Steve Austin, who took professional wrestling to an all-time high in popularity in the late 1990s, has been out of the ring for over a decade, but he's still entertaining fans on a weekly basis.
Austin, who has had roles in several feature films including The Longest Yard and The Expendables, is beginning his third foray into the reality television world this weekend.
After hosting wrestling-oriented Tough Enough in 2011 and Redneck Island for the past several years, Austin is hosting the Broken Skull Challenge -- a sports competition show that draws male and female athletes from all over the United States who have various specialties that include traditional sports, CrossFit and Tough Mudder competitiors.
"If you love competition and you love watching people put it all on the line, I think you're going to dig the broken skull challenge," Austin said in an interview earlier this week with Bright House Sports Network.
The 10-episode series debuts on Sunday, July 6, at 8:00 p.m. on CMT -- Country Music Television. Each show features eight athletes battling head-to-head at Austin's Broken Skull Ranch, with the winner taking on the Skullbuster obstacle course for a chance at $10,000.
Austin also records two podcasts per week, with both versions consistently in the top 10-ranked sports podcasts in the country, according to live iTunes rankings. The popularity of the shows spawned fellow wrestling personalities like Chris Jericho, Jim Ross and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper to enter the podcasting world to similar success.
Austin also discussed some wrestling topics with us, including his thoughts on how current characters should be given more liberties when it comes to their interviews, called promos in wrestling parlance. When Austin and other stars of his day like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Mick "Mankind/Cactus Jack" Foley were leading the charge on WWE Monday Night Raw, wrestlers were given bullet-points and then they would give their own input based on their knowledge of their character before delivering it to the audience. Nowadays, the promos are largely scripted by writers, which Austin says leads to characters not connecting to the audience as well as they used to.
"I disagree with (scripting). I think the nature of a promo has to come from your heart and your guts and you have to mean everything that you're saying. Now is the perfect time to go back to that formula," Austin said.
"You learn to sink of swim. And guys and gals will start to learn to swim again. That's what's going to make the product feel more organic, more spontaneous and more real."
Austin's contemporaries will be back in Florida later this month, for a pay-per-view event called Battleground at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa on Sunday, July 20. Two days later, the WWE takes its Friday night television show, SmackDown, to Orlando's Amway Center.
Austin competed in Florida regularly for the southern-based promotion World Championship Wrestling in the early 1990s, and routinely with the WWE up until his retirement in 2003.
"Going back to the old Florida championship wrestling days, Flordia is one of the best territories for in ring action. I've wrestled in dang near every single town down there and always had a great time."
Austin talks more wrestling and why the Broken Skull Challenge is different than any other reality show on teleivision in our interview, which you can view by clicking on the above video link.