Steve Austin (born Steven James Anderson; December 18, 1964, later and formerly Steven James Williams), better known by his ring name "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, is an American actor, retired professional wrestler, and WWE Hall of Famer. After debuting in 1989, Austin wrestled for promotions such as World Championship Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment. He is often regarded as one of the most popular superstars of all time and even regarded by some as the biggest wrestling star in the history of the WWE and has become well known for his disrespectful, beer drinking, tough guy attitude and his defiance of Mr. McMahon. Austin was forced to retire from the ring in 2003 due to a variety of chronic injuries.
Professional wrestling career
"Damn Good" Career
Austin began a career as a wrestler in 1989 (see below), and Debuted as Steven Austin. Eventually, after a match that he won in 18 seconds, a ring announcer announced, "Let's hear it for Damn Good Steven Austin!" And "Damn Good" was his nickname for 2 weeks of his USWA career, ironically the last 2 weeks.
Steve Williams began wrestling in 1989, after working as a dockworker in Dallas, Texas. Williams saw an advertisement for "Gentleman" Chris Adams' wrestling school. After training, Williams debuted as Steve Austin (to avoid confusion with "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, although Austin initially hated the name due to sharing it with the main character from the 1970s TV series The Six Million Dollar Man. In WCCW, Austin feuded with Chris Von Erich and Chris Adams as a member of Skandor Akbar's "Devastation, Inc." stable.
World Championship Wrestling (1991–1995)
Austin debuted in World Championship Wrestling in 1991 as "Stunning" Steve Austin, initially managed by Vivacious Veronica. Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Stone Cold Truth (p. 85-86) Almost immediately after Austin's debut, Lady Blossom became his valet. Austin defeated Bobby Eaton for the WCW World Television Championship on June 3, 1991, just weeks after his debut. In late 1991, Austin joined Paul E. Dangerously's Dangerous Alliance. Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Stone Cold Truth (p. 89) Austin lost the WCW Television Championship to Barry Windham in a Two out of three falls match on April 27, 1992. He regained the title from Windham on May 23, 1992. Austin enjoyed a second lengthy reign before losing to Ricky Steamboat on September 2, 1992. The Dangerous Alliance disbanded shortly thereafter. Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Stone Cold Truth (p. 91-93) At Halloween Havoc, he replaced Terry Gordy, teaming with "Dr. Death" Steve Williams to wrestle Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham for the unified WCW and NWA World Tag Team titles. The teams wrestled to a thirty-minute time limit draw.
In January 1993, Austin formed a tag team with Brian Pillman known as the Hollywood Blonds. The Blonds won the WCW World Tag Team Championship on March 3, 1993, defeating Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas. The Hollywood Blonds held the titles for five months. At Clash of the Champions XXIII the Blonds faced Ric Flair and Arn Anderson in a Two out of three falls Tag Team title match. Flair and Anderson defeated the Blonds, but were not awarded the titles as one fall had been determined by a disqualification. At Clash of the Champions XXIV, Austin and Pillman were scheduled to defend the titles against Arn Anderson and Paul Roma. An injured Pillman, however, was replaced by Steven Regal. Austin and Regal lost to Anderson and Roma. After Pillman returned, Austin betrayed and defeated him in a singles match at Clash of the Champions XXV.
At Starrcade, in a two out of three falls match, Austin defeated Dustin Rhodes in two straight falls to win the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship. Austin lost the title to Ricky Steamboat on August 24, 1994. Austin was scheduled to face Steamboat in a rematch for the title at Fall Brawl, but Steamboat was unable to wrestle due to a back injury, and Austin was awarded the title by forfeit. His second reign ended just minutes later when he lost to Steamboat's replacement, Jim Duggan in a match that lasted thirty-five seconds. Austin challenged Duggan for the United States Championship at Halloween Havoc 1994 and Clash of the Champions XXIX. On both occasions, Austin lost to Duggan by disqualification. After returning from a knee injury in early 1995, Austin took part in a tournament for the vacant WCW United States Heavyweight title, where he defeated Duggan in the first round, but lost to Randy Savage in the quarterfinals.
Extreme Championship Wrestling (1995)
In 1995, Steve Austin was fired by WCW Vice President Eric Bischoff, after suffering a triceps injury, while wrestling on a Japanese tour; Bischoff and WCW did not see Austin as a 'marketable' wrestler. Eventually, Austin was contacted by Paul Heyman, who had managed him in WCW. Heyman told Austin that since he had a TV show and Austin had a grievance, it would be a good opportunity to go on Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) television to air it. While in ECW, Austin used the platform to develop his future "Stone Cold" persona as well as a series of vignettes running down WCW in general and Bischoff in particular, referring to WCW Monday Nitro as "Monday NyQuil, where the big boys play with each other."
While with ECW, "Superstar" Steve Austin feuded with The Sandman and Mikey Whipwreck. Whipwreck, who was the ECW World Heavyweight Champion at the time, defeated Austin at November to Remember. The Sandman defeated Steve Austin and Whipwreck in a Triple Threat match at December to Dismember in 1995 for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.
