Steve Austin is a popular choice when breaking down the greatest wrestling stars of all time. Other candidates such as Hulk Hogan, The Rock and John Cena all have their detractors but Austin is essentially universally loved in the wrestling world. Starting off his first noteworthy in wrestling as one of the best in-ring workers for WCW, Austin excelled as a tag team and singles wrestler due to his work rate. During his short stint in ECW, Austin showcased his ability to cut a great promo when put in the right spot and that helped him land a job in WWE that would change the entire industry.
As the edgy and rebellious hero, fans associated and lived vicariously through “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as he tormented Vince McMahon and had classic matches with The Rock. The popularity of Austin led to the most financially successful time in WWE and the entire industry. Wrestling was becoming popular in mainstream media with television ratings dominating cable and that was largely thanks to Austin being the face of the WWE. Austin’s run as a top star lasted from 1997 until 2003 when his career would end due to a neck injury. Despite no longer wrestling, Austin would make many more memorable appearances in roles like general manager and guest referee.
Following his retirement, Austin has no doubt inspired many wrestlers that have come after him. You could see Austin’s influence when CM Punk was a top star and more recently in the characters of current stars like Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens. Even when he makes the rare appearance in front of a live crowd today, Austin is worshipped by the fan base and celebrated for his body of work. There’s no doubting Austin’s legacy but he’s also one of the more mysterious wrestlers, so we’re going to dig a little deeper into his life and break down 15 little known facts about “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
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15 Close Friend of Bill Goldberg
One of the hottest debates for wrestling fans in the 1990s was deciding if Steve Austin or Bill Goldberg was the better wrestler. Considering their similar physical look, the same gear of black trunks and boots and their intense work, Austin and Goldberg were unintentional rivals leading the way for WWE and WCW. However, over the years, the two men have become very good friends. Working together in WWE when Goldberg finally joined the company while Austin was working as a GM figure, the two formed a relationship and have remained friends. Both men have had kind words to say about each other on their podcasts.
14 Has Appeared in Multiple Adam Sandler Movies
Following his retirement from pro wrestling, Steve Austin tried his hand in the acting world and has achieved a decent amount of success in the film industry. While Austin will never be the main star of a Hollywood blockbuster hit like The Rock, he occasionally gets credible roles in feature films and Austin’s two biggest roles were in Adam Sandler movies. Playing a villain officer in “The Longest Yard,” Austin was joined by fellow wrestlers Kevin Nash, Bill Goldberg and The Great Khali. In another Sandler film, Austin had a bigger role in “Grown Ups 2” as the rival of Sandler’s character.
13 Nominated For a Podcast Award
As mentioned, Steve Austin has now entered the podcast game with his two weekly podcast shows, The Steve Austin Show (family friendly edition on Tuesdays) and The Steve Austin Show – Unleashed! (non-PG language edition on Thursdays) as well as occasionally hosting The Stone Cold Podcast live on the WWE Network. Austin’s interviews with fellow wrestling stars and his insight on the current wrestling product lead to fascinating content. The podcast became so successful for PodcastOne that the company also hired Chris Jericho, Jim Ross and Goldberg to host shows on their website. The Steve Austin Show – Unleashed! was nominated for the best sports related podcast in the most recent Podcast Awards.
12 Half-brother of Actor Jamie McBride
Jamie McBride is the half-brother to Steve Austin with a very similar look and a less successful acting career. McBride works as a cop in real life in between his acting gigs, as it’s hard to make a full time living as a part time actor. Typecast with his look and his profession, McBride has been seen in notable movies and television shows such as Collateral, Transformers and Desperate Housewives playing the role of a cop or FBI agent. Considering how alike the two siblings are, it’s surprising McBride never got cast in WWE to play the real life role of Austin’s brother with how wacky the storylines were during the Attitude Era.
11 Jim Ross is his Right Hand Man
With their careers climaxing at the same time, Steve Austin and Jim Ross are very close friends and Ross played a big role in Austin’s success. While Austin was putting together one of the greatest runs in wrestling history as a top superstar, Ross was establishing himself as the greatest play by play wrestling commentator of all time. Working as head of talent relations, Ross would also speak on Austin’s behalf when it came to storylines or paydays he wasn’t happy with. Both men would stay close through the years as Austin inducted JR into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007 and helped him get a podcast show on PodcastOne in 2014.
10 Almost a Gym Teacher
Before becoming a professional wrestling superstar, Steve Austin was in school trying to get closer to a profession. Austin was just a few credits shy of earning a degree in physical education but he dropped out of college and chose to get a job working on a loading dock. Citing struggling with the frustrations of math and accounting classes, Austin decided college was no longer for him. If he did get his degree and obtained a job as a gym teacher, it would be interesting to see if he’d have contributed as much time to wrestling as he did.
