'Stone Cold' Steve Austin is widely viewed as the greatest superstar in WWE history, and for good reason. He was the main face of the Attitude Era, which marked the turning point in WWE's war with WCW. If it weren't for Austin, perhaps WCW would have come away with the victory - thus putting Vince McMahon out of business.
Fans were fortunate enough to see Austin go head-to-head with many all-time greats, including The Undertaker, The Rock, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Booker T and Shawn Michaels. But there are some dream matches for The Texas Rattlesnake that fans never got to witness, and we can't help but wonder how they would have played out.
Batista wasn't quite a main eventer when Steve Austin was in the final stages of his wrestling career. There were some backstage and in-ring confrontations between the two WWE legends, but they never once squared off in the middle of the ring.
Austin, of course, had some long-time beef with Evolution leader Triple H. He did also square off against Ric Flair on a few occasions, but The Animal and The Texas Rattlesnake never duked it out in the square circle.
Like Batista, Austin did come face-to-face with Goldberg in the ring, but never in the form of a match. Austin, of course, was the special guest referee for Goldberg's bout against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX. That match didn't sit well with the fans, who pelted Lesnar and Goldberg with boos and harsh chants. The lone highlight was when Austin delivered a classic Stone Cold Stunner to both superstars.
For what it's worth, the 2018 Hall of Fame inductee recently stated that the dream match vs. Austin didn't happen because of the latter's neck injuries, and WWE simply "didn't trust" Goldberg against him.
8 Roman Reigns
Reigns was only a teenager when Austin last competed in the WWE, but it doesn't mean we can't dream of a potential showdown between the Hall of Famer and The Big Dog.
If Austin were to theoretically come back for one more match, Reigns would be the ideal opponent for him. The latter's push as the new face of WWE didn't go as planned, but perhaps a match against Austin would change all of that.
7 Mark Henry
There were a couple of memorable Stone Cold Stunners that Austin performed on Mark Henry. But these two only shared the ring at the 1998 and 1999 Royal Rumble events; Austin won it all in the former year.
Henry wasn't used in the main event picture during Austin's prime years in WWE, so the timing just wasn't there for the two Hall of Fame inductees to face off one-on-one. At least we got to see a couple of in-ring confrontations.
6 Kevin Nash
Steve Austin left WCW after getting fired by Eric Bischoff in 1995, and he would sign with ECW and later WWE later that year. Kevin Nash and Scott Hall would leave Vince McMahon's promotion to sign with WCW in 1996, and he stayed there until 2001. So as you can tell, the timing of everything simply didn't allow an Austin-Nash feud, since they had crossed from one promotion to the other.
That said, they did face off in a 3-on-2 tag team match on the March 11, 2002 episode of Raw. Austin teamed up with The Rock in a losing effort to the New World Order (Nash, Hall and Hulk Hogan). The Texas Rattlesnake defeated Hall in a singles match at WrestleMania X8. But the two wrestling icons never once met head-to-head in a singles match.
5 Randy Orton
Call it the Snake Bowl! Who wouldn't have wanted to see The Viper face off against The Texas Rattlesnake? Randy Orton was still a young superstar with plenty of work ahead of him during Austin's final year in the WWE. The company was taking it slow in building up Orton, so it didn't make a lot of sense to have him feud with Austin, who was still WWE's main guy at the time.
While Orton was Intercontinental Champion, there was a segment where Austin talked to him backstage following a tense meeting with Raw general manager Eric Bischoff. That was probably the "closest" we ever got to seeing
4 CM Punk
During his run in WWE, CM Punk seemed to be the perfect modern day opponent for Austin. He carried many of the same qualities as the WWE legend, being quite rebellious and merciless. Their personas were similar in more ways than one. Thing is, CM Punk actually stated that a match between he and Austin almost took place at one point.
Punk claimed "there was a sliver of time where it was going to happen," though we obviously never got to witness it. Now that he's part of WWE Backstage, it's easy to believe that CM Punk could return to the ring some day. But would Austin come out of retirement to go up against the former World Champion? Probably not, but one can always dream about it.
While Austin was busy in the main event spotlight, Edge was mainly working with his best friend Christian in a series of tag team matches. The duo were often feuding with The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz, so it didn't allow for many opportunities to pit Edge against Austin.
Austin once teamed up with Bradshaw and Faarooq on the Jan. 15 episode of Raw, where they took down Edge, Christian and Kurt Angle in a six-man tag team match. But that was the closest we'd ever get to having The Rated-R superstar go toe-to-toe with Austin. What a match it could have been between the perennial babyface and the legendary heel!
2 John Cena
Steve Austin retired from the WWE in 2003, leaving the company without a main face. Two years later, the torch was passed down to John Cena, who became the WWE's top face in the midst of the Ruthless Aggression Era.
We got to see Austin vs. The Rock, Cena vs. The Rock, Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage and Roman Reigns vs. Cena in battles of two all-time legendary babyfaces. Sadly, we never got to witness the Face of the Attitude Era against the face of the Ruthless Aggression Era. It would have been an epic match between two men who changed the entire professional wrestling industry for the better. Too bad Cena was still in the early stages of his WWE career when Austin retired.
1 Hulk Hogan
This is perhaps the greatest fantasy match that never took place in professional wrestling. Even though The Rock and Hogan put together a show for the ages at WrestleMania X8, many fans to this day still wish it was Austin going up against The Hulkster instead. When Hogan and his nWo counterparts joined WWE in 2002, it felt like the perfect time to pit Austin against the long-time face of pro wrestling. So why didn't happen?
Austin acknowledged that Hogan was his dream match, but the former simply "didn’t feel like stepping back in the ring." If Austin didn't have to retire prematurely, there's a good chance we would have seen them square off one-on-one. At least we got to see them share the ring in the aforementioned 3-on-2 tag team match on the March 11, 2002 episode of Raw. Few could have expected at the time that it would mark the closest we'd ever get to Austin vs. Hogan.