World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment (1995–2009)
The Ringmaster (1995–1996)
In late 1995, Austin joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Initially, Austin wrestled as "The Ringmaster" and was managed by Ted DiBiase, who awarded him with the Million Dollar Championship. The Ringmaster defeated Savio Vega at WrestleMania XII. During this time, Austin shaved his head bald, a look he has maintained since. At In Your House: Beware of Dog, Austin lost a "Caribbean Strap Match" to Savio Vega. In accordance to the pre-match stipulations, DiBiase was forced to leave the WWF, giving Austin the opportunity to forge his own path. Austin later told announcer Dok Hendrix that he had purposely lost the match in order to rid himself of his manager.
Austin 3:16 and rise to superstardom (1996–1997)
Austin's genuine rise to super stardom began at the 1996 King of the Ring. Austin began using his trademark finishing maneuver, the Stone Cold Stunner; with this new technique, he won the King of the Ring tournament, receiving a push originally intended for Triple H. After defeating Marc Mero in the semi-finals, Austin defeated Jake "The Snake" Roberts in the finals. At the time, Roberts was portraying a born-again Christian, so after the match, Austin cut a promo during his coronation, telling Roberts, "You sit there and you thump your Bible, and you 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 whooped your ass!". "Austin 3:16" ultimately became one of the most popular catch phrases in wrestling history.
Austin spoke about Bret Hart constantly and taunted him relentlessly (one quote had Austin saying "If you put the letter 'S' in front of 'Hitman,' you have my exact opinion of Bret Hart"). Hart finally accepted Austin's challenge and returned to the WWF in October 1996. At Survivor Series, Hart pinned Austin in a match which helped create the foundations for the eventual intense year-long feud between the two. The match came hot on the heels of a highly controversial incident broadcast live on Raw, which saw Austin "break into" Brian Pillman's house, with Pillman holding a gun. During the 1997 Royal Rumble match, Austin was originally eliminated by Bret Hart, but the officials did not see it, and he sneaked back into the ring and eliminated Hart by throwing him over the ropes. This led to the first-ever pay-per-view main event of Austin's WWF career at In Your House 13: Final Four, which due to real-life events largely revolving around Shawn Michaels, the match was for the suddenly vacant WWF Championship. Austin was eliminated from the four-way match early after injuring his knee, but was involved in the finish which saw Hart win his fourth WWF Championship, which he lost the next night on Raw to Sycho Sid due to Austin's interference, leading to the continuation of their feud. At WrestleMania 13, Hart defeated Austin in a 'Submission' match with Ken Shamrock as a special referee. During the match, Austin was cut so that he bled, and Hart refused to release his Sharpshooter since Austin had refused to give up. The match ended in Austin passing out due to blood loss. Despite his wounds he refused any assistance back to the locker room, thus turning Hart heel and Austin babyface in a rare double-turn. Austin eventually got his revenge on Hart when he injured Hart's leg in a no disqualification match on Raw, which featured Austin refusing to let go of his own Sharpshooter and beating Hart while on a stretcher in the back of an ambulance. After his feud with Hart, he had a WWF Championship shot against The Undertaker at In Your House 15: A Cold Day In Hell. Austin had the Undertaker down with the Stunner, but due to a distraction from Brian Pillman, Undertaker nailed Austin with a Tombstone Piledriver and got the victory.
During this time, Austin found a way to win the WWF Tag Team Championship on two separate occasions. On May 25, 1997, Austin and Shawn Michaels defeated Owen Hart and The British Bulldog for the title. They held the title until July 14, before Michaels was forced to vacate due to an injury. That same night a tournament was held to determine who would face Austin and a partner of his choosing for the vacant championship. Hart and Bulldog won the tournament, with Austin refusing to pick a partner and choosing to wrestle the former tag team champions by himself. Late in the match, a debuting Dude Love came out to offer assistance and Austin became a two-time tag team champion. He then feuded with Owen Hart over Hart's WWF Intercontinental Championship.
At SummerSlam, Austin and Hart faced each other with the Intercontinental Championship on the line and an added stipulation that Austin would have to kiss Hart's buttocks if he lost. During the match Hart botched a Piledriver and dropped Austin on his head, resulting in a legitimate broken neck for Austin and temporary paralysis. As Hart baited the audience, Austin managed to crawl and pin Hart using a roll-up to win the Intercontinental Championship. A visibly injured and dazed Austin was helped to his feet by a number of referees and led to the back. Due to the severity of his neck injury, Austin was forced to relinquish the Intercontinental title. Austin was sidelined until Survivor Series. However, in the interim he made several appearances, one being at Badd Blood where he was involved in the finish of a match between Hart and Faarooq, which was the final match in an Intercontinental Championship tournament. Austin hit Faarooq with the Intercontinental Championship belt while the referee's back was turned, causing Hart to win the match. Austin's motives were to keep the Intercontinental Championship around Hart's waist, and were proven when he interfered in Hart's matched on the October 20 and 27 editions of Raw. Austin would regain the Intercontinental Championship from Hart at Survivor Series.
