In honor of the Texas Rattlesnake's 50th birthday, it's time to look back on the golden moments of his career. What a life he's lived and what an abundance of memories he's given us wrestling fans. A list like this could be eternal. From an in-ring career spanning two decades, Steve Austin has definitely left his mark on the pro wrestling world. An influential component of the WWE’s Attitude Era, a holder of numerous titles across multiple promotions, and being claimed by many in the business as the “biggest superstar in the history of the WWE,” the Hall of Famer's career definitely is worth many looks.
From famous promos to memorable feuds, Austin has become an integral part of pro wrestling history. A couple weeks back we published an article on the most memorable moments of Hulk Hogan’s career. It's now time to look back on the man who many view as the Hulkster's successor as the WWE's money machine that was Stone Cold Steve Austin. Portraying a beer swilling, profanity firing, blue collar brawler, Austin would tap into a huge part of pro wrestling’s audience and come across as the hero that fans needed against the likes of characters like the evil billionaire Mr. McMahon. It was his take no prisoners attitude and ability to get the crowd on his side at a moment’s notice that made him a standout in the Monday Night War between WCW and the WWE, but it was also his ability to flip the switch and either show his intense side or his humorous side that endeared him to fans. While it may seem easy to choose 15 moments that define a career like Austin’s, it was incredibly consuming trying to find the best 15 moments to encapsulate Austin’s career as a wrestler and on screen performer, but here are those moments. So please read, enjoy, and let us know what you think if there are any moments you feel we missed.
14 15. Austin Debuts in WWE as "The Ringmaster," Becomes Stone Cold
13 13. Co-GM and Sheriff of Raw
12 12. The Hollywood Blondes win WCW Tag Titles
After the Dangerous Alliance disbanded, Steve Austin would bounce around the WCW midcard before finally being teamed up with Brian Pillman to form the third iteration of the Hollywood Blondes. The duo would get over as obnoxious heels who, after a match, would tell the fans “your brush with greatness is over” along with mock filming each other with an invisible camera after successfully hitting a maneuver on an opponent. They would win the WCW Tag Titles from Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas only a couple months after pairing up and would go on to successfully defend the belts against the former champions on a few separate occasions.
11 11. ECW Promos
10 10. Austin “takes his ball and goes home”
9 9. Austin Pulls a Gun on Vince
8 8. Beer Bath for the Corporation
7 7. Inducted into Hall of Fame
6 6. Austin sells his soul to Mr. McMahon
5 5. Owen Breaks Austin’s Neck
4 4. Austin stuns Vince after winning the WWE title
3 3. Austin wins first WWE title
2 2. Wrestlemania 13 against Bret Hart
While Shawn Michaels may have been a thorn in Bret Hart’s side, Austin was definitely a pain in his backside. From cheating Bret out of a Royal Rumble victory to feuding with Bret and every other member of the Hart Foundation, Austin seemed there solely to make life difficult for Bret. So when the two were pitted against each other in a submission match with special guest referee Ken Shamrock at Wrestlemania 13, many felt it was the moment then-heel Austin would get his comeuppance.
1 1. The Austin 3:16 Promo
This is the moment that shot Austin’s star into the stratosphere. He had been on the cusp of main event level popularity since his switch from the Ringmaster to Stone Cold, but this is what tipped it over the edge for him. At the King of the Ring PPV, Austin would clash with the Cinderella story of the tournament, Jake “the Snake” Roberts who had unbelievably made it to the finals despite being injured earlier in the evening by Vader. Austin would ultimately beat Roberts and be named King of the Ring as he headed towards the throne on the entrance set. From there Austin would demand that “that piece of crap be removed from my ring” referring to Roberts who was being helped out by referees and then Austin would give the speech that would define his career, ending with the penultimate line, “Austin 3:16 says I just whipped you’re a**!”
The fans in attendance ate it up and the following weeks every arena was flooded with black t-shirts that simply said Austin 3:16. That simple phrase would help catapult the WWE past its rival WCW in the Monday night ratings war and would make Austin one of the biggest stars pro wrestling had ever seen.
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