Stone Cold Steve Austin

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Template:Pwstatbox Steve Williams (born December 18, 1964), better known by his stage name "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, is a professional wrestler from Victoria, Texas. His birth name was Stephen James Anderson; he took on the surname Williams when he was adopted by his stepfather (his biological father had left the family when he was a small child).

As Steve Austin, he is best known for establishing the "anti-authority" face and "Boss vs. Employee" storyline, which has been used in some variation by numerous wrestlers like The Rock and John Cena. Traditionally, faces in wrestling were known as clean cut, respectable role models, and rebellious characters who bent the rules were labeled as heels. Austin effectively changed the whole dynamic of the face/heel struture in wrestling forever.

Early in his life, Williams played football at North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas), and, after holding down various odd jobs, began his wrestling career in the late 1980s in Texas. He took the ring name Steve Austin when he turned professional in 1990 because there was already a prominent, if not massively famous, wrestler with the ring name (and real name) Steve Williams. Austin states that he received the blessing of actor Lee Majors to use the name "Steve Austin", which was first used as the name of the character Majors played in the 1970s sci fi TV series The Six Million Dollar Man. Austin was trained by "Gentleman" Chris Adams among others.

World Championship Wrestling

In early-1991, "Stunning" Steve Austin moved on from the USWA to Atlanta-based World Championship Wrestling. Initially, Austin was managed in WCW by a woman named "Vivacious Veronica", but was soon rejoined by his USWA manager Jeannie Clark, now using the name "Lady Blossom." From the start of his WCW run, Austin experienced success in the ring. On June 3, Austin won the WCW World Television Championship from Bobby Eaton, kicking off the first of two WCW TV title reigns. Months later, Austin joined a faction called The Dangerous Alliance, led by manager Paul E. Dangerously. The young sensation from Texas was in veteran company, aligned with "Ravishing" Rick Rude, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, and the same man Austin defeated to win his first TV title, Bobby Eaton.

On September 2, 1992, Austin's second TV title reign came to an end at the hands of Ricky Steamboat, as part of WCW's "20 Years on TBS" special. Not long after, the members of The Dangerous Alliance parted ways. Austin would soon find success once again, as he formed a heel tag team with the late Brian Pillman, calling themselves "The Hollywood Blondes." On March 2, 1993, the Hollywood Blondes reached the top of the tag team division, winning the WCW Tag Team Championship from Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas. This kicked off what the Blondes called their "Brush with Greatness" tour, in which Austin and Pillman would give lesser-known grapplers a "brush with greatness" by granting them a match each week. In the summer of 1993, the Hollywood Blondes experienced an unexpected breakup, when Pillman was felled by injury. Lord Steven Regal substituted for Pillman for a tag team title defense at Clash of the Champions against Four Horsemen members Arn Anderson & Paul Roma. Austin & Regal lost the titles on this night, and Austin blamed his partner Brian Pillman for the loss, citing his inability to team with him due to injury. A feud between the two former partners started, which culminated in November 1993 at Clash of the Champions, with Austin getting the win.

Austin won the WCW United States Championship on December 27, 1993 at Starrcade, defeating "The Natural" Dustin Rhodes in two straight falls of a two-out-of-three-falls match. Austin would go on to hold the title on two different occasions. His second reign lasted all of a few minutes, on September 18, 1994 at Fall Brawl. The champion at the time, Ricky Steamboat, was asked by then-WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel to forfeit his title to Austin due to injury. After Austin was awarded the championship, he was forced to defend the title immediately against "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. A shocked Austin lost his title to Duggan in a match which lasted a mere 35 seconds.

In 1995, Austin toured Japan, where he suffered a knee injury. WCW Vice President Eric Bischoff fired Steve over the phone, telling Austin he was unmarketable. This embittered Austin for several years. At the time, Austin was living close to the location of WCW headquarters, and felt Bischoff could have visited him while convalescing and fired him to his face. Little did anyone realize this would turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to Steve Austin.

