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By Mike Johnson on 2015-02-02 23:08:23
Welcome to's live, ongoing coverage of the Stone Cold podcast on the WWE Network with Triple H.

The Stone Cold Podcast starts right off with Steve Austin asking Triple H about the fan reaction to Daniel Bryan being tossed out of the Royal Rumble and the fans booing Roman Reigns' win. Austin said when he asked for questions, he received a ton from fans upset about the Rumble. Good, he's asking the right first question and I give him and HHH credit for even addressing the elephant in the room. Austin noted a large part of the audience was behind Bryan. Austin said he feels like kayfabe is dying because back in the day, the fans reacted to what was going on in the ring, but now when fans don't get the story they want, they get mad at the writers. Triple H said it's tough to write but that's what you have to deal with today. HHH said they want to keep their finger on the pulse of what is going on but there is a contingent of fans on the Internet and who know about the behind the scenes that don't get behind what they decide to push. He compared it to going to certain towns back in the day where all the babyfaces except guys who were super super over, such as Austin, were going to get booed and the heels were going to be cheered. The idea of fans accepting a storyline just as a storyline is gone because while there is a portion of audience that accepts it, there is also a portion that knows as much or more then WWE does about what's going on behind the scenes and react opposite to what WWE is trying to present. He said that in some cities where they do TV, Reigns will get booed now but at live events, he will get cheered.

Austin talked about changing plans and how HHH was going to win the 1996 King of the Ring but was punished for the Kliq curtain call the month before in Madison Square Garden so Austin was tapped to win. Austin said that when Vince told him he was going to win KOTR, his response was "OK, cool" not, "Hey there are guys here who have been here longer who deserve it more then me." He said what was else was Roman going to say when he's told he's winning the Rumble. HHH said, "OK, thank you very much" and they laughed. Austin said that a portion of the crowd doesn't feel like he hasn't earned it and perhaps it could have been booked better but the way it went, he got the heat for the writing staff. HHH said it all comes down from Vince and the Rumble was "debated and poured over" but there's one guy who takes all that and that's where they are going. HHH said Vince, himself and creative aren't perfect. They don't always make a right call but Vince has a good track record.

Austin asked if tonight's Raw is a reflection of Vince feeling the pulse. HHH said you can look at it how you want, but the business hasn't changed. He said a smart storyteller reacts and changes stuff on the fly. He said they did it in the ring together. HHH said they can change things at a drop of a hat and they can always tease things and make fans think they are going one way and then go back. He said Vince was listening to the fans in Minnesota and if they hadn't gone nuts for Hulk Hogan back in the day, Vince wouldn't have brought him here. It's a cause and effect. Same thing with Austin and same thing with today.

Austin noted it's tough to feel out what the fans want. HHH said it's a tough environment. He said he reads people asking why they aren't listening and why they still present John Cena on top. He said there was a time half were booing and half were cheering but he was beyond everyone from a reaction standpoint and was moving tickets and merchandise. It's hard to find someone that appeals to everyone. The Attitude Era was almost easier as they were focused on one demographic while today they are trying to appeal to every age group, race and religion. It's hard to say point at someone and say everyone is going to like that. HHH joked the worst thing you can do today is to make someone a good guy.

Austin went back to the Attitude Era. HHH joked it was his glory era and he's hanging on by a thread. Austin said the show had more of an urgency then. Austin questioned why today is called The Reality Era. HHH quoted Austin earlier on the show as saying kayfabe is dead. HHH said the reality is it's more opened and before you had to find the newsletters but now the major papers are writing from an inside perspective. He said the reality is the business now. HHH said that when they don't tell a story well for whatever reason, people are critical of the writing and the execution. Austin said that people want to go along for the ride and HHH agreed.

HHH talked about back in the day, fans would accept that Roman won, but now fans see it as WWE holding back Daniel Bryan and they don't want Reigns because he's getting pushed. HHH said for Wrestlemania 30, where they ended up with Bryan isn't where they started and planned for him to be. He said there were times when Bryan said he had to lose or not be victorious on certain nights because it wasn't right for the story.