With Hart out of the way, Austin set his sights on Rocky Maivia, who stole Austin's belt on the November 17 edition of Raw after a beating by his Nation of Domination stablemates. In the weeks to come, Maivia began referring to himself as "The Rock" and declaring himself to be "the best damn Intercontinental Champion" ever. The Rock kept possession of the belt until D-Generation X: In Your House, when Austin defeated him to retain the title and get his belt back.
As Austin had used his pickup truck to aid in his victory, McMahon ordered him to defend the title against The Rock the next night on Raw. However, Austin decided to willingly forfeit the title to The Rock, citing his desire to chase the WWF Championship that his former tag team partner Shawn Michaels was holding. Austin then attacked both The Rock and McMahon following the incident, which set Austin's pursuit in motion.
Feuding with Mr. McMahon (1997–1999)
On September 22, 1997, on Monday Night Raw, Owen Hart was giving a speech to the fans in attendance. During his speech, Austin entered the ring with five NYPD officers following, and assaulted Hart. As if it looked Austin was going to fight the officers, Vince McMahon ran into the ring to lecture Austin about why he couldn't be "physically" able to compete. After telling McMahon that he respects the fact that he and the WWF cared, Austin attacked McMahon with a Stone Cold Stunner, leaving McMahon in shock. Austin was then arrested on charges of trespassing, assault, and assaulting a police officer. This marked the beginning of the Austin-McMahon rivalry.
With Bret Hart's departure, Austin and Shawn Michaels were the top superstars in the company. Austin won the 1998 Royal Rumble, lastly eliminating The Rock.The next night on Raw, Austin interrupted Vince McMahon in his presentation of Mike Tyson, who was making a special appearance, over the objection of McMahon referring to Tyson as "the baddest man on the planet." Austin flipped off Tyson, which led to Tyson shoving Austin much to McMahon's embarrassment, who began to publicly disapprove of the prospect of Austin as his champion. Tyson was later announced as "the special enforcer" for the main event at WrestleMania XIV, although he appeared to be aligning himself with WWF Champion Shawn Michaels' stable D-Generation X. This led to Austin's WWF Championship match against Michaels at WrestleMania XIV, which he won with help from Tyson, who turned on DX by making the deciding three-count against Michaels. This victory ushered in the Austin Era, and with it, The Attitude Era.
On the Raw after Austin won the WWF Title, Vince McMahon presented him with a new title belt and warned Austin that he did not approve of his rebellious nature and that things could be done "the easy way or the hard way." Austin gave his answer in the form of another Stunner. This led to a segment a week later where Austin had pledged a few days prior in a meeting to "play ball" with McMahon, appearing in a suit and tie, with a beaming McMahon taking a picture of himself and his new corporate champion. The entire thing was a ruse by Austin who in the course of the segment proceeded to tear off the suit, tell McMahon it was the last time he would see Austin dressed like this, punch his boss in the "corporate grapefruits," and take another picture of the two of them while McMahon was doubled over in pain. In April 1998, it appeared Austin and McMahon were going to battle out their differences in an actual match, but the match was declared a no contest when Dude Love made an appearance. This led to a match between Love and Austin at Over the Edge: In Your House for the WWF Championship. Austin managed to retain the title despite McMahon acting as the referee and his "Corporate Stooges" (Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson) as timekeeper and ring announcer, respectively.
McMahon continued to do everything he could to ruin Austin, and he finally scored a big victory for his side at the 1998 King of the Ring tournament. There, Austin lost the WWF Championship to Kane in a First Blood match. Austin further infuriated McMahon by winning back the championship the next night on Raw. Austin also emerged victorious against The Undertaker at SummerSlam. In response, McMahon set up a Triple Threat match at Breakdown: In Your House, where The Undertaker and Kane pinned Austin at the same time. McMahon decided to vacate the WWF Championship and award it based on a match between the Undertaker and Kane, in which Austin was the guest referee. Austin refused to count for either man and attacked both towards the end of the match. McMahon later fired him, although Austin got revenge by kidnapping McMahon and dragging him to the middle of the ring at "gunpoint," which ended up being a toy gun with a scroll that read "Bang! 3:16." Also the segment was very "embarrassing" to McMahon as it showed he was so scared that he urinated his pants. Stone Cold was later re-signed by Shane McMahon. In the semifinals of a tournament to award the vacant championship, Austin lost to Mankind, after Shane double-crossed Austin. The next night on Raw, Judge Mills Lane ruled that The Rock had to defend his newly won WWF Championship against Austin that night. The Undertaker interfered and hit Austin with a shovel, earning Austin a disqualification victory. At Rock Bottom: In Your House, Steve Austin defeated The Undertaker in a Buried Alive match after Kane Tombstoned The Undertaker into the grave. With this victory, Austin qualified for the 1999 Royal Rumble.
