Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stephen Williams (born December 18, 1964) best known by his stage name "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, is a professional wrestler from Victoria, Texas. His birth name was Stephen James Anderson; he took on the surname Williams when he was adopted by his stepfather (his biological father had left the family when he was a small child). There are also several sources that claim that his middle name is Shane, not James and there is much debate over this.
He went on to play football at North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas), and, after holding down various odd jobs, began his wrestling career in the late 1980s in Texas. He took the ring name Steve Austin when he turned professional in 1990 because there was already a prominent, if not massively famous, wrestler with the ring name (and real name) Steve Williams. Austin states that he received the blessing of actor Lee Majors to use the name "Steve Austin", which was first used as the name of the character Majors played in the 1970s science fiction television series The Six Million Dollar Man. Austin was trained by "Gentleman" Chris Adams amongst others.
- Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
- Weight: 252lbs (114.3 kg)
- Birthday: December 18, 1964
- Hometown: Victoria, Texas
- Trained By: Chris Adams
- Professional Debut: 1990
- Previous Identities: "Stunning" Steve Austin, "Superstar" Steve Austin, The Ringmaster
- Previous Manager(s): Lady Blossom, Paul E. Dangerously, Ted DiBiase, Debra
- "Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!"
- "And that's the bottom line, 'cause Stone Cold said so!"
- "You think you can beat my ass? Hell No!"
- "Give me a Hell Yeah!"
- "You suck!"
- "I'll open up a can of whoop ass on you!"
- "Don't take this ass-whoopin' personally, Son."
- "I will stomp a mudhole in your ass and walk it dry!"
- "Don't trust anyone."
- "Oh - Hell - Yeah!"
- The Stone Cold Stunner
- Lou Thesz Press
- Axe Handle Elbow Drop
- Mudhole Stomping (Multiple kicks to victim lying in corner)
As The Ringmaster
As "Stunning" Steve Austin
- Stun Gun (Snake Eyes; victim is dropped on top rope)
- That's a Wrap (Standing Figure Four Leglock)
- Hollywood and Vine (Shin Grapevine with Achilles Tendon Hold)
World Championship Wrestling/Extreme Championship Wrestling
Austin very rapidly moved up to pro wrestling's big leagues after brief spells in various smaller organisations including the USWA and Global Championship Wrestling. He wrestled for World Championship Wrestling as "Stunning" Steve Austin, from 1991 to 1995, mainly making a major name for himself as a member (with Brian Pillman) of the "Hollywood Blondes", a hated heel tag team that became one of the most famous and charismatic tandems of the early 1990s. Before that, he won WCW's Televsion Title from Bobby Eaton virtually straight after his debut in June 1991, and held it for 15 consecutive months. He also alligned himself with Rick Rude, Larry Zbyszko et al in Paul Heyman's "Dangerous Alliance" heel stable during this period. He then broke away and formed his partnership with real-life friend Brian Pillman in early 1993, but was feuding with Pillman by the end of the year and pursuing solo glory and the WCW United States title.
The fact that the Hollywood Blondes were broken up at the height of their career as a team says a lot and goes to show that many WCW bookers and writers simply couldn't cope with their growing popularity and respect amongst "smart" and knowledgable fans. To most fans, Austin and Pillman were sneering heels designed to be hated, but a growing percentage of the audience were slowly beginning to appreciate anti-heroes such as Austin and cheer them on instead. Political problems and strange, but understandable, decisions from on high dogged the determined and outspoken Austin all throughout his WCW tenure.
He was also arguably held back from a deserved place in WCW's upper card in 1993/1994, despite holding the coveted United States title for most of the latter year. Austin famously had his backstage critics, possibly fuelled by jealousy, but he also had his vocal and influential supporters though, including Ric Flair, and his long-term friends Mick Foley and William Regal. There is the long-held belief amongst many that Austin was touted by many to then-president Eric Bischoff as a suitable WCW World Champion in 1994, but Bischoff wasn't exactly Austin's #1 fan.
