WWE News & Notes 2014: Stone Cold Steve Austin Considers Return; Which WWE Superstars Should Face Him?
Rumors are running rampant that "Stone Cold" Steve Austin may step back into the ring for one last match, with WrestleMania 31 the possible target date for his return to action.
Austin has always made it clear that he would be willing to return if the right angle and opponent were to piqued his interest -- having even teased a desire to get in the ring with very much retired CM Punk quite some time ago, but are there are other opponents out there that could help WWE put together one last classic bout featuring "The Rattlesnake?"
Here is a look at some potential opponents that could face off against Austin should he step into the ring:
It is obvious Rusev is getting a huge push as a heel powerhouse, not just getting put over by Jack Swagger, Mark Henry and more than likely the Big Show, but got "the rub" from one of the WWE's most iconic superstars this Monday just being in the same ring with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
A battle between Rusev and Lana, with the European duo representing Putin and Mother Russia, versus a Texas-bred rattlesnake with a love for beer and flipping people off with his middle fingers practically writes itself. Rusev and Lana already get great heat during their promos and with Austin 3:16 representing the Stars and Stripes, this is a rivalry that can get American wrestling fans feeling very patriotic at the prospect of the bout.
"The Lunatic Fringe" is the closest thing wrestling has seen to "The Loose Cannon" Brian Pillman in quite a long time. Ambrose's demeanor channels Austin's former Hollywood Blondes tag team partner Pillman in a very uncanny manner, making him a perfect foil for Austin. Ambrose is a face who is a bit of a throwback to the Attitude Era days, when faces did not behave like faces and crowds merely enjoyed a "devil may care" swagger they exhibited.
The match itself can go many ways due to both wrestlers high acumen --- be it a barroom brawl or a technical match that can go for many hours, allowing for an exciting match no matter how it goes down. And the promos seem to have the potential to be classic, as Ambrose is showing to be very good on the mic over the last few weeks in his blood feud with his former Shield stablemate Seth Rollins.
While he may be hurt, Bryan is slated to return in time for the Royal Rumble and may be the best viable opponent for Austin. Stone Cold would need to find an opponent that could "protect" him in the ring --- meaning compete with someone who will not put him in a position to permanently hurt himself considering his various injuries, including a neck injury suffered at the hands of the late Owen Hart in August 1997 after a Piledriver that went wrong.
No one can protect Austin better than Bryan, who is easily the most gifted technical wrestler on the WWE roster. And coming off major surgery himself, no one can empathize with Austin on the need to be careful while also putting on a five-star performance better than Bryan.
And them there is the battle of the catchphrases. Give me a "Hell Yeah" if you want to see "YES! YES! YES!" go up against "WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?" in a live event? The audience would eat this up in a heartbeat.
Add the fact that mat technicians like Bryan bring out the best in Austin -- see Kurt Angle and Bret Hart for their classic battles with "The Rattlesnake" -- and the bottom line is that the "American Dragon" is clearly the best opponent to pair up with Austin should he return to the ring.
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