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"Stone Cold" Steve Austin

REAL NAME: Steven Williams
NICKNAME: Stunning Steve, the Ring Master, Stone Cold
241 pounds, 6-foot-2
BORN: December 18, 1964 in Victoria, Texas

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin was once on top of the world, the biggest name in the history of the industry, only to fall victim to personal demons.

Born Steven Williams, Austin got into wrestling after an injury ended the former defensive end's football career at North Texas University. Shortly after graduating from Chris Adams' wrestling school in 1989, Austin defeated Frogman LeBlanc in his pro debut in World Class Championship Wrestling. Because there was already a Steve Williams in pro wrestling, Austin would soon have to change his name.

Austin and Adams would feud in a classic teacher-vs.-student feud in the Texas-based USWA in 1990. Austin would also appear in Tennessee under the USWA banner and the Texas Wrestling Federation, where he teamed with Rod Price to win the TWF Tag team titles.

With just a year and a half of experience under his belt, Austin headed to Atlanta and World Championship Wrestling. Within weeks of his WCW debut, Austin (with valet Lady Blossom) defeated ring veteran Bobby Eaton for the WCW TV title. With Blossom gone and manager Paul E. Dangerously and the Dangerous Alliance in, it would be ten months before Austin finally lost the belt to Barry Windham to end his first of two TV title reigns. Austin also formed a successful tag team with former Calgary Stampede star Brian Pillman. Dubbed "the Hollywood Blondes", the pair won the WCW World Tag team titles in March 1993 and held them for five months before Austin and Steven (now William) Regal lost the titles. (Regal was subbing for an injured Pillman).

At Starrcade '93, Austin won his first of two United States Championships, defeating Dustin Rhodes. However, on September 18, 2004, almost immediately after regaining the U.S. title (an injured Ricky Steamboat vacated the title), Austin was defeated by Jim Duggan and his time in WCW came to an end.

With Austin out with a torn tricep, (an injury suffered in Japan), Eric Bischoff and WCW decided that "Stunning Steve" was unmarketable didn't fit into their future plans and fired Austin, over the phone. In the summer of 1995, Austin arrived in ECW. During his time there, he cut several promos that seemed to prelude the character he would later portray in the WWE.

By year's end, however, Austin had left for the WWE. Austin debuted as "the Ringmaster", managed by Ted Dibiase. The gimmick never went anywhere and Dibiase was soon gone. Inspired by a comment by his wife about not letting his tea get "stone cold", Austin soon adapted the ring name "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

At the 1996 King of the Ring, Austin came into his own. After defeating Marc Mero and Jake Roberts, Austin won the annual pay-per-view tournament. But the biggest step towards superstardom was still to come. As Doc Hendrix conducted a post-match promo with the new King of the Ring, Austin demeaned Roberts' "born again" gimmick stating that unlike the biblical verse John 3:16, "Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your *ss!" A catchphrase was born that soon appeared on T-shirts, hats and anything else the WWE could manufacture.

While feuding with Savio Vega and Jake Roberts might have put some wins under his belt, the first high profile feud for "Stone Cold" would come with Bret Hart. Austin began calling out Hart as the "Hitman" was preparing to come back from a lengthy absence. The two met at the Survivor Series, clashed at the Royal Rumble and engaged in a bloody battle at Wrestlemania XIII that fully established Austin as a fan favourite and turned Bret Hart heel.

The Hart - Austin war raged over the summer of 1997 and involved the British Bulldog and Owen Hart as well as Dude Love, a surprise tag team partner for Austin. The unlikely duo of Dude Love and Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Owen and the Bulldog to win the WWE Tag team titles.

At SummerSlam '97, Austin added to his gold count when he won the Intercontinental Championship but at a cost that would haunt him for the remainder of his career. Austin's opponent, the late Owen Hart, executed a piledriver on Austin, but the move went wrong and Austin suffered a stinger that left "Stone Cold" temporarily paralyzed and with neck problems that continue to plague him.

After recovering from the initial effects of the injury, Austin returned to battle Owen Hart who was now a member of the Nation of Domination. In time, Austin would turn his attention to the entire Nation, which included Rocky Miavia.

