Kurt Angle had defeated Austin to win the WWF Championship in his hometown of Pittsburgh at Unforgiven 2001. Austin had been off TV for a couple of weeks after that loss, and was then granted a rematch for this episode of RAW. The Invasion angle may have been botched, but it did offer plenty of memorable moments, this being one of them.
This was working out to be a pretty darn good match before the botched piledriver, which is the unfortunate reason for this match being as memorable as it is. I apologize for the quality but it’s the best I could find in one part, and not everyone has the Network so I didn’t link to that version.
This would be the end of Ricky Steamboat’s career, as he hurt his back during this match and never recovered. Of course, Steve Austin would disappear from the wrestling scene forever not long after this and would be the constant subject of “Where Are They Now?” articles.
Three – Austin On Top of the Wrestling World
Steve Austin (c) vs. Dude Love (05/31/98).
Vince McMahon is the referee, Patterson is the ring announcer, and Briscoe is the timekeeper. Surprisingly, Undertaker comes out to make sure there is not any foul play going on. Dude knocks Austin down a few times, as McMahon tries to perform a couple of fast counts. Dude tries to put in the mandible claw, but Austin throws Dude into the ropes where he hangs (similar to how he lost his ear against Vader). They brawl on the outside, where McMahon adds in a no count out stipulation. Austin now cannot retain the belt via count out. Dude throws Austin over the Spanish announce table and proceeds to choke Austin with a cord. Vince McMahon adds in “No DQ” stipulation as a result. On commentary, Jim Ross flips his lid because of this. Austin fights back and sends Dude over the guardrail with a clothesline. Back inside, Austin accidentally crotches himself. Dude hits a baseball slide that sends Austin to the outside. Dude hits a neckbreaker on the floor and Patterson announces that is it now a Falls Count Anywhere match. Ross is pissed! Dude backslides Austin outside for two. Austin fights back with a lariat that almost takes Dude’s head off. Dude backdrops Austin onto one of the cars used as scenery. They make their way onto the roof of the car. Dude counters a Stunner and sends Austin flying off the car. Austin is now busted open. Dude picks up an exhaust pipe, but he softly hits it over the back of Austin’s head. Either Dude thought better of it or Austin wasn’t ready. Austin mounts a little comeback, but Dude reverses a piledriver attempt. Dude hits a suplex and heads up to the roof of the car.
Austin ducks out of the way from an elbow drop, though. They fight back near ringside. Back inside, Patterson trips Austin’s leg, allowing Dude to regain control. Dude takes off the turnbuckle and rams Austin’s bloody head into it. Dude grabs a chair and hits a double-arm DDT on it that picks up a two count. Dude charges Austin with the chair, but Austin gets a foot up. Austin then SMASHES Dude with an exposed chair shot to the head. Austin pins Dude, but Vince does not count and gives him the bird. Jim Ross cries, “Count ‘em, count ‘em!” Dude goes to hit Austin with a chair. Austin ducks, which causes Dude to hit McMahon with the chair. Austin hits the Stunner, but there is no referee. A referee runs in to make the count, but Patterson pulls him out of the ring. Mick sinks in the Mandible Claw and forces Austin’s shoulders down to the mat. Patterson jumps in to count to three, but Undertaker pulls him out and chokeslams him through the announce table. Briscoe tries to make a three count, only to be chokeslammed through the other announce table. Austin tells Dude not to fuck with Da Jesus and hits him with a Stunner. There is no referee, though, so Austin uses McMahon’s hand to count to three @ 24:40. This ferocious brawl immeasurably stacked the deck against the fan favorite champion, causing Austin to become an enormous face-in-peril. Not only did he have to fight the psychotic Dude Love, but he also had to overcome Vince McMahon being a partial referee and his Stooges being near ringside. Come hell or high water, Austin succeeded and gave the heels their comeuppance they deserved. Concisely, they found a creative way to stack the deck against the fan favorite, and then found a creative way for him to overcome the odds. This was epic Attitude Era booking at its best.
WWF Heavyweight Title: Steve Austin (c) vs. The Undertaker (08/30/98).
