It's clear, Austin has big love for Hulk ... but he has a special place in his heart for Ric.
"Hulk Hogan was such a huge name in his right with putting wrestling on the map, what he did, and taking it to the heights he did. But, Ric is someone I really hold near and dear to me" ... Stone Cold told us.
"Many people know Ric better than I do, but we've become such good friends and I have such admiration for him. I've been down in the dumps too and I've had guys reach out to me and it's helped me out when I've been in a bad time. So, any kind of support that i can be there for Ric, I'm glad. I'm proud to be his friend, a close friend. And, I wish him nothing but the best."
"He's a very special human being. They broke the mold when they made that guy."