Extreme Championship Wrestling

As Austin healed from his knee injury, he was contacted by his former manager in WCW, Paul Heyman. Heyman was in charge of his own promotion at the time, the Philadelphia-based Extreme Championship Wrestling, and wanted to offer Austin a platform for which he could air out his frustrations toward WCW. This is where Austin would develop his future "Stone Cold" persona. Austin would use his wit and biting sense of humor to air out his grievances, imitating Eric Bischoff and other WCW luminaries. One of his most famous vignettes centered around Austin (in the role of Bischoff) announcing the lineup for what he called "Monday Nyquil". "Bischoff" announced there would be a "Bottle of Geritol On a Pole" match, in which WCW wrestlers who were past their prime would use their sticks and walkers to do battle. As "Superstar" Steve Austin, he was able to connect with the viewing public in a manner he was never allowed to do while with WCW.

Austin also made his return to the ring under the ECW banner, feuding with The Sandman and Mikey Whipwreck. Whipwreck, who was the ECW World Champion at the time, scored a huge upset win over Austin at ECW's November To Remember, on November 18, 1995. Years later, Paul Heyman stated he originally wanted to book Austin to win the World championship, but Austin disagreed, feeling it would be better for business if Austin was the "hunter" instead of the "hunted."

World Wrestling Federation

In January 1996, Austin joined the World Wrestling Federation. Initially, Austin used the moniker "The Ringmaster", holder of Ted DiBiase's unsanctioned "Million Dollar Belt", a title DiBiase created for himself in 1989. Not liking his ring name at all, Austin asked WWF writers to come up with a new name for his character that would suggest a ruthless, cold-hearted persona; according to legend and Mick Foley in particular, the writers suggested "Chilly McFreeze", "Freezy Pops" and "Ice Dagger", among other, less ridiculous pseudonyms. Austin then came up with the name "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, reportedly after his then-wife Jeannie Clark (the same woman who managed Austin in the USWA and WCW) advised him to drink his tea before it became "stone cold." There is also another story claiming that the moniker was taken by Austin from a TV documentary on serial killers. Austin shaved his head bald, a look he has maintained for a decade now, and overcame Savio Vega in a tough bout at WrestleMania XII. At an In Your House PPV event subtitled "Beware of Dog", Austin lost a "Caribbean Strap Match" to Vega. In accordance to the pre-match stipulations, DiBiase was forced to leave the WWF. With DiBiase no longer with the WWF, Austin had the opportunity to forge his own path. He would later tell announcer Dok Hendrix he purposely lost the match in order to rid himself of his manager.

Austin 3:16

Austin's genuine rise to superstardom began on June 23, 1996, when he was booked to win the WWF's annual King of the Ring single-elimination tournament on PPV. After toppling Marc Mero in the semi-finals, he defeated the veteran Jake "The Snake" Roberts in the final, who was then incorporating a moral, Christian message in his gimmick. After the match, Austin cut a promo during his coronation which viciously mocked Jake's reformed lifestyle.

"You sit there and you thump your Bible, and say your prayers, and it didn't get you anywhere! Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16... Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!"

Austin 3:16 ultimately became one of the most popular catchphrases in wrestling history, but not instantly. Austin later turned face, as spontaneous fan support for him grew larger by the week.

Austin was not originally intended to win the tournament. The WWF originally booked Triple H to win. However, the WWF changed its plans a few weeks before the PPV because of the MSG Incident.

Austin was somewhat underused by the WWF for the next few months, and was mired in midcard feuds with the likes of Yokozuna and Triple H. One thing drove Austin on, however: the in-exile and unhappy Bret Hart. Austin spoke about Hart constantly and taunted him relentlessly on TV, before Hart finally accepted Austin's challenge and returned to the WWF in October 1996. At the Survivor Series that November, Hart cleanly pinned Austin in a match which helped create the foundations for the eventual year-long feud between the two. In spite of his loss, Austin's ever-growing popularity and notoriety multiplied after his strong showing. The match came hot on the heels of a highly controversial incident broadcast live on RAW, which saw Austin "break into" the late Brian Pillman's house, with Pillman allegedly brandishing a gun.