Various problems, and very possibly the expensive hirings of the likes of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, made sure such runs never happened however. Eventually, Bischoff fired Austin over the phone in the summer of 1995 while Austin was recovering from an injury sustained while on tour in Japan. Austin felt deeply offended that Bischoff did not notify him in person, since WCW's Atlanta HQ was a very short drive from where he was staying.
After acrimoniously leaving WCW, Austin briefly went to Paul Heyman's Extreme Championship Wrestling organisation on a short-term deal while waiting for the inevitable call from the WWF. As "Superstar" Steve Austin, he began to develop the Stone Cold gimmick that would make him genuinely famous, starring in a series of memorable TV skits that parodied Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff amongst others.
World Wrestling Entertainment
In December 1995, Austin joined the then-WWF, but was given a gimmick that made it difficult for him to catch on with fans: "The Ringmaster", the bland defender of "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase's "Million Dollar Belt". Not liking his ring name one bit, Austin asked WWF writers to come up with a new name for his character that would suggest a ruthless, cold-hearted persona; according to legend and Mick Foley in particular, the writers suggested "Chilly McFreeze" and "Ice Dagger." Austin then came up with the name "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, reportedly after his then-wife Jeannie, a Brit, advised him to drink his tea before it became "stone cold." There is also another story claiming that the moniker was taken by Austin from a TV documentary on serial killers.
Austin shaved his head bald, a look he has maintained for a decade now, and overcame Savio Vega in an tough bout at WrestleMania 12. He soon parted ways with his with manager Ted DiBiase that spring when DiBiase quit and moved to WCW. Austin's genuine rise to superstardom began in June 1996, when he was booked to win the WWF's annual "King of the Ring" single-elimination tournament on pay-per-view. After toppling Marc Mero in the semi-finals, he defeated the veteran Jake "The Snake" Roberts in the final; a popular 80s-era star who was then incorporating a moral, Christian message in his gimmick. After the match, Austin cut a promo (made a promotional interview) during his 'coronation' which viciously mocked Jake's reformed lifestyle: "You sit there and you thump your Bible and 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!" Austin 3:16 ultimately became one of the most popular catchphrases in wrestling history, but not instantly.
(Interestingly, he was not originally intended to win the tournament; the WWF originally booked Hunter Hearst Helmsley (now Triple H) to win. However, the WWF changed its plans a few weeks before the pay-per-view because of the MSG Incident) (for more details, see Clique).
Bizarrely, Austin was somewhat underused by the WWF for the next few months, and was mired in pointless midcard feuds with the likes of Yokozuna and Triple H, still firmly in the WWF doghouse. One thing drove Austin on though: the in-exile and unhappy WWF legend from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Bret Hart. Austin spoke about Hart constantly and taunted him relentlessly on TV. Hart accepted Austin's challenge and returned to the WWF in October 1996. At the Survivor Series that November, Hart cleanly pinned Austin in a well-paced match which helped create the foundations for the eventual year-long feud between the two. Austin's ever-growing popularity and notoriety multiplied after his strong showing and in spite of his loss. The match came hot on the heels of a highly controversial incident broadcast live on Raw, which saw Austin "break into" the injured Brian Pillman's house allegedly brandishing a gun.
Austin then won the 1997 Royal Rumble match two months later after already being eliminated and then sneaking back into the ring unnoticed to eliminate the "real" winner, Bret Hart. After a subsequent, complex turn of real-life events largely revolving around Shawn Michaels, Hart and Austin were booked at the 11th hour for a re-match at WrestleMania 13 in March 1997. Hart defeated Austin in a submissions match refereed by Ken Shamrock, but the iconic image of the night was Austin's grimacing, bloody face being cheered on massively by the live Chicago crowd as the bitter Hart refused to release his patented 'Sharpshooter' hold.
