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Tracing WWE Legends’ careers: Stone Cold Steve Austin

10 months ago By Sports Desk

Various twists and turns mark Steve Austin’s journey in the wrestling industry. Starting in 1989 at “Gentleman” Chris Adams’ wrestling school in Dallas, Texas, Austin began his career as Steve Williams. However, in Memphis, Tennessee, Dutch Mantell (Zeb Colter) gave him the name Steve Austin, inspired by the “Six Million Dollar Man” character.

Upon returning to Texas, Austin engaged in a teacher vs. student feud with Chris Adams, who had his ex-wife Jeannie Clark as his valet. The rivalry between Austin and Adams became a wild and entertaining storyline, filled with tabloid-like drama and memorable moments. Unfortunately, the feud didn’t have a proper ending due to the USWA pulling out of Dallas.

Austin’s move to WCW

Austin then moved on to WCW in 1991, where he quickly made an impact by winning the WCW World Television Title and later forming a successful tag team known as the Hollywood Blondes with Brian Pillman. He continued to excel in WCW, becoming one of the best young wrestlers in the business, working with talented individuals like Ricky Steamboat, and being part of Paul Heyman’s Dangerous Alliance stable.

However, Austin’s run in WCW began to decline after a back injury forced Ricky Steamboat to retire, leading to a change of plans for their planned rematch. Austin’s position on the card slipped, and conflicts with WCW boss Eric Bischoff eventually resulted in his firing. He briefly wrestled in ECW, where he showcased his promo skills and began to develop the persona that would ultimately become Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Signing with WWE (then WWF), Austin initially debuted as The Ringmaster, managed by Ted DiBiase. However, the generic gimmick and lack of character development hindered his progress. Wanting to reinvent himself, Austin drew inspiration from a documentary about Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski, adopting a more emotionless and ruthless persona. During this time, the name “Stone Cold” Steve Austin emerged, thanks to a clever reference to his cold tea.

Rise of Stone Cold, “The Rebel”

As Austin’s character evolved, he shed The Ringmaster persona and embraced his true self, becoming one of the most popular and rebellious figures in professional wrestling history. Winning the 1996 King of the Ring tournament marked a significant turning point in his career, where he delivered the iconic “Austin 3:16” promo that catapulted him to superstardom.

From that point on, Stone Cold Steve Austin became a cultural phenomenon. In the following years, Austin’s character underwent several changes, including a brief heel turn that didn’t connect with the audience as intended. He later turned babyface again and had memorable feuds with Triple H, The Rock, and others. Austin’s career was temporarily halted by a neck injury in 1999, and he returned in 2000 to capture the WWE Championship once more.

However, tensions arose between Austin and WWE’s creative team when he criticized them publicly. Austin left WWE for eight months and returned for another WrestleMania feud with The Rock. After WrestleMania 19, Austin’s storyline character was “fired,” he officially retired due to worsening spinal issues and a heart scare.

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