Leave it to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to deliver a metaphorical stunner to millions of hopeful WWE fans.
Michael Duarte of NBC Los Angeles recently spoke with Austin at a WWE 2K23 promotion event where he was asked about his life as a retired professional wrestler.
Austin took this opportunity to bring back the painful memory (at least for fans) of him being officially retired since 2003, adding that he's kept himself busy over the years.
Then, Austin delivered the stunner:
Coming back to do something from time to time is fine, because I love my relationship with WWE, but my days in the ring are done... although, I did do the main event at WrestleMania last year in Dallas, but that was kind of a fluke and we pulled it off. It's good to be back and see some of the faces. I'm looking forward to the guys I'm going to see tonight, but I've been gone for a long time, and I do not miss it.
We have to admit, this stings. While most respect if not revere Stone Cold for all he has done, everything he is doing, and everything he will still do, it's hard to deny that fans were still holding on to that small glimmer of hope that he's coming back to do one match at WrestleMania 39.
After all, if lightning can twice, the Texas Rattlesnake can come out of retirement two years in a row, right?
It's worth noting that Austin made the entire year of every wrestling fan who grew up watching the Attitude Era when he headlined Night 1 of WrestleMania 38 and fought against Kevin Owens in a No Holds Barred match. To top it all off, the Bionic Redneck came back the day after to do another segment in Night 2.
If it's any consolation, Stone Cold didn't exactly rule out his appearance at WrestleMania 39 completely, saying "anything can happen."
Indeed, a lot can still happen between now and April 1-2. There's still time before WrestleMania 39 and Triple H still has a couple of matches left to book.
Keep in mind that WrestleMania has become a two-nighter since 2020. This means potentially double the matches when you compare it to before. WrestleMania 39 only has 12 confirmed bookings after The Usos vs. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens was made official. If you add the still-unrevealed Bobby Lashley match, we're still short at least two more matches compared to WrestleMania 37's total.
Unless the WWE is planning to have a "smaller" show in Hollywood, of all places, the creative team is likely working out the kinks on a couple more potential bookings.
The Stone Cold fan in us would like to keep on hoping but at this point, doing so is an exercise in futility.