This interview almost caused Steve Austin to miss his flight. We called, he tried to dig out his phone on the fly, and ended up bypassing the on-ramp for I-10 in Los Angeles as a result. Pissed? Nah. Stone Cold might have flipped us the bird, hung up, and thrown his phone out the window, but this is Steve—one hell of a good guy who’s seen plenty and is here to tell us about it.

MF: When was the last time you were in an actual fistfight?
SA: Shit, man. I can’t recollect. It’s been an absolute hell of a long time—before I got into the wrestling business. Most times, when I went into a bar, I always got the drunk redneck that wanted to arm wrestle, but I don’t arm wrestle. I maintain my composure and I’m cool. I think fightin’ and all that horseshit is an energy you send off to somebody. Back in the day I’d fight, but these days, not so much. I’d want to put a condom on my fist before I fought anyone.

MF: What are some things you can’t travel without?
Sunglasses, because my eyes are light sensitive, and I cannot stand bright light. If it’s the morning, and I had a late night, the worst thing in the world is a bright light. It’s not to go incognito or any of that shit. I wear decent shades, but if I lose them, I’ll go right to the store and get cheap ones, because my eyes are that sensitive. Now, if there’s one thing I put in my suitcase, it’s a corkscrew, because there ain’t nothin’ worse than opening a bottle of damn wine by pushing a cork in with a Sharpie because you don’t have a corkscrew.

MF: Wine? The thrower of many a Beer Bash is a wine drinker?
Depends on what mood I’m in. Man, I dig my vodka, and that’s Chopin vodka, because I drink the good stuff. But if I’m on a Cabernet kick, I can’t tell you how many corks I punched down in the bottle because I didn’t have a corkscrew—and the best way to get that thing out is to push the cork down with something strong enough, and that’s usually a Sharpie, which I have in my backpack 24/7.

MF: You’ve done manual labor your whole life. Could you go back to making your living that way if you had to?
Aw, shit. I could go right back into it. I own a ranch in Texas, so there’s always something to do as far as work goes, whether it’s tractor stuff or tearing down fence. Driving a forklift is kind of like riding a bicycle. You’ve either got forklift skills or you don’t, and I can remove somebody’s molars with a forklift. You’re either good or you ain’t, and dammit, I drove one long enough to be outstanding at it. I ain’t braggin’, but I’ve always been able to drive anything on wheels, as you’ve seen from my wrestling career.

MF: Have you also been working out your whole life?
“I’ve been working out since I was a kid. If I don’t make my workout, I don’t feel as good mentally or physically. You’ve got to make the time to train at least three times a week—go to the gym, go for a hike, whatever works. Whenever I tweak anything or just get banged up and it’s not serious, like when I broke my neck, I hit the gym. I start with baby weights so I can get the blood circulating around that injured area, and I gradually add more weight. It works.