After a night out with Brock Lesnar and Stone Cold Steve Austin, the legendary wrestling manager, Paul Heyman, claims things got so bad in 2002 that "Steve hated the WWE writing team, and he made no bones about it", leading him to quit the federation.
In an interview with The Sun, Paul Heyman speaks about the deteriorating situation between Steve Austin and the team writing his stories.
"Steve appeared on the WWE's very own internet program, Byte This, and ripped into the writing team" said Heyman who also says that Jim Ross' (head of the Talent Relations) attempt to near both sides was futile because the situation was getting worse fast.
"Austin was sour on the WWE product. He was not happy with the lack of upward mobility afforded to the characters on Raw, therefore depriving him of new, fresh, quality opponents. And the 'end all, be all,' Vince McMahon, with whom the buck always stopped, just wasn't making the same amount of time for Steve as he used to."
Steve Austin was angry at the way WWE's creative team was treating him and he did not keep this secret. In fact, Paul Heyman tells a story where Austin showed his anger: "One Friday afternoon, he tore into the Raw team as if they ate his last protein bar. Where's the new, must-see matchups? Where's the fresh blood in the main event? Why aren't you exploiting your resources? What's so 'raw' about Raw nowadays? It was a brutal ass chewing. I'm not saying the Raw didn't deserve it, but they got it, that's for sure."
And this had a great effect as "the original plan for Raw changed throughout the weekend. Vince didn't like anything [writers] Brian Gewirtz and Ed Koskey were pitching. And then, on late Sunday night, a totally revised show was sent out via email. The main event for Monday Night Raw, live from Atlanta, Georgia, would be the number one star on the show, Stone Cold Steve Austin, against the 2000 NCAA Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, 'The Next Big Thing' Brock Lesnar."
But Steve was done with WWE: "Steve Austin walked out of the arena in Atlanta, Georgia before Vince McMahon arrived. It was the greatest insult Austin could hurl at the Chairman of the Board. Steve was done. He had enough. In his mind, the company's plans for him were revealed not in the fact that Lesnar was set to win the match, but in the lack of foresight to want to do the match in the first place!"
"To Steve, this was the last straw. How could he, with a clear conscience, perform on a nightly basis with a surgically repaired neck and a brutal travel schedule, when he had zero reason to believe the company he had busted his ass for was going to continue their phenomenal ride of success? Austin v Lesnar wasn't the issue. Austin v Lesnar, with zero build-up, placed in the main event slot of just another Monday night...a Monday night, mind you, with no competition breathing down WWE's neck any more...scheduled last minute over the weekend so the Raw writing team could get Vince off their backs. THAT was the issue! So Steve went home. Brock never took it personally.
"Truth be told, eight years later, Brock thought Austin v Lesnar with no build-up was a dumb idea, too."