Feud with the Hart Foundation

Two months later, Austin won the 1997 Royal Rumble match; he was eliminated by Bret Hart, but the officials did not see it, and he snuck back into the ring and eliminated Hart. Due to real-life events largely revolving around Shawn Michaels, Hart and Austin were booked at the 11th hour for a re-match at WrestleMania 13 in March 1997. Hart defeated Austin in a submission match refereed by Ken Shamrock, but the iconic image of the night was Austin's grimacing, bloody face being massively cheered on by the live Chicago crowd, as the relentless Hart refused to release his patented Sharpshooter. Despite Austin's passing out that led to his defeat, he did not tap out and refused to give up, which made Austin the new fan favorite. He would then replace Bret Hart as the new hero of the WWF, although Austin was not going to be the traditional hero. One of the main distinguishing features about Austin's character was that he was one who broke the rules and defied authority, and thus was considered to be an "anti-hero," or as a fan put it, "He was a hero that didn't try to be one." For many reasons, Austin's persona and his attitude would lead the WWF in their greatest era yet--the "Attitude" Era.

After a rematch with Hart, a WWF World Heavyweight Championship shot against The Undertaker, and brief tag team runs with both Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley, Austin challenged Bret Hart's younger brother, the late Owen Hart. Austin's anti-Hart and anti-Canada stance made him easily the most popular star the WWF had for over a decade, but he certainly wasn't popular up in Calgary during the "Canadian Stampede" PPV in July 1997. Austin was almost booed out of the country by the fiercely Hart-loyal crowd and the sight of a handcuffed Austin being led out of the arena by "policemen" while flipping the bird to the fans is one of the resounding images of his career.

At SummerSlam 1997, disaster struck when Austin suffered a near-career ending neck injury as a result of a botched piledriver by Owen. After being briefly paralyzed, Austin recovered and was able to win the match as planned, but the incident would force him to take time off for surgery in 1999 and would be one of the factors that shortened his career. Owen Hart had felt guilty about doing such a move, but Austin would not hold a grudge, realising that he made a mistake. In fact, during that match of SummerSlam 1997, after realising that Austin was hurt, Owen pranced around the ring claiming that Austin was going to "Kiss his ass" (as the stipulation of the match was that if Austin lost, he would kiss Owen's ass). In reality though, he was shocked and scared of the possibility that he may have ended Austin's career. The WWF would use Austin's injury as a backdrop for his intense rivalry with Owen Hart, leading to various backstage beatings, match interferences and even costing Owen Hart and The British Bulldog their WWF Tag Team Championship shot at WWF In Your House: Ground Zero in 1997. At the 1997 Survivor Series, and Owen Hart would walk into the Montreal arena wearing a T-Shirt mocking Austin's "3:16" moniker: "Owen 3:16" and the back said "I Just Broke Your Neck". Owen would lose the WWF Intercontinental Championship that night at the Survivor Series to Stone Cold. Later the injury affected so much of Austin's career that Austin grew to despise Owen.

"Austin 3:16" T-shirts were becoming the hottest item in wrestling and the "Austin 3:16" interpretation of the classic "#1" foam hand, now flipping a middle finger to the world, was also a best seller.

Austin vs. McMahon

After regaining the WWF Intercontinental Championship at WWF Survivor Series in 1997, and retaining it at December's "WWF In your house: D Generation X" PPV, he would hand that championship over to The Rock, as his sights were now on bigger things. Austin won the 1998 Royal Rumble in January, his second consecutive win, which triggered a storyline feud with WWF owner Vince McMahon, which in turn ultimately helped lead to the WWF's final victory over WCW in their war for the pro wrestling marketplace and Monday night TV ratings. Simultaneously, the feud catapulted Austin to mainstream superstardom, the likes of which had not been seen since the glory years of Hulk Hogan in the 1980s. Austin was even cast in recurring roles on two TV series: MTV's animated series Celebrity Deathmatch, and CBS' Nash Bridges, and featured in the nationwide "Got Milk?" ad campaign.

