike so many other wrestlers, Austin has held firm on his retirement and has turned down every offer to come back for one more match (though he does appear on WWE television to hit the occasional Stunner). But also unlike most pro wrestlers, Austin managed to find ample success away from the wrestling business, working as both a television host and podcaster.
On the latest Cari and Jemele Won't Stick to Sports, Austin was asked about how difficult it was to transition to life away from wrestling. He admitted it was incredibly difficult, then offered advice to wrestlers who are currently in the business.
"It wasn't easy," Austin said. "It wasn't good, and I didn't know what I was going to do because I didn't have an exit strategy. But I knew after WrestleMania XIX with The Rock —and man we tore the place down, we headlined three WrestleManias together and Rock knew I was going to retire after that match — that was a hard thing to do. All my life, I either wanted to be a rock star or a pro wrestler. And it ended up I can't sing so I turned into a pro wrestler and had a pretty good run. But after that, I didn't have the rest of it figured out. So it was a very hard transition for me."
"I would tell anybody this, whether it's football, baseball, wrestling, something like that where the career window can be short, to be looking on the other side," he added. "And be looking at things you can do to gain some attention. Obviously, your main job is your main job, but look at what you're going to do once it's all over with. I didn't do that. It took my a long time to come to grips with the fact that I pulled the plug on myself. And turning back into, as I see it, a civilian and getting a job in the entertainment business. I kind of wasted three years of time living down in San Antonio. I originally came out to LA to maybe get to the movie business. And I made a few but I realized I didn't really like it. It became a means to an end. And I found hosting and podcasting and this show as presented to me. So I'm really happy in this world, but it was not easy for me at all."
Cari & Jemele (Won't) Stick to Sports airs every Thursday on VICE TV at 11:30 PM EST.