At Wrestlemania XIV, Austin had finally reached the main event and defeated Shawn Michaels for the WWE title. Although it seemed as if special referee, boxer Mike Tyson might side with Michaels and DX, it was all a ruse and Tyson counted three and awarded Austin the championship. The "Austin Era" had begun.

The new WWE Champion, Austin soon found himself with a new adversary. Instead of an in-ring opponent, Austin found himself battling WWE head Vince McMahon. With the company sliding in the ratings against rival WCW, the Austin-McMahon feud was just the fix they needed, becoming the biggest storyline in the company's history. Austin vs. McMahon was also the catalyst for pro wrestling's wave of mainstream popularity that would last for several years.

McMahon would recruit the likes of the Undertaker, Kane and even Dude Love to take on Austin in the hopes of taking the title off of "Stone Cold". McMahon's plan succeeded at the 1998 King of the Ring when Kane defeated Austin. Austin rebounded the next night to regain the title.

Kane got some help from the Undertaker to defeat Austin on September 27th but the title was held up afterwards and although Austin tried his best to regain the title at the 1998 Survivor Series, betrayal at the hands of Shane McMahon short-circuited Austin's plans.

Austin seemed to be en route to winning the 1999 Royal Rumble despite getting attacked by McMahon's cronies, but it was Vince McMahon himself who dumped Austin and won the Royal Rumble. Austin would eventually win the right to battle for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania (including having to face Vince McMahon in a steel cage match at St. Valentine's Day Massacre in February).

The Rock fell to Austin at Wrestlemania. After rematches against the Rock, Austin would trade the title with the Undertaker over the spring and early summer before finally losing the title in a Triple threat match that included Triple H and the winner, Mick Foley at Summer Slam 99.

By the end of 1999, the injury suffered over two years earlier, combined with the normal wear and tear suffered by wrestlers, had finally caught up to Austin. Written out of WWE storylines as being hit by a car, Austin underwent surgery to repair damage to his spinal cord and neck.

When Austin returned nearly a year later, his first order of business was to find out who had "hit" him with a car. Eventually, after tearing up the WWE, it was revealed that it was Rikishi, so that the Rock could become champion.

At Wrestlemania X7 in Houston, Texas, it was once again Austin vs. the Rock and once again Austin defeated the Rock for the WWE World title but this time it was due to interference by Vince McMahon.

Aligned with McMahon, Austin would team with Triple H to form the Two Man Power Trip and held the WWE World Tag team Championship until Triple H went down with a quad injury.

As the infamous "Invasion" angle began, Austin seemed to be on the side of the WWE but turned his back and joined the Alliance in July 2001. He feuded with and teamed with Kurt Angle as the fall of 2001 went on. On October 8th, 2001 he beat Angle for the WWE title, becoming a six-time World Champion.

He would lose the title to Chris Jericho at Armageddon as Y2J unified the WCW and WWE World titles. Meanwhile, Austin found himself involved in a battle against the NWO facing Scott Hall at Wrestlemania XVIII.

Shortly after, Austin walked out of WWE over "creative differences" and his marriage to Debra fell apart. For nearly a year, Austin was MIA as far as WWE was concerned. In 2002, he returned and after crossing paths with Eric Bischoff, ended up feuding, once again with the Rock.

Wrestlemania XIX saw the final match of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's career as he battled the Rock one last time, and this time he was defeated by his long-time adversary.

In April 2003, Austin returned to the ring, not as a wrestler but as the co-General Manager of the Raw brand. Austin and his fellow co-GM Eric Bischoff clashed as they both tried to run Raw as they saw fit. Even after being "fired" as co-General Manager, Austin remained as a special "Sheriff" before refereeing the Brock Lesnar-Goldberg match at Wrestlemania XX.

History repeated itself after Wrestlemania XX as Austin and the WWE were once again on the outs, and Austin left the organization. Nearly a year later, it was announced that Austin, who had appeared in episodes of "Nash Bridges", had signed a three picture deal with WWE films.

Stone Cold would also reappear in the WWE, taking part in Piper's Pit at Wrestlemania XXI and showing up on Raw the next night where he embarrassed Simon Dean and Maven.

