Stone Cold Steve Austin is the man. I don’t think that any of us would try and dispute that fact. This is the guy who made the evil Mr. McMahon piss himself, live, on his own television show. He also stunned him (numerous times), filled his corvette with cement, and all around, made his life a living hell.
We, as viewers, ate it all up. It was a blast to see Stone Cold strike out at his boss.
Luckily, Stone Cold’s matches never disappointed, either. He always put on a show. He knew he had to. When Austin was in his prime, he sold out everywhere he went. Thousands of people filed into building after building, all to see The Texas Rattlesnake wreck some fools.
Stone Cold vs. Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 14
This is not the best match in the world, thanks to HBK’s injury, but it was the beginning of the Austin era, as Jim Ross made sure to point out on commentary. The crowd exploded when he got the three count on Shawn, and became WWF Champion.
As they should have. Ever since Stone Cold cut that promo at King of the Ring 1996, he was fast becoming the hottest act in the company. This match officially put that crown on his shiny, bald dome.
Stone Cold vs. Bret Hart – WrestleMania 13
If I were to put together a timeline of events that turned Steve Austin into Stone Cold, I would have to start with him heading to ECW, after Eric Bischoff fired him from WCW, over the phone. While in Paul Heyman’s promotion, Austin cut terrific promo after terrific promo, and finally really figured out how he wanted to come across on the microphone.
After that, he was hired by the WWE, and became The Ringmaster. That was huge for him. He hated the gimmick, and as such, he fought like hell to get away from it, and do his own thing. That finally came in the way of the killer KotR ’96 promo I embedded above.
Then, a little less than a year later, he wrestled this match. When it began, Bret was a face, and Stone Cold was a heel. By the time it was over, the two of them had pulled off the double switch. Bret beat Steve so bad that people started to sympathize with, and respect the guy. He wouldn’t give up. He kept going and going, until Bret locked him in The Sharpshooter, and Austin passed out.
Stone Cold vs. The Rock – WrestleMania 15
It was a tough call. I couldn’t decide between this, 17, or 19. Eventually, I settled on this one, because it was the first. Rock and Austin got the chance to go out and main event WrestleMania, and they did not disappoint. They were so damn good, that they got that opportunity twice more. I know they didn’t go on last at WM 19, but that’s only because Austin had some health issues, and didn’t feel confident enough.
As much as I love Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle – a lot more people were at Safeco Field that day to see Stone Cold and Rock go at it for the final time.
Stone Cold vs. Dude Love – Over The Edge 1998
Mick Foley said it better than I ever could, while talking to WWE.com about this match.
He described it as:
“The kind of match you could show to someone and say, ‘This is why I’m a wrestling fan.’ It was wild for all the right reasons.”
I couldn’t agree more. This is the match that actually sparked this list. I was reading the article on WWE.com that I linked above, and I was reminded of Austin vs. Dude Love. It’s a classic. There are so many moving parts, but they all help the story get told.
NOTE: Before we get to number one, I want to point out that these are not in order of quality. They’re numbered for organizational purposes. They’re simply my five favorite Stone Cold matches.
Stone Cold vs. Triple H – No Way Out 2001
This was a 3 stages of hell match, and it is absolutely incredible. It’s controlled chaos, from beginning to end. The Rattlesnake and The King of Kings beat the living hell out of each other.
First stage – Straight Wrestling Match
Second stage – Street Fight
Third stage – Steel Cage
If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and press play – right now!
What do you guys think? Am I missing some classic Stone Cold matches? Feel free to hit the comment section, and crack an egg of knowledge all over me.
PS: I only provided video on these matches for the people who don’t have the WWE Network. If you do, you should definitely head there to watch. The quality is a million times better, and it’s only $9.99 per month!