Austin went on to win his first WWF Championship in March 1998, defeating Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XIV in Boston. Mike Tyson served as special guest referee for their contest and photographs of Austin & Tyson celebrating together after the bout made newspapers worldwide. By now, Austin's authority-challenging, beer-swilling everyman persona was firmly over with the fans, who loudly lapped up every middle finger, swear word and catchphrase, including "Hell Yeah!" and "Cause Stone Cold Said So!"

The next night on RAW, Vince McMahon offered to work with Stone Cold, but only if Austin would agree to do things "his way." Austin refused, giving McMahon the Stone Cold Stunner and thereby choosing to do things "the hard way." The feud built over the next few weeks until finally McMahon challenged Austin to a match on RAW that ended in a disqualification due to interference from Dude Love. The Austin vs. McMahon match resulted in the first ratings victory by the WWF in the Monday Night Wars against WCW in 84 weeks.

The two feuded throughout the next year, with Austin being challenged by McMahon's Corporation, resulting in some of the best TV the company ever produced. The success of the feud helped usher in the most successful era in WWF history, the Attitude Era. The rivalry was "blown off" at St. Valentine's Day Massacre in February 1999, when Austin defeated McMahon in a Steel Cage Match.

Towards the end of 1998 and throughout 1999, Austin got caught up in a vicious and complicated feud with Kane, Mick Foley, and The Undertaker, among others. Austin lost his title to Kane that June, but regained it 24 hours later on Raw. Then, in September 1998, he lost the title again, regaining it the next March from Mr. McMahon's latest charge, The Rock, at WrestleMania 15. As of 2005, Austin is the only wrestler to win the WWE title at consecutive WrestleMania events.

After more feuds and arguments with The Undertaker, Mr. McMahon and the re-emerging Triple H, Austin's body began to genuinely wear out, forcing him to wear braces on his knees, and he also was still suffering lingering effects from his SummerSlam 1997 neck injury. That injury, compounded by years of general wear and tear, forced him to undergo serious spinal fusion surgery in late 1999. When it was learned by the WWF that Austin needed the surgery and a year away from action, Austin's injury was staged as a backstage hit-and-run incident at Survivor Series 1999. Austin would not wrestle for a full 11 months after the surgery.

Austin made a successful wrestling comeback in October 2000 to avenge his on-screen storyline hit-and-run attacker. It transpired that the driver was actually Rikishi, but when their battles failed to set the world on fire, the focus was shifted to Austin taking it out on Rikishi's alleged puppetmaster, Triple H. Austin and Triple H had a series of intense matches, culminating in a Three Stages of Hell match at No Way Out 2001.


During this time, Austin won his third Royal Rumble in January 2001, last eliminating his old nemesis, Kane. As of 2005, he is the only wrestler to win the Royal Rumble three times. Then, on April 1, 2001 at WrestleMania 17, Austin made one of the most shocking heel turns ever, hitting The Rock with a steel chair to win the WWF Championship, aligning himself with WWF boss Vince McMahon, and Triple H. Austin and Triple H called themselves The Two-Man Power Trip.

Unlike the storyline involving Hogan's heel turn back in 1996 fans never got into Austin's turn. Fan reactions lead to Austin briefly returning to being a babyface in the spring of 2001, before turning heel again by turning on then-babyface Kurt Angle at the Invasion PPV and joining The Alliance. Fans were not entirely fond of this storyline either.

