WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross and Conrad Thompson's latest episode of the Grillin' JR podcast covered "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's decision to walk out on the company back in 2002. During the conversation Ross was asked about why WWE never went ahead with a feud between Austin and Hulk Hogan, given that they were two era-defining legends and Hogan was back in the company following the end of WCW. Ross said the decision came down to Austin not believing the two would be able to put on a great match given their wrestling styles.
"Austin had it in his mind that Hogan's style and Austin's style were oil and water," Ross explained. "He just didn't feel the chemistry. Austin was never about having good matches. Austin was about having great matches."
"It didn't happen because Steve didn't push for it," he added.
Back in July 2019 Austin had Hogan on as his guest on The Steve Austin Show and admitted he regretted never making the match happen. The only time the two ever shared the ring was on an episode of Raw leading up to WrestleMania X-8, in which Austin teamed with The Rock to face Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. Hogan would go on to have an all-time classic with Rock at WrestleMania, and "The Hulkster" turned face shortly afterwards.
"I was in such a different headspace when that window of opportunity presented itself," Austin said. "Sometimes I kick myself in the ass over it. I was so frazzled towards the end and was just in a bad space. It never happened. And it should have happened. I think if we could have just got in a room, you and I, and just talked. [When you came to WCW], I remember, I'm up-and-coming and here comes the biggest attraction in the history of the business to WCW and I'm thinking, 'Great, here comes the top attraction and now I'm another notch down the ladder.'
"I always had this grudge against you because you were the guy," he continued. "How am I going to overtake [you] when I can't even get past midcard status? It was a competitive grudge. [When you came back to WWE], if we had ever got into a room, we probably could have done business together. That's one of the biggest regrets off my career outside of not showing up against Brock [Lesnar]. I would have loved to work a program with you."