Austin's next definitive chance to exact revenge on Mr. McMahon came during the 1999 Royal Rumble match. On Raw, McMahon drew Austin's entry number with the obvious intention of screwing him over. Austin drew entry number one, while McMahon drew number two thanks to WWF Commissioner Shawn Michaels. During the Rumble match, McMahon slipped out of the ring and into the crowd as Austin chased him down. It turned out to be a trap as McMahon led Austin into the lobby restroom where he was ambushed by members of The Corporation. Austin was injured and taken away in an ambulance. With Austin gone and not in the Rumble match, McMahon joined the announce table in calling the match. Later on, however, Austin returned in an ambulance and re-entered the Royal Rumble. After Austin delivered a Stunner to the Big Boss Man and eliminated him. With the assistance of the Corporation and a last minute interference from The Rock, Austin was eliminated by McMahon himself, and McMahon won the 1999 Royal Rumble. With McMahon turning down his number-one contender spot against The Rock, WWF Commissioner Michaels awarded Austin the title shot during Raw the next night. At St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Stone Cold got a one-on-one match against McMahon in a Steel Cage match, with the WWF Championship opportunity at WrestleMania XV at stake. During the match, Paul Wight made his debut, breaking through from under the ring and attacking Austin. Wight's attack propelled Austin into the side of the cage forcing the cage to give way and dropping Austin to the floor first, making him the victor. Austin defeated The Rock at WrestleMania XV for his third WWF Championship.
Austin faced The Rock in a rematch at Backlash, in which Shane McMahon was the referee. During the match, McMahon approached the ring, only to hand Austin back his Smoking Skull belt and take Shane out of the proceedings. Austin won the match when another referee made the count. The Undertaker, however, won the WWF Championship from Austin at Over the Edge. Due to events revolving around Vince McMahon, Stephanie and Linda McMahon made Stone Cold the Chief Executive Officer of the company. Vince and Shane McMahon challenged Austin to a Handicap Ladder match at King of the Ring with the CEO title on the line, which the duo of father and son won. The next night on Raw, however, Austin made it clear that while he was the CEO of the company, he could have a title shot at any time and place to be determined by himself. Austin made the WWF Championship match that night on Raw and defeated The Undertaker to win his fourth WWF Championship. Austin held on to the Championship belt until SummerSlam when he lost it to Mankind in a Triple Threat match also featuring Triple H. Austin would get his rematch at No Mercy against Triple H but lost after The Rock accidentally struck him with a sledgehammer that was meant for Triple H. By Survivor Series, Triple H was still champion. Austin was booked into a triple threat match for the WWF championship that also included Triple H and The Rock. Instead, however, Austin was run down by a car in the parking lot. The Big Show would replace Austin in the match and would win the WWF championship. What followed was neck surgery by Dr. Lloyd Youngblood and a nine-month rehabilitation with the car angle as his reason for leaving. In reality, Austin had needed neck surgery since the Owen Hart incident in 1997.
The Two–Man Power Trip (2000–2001)
At Backlash, Austin attacked Triple H and Vince McMahon, helping The Rock reclaim the WWF Championship. At Unforgiven, Austin made his official return and tried to find out who ran him down at Survivor Series the previous year. Rikishi finally admitted to being the driver because "he did it for The Rock, he did it for the people". At No Mercy, Austin was back to face Rikishi in a No Holds Barred Match. During the match, Austin motioned he was going to drive his truck into Rikishi, who by that time was a bloody mess. Before he could, he was stopped by officials and the match was deemed a no contest and Austin was (kayfabe) arrested and later bailed by Commissioner Mick Foley. During a handicap match against Rikishi and Kurt Angle, Triple H came down with the apparent intention of teaming with Austin. After clearing the ring, Triple H smashed his sledgehammer over Austin's head, and revealed it was actually him behind the whole scheme, devised to shield the WWF Championship from Austin and end his career. At Survivor Series, Triple H had plotted to run Austin down again during their match (thus repeating the events of the previous year's Survivor Series) but his plot failed when Austin lifted Triple H's automobile with a forklift, then let it drop 20 feet.
Last eliminating Kane. His rivalry against Triple H ended at No Way Out in a Three Stages of Hell match, with Triple H beating Austin two falls to one. Then, at WrestleMania X-Seven, Austin turned heel by hitting The Rock with a steel chair several times to win the WWF Championship. After the match, Austin shook hands and shared a beer with Vince McMahon. With the victory, Austin became a five-time WWF Champion. The next night on Raw, after teasing a quick face turn, the heel turn continued. He also altered his character considerably over the next few months, in a deliberate turn from the rebellious and anti-establishment character beloved by the fans, Austin became a whiny, temperamental prima donna who would complain incessantly when he felt he was not getting the respect from the fans and wrestlers that he deserved. He also developed an infatuation with McMahon, going to great lengths to impress him and even going so far as to hugging him and bringing him presents. McMahon, though visibly uncomfortable and wary by the attention, was still grateful to have Austin with him instead of against him. During a cage match with The Rock in a rematch for the title, Triple H came down to the ring with a sledgehammer and together with Austin viciously attacked The Rock and put him out of action. Austin and Triple H became a team and called themselves The Two-Man Power Trip.
