There have been a lot of rumors surrounding "Stone Cold" Steve Austin an his role at next year's WrestleMania 32 -- will he wrestle Brock Lesnar? Will he wrestle at all? Well, according to the man himself, he isn't planning on lacing up the black boots ever again.
Even though he's not planning on wrestling, "Stone Cold" has said that he plans on being at the show. Whether he's used in an on-camera role, or whether he's just there to hang out backstage remains to be seen. But, according to the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Austin may not attend the event unless a certain group gets inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
For several years now, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, among others, has been a huge advocate for the Fabulous Freebirds -- Michael "P.S." Hayes, Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy, and Buddy "Jack" Roberts -- getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, but year after year they continue to be left out.
Austin and several others feel that, with WrestleMania taking place in the state of Texas, where the Freebirds had their most successful run, it's the perfect time for the trio to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Ric Flair recently had Michael Hayes, who is now a producer for WWE, on his podcast, and the two talked about the Freebirds getting inducted into the Hall of Fame, and Flair jokingly said that he thinks that Austin may boycott WrestleMania weekend if Hayes, Gordy, and Roberts don't get inducted next year, as he feels that it's long overdue.
Flair also noted that the Freebirds should have been inducted the night before WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans, as the trio was also massive in the state of Louisiana.
With all of the talk that the Freebirds need to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next year, it would seem that WWE can't ignore the demand anymore. But even if WWE decides to not induct them for whatever reason, it's highly unlikely that Steve Austin will boycott the biggest WrestleMania of all-time in his home state of Texas.
So, what's Austin's role going to be if he doesn't wrestle?
Well, that's obviously up in the air. But, WrestleMania has had guest hosts infrequently over the last couple of years. The Rock hosted WrestleMania 27, and impacted the show in a major way, and Hulk Hogan hosted WrestleMania 30, and he really didn't have any impact on the show other than in the opening segment.
There's a good chance that Steve Austin could be the guest host of WrestleMania 32. Of course, if he's going to be at the event, the fans would rather see him wrestle. However, it's not like they're going to turn on him if he doesn't, as Austin is one of the few guys that will never be booed in a WWE arena ever again.
Some may suggest that WWE may capitalize on all of the Lesnar vs. Austin chatter, and have Austin be the special guest referee in Lesnar's match. But, since his last guest referee spot at WrestleMania 27, Austin has said that being the special guest ref was getting old, and that if he was going to be involved in something, it'd have to be in a different way.
It's been five years since Austin refereed a match, so maybe he's changed his tune. Also, for the right price, Austin will surely put on the striped shirt, especially if he can do something significant in a big match, and Lesnar's match will probably end up being the main-event.
But, for now, Steve Austin being your WrestleMania 32 host seems to be the best bet.