Austin lost and regained his title in the feud with Kurt Angle, then during that year's Survivor Series main event of Team Alliance (WCW/ECW) vs. Team WWF, Austin turned face again when Vince McMahon turned heel after forming the "Kiss My Ass Club". McMahon deliberately knew that Austin wanted to keep his job with the WWE, so McMahon attempted to force him to literally 'kiss his ass'. Austin allied with The Rock for the next couple of weeks to take on Kurt Angle and McMahon. Austin later lost the belt to wrestling's first Undisputed World Champion, Chris Jericho, that December.

Austin's subsequent feuds also didn't really challenge him or draw big money either, especially his spat with the nWo and in particular Scott Hall in early 2002. Bored and run down, Austin walked out on WWE in June 2002. He later publicly admitted that he had never fully recovered from his injuries, especially his nagging knee injuries and the neck injury, and that he was frustrated with the booking and direction of his character.

World Wrestling Entertainment

Soon after walking out on WWF, the company would change its name from WWF to WWE in an unrelated legal fight with the World Wildlife Fund. The company's slogan for the brand name change, "Get the F Out!" was perceived by some as a jab at Austin leaving the company. The Rock used the line in a WWE vignette about the name change, further fueling such speculation.

In February 2003, he returned to WWE, mainly in a non-wrestling role. Austin was finally defeated by the Rock at WrestleMania XIX. Afterwards Austin became co-general manager for RAW, alongside his old WCW nemesis Eric Bischoff (outside the ring, the two have largely settled their differences). On the November 16, 2003 edition of RAW, Austin was "fired" as co-GM of RAW as the result of a stipulation in a match at WWE's Survivor Series PPV. He sat out TV shows for several weeks to sell the storyline and make it appear like a real firing, but quickly returned to WWE television before the end of 2003, when he was part of a WWE Christmas special taped live in front of U.S. troops in Iraq. On December 29, 2003, he returned to regular WWE TV as the troubleshooting "Sheriff" of RAW.

Austin guested as referee for the match between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg at WrestleMania XX, then on April 17 2004, WWE put out a press release on their website claiming that Steve Austin and WWE were unable to settle long-running contract disputes and had again parted ways, reportedly over a contract dispute about WWE's control of Austin's non-WWE projects, such as movies and music. Austin could thus no longer use "Stone Cold" to promote himself, as that name is trademarked by WWE; Austin had to correct many in interviews to ensure they do not refer to him by that moniker. Another issue that may have influenced WWE in its decision is Austin's recent history of domestic violence incidents, which WWE saw as tarnishing their popular image. In November 2002, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge after striking his then-wife during an argument. Police in San Antonio were investigating charges that he threw his current girlfriend to the ground during a domestic dispute on March 24, 2004.

Return to the Ring

Steve Austin made his first appearance on WWE TV in a year on April 3, 2005 at WrestleMania 21 in Los Angeles. Austin was interviewed by 2005 Hall of Fame inductee "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in a Piper's Pit segment and the Stone Cold Stunner on both Piper and Carlito Caribbean Cool. Austin then stunned Maven and Simon Dean on the following night's WWE RAW show, also from Los Angeles.

Austin appeared at the WWE-promoted ECW One Night Stand event, sharing beer at the end with ECW wrestlers, including The Sandman The following night on RAW, Austin acted as a special guest enforcer in an Intercontinental title match and cost Muhammad Hassan a submission victory against then-Intercontinental Champion Shelton Benjamin. After the match, Austin promptly delivered Stunners to both Hassan and Hassan's manager Daivari, then drank beer with Benjamin to celebrate.

At WWE Homecoming, Austin again returned to RAW, delivering stunners to all four members of the McMahon family. Announcer Jim Ross, a good friend of Stone Cold was 'fired' for failing to apologize properly for his inaction during this incident. This angle led to a match in which Austin agreed to face Ross's replacement, Jonathan Coachman, at Taboo Tuesday, with the stipulation of Ross regaining his announcing job if Austin were to win, and Austin losing his own job if he lost the match. However, Stone Cold broke the agreement and once again walked out on the company, just days before his well-publicised match was to take place. As it was planned, Coachman would get the win over Austin with help of the returning Mark Henry, thereby not enabling Ross to return to the show. This did not sit well with Austin, despite him having agreed to the match beforehand and having been made fully aware that Jim Ross was being replaced on RAW permanently.