After a pay-per-view rematch with Hart, a pay-per-view WWF title shot against The Undertaker, and a brief tag team runs with both Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley, Austin challenged Bret Hart's younger brother, the late Owen Hart. Austin's anti-Hart and anti-Canada stance made him easily the most popular star the WWF had had in over a decade, but he certainly wasn't popular up in Calgary at the fondly-remembered "Canadian Stampede" pay-per-view in July 1997. Austin was almost booed out of the country by the fiercly Hart-loyal crowd, and the sight of a handcuffed Austin being led out of the arena by "policemen" while flipping the bird to the fans is still potent. Four weeks after that, at SummerSlam [, disaster nearly struck when Austin suffered a near-paralyzing neck injury as a result of an accidentally botched piledriver by Owen. Austin recovered to win the match as planned, but the incident very nearly ended his wrestling career for real.
By this point, things out of the ring were stepping up a level: "Austin 3:16" T-shirts were the hottest thing in wrestling; and the "Austin 3:16" interpretation of the the classic "#1" foam hand, now flipping a middle finger to the world, was also a record-setting best seller.
Austin vs. McMahon
After some time out, Austin returned to wreak revenge on Owen Hart to reclaim the WWF Intercontinental Title in November 1997, a title he later handed over to The Rock as his sights were now on bigger things. Austin won the 1998 Royal Rumble in January 1998, his second consecutive win, which triggered and fuelled an in-ring feud with WWF owner Vince McMahon that helped lead to the WWF's final victory over the now-defunct WCW in their war for the pro wrestling marketplace and Monday night TV ratings. In the process, the feud catapulted Austin to the level of mainstream recognition arguably matched only by Hulk Hogan in the mid-1980s. In fact, at the 1998/1999 peak of Austin's popularity, the WWF's sales of Austin-branded merchandise massively dwarfed the sales of Hogan-branded merchandise during Hogan's mid-1980s prime. Austin was even cast in recurring roles on two TV series: MTV's animated Celebrity Deathmatch, and CBS' Nash Bridges, and featured in the nationwide "Got Milk?" ad campaign.
Austin went on to win his first WWF World Championship in March 1998, questionably defeating[ then heel, [Shawn Michaels]] at WrestleMania XIV in Boston. Mike Tyson seved as special guest referee for their contest and photgraphs of Austin & Tyson celebrating together after the bout made newspapers worldwide. By now, Austin's authority-challenging, beer-swilling everyman persona was firmly "over" with the fans, who loudly lapped up every middle finger, swear word and catchphrase, including "Hell Yeah" and "Cause Stone Cold Said So".
Towards the end of 1998 and throughout 1999, Austin got caught up in a vicious and complicated feud with Kane, Mick Foley and The Undertaker amongst others. Austin lost his title to Kane that June, but regained it 24 hours later on Raw. Then, in September 1998, he lost the title again, regaining it in March 1999 from Mr. McMahon's latest charge, The Rock, at WrestleMania 15.
After more feuds and arguments with The Undertaker, Mr McMahon and the re-emerging Triple H, Austin's body began to genuinely wear out, forcing him to wear braces on his knees and he also was still suffering lingering effects from his SummerSlam 1997 neck injury. That injury, compounded by years of general wear and tear, forced him to undergo serious spinal fusion surgery in late 1999. When it was learned by the WWF that Austin needed the surgery and a year away from action, Austin's injury was staged as a backstage hit-and-run incident at Survivor Series 1999. Austin would not wrestle for a full 11 months after the surgery.
He made a successful wrestling comeback in October 2000 to avenge his on-screen storyline hit-and-run attacker. It transpired that the driver was actually Rikishi, but when their battles failed to set the world on fire, the focus was shifted to Austin taking it out on Rikishi's alleged puppetmaster, Triple H. During this time, Austin won his third Royal Rumble in January 2001, last eliminating his old nemesis Kane. Then, on April 1, 2001 at WrestleMania 17, Austin made one of the most shocking heel (bad guy) turns ever, barbarically dismantling The Rock with a steel chair to win the WWF Championship and in the process aligning himself with his long-time enemy, WWF boss Vince McMahon, and, confusingly, Triple H. After the turn, Austin inadvertently coined a new popular catchphrase, "What?!", which fans would yell at any pause during a "promo" (at first, this happened only for Austin, but eventually for any wrestler who came out to speak on the mic).
