Stone Cold warms up

Since retiring from the world of professional wrestling in 2003, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar Steve Austin has paved a way for himself in Hollywood.

Better known by his ring name Stone Cold, Austin has starred in action flicks The Condemned and The Expendables, in Adam Sandler comedies like The Longest Yard and Grown Ups 2 and in a slew of direct-to-video B-movies.

So you would think the 50-year-old Texan is following in the footsteps of other WWE fighters-turned-actors like Dwayne Johnson, Dave Bautista (Guardians Of The Galaxy) and Kevin Nash (Magic Mike).

Turns out Austin doesn't like acting all that much. He told The New Paper over the phone from Los Angeles yesterday: "I have made probably eight or 10 movies and I enjoyed it, but I don't enjoy it as much as hosting reality television. I find it more fun being myself and not a character in a movie."

Austin is the host of new reality TV series Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge, which airs every Wednesday at 9pm on KIX (StarHub TV Ch 518) and KIX HD (Singtel TV Ch 309).

He invites eight elite male and female athletes to an area just outside of Los Angeles, designed to represent his Broken Skull Ranch in South Texas, to compete in head-to-head battles.

The contestants are eliminated over a series of challenges with fearsome names like Pulverizer and Pain Train, with the last one standing and facing a tough obstacle course known as the Skullbuster for a shot at the US$10,000 (S$13,000) cash prize.

He said: "A third of my year is dedicated to my podcast and about a third to half of my year is dedicated to the reality TV stuff. Two months are dedicated to being at my ranch in South Texas during hunting season.

"When I have other projects that take up the rest of the year, it doesn't really give me the time to do acting.

"Then again, acting is probably the least of what I like to do."

Austin calls Johnson one of his "favourite guys to work with in the ring" and "the biggest movie star in the world", adding that he's "extremely proud" of what Johnson has accomplished, making a successful transition from WWE to Hollywood.

But that career path is not for him.

He said he reads scripts on occasion and if something really piques his interest, it would have to be the right part at the right time, like his latest flick that will be released this year, Echo Effect starring Michael Jai White.

Austin said: "There was a window of time that allowed me the opportunity to do that movie.

"I worked with Michael about three or four years ago and he's one of the greatest mixed martial artists in the world. We became really good friends. The chance to collaborate again was the biggest reason why I signed on for it."


On naming his show Broken Skull Challenge, Austin said: "I named my ranch the Broken Skull Ranch because metaphorically speaking, I had to break my skull to buy it.

"The name pays homage to the body of hard work that I did in the business of professional wrestling."

Even though he quit WWE more than a decade ago, the father of four, who married his fourth wife Kristin Feres in 2009, still keeps in touch with wrestler friends like Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Kevin Nash and Mick Foley.

He said: "I want to enjoy the rest of my life kicking back, enjoy the fruits of working as hard as I have.

"I do miss being in the ring, in front of a crowd, the adrenaline and 20,000 people almost every single night.

"That was just one of the greatest experiences of my life. When I go out there and I can light up a crowd and get that adrenaline rush, that's fun and there's just really nothing quite like it. There's nothing that can duplicate it."

What Austin does not miss is the "grind of the travel", touring all over the US and the world for WWE shows.

"I consider myself a 'civilian' now, returning to just being a regular human being," he said.

"When I get out of the business and look back, that's one of the things that I don't miss."

This article was first published on May 07, 2015.
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