It was rumored that Vince Russo wanted to turn Undertaker on Austin, but he was overruled in favor of a ‘‘babyfaces who do not trust each other’’ story. The build for this was very captivating, especially the “Highway to Hell” video packages. Austin unexpectedly starts off with some technical wrestling. Some miscommunication between the two occurs when Undertaker puts his head down for a back body drop, but he lifts his head up too quickly. This causes his head to crash into Austin’s face. Taker suplexes Austin and then hits him with an elbow drop. Austin still looks dazed from that botched spot. Austin yanks Taker down by his leg and goes outside to smash Taker’s left leg into the ring post. Back in, Taker fights back and hits the flying clothesline. Taker tries to go for Old School, but Austin pulls him off the ropes. Kane slowly walks down to the ring. But whose side is he on!? Austin and Taker trade some blows. The exchange ends when Taker chokeslams Austin. Austin fights back and clotheslines Taker over the top rope. They brawl outside and then make their way into the crowd. Back near ringside, Taker throws Austin into the ring post. Austin tries to mount a comeback inside, but Taker throws him to the outside. Taker places him on the announce table. He hits a leg drop onto Austin all the way from the top-rope. A very sick looking spot.
Taker throws him back in the ring, but he only gets a near-fall out of it. They collide with each other, causing them to both be knocked out. Austin fights back with some rights and then hits a Thesz Press. Taker fights back and locks in a waistlock for whatever reason. Austin counters it with a half-assed Stunner that gets a two. Taker recuperates and hits a chokeslam. He goes for a Tombstone, but Austin wiggles out of it. Austin goes for the Stunner, but Taker blocks it. Taker crotches him and goes for Old School. On his way down, Austin catches him with a boot to the midsection followed by a Stunner. That picks up the win @ 20:30. Given all the hype, this was a disappointment. Both wrestlers shoehorned some technical moves into this, and they extracted some of the buzz out of the building in the midst of doing them. Their chemistry was also not all that sharp, resulting in some awkward moments and blown spots. This would have been better if it was just one of those wild and crazy Attitude Era slugfests. However, this did have an enormous vibe to it. It was one of those monumental showdowns that only happen once in a blue moon. With that in mind, I will be generous by calling it just barely above-average, but this should have been a lot better. ***
Steve Austin vs. The Big Show (w/Vince McMahon – 3/22/99)
Rock is on commentary, which is always fun. Mankind is the special guest referee. Show methodically dominates early on. Austin fights back, but Big Show catches him in a bear hug. Austin breaks out of the hold with some rights. Austin ducks a few clotheslines and then hits a Thesz Press. Austin tries to pin Big Show, but he kicks out with authority. Austin is done playing games, so he grabs a chair and whacks Big Show with it several of times. Rock tries to interfere, but Austin hits him with the chair too. Austin finishes Big Show off with a Stunner @ 10:34. I do not understand why this was on here. It was a rather bland David vs. Goliath story and had no historical importance. * ¼
WWF Heavyweight Title, No DQ: The Rock (c) vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (3/28/99)
Jim Ross figuratively tells Michael Cole to take a hike and replaces him on commentary. Vince McMahon comes out as the special guest referee, but Commissioner Shawn Michaels sends him packing. Rock and Austin talk trash to each other and then trade right hands. The brawl breaks out into the crowd. They fight up to the staging area, where Austin tosses Rock into the railing. Austin goes for a piledriver, but Rock backdrops him into the lighting track. Austin fights back by hitting him where the sun doesn’t shine. Austin strangles him with an extension cord and tosses Rock into the Wrestlemania sign. They fight back down to the arena. Rock picks up a bottle of water and spits in Austin’s face. Austin fights back and picks him up and drops him on the Spanish announce table. He jumps on Rock with an elbow, causing the table to collapse. Austin spits some water in Rock’s face. A spit-for-a-spit. Back in, Rock hits a Rock Bottom out of nowhere, but it only picks up a two-count. Rock finds a chair and brings it in the ring. He goes to hit Austin with it, but Austin takes it from his hands. Rock ducks a chair shot, causing the chair to hit the referee.