Austin would return to his ECW roots at One Night Stand, joining forces with the ECW veterans against Eric Bischoff and the rest of the anti-ECW crusaders. The next night, he would appear on Raw and grant Muhammad Hassan an Intercontinental Championship match against Shelton Benjamin only to interfere on Benjamin's behalf, attacking Hassan to cause a disqualification.

Although still with WWE, Austin would disappear until WWE's Homecoming on USA Network. With Vince McMahon gloating over getting the better of Austin on a few occassions during their feud in the late 90s, Austin arrived to take exception and stunned not only Vince, Shane, Stephanie and even Linda McMahon. Austin's actions would, in turn, lead to commentator Jim Ross being fired.

Austin was supposed to battle the Coach at Taboo Tuesday, with the stipulation being that Ross would be reinstated as an announcer if Austin won, only to quit the company again when he learned that he was supposed to lose to the Coach.

But as always, Austin's hiatus from WWE wasn't permanent. Austin returned to engaged JBL in a drinking contest on Saturday Night's Main Event and then, later, inducted Bret Hart into the WWE Hall of Fame. Austin remains with WWE, filming "the Codemned" in Australia.

With filming completed, Austin would make appearances on RAW, ECW and SmackDown! to hype the movie. Soon after, he’d induct his friend Jim Ross into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Austin’s most significant in-ring contribution at this point in his career would be his special guest referee role at WrestleMania 23 in the “Battle of the Billionaires” match between Bobby Lashley and Umaga. There, he ended up stunning Umaga, Vince and Shane McMahon, and Donald Trump.

Outside of showing up every now and again to deliver stunners and drink beer on TV, (his most high profile cameo appearance coming at RAW’s 15th anniversary show), Austin’s other significant role would again come as referee, this time at Cyber Sunday 2007 in the World Heavyweight Championship match between Batista and Undertaker.

-- compiled by John Milner and Richard Kamchen


Stories


  • June 2, 2013: Stone Cold Steve Austin puts Dallas Cowboys on blast
  • May 18, 2012: Laughs and sage advice from Austin at CAC banquet
  • April 19, 2012: Austin, Steamboat delight at Cauliflower Alley Club reunion
  • Dec. 7, 2011: Austin DVD pretty damn good
  • Nov. 16, 2010: Austin starting to find comfort level as an actor
  • Nov. 5, 2010: Stone Cold committed to being an actor
  • Nov. 1, 2010: Hunt to Kill a good role for Stone Cold
  • Mar. 27, 2010: Stone Cold says he has 'has one last match' in him
  • Mar. 25, 2010: Stone Cold causes Damage in new film
  • Apr. 4, 2009: Native son Austin headlines WWE Hall of Fame class
  • Feb. 25, 2008: Austin 3-DVD set a worthy Legacy
  • Apr. 29, 2007: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin Q&A
  • Apr. 15, 2007: A stunning premiere for Stone Cold
  • May 26, 2005: Grapplers give Calgary props
  • May 22, 2005: Austin open to more acting roles
  • May 21, 2005: Austin tackles a new genre
  • Jan. 18, 2005: Austin, WWE sign movie deal
  • Apr 16, 2004: Austin leaves the WWE
  • Mar 27, 2004: 'Stone Cold' in domestic disturbance call
  • Feb. 15, 2004: Details emerge on planned Austin DVD
  • Feb. 10, 2004: Give re-released Austin DVD a miss
  • Feb. 8, 2004: Stone Cold says he'll be back
  • Nov. 12, 2003: The Stone Cold Truth, WWE style
  • Mar. 9, 2003: Awesome Austin guaranteed draw
  • Jan. 27, 2000: Say Hell, No! to Hell Yeah! DVD
  • Jan 21, 2000: Austin released from hospital
  • Jan 18, 2000: Austin recovering from spinal surgery
  • Dec. 3, 1999: Austin to undergo surgery
  • Nov 26, 1999: Austin's spinal injury confirmed
  • Sep. 28, 1998: Austin given the keys to the city of Hamilton
  • Sep. 27, 1998: Austin's better, stronger, nastier
  • May 6, 1998: The TSN, Off The Record - Stone Cold Interview
  • Nov. 10, 1997: Stone Cold knows pain of success

    STEVE AUSTIN PHOTO GALLERIES
  • The Condemned Toronto premiere April 11, 2007, in Toronto