Stone Cold Steve Austin has worked so closely with WWE lately in order to get as much publicity as he could get for his recent "Straight Up Steve Austin" USA Network show, but his efforts could have easily been confused with promotion for iconic Fox vehicle "Glee". More than sweat and even beer, the emotion p*ssed from his every pore.
Austin beamed during his hilarious show-closing spiel on the otherwise-ordinary Raw Reunion show, put every bit of his weathered back and neck into getting the Seth Rollins/Braun Strowman angle over as too intense for mere mortals, and popped himself as much as the Madison Square Garden Raw crowd with a sh*thot Stunner on AJ Styles.
Everybody got to win. 'The Rattlesnake' was in his element, his contemporaries and those that came in his wake appeared thrilled to be in his presence, whilst fans lapped up every last second of his rich involvement, sure in the knowledge that it'll be tragically fleeting for now.
Clichéd as it sounds, it's the relationship with the live crowds that fuels Austin like never before. He looks joyously blown up after scaling all four turnbuckles, as drunk on the adulation at the start of the evening as he gets on Broken Skull IPAs at the end. It's an adulation saved only for those fabled "Mount Rushmore" candidates - a place 'The Bionic Redneck' booked a spot long before he'd even formally retired.
But it had to be that way for an industry icon on borrowed time. "Long before he'd formally retired", he was nearly forced to formally retire.