The fans, however, never really got into the angle - which is strange as Hulk Hogan's heel turn back in 1996 helped take WCW above the WWF. Natural fan reactions meant that Austin briefly returned to being a babyface in the spring of 2001, but he turned heel again by turning on then-babyface Kurt Angle at the "Invasion" pay-per-view and he thus joined the WCW-ECW Alliance that was "attacking" the WWF from the outside. Again, fans were not entirely fond of the angle, although Austin's switch was largely done to make up for the absences of many major WCW stars who had not yet signed with the WWF after the WWF purchased WCW that March, such as Bill Goldberg and Sting.
Austin lost and regained his title in the feud with Kurt Angle, then during that year's Survivor Series main event of Team Alliance (WCW-ECW) vs. Team WWF, Austin turned face again when Angle - now a member of the Alliance - turned his back on Austin mid-match. Angle was supposed to turn face during that time and Austin was supposed to be a hated heel still, but The Rock didn't forgive Angle when he betrayed the WWF and joined the Alliance. The storyline changes were a concession to the fact that the whole series of angles hadn't really worked out, but Austin was still the champion regardless. He then lost the belt to wrestling's first Undisputed World Champion, then heel, Chris Jericho, that December.
Sadly, Austin's subsequent feuds also didn't really challenge him or draw big money either, especially his spat with the nWo and in particular Scott Hall in early 2002. Bored and run down, Austin walked out on WWE in June 2002. He later publicly admitted that he has never fully recovered from his injuries, especially his nagging knee injuries and the neck injury, and that he was frustrated with the booking and direction of his character. In February 2003, he returned to the WWE, mainly in a non-wrestling role.
(Soon after walking out on WWE, the company would change its name from WWF to WWE in an unrelated legal fight with the World Wildlife Fund. The company's slogan for the brand name change, "Get the "F" out was perceived by some as a jab at Austin leaving the company. The Rock used the line in a WWE vignette about the name change, further fueling such speculation.)
Return to WrestleMania
After a rather disappointing tussle with The Rock at WrestleMania 19, Austin became co-general manager for WWE RAW, alongside his old WCW nemesis Eric Bischoff (outside the ring, the two have largely settled their differences). (In earlier angles, in 1999, Austin also had a stint as CEO of WWE). After a rather ordinary 2003, on the November 16, 2003 edition of Raw, Austin was "fired" as co-GM of RAW as the result of a stipulation in a match at WWE's Survivor Series pay-per-view. He sat out TV shows for several weeks to "sell" the angle and make it appear like a real firing, but quickly returned to WWE television before the end of 2003, when he was part of a WWE Christmas special taped live in front of U.S. troops in Iraq. On December 29, 2003, he returned to regular WWE television as the troubleshooting "Sheriff" of RAW.
Austin guested as referee for the awkward and poorly received match between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg at WrestleMania 20, then on April 17 2004, WWE put out a press release on their website claiming that Steve Austin and WWE were unable to settle long-running contract disputes and had again parted ways - reportedly over a contract dispute about WWE's control of Austin's non-WWE projects, such as movies and music. Austin could thus no longer use "Stone Cold" to promote himself, as that name is trademarked by WWE; Austin had to correct many in interviews to ensure they do not refer to him by that moniker. Another issue that may have influenced WWE in its decision is Austin's recent history of domestic violence incidents, which WWE saw as tarnishing their popular image.
In November 2002, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge  after striking his then-wife during an argument.  Police in San Antonio, Texas were investigating charges that he threw his current girlfriend to the ground during a domestic dispute on March 24, 2004.
Steve Austin made his first appearance on WWE TV in a year on April 3rd, 2005 at WrestleMania 21 in Los Angeles, California. Austin was interviewed by 2005 Hall of Fame inductee "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in a Piper's Pit segment, and would use his finishing move, the "Stone Cold Stunner" on both Piper and WWE wrestler Carlito Caribbean Cool.