Austin and Triple H were the top heels in the company feuding with The Undertaker and Kane. After defeating Kane and The Undertaker for the WWF Tag Team Championship at Backlash, they held the Tag Team Titles, the WWF Championship (Austin), and the WWF Intercontinental Championship(Triple H) all at once. At Judgment Day, Triple H lost his Intercontinental Title against Kane. Then, the following night on Raw, Austin and Triple H wrestled against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit with the Tag Team Titles on the line. Midway through the match, Triple H tore his quadriceps muscle. As planned, the team lost the Tag Team Title at the end of the match when Triple H accidentally hit Austin in the stomach with a sledgehammer, but the injury to Triple H, which kept him out for the remainder of the year, forced the WWF to go in another direction. Austin had a minor injury for a month.
The Invasion (2001)
Austin was paired with Kurt Angle and feuded against Jericho and Benoit. This culminated with a Triple Threat match at King of the Ring, in which Austin faced the former tag team champions. Although WCW's Booker T interfered, Austin scored the victory and retained his championship. The feud ended at that point, as Benoit had neck surgery after the match, sidelining him for the following year.
In July 2001, with Benoit out for surgery, the Austin/Jericho feud was dropped without a mention. With Triple H out and The Rock still away making movies, the WWF desperately rushed out the plans for The Invasion. As The Invasion storyline began and progressed, McMahon, was watching helplessly as his empire was crumbling around him due to The Alliance luring more and more talent away from the WWF, and his biggest allies, Austin and Angle, too busy sucking up to him and bickering amongst themselves to successfully counter the Alliance. Austin made it known that he was against teaming with Angle, whom Austin saw as both a threat to his title, as well as an annoying tag along. A frustrated McMahon appealed to Austin to return to his old Texas Rattlesnake persona, even imploring him to give him a Stone Cold Stunner. Though intending to fire up Austin, it backfired and only seemed to hurt his feelings, as he promptly left the arena, dejected. But the week before InVasion, the old Stone Cold Steve Austin "returned," delivering stunners to the Alliance members. This was all part of the setup for a swerve at the event, where Austin betrayed the WWF team and partner Angle to help the Alliance win, as Austin assumed leadership of the group. The reason why Austin did this was because he felt that McMahon was grooming Angle to take over his spot, and that he was "unappreciated" when McMahon insisted he return to the old Austin.
Austin lost and regained his title in a feud with Angle, who was put over by Austin as a threat. Austin lost the title to Angle at Unforgiven before regaining it on the October 8, 2001 episode of Raw. Angle then joined the Alliance. As the Invasion angle dragged on, it was ultimately decided to bring the plot line to an end with Austin and a group of ECW and WCW wrestlers facing The Rock and a group of WWF wrestlers at Survivor Series. Austin and his team lost after Angle betrayed him, thus ending the Invasion angle. The next night on Raw, as McMahon was about to award Angle with the WWF Championship for actions at Survivor Series, Ric Flair came out and announced that he owned half of the WWF. Austin came out and attacked Angle and McMahon, thus regaining the WWF Championship. Austin then had a beer bash with Flair, turning Austin face once again. Austin would hold the WWF Championship for another month before losing it to Chris Jericho at Vengeance due to interference from Booker T. Jericho defeated both The Rock and Austin consecutively that night, winning the WCW World Title and later the WWF Title and combining them to create the WWF Undisputed Championship. After that, Austin continued another feud with Booker T. In one angle, Austin and Booker T fought in a grocery store which Austin won.
Backstage issues and departure (2002–2004)
By 2002, Austin's spot as top face in the WWF was not secure as it had been, as Triple H was set to return from injury. At the time, Vince McMahon had re-signed Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash for a storyline that would bring the New World Order (nWo) into the WWF. They feuded with Austin and The Rock. Austin was originally intended to be the one to challenge Hogan at WrestleMania, but because of their inability to agree on a finish, Austin refused, and The Rock took his place and defeated Hogan. At WrestleMania X8, Austin defeated Scott Hall instead. Austin took a week long break following WrestleMania, refusing to show up for the following night's Raw.