Rock picks up the chair and rocks Austin with it. Tim White comes out to make the pinfall, but Austin kicks out at two. Rock hits a Samoan Drop, but Austin kicks out again. The Rock thinks Tim White is not counting fast enough, so he gives him a Rock Bottom for his troubles. As the Rock turns around, Austin hits him with a Stunner. Earl Hebner runs out to make the count, but Rock kicks out at two. McMahon distracts Austin, allowing Rock to blindside him. McMahon attacks Hebner, and both McMahon and Rock stomp on Austin. Mankind hits the ring to attack McMahon and to replace Hebner as the referee. Austin rolls Rock up, but only gets a two. Austin hits the Thesz Press. Rock hits another Rock Bottom out of nowhere. Rock goes for the People’s Elbow, but he misses. Austin gets back up and hits a Stunner that ends this one. New Champion @ 16:50. Wow, Russo’s fingerprints were all over this. Because of how successful Survivor Series 1998 was, McMahon gave Russo more control. To no surprise, the booking started to mar matches instead of enhancing them. Henceforth why WWF ’99 was one of the company’s weakest years when it came to an in-ring product. The story that surrounded this played out decently, but some matches are better off left alone. I vehemently believe Rock vs. Austin is one of them, but Russo, you know, never believed people watched wrestling for the wrestling. Fortunately, though, Austin and Rock were perfect foils to one another and their chemistry was dynamite. So, this was still very good. *** ½
WWF Heavyweight Title, No DQ: The Rock (c) vs. Steve Austin (04/01/01).
Granted, Austin’s heel turn did not work out in the end for a variety of reasons, but what happened in the aftermath does not change a thing about how outstanding the rising action leading up to their encounter was. After being hit by a car, Stone Cold was just not the same ass-kicker that he had been before the accident. This was clearly communicated when failed to put Triple H away once and for all in a losing effort at No Way Out. Austin’s heel turn came as a total shock to many, but with the benefit of hindsight, the WWF writing staff brilliantly left a trail of breadcrumbs for anybody who had paid close attention. In a sound bite that was replayed repeatedly in promos leading up to the match, Austin told the champion “I need to beat you, Rock. I need it more than anything.” What seemed like traditional fare for a pre-match build took on new meaning after the match. Austin knew he lacked the killer instinct he once had, but he desperately wanted to become champion, so he sold his soul to the devil himself… Mr. McMahon.
Austin receives a nuclear pop from the Texas audience, while Rock receives a 50-50 one at best. Not wasting any time, Austin hits a Thesz Press followed by some right hands. Rock goes for a Rock Bottom, but Austin fights out of it. Austin goes for a Stunner, but Rock gets out of it. They start to brawl and it breaks out into the crowd. Back in, Austin hits a superplex for two. Austin tears off the turnbuckle, foreshadowing his heel turn. Rock fights back and hits a clothesline. He follows up with a belly-to-belly suplex that picks up a two count. Austin battles back and hits a neckbreaker that picks up a two. Austin stomps a mud hole in Rock. Austin takes his eyes off Rock, though, which allows Rock to hit him with a clothesline. Austin goes to the outside and Rock follows him. Rock goes behind Austin, who turns around and clocks him with the ringbell. Back in, Austin delivers a neckbreaker that picks up two. He throws Rock into the corner and stomps a mud hole into him. Rock recovers and drills Austin with a clothesline (These two prove that it is not what moves you do or bumps you take. It is all about how you do them. They execute practically every move charismatically and with so much exuberance, and they make bumps look vicious).