Austin said that tonight's Raw showed Reigns shining tonight and his helping Daniel Bryan actually helped him. HHH agreed and said that's part of putting your finger on something and asking what he needs. HHH said people say all the time that Roman isn't ready yet. HHH said that no one is ready, including himself back in the day. He said that as a performer, you think you know, but when you are in that position it's all on you and it's a whole different level of pressure on you.

HHH also said that when they decide to go with someone, everyone tries to get on board and suggest different things. Austin said that you have to wonder how meaningful those suggestions are. HHH said that you have to trust your guts but for a lot of these guys they haven't been doing it long and you start to question your guts and then everyone is telling you different things and suddenly you are second-guessing yourself.

HHH said that in 1996, he thought he was ready for his push but in hindsight, he wasn't and Austin was ready. HHH said in 1996, he would have failed bad. When he got the opportunity came later, he still wasn't 100% ready but was far more along and was far more ready.

Austin said he was looking forward to where they go with Bryan and Reigns. HHH said they are the book that never ends, so when people say that WWE has to do something "today", he asked,"Where are we going tomorrow" and that they will always be there. He said that even with Wrestlemania, they still have to go to Raw the next day and they can go back and revisit things that they move away from down the line. They are never done telling their stories.

Austin said that he watched the "Thy Kingdom Come" documentary on HHH and said it was awesome. He wondered what HHH's exit strategy would have been if he hadn't married Stephanie and end up on the corporate end of the WWE. HHH said that doesn't know that there was an exit strategy. He admitted that the Stephanie criticisms bothered him and he felt that everything he worked to accomplish was negated. He said that people thought he had what he had because of the relationship, not because he earned it. Undertaker once told him, "What do you care what they think?" HHH said that he feels he would have ended up in a similar position as he was in, but maybe in a different way. He said once he got into the business, he fell in love with all the behind the scenes and the creative and coming up with entrances and music and set design and costuming. He said that Vince McMahon gave him an opportunity way before he was with Stephanie to come to the writing meetings. He said Vince would come up with a crazy angle and then leave him and Pat Patterson to figure it out and when they did, it was a big joy to get there. He said going to NXT in Florida and helping the developmental talents is a great joy and having the responsibility to just create and do in NXT without having to ask for Vince as a fall back or even asking him for things is a big deal to him. He says Vince claims he's never worked a day in his life but then you watch him and he's a workaholic because he loves it so much and he feels the same working with talent here and in Florida.

They went to a Twitter question as to whether it's better for a guy to go to wrestling school or the indies first or just going directly to the Performance Center. HHH said it depends on the guy. He said knocking bad habits some guys picked up on the indies is almost harder than training someone from scratch. He said some indy guys come in and are a sponge but others have a belief of "This is what I do." He said that football is football but if I bring you to a team, I want you to run our playbook. He said he's not changing indy guys completely but wants to get them to work and perform in a way that their fans will react to.

Austin began speaking about NXT. He said the show is awesome and he loves the wrestling and the promos. He loves the lighting and the show feels organic. Austin asked him how he modeled the template. HHH said he tries to do what he would want to watch and like and he listens to the fans and also remembers who the show is airing for. He said it's for the Network and it's for the most ardent fans and males of a certain age who want action. He said he tries not to script as much and let guys figure it out. It's high stakes and pressure is on and it's succeed or fail. It can be looser and fun there. He said that when you come to WWE, you need to learn all the camera angles and production, etc. In NXT, you are learning that system so when you are brought up it's the same thing, just on a grander scale.

Austin asked if it's still a developmental territory. He said that it is because everyone who is there wants to be up here but it's also turned into an alternative. HHH said being on the road is the best thing for guys to learn. He told a story about helping Finn Balor with his entrance and Balor said he was overwhelmed because in Japan, all they did was point him to the ring and he had no idea if the cameras were there and where they were.

Coverage continues on Page 2!

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