Austin returned on the April 1, 2002 episode of Raw, the first of the new "brand extension" era. The show was centered on which show he would sign with, and he ultimately chose Raw. Austin entered a feud with the Undertaker that resulted in a number one contenders match for the WWF Undisputed Championship at Backlash, which Austin lost. He would later be betrayed by Big Show, who went on to rejoin the nWo, and Ric Flair. Austin then defeated Big Show and Flair in a handicap match at Judgment Day. Austin's last appearance was on June 3, when he defeated Flair in a match where Flair became Austin's servant. After Austin no-showed an episode of Raw, the angle was dropped. Austin had decided to walk out again because of bad storylines that were presented to him by the creative team. This time though, he did not return for almost nine months. Bored and run down, Austin began to create problems backstage as the WWF rehired Eddie Guerrero for Austin to feud with, while prepping Austin for a feud with Brock Lesnar. Austin, however, vetoed any matches that would result in him losing and ultimately walked out of the company when the writing staff wanted Austin to lose to Lesnar. Austin later explained that he thought hot-shotting a victory did no favors to either side, as it made Austin look weak losing to a rookie and did not give Lesnar a proper stage for such a big win over a star of the magnitude that Austin held. Further fanning the flames amongst Austin's growing number of detractors was a well-publicized domestic dispute incident between Austin and his wife Debra.
In February 2003, Austin returned to WWE at No Way Out in a short match against Eric Bischoff. Austin would wrestle only one match between then and WrestleMania in another short match against Bischoff on Raw, but was then defeated by The Rock at WrestleMania XIX, who returned about the same time as a smug, "sell out" villain, which ultimately became Austin's last official match in WWE to date. The night after on Raw, Bischoff "fired" Austin on medical grounds, however he was brought back by Linda McMahon as the Co-General Manager of Raw. The move to the role of Co-General Manager was a way to keep Austin on-camera while limiting Austin's in-ring performance due to long running injuries wearing him down throughout his career. On the November 17, 2003 edition of Raw, Austin was "fired" from Raw as the result of a stipulation in a match at Survivor Series where Austin's hand-picked team of wrestlers failed to beat Bischoff's team of wrestlers. Austin quickly returned to WWE television before the end of 2003 when he was part of the WWE Tribute to the Troops taped live in front of U.S. troops in Iraq, posing and stunning Mr. McMahon. He finally came back on Raw on December 29 as its "Sheriff."
Austin appeared on and off as 2004 began, culminating in him being the special guest referee for the infamous match between Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg at WrestleMania XX. Then, on April 17, 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. This was reportedly over a contract dispute about WWE's control of Austin's non-WWE projects, such as movies. Austin could thus no longer use "Stone Cold" to promote himself, as that name is trademarked by WWE. Austin had to correct many people in interviews to ensure they did not refer to him by that moniker.
Part–time WWE appearances (2005–present)
Austin made his first appearance on WWE programming in a year at WrestleMania 21 where he was confronted by "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in Piper's Pit until Carlito interrupted to insult both. This resulted in Carlito receiving a Stone Cold Stunner from Austin and Piper throwing him out of the ring. The segment ended with Austin and Piper celebrating with beer until Austin gave Piper a Stone Cold Stunner as well.
At ECW One Night Stand Austin came to the ring following the show's main event. Wearing a Las Vegas Outlaws (of the failed XFL), Austin came to the ring to give The Sandman a beer which he had asked for. However, Austin invited the whole locker room to the ring for a Beer Bash. However, before the bash he demanded the WWE Crusaders come to the ring for a fight. Tazz came to the ring, which started the brawl. After Taz applied the Tazmission to Kurt Angle the brawl ended. ECW stood alone in the ring after throwing all of the Crusaders out of the ring. Mick Foley (as Cactus Jack) then dragged Eric Bischoff to the ring. The Dudley Boyz gave him a Dudley Death Drop, followed by Chris Benoit giving him a Diving Headbutt, Rey Mysterio followed that with a 619. When Austin then asked Bischoff about his feelings on the night, he responded with "F**K ECW", which promted Austin to give Bischoff a stunner. As the Dudley Boyz took Bischoff outside, and loaded him onto a WWE production truck, the remaining ECW Originals took place in a "'Stone Cold' Steve Austin Beer Bash" as the show went off the air.
Then, at WWE Homecoming, Austin again returned to Raw, delivering Stunners to all four members of the McMahon family. An angle including Jim Ross being fired 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. Austin balked at the decision for Coachman to win, however, and once again walked out on the company after storyline disagreements. To explain away his failure to appear at Taboo Tuesday, Vince McMahon said on Raw that Austin had been involved in an accident, thus preventing him from competing. Batista substituted for Austin defeating the Coach along with Vader and Goldust. The stipulation was dropped due to Austin not competing.
Austin returned to WWE briefly to face John "Bradshaw" Layfield in a beer drinking contest at the March 5, 2006 edition of WWE Saturday Night's Main Event. The feat was declared a no contest when Austin saw JBL cheating by pouring the beer down his clothes. Austin gave a stunner to JBL and then celebrated with the Stone Cold beer salute. Austin then inducted Bret Hart into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 1, 2006.
Austin returned to WWE programming (appearing on Raw, ECW, and SmackDown!) in March 2007, partially to promote his starring role in the release of WWE Films' production, The Condemned. On March 31, 2007, Austin inducted his friend Jim Ross into the WWE Hall of Fame. At WrestleMania 23, Austin, as a special guest referee, officiated the match between Bobby Lashley and Umaga. In the course of the event, Austin delivered stunners to Umaga, Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, and Donald Trump. He then appeared in a video on the June 11 edition of Raw as part of "Mr. McMahon's Appreciation Night", where he shared his thoughts on his past feuds with McMahon.
