Hamilton honours Austin
By GREG OLIVER -- SLAM! Sports
WWF World Champion, Stone Cold Steve Austin (right) shakes hands and is presented with the key to the city by Hamilton Mayor Bob Morrow. digital photo by Greg Oliver/CANOE
Stone Cold Steve Austin now has a key to the City of Hamilton.
The thousands in attendance for the ceremony at Hamilton's City Hall on Sunday afternoon didn't seem to share my view that Steve Austin was undeserving of the honour (see previous story).
In fact, this was the first time that Hamilton has given out a key to the city.
Austin arrived in a white stretch limo, clad in a Austin 3:16 baseball shirt and sunglasses. His fans were delighted to see him, chanting 'Austin, Austin' without any encouragement from MC Doc Hendrix.
The WWF World Champ said that he wished he was in Hamilton just "drink a few beers," but knew there was work ahead Sunday night at Copps Coliseum, just a Stone Cold's throw away from city hall.
"I've got a helluva task here tonight. I've got The Undertaker, I've got Kane, Vince McMahon. It seems fit to say that The Undertaker can't pin Kane, Kane can't pin The Undertaker. So things don't look good for Stone Cold Steve Austin. But I'm not going into this thing with my head down, shuffling my feet. I'm going in there doing exactly what Stone Cold Steve Austin does and that's when the bell rings, I just beat somebody's ass! And that's the bottom line, 'cause Stone Cold said so! Thank you once again for the key to the city and everything here in Hamilton. I sure do appreciate it."
Besides accepting the key to the city from Hamilton Mayor Bob Morrow, Austin also signed the city's guest book and a cardboard cut-out of himself that was to be raffled off for charity. He left after signing only a couple of autographs for the people backstage.
Mayor Morrow praised the World Wrestling Federation while on stage. "I think it's fantastic that they picked our city and Copps Coliseum for their payperview," he said. "Some of these names are so famous, and we've got them right here in Hamilton!"
The highlight of the afternoon was easily The Headbangers. Hendrix introduced the duo and they seemed to genuinely love their new heel roles, knowing full well how heels are cheered in this day and age.
After Austin received the key, Headbanger Thrasher (the tall one) demanded to know where their key to the city was. Mayor Morrow, quick on his feet, said that there was no key for them, but that "we've got some sandwiches in the back for you."
Thrasher responded, "I don't want a key to this city anyway!"
The Headbangers stayed around for more than an hour after the event, signing autographs for all those who waited.
Also in attendance was WWF Canada President Carl De Marco, who praised Vince McMahon for bringing the Breakdown payperview to Hamilton, which of course resulted in a round of boos for Mr. McMahon's name.
Jason Sensation did three impressions to warm up the crowd -- Rocky Maivia, Val Venis and Owen Hart. He also stuck around signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans.
Hamilton cover band Dubay played before and after the event, but no one in the crowd seemed to care.