Steve Austin Details Reasons Behind WWE Retirement In 2003
Austin's final match was with The Rock at WrestleMania 19
Steve Austin has revealed his motivation for retiring from wrestling at 38-years-old came from a desire to avoid doing permanent damage to himself.
'Stone Cold' has his final match in 2003 against The Rock at WWE WrestleMania 19, six years after the Hall Of Famer suffered a broken neck.
The Rattlesnake says that the damage done to his spinal cord was always present, despite recovering enough to return to action, and that he had to make the difficult decision to walk away from in-ring competition before he seriously hurt himself.
Austin told Esquire: "The reason I got out of the wrestling business was because in ’97, when I got pile-drived, I was a transient quadriplegic for about 60 seconds in front of 20,000 people on the Pay-Per-View.
"I was able to come back from that, but I bruised my spinal cord, so some neurological damage. Finally, just all of that started catching up to me, and I decided, you know what? I need to probably get out of here before I really do permanent damage. I retired at 38.
"Think about that, 38. That’s so many matches left in me, so much more money on the table, so many more stories to tell and fans to entertain. It took me a long time to come to grips with that.
"I got in this with the sole mission of being a professional wrestler. I wanted to be on top of the card, because that’s where you get all the attention, that’s where you make the most money. At anything you do in life, you want to be at the highest level, right? But I didn’t have a plan B when I got in, and I didn’t have an exit strategy when I got out."