There has been a lot of talk of Steve Austin working "one more match" against CM Punk at Wrestlemania XXIX next year. As I reported here earlier this month, not only has the match been talked about amongst fans, it's atop WWE's wish list for the pay-per-view next year. However, Austin made a comment last week when asked what it would take for him to return to the ring and I felt it was worth examining.
For those that missed the original article, Austin bluntly revealed it was going to take "a lot of zeros" to get him back in a WWE ring. While there has been a good working relationship between Austin and WWE since Austin's retirement from the ring, he's clearly going to be looking for a big payday to put his health at risk and appease the fans for one more match.
WWE may have set a dangerous precedent not only with The Rock's latest part-time deal but their deal with Brock Lesnar is going to completely change the expectations of former stars. Not only is Lesnar reportedly making somewhere in the range of $5,000,000 to make appearances on WWE TV throughout the next year but WWE is allowing him to honor existing endorsement deals. Not only is Lesnar's contract the largest ever for a part-time star but WWE has never allowed a worker under contract to honor outside endorsements.
Not only is WWE going to have their hands full in trying to pay Steve Austin, they are going to have to convince him to share the spotlight with The Rock and Lesnar in addition to any of other major attraction (such as The Undertaker's defense of "the streak"). The Rock got the spotlight, Lesnar cashed in, what will it take to secure Austin for a Wrestlemania lineup that could top this year?
I don't have the answers but WWE will either have to break the bank again for Austin or convince him he isn't as big of a draw as Lesnar. The negotiations are going to have to be very tactful as the company surely doesn't want to damage their relationship with Austin, who the company has enjoyed a very prosperous relationship with.