The name Stone Cold Steve Austin is known all over the world. Even people who have never watched a wrestling show, know who Stone Cold Steve Austin is. In the late 90’s, his name and trademark were on almost every type of merchandise imaginable. He truly was a household name. Besides being a merchandiser’s wet dream, Steve Austin was a hell of a wrestler. Here we celebrate Stone Cold Steve Austin’s seven greatest matches of all time.
7) Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Kurt Angle
Although the body of Stone Cold Steve Austin was hurting in 2001, the Texas Rattlesnake was still chugging along. Clearly his best days were behind him. As most wrestlers do, towards the end of their careers, they let their reputations carry them and they just skate by. Just look at Bret Hart in WCW. His matches there were abysmal. For Austin, occasionally you would still see a few sparks of the great wrestler. And at Unforgiven 2001, he not only sparked, but Austin shot flames. It’s hard not to have a good match when your opponent is Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle. But Austin kept up with the superior athlete. At every twist and turn, Austin was able to counter. It was a reminder of what made Stone Cold Steve Austin so tremendous.
6) Steve Austin & Brian Pillman vs Ric Flair & Arn Anderson
Before Stone Cold Steve Austin was The Texas Rattlesnake, and even before he was The Ringmaster, he was Stunning. In 1993, our beloved anti-hero was a blonde haired generic heel named Stunning Steve Austin. Despite his lame look at the time, Steve Austin was a great in-ring worker. Austin was part of the formidable tag team known as The Hollywood Blondes, with Brian Pillman. At the Clash Of The Champions TV special, they took on Ric Flair and Arn Anderson in a match for the WCW Tag Team Championships. The four remarkable wrestlers competed for over 20 minutes in non stop wrestling action. The match was a true example of masterful pro wrestling psychology. And some 18 years later, the match stills hold up against modern day matches. Unfortunately, it is an often forgot about classic.
5) Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Jake The Snake Roberts
The 1996 King Of The Ring match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and the sobering Jake The Snake Austin was very short and not very memorable. It was however, great. It was great for its historic significance. After Austin won the match, he was interviewed. And that interview gave birth to “Austin 3:16” trademark that became a cultural phenomenon in the late 90’s. Americans everywhere wore the “Austin 3:16” t-shirts, hats and maybe even night gowns. For as little significance that this six minute match means in terms of in ring action, it is easily defined as the turning point for the fledgling WWF.
4) Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Vince McMahon
The feud between Stone Cold Steve Austin and his boss Vincent Kennedy McMahon revolutionized the pro wrestling business. It was the feud that took the hokey business Hulk Hogan made, and evolved it into the more adult oriented sport it is today. It basically saved the World Wrestling Federation from going into bankruptcy. One of the greatest matches that Austin and McMahon had was at a pay per view titled St. Valentine’s Massacre. The two bitter rivals squared off in a 15 foot high steel cage. Though not a technical masterpiece, the rabid fans and the hot feud resulted in one of the greatest cage matches of all time. It could certainly be named Vince McMahons greatest match of all time. The match saw the evil boss Mr. McMahon take an “ass-whoopin” from the Texas Rattlesnake. There aren’t many billionaires who are willing to cut themselves open on Television, but Vince McMahon is not one of them. The ending came when a mysterious giant wrestler tore a hole in the mat and rose up from the ring. His name was The Big Show. The Big Show grabbed Austin and threw him through the side of the cage. This was not the end to the Austin-McMahon feud. To this day, it still rages on.
3) Royal Rumble 1997
In the greatest finish in the history of the Royal Rumble, Stone Cold Steve Austin eliminated Bret The Hitman Hart, to win the 1997 WWE Royal Rumble. The match came down to Austin, Hart, Diesel, Vader and The Undertaker. While walking around the ring, Bret Hart snuck up on Austin and threw him over the top rope. Technically, Austin was eliminated from the match. However, the referees were distracted with an injured Mick Foley and did not see the elimination. Unbeknownst to the competitors, The Texas Rattlesnake re-entered the ring and eliminated Vader and The Undertaker. On the opposite side of the ring, Hart had his back turned as he was throwing Diesel over the top rope. Stone Cold snuck up behind Hart, grabbed him by his pink leotard, and tossed him over the top rope. The referees saw the elimination and called for the bell. Stone Cold Steve Austin was officially the 1997 Royal Rumble winner.
2) Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Bret Hitman Hart
Stone Cold has gone on record as saying Bret Hart played an integral part in making him a huge mega star. Bret Hart helped elevate the young Austin by feuding with him in early 1997. Hart was already a huge household name, and Austin needed that rub. And that rub came at Wrestlemania 13. The two athletes met in a submission match, which was refereed by Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder Ken Shamrock. Even “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” had trouble keeping the law in order. The two tore into one another like piranha on a piece of meat. It was vicious. But the match served its purpose. At the end, Stone Cold Steve Austin was the WWF’s number one good guy and Bret Hart the number one bad guy. Despite losing the match, Austin won in the long run. Wrestlemania 13 is known amongst fans as being the Wrestlemania with only one good match. And this match was it.
1) Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels
At Wrestlemania 14 in Boston, Massachusetts, The Texas Rattlesnake battled The Heartbreak Kid in the main event. This was WWF’s marquee match at the time. It was the match all the fans were clamoring for. They desperately wanted to see their anti-hero superstar rebel against the establishment, and win the WWF Championship from Shawn Michaels. Despite being held in the 20,000 arena BankNorth Garden, the match had a really big event feel to it. Watching at home, you just knew you were watching something special. Hell, even boxing heavyweight champion Iron Mike Tyson stood at ringside with DX to witness this match. The confrontation quickly ended on the floor. The two beat one another to a pulp at ringside, to the delight of thousands.In the end, Michaels, like so many before him, fell victim to the Stone Cold Stunner. After years and years of hard work, Stone Cold Steve Austin was finally heavyweight champion of the world.
Wrestling is the world’s oldest sport. And though it has evolved into sports entertainment, it was always be referred to as pro wrestling. And pro wrestlers like Stone Cold Steve Austin are never forgotten. And neither are their greatest matches.