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Bruce Prichard on Steve Austin’s Neck Issues Returning in 1999, Being Worried About Austin’s Health

January 2, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Steve Austin WWF Image Credit: WWE

– On the latest Something to Wrestle With, Bruce Prichard recalled Steve Austin’s neck issues becoming a problem again in 1999 and being concerned about his long-term health. Austin famously had neck issues stemming back from the botched piledriver he took from Owen Hart at SummerSlam 1997. Those issues would pop back up throughout his career and in 1999, he had to undergo neck surgery that caused him to be written out via the infamous angle that saw him run over at Survivor Series. He would be out for nine months after that, not returning until Backlash in April of 2000.

Highlights from the discussion, and the full podcast, are below:

On Austin’s neck injury coming back: “Dude, man, it was a bad time. It was — unfortunately, during this period it felt like if it weren’t for back luck, Steve would have no luck at all. And he was going through and trying to work through a lot of the pain and the symptoms thinking that, ‘Okay man, if I work through it’ — and Steve’s one of those guys that is not always going to tell you everything that’s going on with him. But when he started getting the tingling, and Steve started to have the symptoms more frequently than not, it worried him. And it worried us. Because you could tell. You could tell that there was just something off a little bit in the way that Steve was working. Whether he was a little bit more careful in the ring, and the way that he moved in the ring. So for Steve to step up and say ‘Hey,’ raise his hand and say something in the first place, you know it’s gotta be hurting him really bad. And Steve’s a proud guy He just doesn’t — he don’t want to let himself down, he doesn’t want to let other people down. So yeah, this was a s**tty time. Because we’re looking at it, going, ‘We can’t make plans with him until we know exactly what the situation is.’ And there were just still at this point, so many questions that were left unanswered.”

On Austin saying in interviews at the time that he’s doing well: “No, it’s not [good]. And the other issue with it was, just the unknown. And having — you can go to 10 different doctors and you’ll get 10 completely different opinions. So that was troubling, because I think there was a part of Steve, that Steve was looking for the answer that he wanted to hear. And in this particular situation, there were doctors that were giving him hope, and then there were doctors that were telling him, ‘Hey Steve man, maybe you need to hang up the boots.’ I don’t think any of them at this period were saying, ‘Naw Steve, man, you’re good to go.’ And I think that’s what Steve was looking for. But he also hung onto that glimmer of hope that, ‘You can work through this, man. This’ll be all right. And whether it’s a minor surgery, or we do some rehab here, we’ll work our way through it.’ And I think that’s what Steve and everybody else was hoping for.”

On concern for Austin’s health: “At the same time, we’re looking at the long term, and the health of him overall. Because if he’s not healthy or something happens to him that he’s paralyzed, that’s not good for anybody, obviously. So you’re wanting to say, ‘Let’s get you healthy for the long run. We can deal with the short run here. Business is good, we can f**king deal with it. We can make some adjustments, and change as we go along.’ But the priority was his health, and saying, ‘Okay, get you better and let’s figure out what’s going on here.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Something to Wrestle with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.