The June 25, 2007 edition of Raw was scheduled to be a three-hour memorial to "Mr. McMahon" (as part of McMahon's "death" storyline). However, due to the actual death of Chris Benoit, the original show was cancelled and was followed by a tribute to Benoit that filled the three-hour timeslot. Austin was one of the superstars who discussed Benoit, and stated that he missed him and would not forget him.
Austin appeared on the August 18, 2007 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, as a possible illegitimate child of Mr. McMahon and stunned McMahon and Jonathan Coachman. Austin appeared at SummerSlam where he was the replacement for Matt Hardy to battle Montel Vontavious Porter in a Beer Drinking Contest. The match ended in a no contest after Austin handed a beer to MVP and gave him the Stone Cold Stunner. On the November 5, 2007 edition of Raw, Austin made an appearance to confront Santino Marella for bashing The Condemned. The argument ended as Marella received a Stone Cold Stunner from Austin, who then walked backstage only to return with a Budweiser beer truck to hose down Marella and his valet Maria with beer. On December 10, 2007 during the Raw 15th Anniversary Spectacular, Austin returned after Vince McMahon received the mandible claw from Mankind and a chokeslam from The Undertaker for proclaiming himself "the greatest Raw superstar of all time." Shortly after, McMahon received a Stone Cold Stunner as Austin called out all WWE stars in attendance to the ring to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Raw. The show closed as Austin, Triple H and Hornswoggle poured beer on McMahon, who was knocked out outside the ring.
On October 26, 2008 at Cyber Sunday, Austin was the special guest referee during a match between Batista and Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship. In between the match Stone Cold told a fleeing Jericho that if he was counted out or disqualified, Batista would win the Title. During the course of the match, Batista accidentally knocked Austin down. When Austin recovered, Randy Orton, who had come out as the third referee, knocked Austin back down, only to receive a Stone Cold Stunner when Austin recovered. Eventually Batista won the match by hitting his signature Batista Bomb on Chris Jericho, leading Austin to give the three count, making Batista the New World Heavyweight Champion.
On January 12, 2009 edition of Raw, Austin was announced to be the first member of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2009. Austin was inducted by his long-term on-screen rival WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon and he referred to Austin as "The Greatest Superstar of all time". During the induction, there were "one more match" chants to which Austin said he was officially closing the door on his wrestling career and starting a new chapter in his life. At WrestleMania XXV, Austin was introduced alongside the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2009. After the introductions, Austin's theme music hit, and he re-entered the ringside area wearing a vintage "Austin 3:16" shirt driving an ATV. He drove the ATV around the ring, up the aisle, then in reverse next to the ring. Austin got in the ring, and it became what will be remembered as his farewell beer bash. He toasted the fans, and announcer Jim Ross stated "We'll never forget the night the Austin era began, and we'll never forget the night it ended." During the segment, announcers Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, and Michael Cole stressed that this was his "final time" in a WWE ring, announcer Jim Ross gave him a standing ovation and saying "we will never forget the man that is Stone Cold".
Austin returned to the company on the March 15, 2010 episode of Raw as its guest host. On that episode of Raw he moderated a contract signing between Vince McMahon and Bret Hart for their match at WrestleMania XXVI. In the same episode Austin met up backstage with his long time rival Shawn Michaels, who asked Austin whether he believed that Michaels could end the Undertaker's undefeated Wrestlemania streak in their upcoming match. Austin replied "Hell Yeah I think you can beat the undertaker, but I don't think you're going to, The streak is going to go 18-0". Michaels lost the match extending the Undertaker's streak to 18-0 and forcing Michaels to retire, but was one of the greatest matches in WWE history.
On the 900th episode of "Raw" which took place on August 30 of 2010 the intro and theme for Stone Cold Steve Austin were shown. However, this was only a trick by fellow wrestler CM Punk who was attempting to prove a point about what the Straight Edge Society believed was a disturbing history of the WWE. Steve Austin did not actually make an appearance on this night.
In early 2011, Austin was announced as the head trainer and host for the revival of WWE Tough Enough. On the March 7 episode of Raw, Austin interrupted the contract signing of the special guest referee to the Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler match at WrestleMania XXVII, originally scheduled to be John "Bradshaw" Layfield. After stunning Layfield, Austin signed the contract instead and became the official guest referee for the scheduled match. Although Lawler won by submission, the Anonymous Raw General Manager reversed the decision and disqualified Lawler, claiming that Austin had "overstepped his authority". He appeared on Raw the following night with the cast from Tough Enough, while also getting into an altercation with The Miz and Alex Riley. On April 7, 2011, Austin gave an interview where he talked about his return, filming Tough Enough and the respect he has for CM Punk. Austin was asked about a return to the ring and said that he felt that if he had to, he had two more years in him and could still do a full-time schedule. However, he then stated that he was happy with where he was at in life and wanted to be able to hunt and fish 10 to 20 years from now and be able to do it pain free.
