Steve Austin first became known to the wrestling audience as “Stunning” Steve Austin working for WCW, It did not take long for fans to be impressed with Austin’s work-rate in the ring.
He was very much a skilled technical worker who mixed other styles such as brawling. His overall psychology when he would face other wrestlers became increasingly very natural. A talented in-ring general was the approach Austin presented and due to his dependability for making those wrestling matches better by selling, being aggressive, by telling a story and by taking advantage of an opponent’s mistake or if they had a past injury, Austin showed he had ring I.Q. and a special type of awareness.
Career with WCW
Austin, while in world championship wrestling, had found himself in main-events, but for much of his career with the Atlanta-based company, he found himself stuck in the mid-card a lot. Austin showed toughness and resilience by still having success working with some great stars, and holding championships. He could be a tremendous singles competitor and a great tag-team partner. “Stunning” Steve would differ from his later persona of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in the WWF/WWE. Austin had a full head of blonde hair and he was clean shaved at least for the most part. I will say, we would start to see shades of what would become the tough guy, anti-hero babyface packed with attitude even here during this time. Austin started as a heel and he was believable as the guy nobody liked but as far as his in-ring ability, people had to admit they respected him with regards to the storyline between good guys versus bad guys. Austin defeated Bobby Eaton for the WCW World Television Championship on June 3rd, 1991.
Austin had been associated with Paul E. Dangerously’s heel group called the “The Dangerous Alliance,” which featured Ravishing Rick Rude, “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton, Larry Zbyszko, Madusa, & Arn Anderson. Later Austin would team with Flyin’ Brian Pillman and the duo was known as The Hollywood Blondes. The new team debuted in October of 1992. Austin would regain the TV title from Barry Windham on May 23rd, 1992. Both Pillman and Austin would defeat Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas for the Unified NWA and WCW Tag Team Championship on March 3rd, 1992. While they were tag-team champions, Pillman and Austin would feud with Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. Austin being paired with Pillman proved to be an incredible tandem during their respective run with WCW.
Next lets fast-forward to later when Austin had been fired from WCW and ended up in ECW. It wasn’t till Austin signed with the WWF that things changed for him. Nobody could have predicted just how different his career would be by making the move up north to work for Titan Sports and Vince McMahon. However that’s not exactly how it developed for Austin. He was introduced as “The Ringmaster” by The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, his manager at the time, and Austin had been a member of the Million Dollar Corporation stable and the Million Dollar Champion, a gimmick which did not fit Austin. But we didn’t truly see the “Stone Cold” character begin until WWF’s King of the Ring PPV in 1996, where Austin would win the King of the Ring Tournament by defeating Jake “The Snake” Roberts. What happened next was an iconic promo by Austin where he coined that legendary phase Austin 3:16.
Now it was not until 1998, when wrestling fans had an opportunity to witness a star catapulted to instant superstardom and its thanks to one man who had to be arguably one of wrestling’s best heels and that was Vince McMahon. I say this because not only does Austin deserve credit but so does McMahon, those two had instant chemistry before they would actually wrestle. Austin and McMahon made all of us believe in them not liking the other. This made for great tv and ratings. If you were a fan watching the brand, Austin became the rebel that went against the establishment and everyone loved it. Many episodes of Raw saw Stone Cold outsmart the Chairman and deliver multiple Stone Cold Stunners over the course of several Monday night’s on Raw.
Throughout Austin’s Hall of Fame career he would go on to face some of the greatest wrestling superstars ever including Bret Hart, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, Triple H, and Kurt Angle. Austin also held several WWE titles while he was still active on the roster ranging from holding the WWF World Heavyweight Championship 6-times, 2-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, and a 4-time WWF Tag-Team Tag Team Champion in the WWE.
In my opinion “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is without question one of pro-wrestling biggest and greatest superstars ever. Austin will be without a doubt a future WWE Hall of Famer.