9 Refused to Lose to Brock Lesnar
In 2002, Steve Austin was starting to be used as less for the first time since becoming the face of the company in 1998. Austin’s WrestleMania X8 match that year was lower on the card vs. Scott Hall while Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock was the attraction match and Triple H vs. Chris Jericho was the main event. A few months later, WWE booked Austin to lose to the recently debuting rookie Brock Lesnar in an unadvertised match on Raw. Considering it a proverbial slap to his face, Austin refused and didn’t show up to work, unofficially walking out of the company. Austin his noted walking out was the biggest regret of his career.
8 Refused to Wrestle Jeff Jarrett
Steve Austin needed new heel challengers when becoming WWE Champion in 1998 but refused the idea of Jeff Jarrett being one of them. While never confirmed, there are two stories with evidence pointing as to why Austin hated Jarrett. Austin’s ex-wife Debra claimed Austin was jealous of her business relationship with Jarrett as his manager on WWE TV. Jarrett has stated he believes it was due to his return promo on WWE TV in a worked shoot promo meant to insult the company’s top stars. When talking about Austin, Jarrett insulted his “blasphemous” 3:16 shirts and Jarrett has said Austin didn’t want to work with him because of that.
7 Was a Band Geek in High School
How would you expect the biggest badass in pro wrestling to spend his days in high school? I’ll save you all the guesses and shock you with the news that Steve Austin was into traditionally nerdy things as a high school student. Austin played an instrument in the high school’s official band and if that’s not all to end your instinctual assumptions of him, Austin was also inducted into the National Honor Society. There you have it; “Stone Cold” was a geek before deciding to become the coolest pro wrestler of all time. You have to wonder what the other members of his high school band thought when seeing him on WWE TV.
6 Strong Supporter of Gay Marriage
While you’d naturally assume Steve Austin is a strong right wing conservative based off his surroundings, lifestyle and some of his comments, one liberal belief Austin has is the support of gay marriage. Austin went off on his podcas,t ranting about anyone who doesn’t think two members of the same sex should be allowed to have a relationship and get married. Audio of his rant became a hit on the internet the next day as many shared his sentiment and loved the pure passion in his voice.
5 Legally changed name to Steve Austin
“Stone Cold” has had many legal names in his life. Born as Steve James Anderson, he would take the last name of his stepfather and become Steve Williams because he never knew his biological father. After his success in WWE with the name Steve Austin, the wrestling legend legally changed his name. It’s probably most natural to him after the years spent with the name and it helps him in business situations so the name change was a no-brainer. Regardless of what name is on his ID, it is fun to imagine people in everyday life referring to him as “The Texas Rattlesnake” or “Stone Cold.”
4 A Triple H Hug Changed his Career
Triple H was slated to win the 1996 King of the Ring and get a big push with it but after breaking character with the infamous Kliq Curtain Call at MSG, plans changed. Triple H was punished and the opportunity went to Steve Austin who made the absolute most of it. Austin won the King of the Ring by defeating Jake Roberts in the finals and would cut one of the greatest post-match promos of all time, which unofficially started the momentum that gave us “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. If not for Triple H hugging Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall at MSG, Austin’s career and WWE history may be different today.
3 Almost Interviewed Rival Hulk Hogan on Podcast
Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan are arguably the two biggest stars in wrestling history and there’s always been heat between the two. Whether ego, pride or just a dislike for each other, the two never worked a match and have engaged in snide comments about the other through the years. Considering their history, fans would have loved to see the two talk about their careers together as Hogan was scheduled to appear on The Stone Cold Podcast for the WWE Network. Hogan’s racist tirade was leaked before it could be announced, leading to WWE cutting all ties with Hogan and replacing him with Paige on the podcast.
2 Never Pinned Bret Hart
One of wrestling's greatest rivalries saw Bret Hart and Steve Austin compete in many great matches and have an incredible storyline. With Hart embracing a heel role for the first time in years and Austin becoming extremely popular, the two had their best match at WrestleMania 13, stealing the show and cementing Austin as a star. Despite facing off many times through their careers, Austin never got the big win over Hart. Fans remember Austin getting the better of Hart due to in ring segments and promos, but unless it happened at a house show, Austin never pinned Bret.
1 The Original Paul Heyman Guy
Working together in WCW as members of “The Dangerous Alliance” faction, Paul Heyman was one of the first wrestling minds to see something special in Steve Austin. Known for having a great eye for talent, Heyman’s first hit was calling the success of Austin. Eric Bischoff fired an injured Austin from WCW and Heyman brought over Austin to ECW, desperately wanting to spotlight the frustrated Texan with a microphone and a camera. Changing his reputation as an incredible promo artist, Austin was hired by WWE and became the biggest star in the company. It was only fitting that one of the most brilliant wrestling minds of all time was the first to notice the excellence of the most successful wrestling star.
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