On the June 6 episode of Raw, Austin appeared live alongside old rival Vince McMahon to declare Andy Leavine as the winner of Tough Enough. He also served as the Special Guest Referee in the evening's tag team main event, John Cena and Alex Riley vs. The Miz and R-Truth. The end of the match came as a result of Austin hitting the infamous Stone Cold Stunner on The Miz, which was followed by an Attitude Adjustment from Cena and then the pinfall victory. However, the Anonymous Raw General Manager chimed in and the GM's ringside mouthpiece Michael Cole announced that since Austin had abused his authority as referee, The Miz and R-Truth win via disqualification. Austin did not take kindly to the GM overturning his decision and Cole also received a Stunner, which was followed with another Attitude Adjustment courtesy of Cena. Austin and Cena closed the show, celebrating with a beer bash.
Austin appeared as the special guest GM on the "WWE All-Star" edition of Raw. During the show, Austin destroyed the Anonymous Raw General Manager's laptop by running over it with his ATV. It was revealed on WWE.com that Austin would appear at WrestleMania XXX. Austin appeared with Hulk Hogan and The Rock in the opening segment.
Steve Williams dated Kathryn Burrhus throughout high school and college, and the two married on November 24, 1990. Nonetheless, Williams pursued a relationship with Jeannie Clark ("Lady Blossom"), with whom he was working. His marriage to Burrhus was quickly annulled on August 7, 1992, Austin and Jeannie married on December 18, 1992. Together, they have two daughters, Stephanie (born in 1992) and Cassidy (born in 1996). Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Stone Cold Truth (p. 95-97) He also adopted Jade, Jeannie's daughter with former husband Chris Adams. Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Stone Cold Truth (p. 98)
On September 13, 2000, Austin married Debra Marshall. On June 15, 2002, however, police were called to their residence in San Antonio, Texas. Austin had left the house and was asked by police not to return. On August 14, 2002, Austin was arrested and charged with domestic abuse. He pled no contest on November 25, 2002 and was given a year's probation, a $1,000 fine and ordered to carry out eighty hours of community service. Debra would later claim that Steve Austin was a steroid user and this incident was the result of roid rage. Austin filed for divorce from Debra on July 22, 2002 and the divorce was finalized on February 5, 2003.
In December 2007, the Wrestling Observer newsletter reported that "Stone Cold" Steve Austin legally changed his real name (Steven Williams) to his wrestling name Steve Austin, following in the footsteps of former WWE Superstars Ultimate Warrior and Chyna.
The first thing I want done is to get that piece of crap outta my ring. Don't just get him outta the ring, get him outta the World Wrestling Federation all together, 'cause I proved, without a shadow of a doubt, son, that you ain't got what it takes anymore! You sit there, and you thump your Bible, and you 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 whooped your ass!
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- As "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
- Texas Cloverleaf
- Leapfrog body guillotine
- Mudhole Stomp (Multiple stomps to the chest of an opponent seated in the corner, followed by the middle finger gesture to the opponent and then a final stomp
- Pointed elbow drop, sometimes from the second or top rope
- Sleeper hold
- Stomp to the opponent's groin
- Texas piledriver
- Lou Thesz press followed by multiple punches
- As "Stunning" Steve Austin
- As "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
- "The Texas Rattlesnake"
- "Stone Cold"
- "The Bionic Redneck"
- "Toughest Son of a Bitch in the WWF/E"
- "Give me a HELL YEAH!!"
- "Austin 3:16 says: I JUST WHOOPED YOUR ASS!!"
- "And that's the bottom line, cause STONE COLD SAID SO!!"
- Entrance themes
- World Championship Wrestling
- As "Stunning" Steve Austin
- "Roman Love" (1991–1993)
- "Satan's Sister" (1993–1995)
- As "Stunning" Steve Austin
- Extreme Championship Wrestling
- As "Superstar" Steve Austin
- "Jesus Christ Superstar" (1995)
- As "Superstar" Steve Austin
- World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment
- As The Ringmaster
- "Ringmaster" by Jim Johnston (1996)
- As "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
- "Hell Frozen Over" by Jim Johnston (October 27, 1996 – October 11, 1998)
- ""I Wont Do What You Tell Me"" by Jim Johnston (October 12, 1998 – September 7, 2000; December 3, 2001–present)
- "Glass Shatters" by Disturbed (September 24, 2000 – July 22, 2001; 2011, for promos)
- "Rattlesnake" by Jim Johnston (2001)
- "Hell on Earth" by Jim Johnston (2001)
- "Paranoid" by Jim Johnston (2001)
- "Venomous" by Jim Johnston (August 6, 2001 – November 29, 2001)
- As The Ringmaster
- World Championship Wrestling