Vince McMahon's cover-up story of Austin's tardiness on RAW the night before Taboo Tuesday was that Austin claimed he was involved in a car-accident. Therefore, a substitute for Austin was made in Batista, who faced the Coach. Also involved in the match, in the corner of the Coach were Vader and Goldust, brought in at the last minute to generate some interest. Jonathan Coachman lost to Batista, but the stipulation of Jim Ross's job being on the line was never mentioned in the match.

Additional facts

Finishing and signature moves

As "Stunning" Steve Austin

  • Stun Gun (Hotshot; victim is dropped on top rope)
  • That's a Wrap (Standing Figure Four Leglock)
  • Hollywood and Vine (Shin Grapevine with Achilles Tendon Hold)


  • "Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass!"
  • "And that's the bottom line, 'cause Stone Cold said so!"
  • "Give me a Hell Yeah!"
  • "I'll open up a can of whoop ass on you!"
  • "I will stomp a mudhole in your ass and walk it dry!"
  • "DTA: Don't trust anybody."
  • "DTA: Don't Trust Austin."
  • "Oh Hell Yeah!"
  • "I'm here to drink beer and raise hell!"
  • "And that's all I got to say about that!"
  • "What?"
  • "I am the master of the middle finger!"

As "Stunning" Steve Austin

  • "Your brush with greatness is over!"

Previous managers

Championships and accomplishments

National Wrestling Alliance

Pro Wrestling Illustrated

  • PWI ranked him # 19 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the PWI Years (2003)
  • PWI ranked him # 50 of the best tag teams of the PWI Years with Brian Pillman.
  • PWI Rookie of the Year Award (1990)
  • PWI Match of the Year Award, versus Bret Hart (1997)
  • PWI Most Popular Wrestler Award (1998)
  • PWI Wrestler of the Year Award (1998)
  • PWI Feud of the Year Award, versus Vince McMahon (1998)
  • PWI Feud of the Year Award, versus Vince McMahon (1999)
  • PWI Wrestler of the Year Award (1999)
  • PWI Wrestler of the Year Award (2001)
  • PWI Most Hated Wrestler Award (2001)

Texas Wrestling Federation

  • 1-time TWF Tag Team Champion (with Rod Price)

World Championship Wrestling

World Wrestling Federation

Template:Start box | colspan = 3 align = center | WWE Championship |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Shawn Michaels | width = 40% align = center | First reign | width = 30% align = center | Followed by:
Kane |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Kane | width = 40% align = center | Second reign | width = 30% align = center | Followed by:
- |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
The Rock | width = 40% align = center | Third reign | width = 30% align = center | Followed by:
The Undertaker |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
The Undertaker | width = 40% align = center | Fourth reign | width = 30% align = center | Followed by:
Mankind |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
The Rock | width = 40% align = center | Fifth reign | width = 30% align = center | Followed by:
Kurt Angle |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Kurt Angle | width = 40% align = center | Sixth reign | width = 30% align = center | Followed by:
Chris Jericho |-

Template:End box

Template:Start box | colspan = 3 align = center | Royal Rumble Winners |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Shawn Michaels | width = 40% align = center | First Time | width = 30% align = center | Followed by:
Himself |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Himself | width = 40% align = center | Second Time | width = 30% align = center | Followed by:
Vince McMahon |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
The Rock | width = 40% align = center | Third Time | width = 30% align = center | Followed by:
Triple H |- Template:End box

Template:Start box | colspan = 3 align = center | King of the Ring winners |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Mabel | width = 40% align = center | First Time | width = 30% align = center | Followed by:
Triple H |- Template:End box



Autobiography: The Stone Cold Truth with Dennis Brent 2003


External links

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