When his big break came: "The big break came when I left USWA in Tennessee and went to Atlanta for substantially more money, but not a lot of money. And then a few years later, after I injured my arm, I went to ECW in Philadelphia with Paul Heyman. I started to learn how to cut a damn effective promo. Someone finally gave me a chance and put the microphone in front of my face. And a chance for me to unleash some of the stuff I had inside of me from being screwed over by WCW. WWE called me, picked me up, I went up there and they called me the Ringmaster. Well that sucked ass. I knew it. It wasn't giving me any kind of marquee value. Ain't too many people going to be buying t-shirts with the Ringmaster on it. So I came up with the Stone Cold Steve Austin gimmick, and I pitched that to the office. They started calling me Stone Cold Steve Austin unceremoniously. There was no build up, no hoopla, no bull****. And then one thing turned into another, I knew I was onto something. I just started turning the volume way up on the promo level. I turned the balance up inside the ring, giving out a very credible, believable product. People bought into it, with the storylines and the booking, and it turned into a real strong thing."
How he got started in pro wrestling: "I grew up in a small town in south Texas. Changing channels on the television one day, probably seven years old, and came across Houston Wrestling. There was one light hanging over the arena, two guys fighting for a championship belt. This was back in the day when wrestling was real. This was before all the exposés and the 20/20's and all that stuff. So, wrestling was "real," and I was glued to the screen. Through my athletic stuff and football scholarships through college, once I got out of college I was driving a forklift for Watkins Motor Lines in Dallas, Texas, driving down to the Sportatorium watching the Von Erich's fight the Freebirds. Not in the forklift [laughter]. And a guy had a commercial on TV; teach you how to be a pro wrestler. I always knew in the back of my mind that I was going to be a pro wrestler. My first college major was a business major because I was going to sell insurance with my dad. I figured that'd be the logical thing to do. But man, it kicked the s*** out of me. I dropped it several times to a PE major. And after 17 hours to graduate, I decided nah, this ain't for me. I'm going to go into professional wrestling full time."
How hard life was when he first started wrestling: "We were driving from Nashville to Memphis and Memphis and back, about a 400 mile round trip, making 15 dollars to do that. So the two guys rode with me would just gas up my base model Hyundai Excel, which my brother had co-signed the note for me, payments were 154 bucks a month. I could barely make those damn payments. So guys were chasing me around, trying to collect my car. So times were rough, but that's part of paying the dues process. On Wednesdays we used to always get paid in Evansville, Indiana, and with the little s****y paychecks we were getting, we'd go down to the liquor store in Evansville to buy our beer before we headed home. This was back when it was okay to drink and drive, before everyone started screwing it up. So we'd cash our checks and we'd tell the guy behind the counter there, yeah these are just our trans checks for gas and horse****. But these were the checks we were living on."