Championships and accomplishments
|World Championship Wrestling|
|WCW World Television Title|
|Defeated||Bobby Eaton||June 3, 1991||Birmingham, Alabama|
|Lost to||Barry Windham||April 27, 1992||Atlanta, Georgia|
|WCW World Television Title (2)|
|Defeated||Barry Windham||May 23, 1992||Chattanooga, Tennessee|
|Lost to||Ricky Steamboat||September 2, 1992||Atlanta, Georgia|
|NWA World Tag Team Title1 (with Brian Pillman)|
|Defeated||Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas||March 2, 1993||Macon, Georgia|
|Lost to||Arn Anderson & Paul Roma||August 18, 1993||Daytona Beach, Florida|
|WCW United States Heavyweight Title|
|Defeated||Dustin Rhodes||December 27, 1993||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Lost to||Ricky Steamboat||August 24, 1994||Cedar Rapids, Iowa|
|WCW United States Heavyweight Title (2)|
|Defeated||Ricky Steamboat2||September 18, 1994||Roanoke, Virginia|
|Lost to||Jim Duggan||September 18, 1994||Roanoke, Virginia|
|World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment|
|WWF World Tag Team Title (with Shawn Michaels)|
|Defeated||Davey Boy Smith & Owen Hart||May 26, 1997||Evansville, Indiana|
|Lost to||Title declared vacant||June, 1997||?|
|WWF World Tag Team Title (2) (with Dude Love)|
|Defeated||Owen Hart & British Bulldog||July 14, 1997||San Antonio, Texas|
|Lost to||Title declared vacant3||September 7, 1997||?|
|WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Title|
|Defeated||Owen Hart||August 3, 1997||East Rutherford, New Jersey|
|Lost to||Title declared vacant4||September 8, 1997||Cincinnati, Ohio|
|WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Title (2)|
|Defeated||Owen Hart||November 9, 1997||Montreal, Quebec|
|Lost to||Rocky Maivia5||December 8, 1997||Portland, Maine|
|World Wrestling Entertainment Heavyweight Title|
|Defeated||Shawn Michaels||March 29, 1998||Boston, Massachusetts|
|Lost to||Kane||July 28, 1998||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania|
|World Wrestling Entertainment Heavyweight Title (2)|
|Defeated||Kane||July 29, 1998||Cleveland, Ohio|
|Lost to||Title declared vacant6||September 27, 1998||Hamilton, Ontario|
|World Wrestling Entertainment Heavyweight Title (3)|
|Defeated||Rocky Maivia||March 28, 1999||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Lost to||The Undertaker||May 23, 1999||Kansas City, Missouri|
|World Wrestling Entertainment Heavyweight Title (4)|
|Defeated||The Undertaker||July 28, 1999||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Lost to||Mankind7||August 22, 1999||Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|World Wrestling Entertainment Heavyweight Title (5)|
|Defeated||The Rock||April 1, 2001||Houston, Texas|
|Lost to||Kurt Angle||September 23, 2001||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania|
|World Wrestling Entertainment Heavyweight Title (6)|
|Defeated||Kurt Angle||October 8, 2001||Indianapolis, Indiana|
|Lost to||Chris Jericho||December 9, 2001||San Diego, California|
1. The title was later recognized as the WCW World Tag Team Title.
2. The title was awarded to Austin when injured Steamboat was unable to defend it.
3. Austin vacates the title due to a neck injury.
4. The title was declared vacant when WWF Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter suspends Steve Austin.
5. Austin forfeits the title and gives it to Rocky Maivia.
6. In a three way match against The Undertaker and Kane, both pinned him simultaneously, so the title was declared vacant.
7. In a triangle match against Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
|First reign||Followed by:|
|Second reign||Followed by:|
|Third reign||Followed by:|
|Fourth reign||Followed by:|
|Fifth reign||Followed by:|
|Sixth reign||Followed by:|
- 1996 King of the Ring winner
- 1997 Royal Rumble winner
- 1998 Royal Rumble winner
- 2001 Royal Rumble winner
- Only wrestler to win the Royal Rumble on three separate occasions.
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