Craig Wilson andJamie Lithgow
Following on from the other week’s nWo inspired Top Five to mark 20 years since that group formed in WCW, it would be remiss of us to not mark another 20th anniversary: the birth of ‘Austin:316’ at King of the Ring 1996. With that in mind, here’s a Stone Cold Steve Austin inspired Top Five as Craig and Jamie list their favourite Stone Cold moments.
5. The 3:16 Speech: You really can’t not include this, can you? A man that had been drifting as the Ringmaster gets a boost thanks to the Curtain Call that’s resulting punishment means Triple H is no longer scheduled to win the 1996 King of the Ring. On the night he dispatched Marc Mero to reach the final of the tournament where he would face Jake Roberts. Jake had returned recently at that point and post-match Austin mocked his Bible-preacher gimmick during his coronation, stating: ou sit there and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn’t get you anywhere! Talk about your psalms, talk about John 3:16… Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass! The rest is history.
4. Shoving of Mike Tyson: I was still out of my time watching wrestling when this took place, although by the start of 99 I was back on board. But I remember this moment being featured in The Sun, showing how newsworthy that moment was. It helped put Austin to that next level, brought Mike Tyson into the equation and set up a huge moment at WrestleMania 14 where Austin finally scaled the mountain.
3. Submission match at WrestleMania 13: I was torn between this and the Survivor Series match but this just edges it. This is a huge, huge Stone Cold Steve Austin moment. He went in as a heel with Bret Hart as the babyface. 22 minutes later, the roles had reversed and the WWE fans were finally behind Austin. And what an outstanding match this is, proving any doubters, if any remained, that Austin had all the tools to make it to the top. A passing of the torch moment, for sure, that helped towards creating a megastar.
2. Driving a Beer Truck to the Ring: One night on WWE Raw as The Rock taunted Mankind in front of the crowd, Stone Cold made his way out in a Coors Light truck and pulled up at ringside. No-one really knew what to expect but quickly Austin got out the beer hose and rained down, with light beer, on The Rock’s parade.
1. Making Vince McMahon Piss Himself: The Austin-McMahon feud had raged for all of 1998. Vince McMahon would make Stone Cold the guest referee for a championship match between The Undertaker and Kane as punishment for his previous actions against the Boss. Unsurprisingly, Austin wasn’t too keen to play along and refused to count for either The Undertaker or Kane. Instead, Austin attacked both of them and McMahon fired him. Naturally, this escalated the problem leading to Austin kidnapping Vince McMahon and dragging him to the ring while pointing a gun at his head. He fired the gun and shot out a scroll that read “Bang! 3:16.” At this point, it became clear that McMahon had pissed himself – further highlighting that the business always comes first for McMahon.
5. Filling Mr McMahon’s Corvette with Cement: How fun must it have been to be involved with WWE creative in 1998?! Basically, how can Steve Austin piss Mr McMahon off this week? Nine times out of ten this required access to a vehicle of some sort. This is a favourite moment of mine because it is so over the top ridiculous. So Austin gains access to a cement truck, we’ll call that good fortune. So he can drive it too. Fair enough, he has driven lots of vehicles on WWE TV. So apparently he also knows the operational controls of the cement pouring mechanism, and is pretty good at it. By this point it is getting very specific, but we’ll go with it. ‘Oh look, not only has Mr McMahon driven himself to Raw this week but he has brought his prized Corvette and parked it in the loading bay’… what are the chances!?! There’s something weirdly satisfying about how the windows on the car burst too.
4. The Austin & Angle Show: So the Austin heel turn at Wrestlemania 17 did not pan out as well as hoped. The good news was that he was free to explore more facets of the Stone Cold character. All of his interactions with Kurt Angle during the Invasion storyline were priceless – and probably the best part of the whole angle. The pick of the bunch has to be Austin singing ‘Kumbaya’ while Kurt was forced to wear a children’s cowboy hat because Austin was the main cowboy. Childish nonsense that a babyface Texas Rattlesnake would never have indulged in, but I loved it all the same.
3. Austin Shoves Tyson: Have WWE ever produced a better angle? When a celebrity gets involved in a wrestling angle you can be sure that at least one wrestler will be made to look like an idiot. However, you can understand why WWE keep doing it; that mainstream attention is something to be utilised whenever possible. That said, when Austin shoved Tyson they created the perfect storm. Their guy started a fight with ‘The Baddest Man On The Planet’ and it was featured all over the media. That is perfection.
2. Beer Bath: If I’m honest I prefer the cement truck spot, but this is the iconic Austin driving something angle. It sounds so ridiculous to say that a wrestler drove a truck full of beer to the ring and used a hose to soak his boss with Coors Light, but with Austin it just works. The sight of Vince trying to swim on solid ground is almost as iconic as Austin standing on the truck.
1. Submission Match at Wrestlemania 13: When I think Wrestlemania 13 I think of Austin’s face dripping with blood while in the Sharpshooter. When I hear ‘My Sacrifice’ by Creed I think of Austin’s face dripping with blood while in the Sharpshooter. Whenever I see anyone else’s face when they are in a submission I think Austin’s face dripping with blood while in the Sharpshooter. Football has Bobby Moore on his team mate’s shoulders holding the World Cup, basketball has Michael Jordan flying through the air, t-shirts have Che Guevara and wrestling’s iconic image has to be Austin’s face dripping with blood while in the Sharpshooter.
You can read all previous Top Five pieces here.