Brock Lesnar is one of the biggest names to ever step into the WWE ring. However, his first run with the company in 2002 had its ups and downs. Lesnar was pushed almost immediately after debuting and ran through half the roster. But former WWE Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin refused to lose to Lesnar on an episode of RAW and walked out instead.
During the Attitude Era, Steve Austin was the biggest star in WWE and did not see a point in losing to a rookie in a one-off match on RAW. He has stated that he wouldn’t have had a problem putting Lesnar over if the build was right and it served a storyline purpose.
As per Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Stone Cold was heavily buried and punished for walking out on RAW, primarily because the company did not have any competition. WWE doesn’t treat its top names like that anymore as they fear that the talent may leave for AEW.
”WWE suspended Steve Austin without pay in 2002 for refusing to come to TV for a match he was to lose to Brock Lesnar, but that came at a time when they were the only real game in town. They also buried him heavily, far more than would be the case here [Banks and Naomi’s walkout], which also was a terrible idea and shortsighted,” said Meltzer.
Brock Lesnar did not have a problem with Steve Austin refusing to lose to him
In a recent interview with Pat McAfee, Brock Lesnar spoke about never getting in the ring with Stone Cold. He said that he understood Austin’s point and could see why he didn’t want to do it.
“I understand from a business aspect,” Lesnar said. “At the time Steve left and you know…didn’t want to work with me and it was probably the right decision for him at the time. You know, I don’t hold a grudge against it at all. Business is business, I got that right away. I had a lot of good mentors, you know, coming up in the business.”
Dave Meltzer also stated that WWE made a big mistake by burying Steve Austin as it diminished his star power. When he did return to the company, he wasn’t as big a draw as he was before he left.
Suggested: We never understood why Brock Lesnar hates these WWE Superstars!