They trade some blows, ending with Rock throwing Austin into the exposed turnbuckle. Austin is now bleeding. Outside, they slug it out. Austin gets the better of the Rock by propelling him right into the turnbuckle. The Rock sells it like a million bucks. Austin hits Rock with a monitor and sends Rock back in the ring. He tries to pin him, but he can only pick up a two. Austin sets Rock up for the Stunner, but he insists on giving the Rock two middle fingers. This allows the Rock to take him down and lock in the Sharpshooter. I would have thought someone would’ve taught him how to do that move by now. Anyway, this ends up being a playback spot to Austin/Hart, as Austin covered in blood screams in agony from the hold. This time, however, Austin manages to fight out of the hold. Back on their feet, Rock goes for a Stunner, but Austin dishes out some comeuppance by putting Rock in the Sharpshooter. Rock powers out, though. Austin locks in the Cobra Clutch, but Rock pushes his feet off the ropes right into a pinning attempt that gets two (a playback spot to the finish of Austin vs. Hart Survivor Series ’96). Rock still has not recovered from the beating, so Austin continues to work him over. All of a sudden, Rock hits Austin with his own finishing move, but Austin kicks out! Vince McMahon starts to walk towards ringside. Rock hits a spinebuster and the People’s Elbow. McMahon pulls Rock off Austin before a count of three, though. Rock chases McMahon all around ringside. McMahon runs into the ring, and Rock runs into a Rock Bottom from Austin. Rock kicks out, though. Austin goes to hit the Rock, but he hits the referee instead. Austin hits Rock with a low blow.
Austin holds The Rock, allowing McMahon to smash a chair over his head. McMahon throws the referee into the ring. He starts to count, but Rock kicks out just in time. Austin attempts to smash a chair right over Rock’s head, but Rock counters it with a Rock Bottom. McMahon goes up to the apron to distract the referee. The Rock pulls McMahon into the ring and lays the smackdown on him. The Rock turns right into a Stunner, but he kicks out just in time! Austin’s facial expressions describe just how in disbelief he is. Austin smashes Rock with a thunderous chair shot. Austin keeps hitting the Rock again and again with the chair. He is then finally able to beat the Rock @ 28:01. Afterwards, Vince McMahon and Austin shake hands and drink beer as Jim Ross flips his lid on commentary. This had unparalleled vehemence, drama, psychology, and storytelling. Every spot they did had a heavy dose of electricity and snap behind it, and it was structured and paced in a manner where every spot was significant. They sold moves, moments, and exhaustion like champions, and bumped around like pinball machines. When you add up the fact that these were the two were at their apex, the fact that the atmosphere was off the charts, the fact that one of the greatest announce teams called it, the fact that both wrestler did a fabulous job of selling the notion of how much they wanted to win, and the fact that there was months and months of foreshadowing that led to the huge swerve – this was easily one of the greatest matches ever. *****
Final Verdict on Disc Three: Aside from the Big Show match, this disc totally makes perfect sense . A big thumbs up.
WWF Heavyweight Title: Steve Austin (c) vs. The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Triple H (w/Chyna) (5.16.99)
They all brawl down the aisle. Austin manages to fight off both Undertaker and HHH. They keep brawling all over the place until they go back near the ring. Austin tries to piledrive Undertaker, but he backdrops him on the floor. Hunter grabs a chair, but Earl Hebner takes it away from him. Austin picks up the chair and smashes it over HHH and Undertaker’s heads. Back in, the heels regain control. Taker and HHH argue over who is going to beat up Austin. Paul Bearer and Chyna argue outside as well. Strangely, Helmsley and Austin work together to eliminate the Undertaker. Vintage Russo! HHH turns on Austin and tries to pin him, but Taker pulls him off. Taker goes for a Tombstone on Austin, but Helmsley saves Austin. HHH tries to hit a Pedigree on Austin, but Austin shoots HHH right into a chokeslam.
Austin hits a Stunner on Taker, but HHH makes the save. Stone Cold hits a Stunner on HHH. All of a sudden, the whole Corporate Ministry runs down to the ring and beat up Austin. A bunch random babyface wrestlers come in to make the save, though. In the midst of chaos, HHH holds Austin to let China hit him, but Austin ends up giving her a Stunner. Austin then gives HHH a Stunner and picks up the victory @ 24:58. Afterwards, Stone Cold stuns Shane McMahon. X-Pac then gives Shane and Chyna the Bronco Buster. For the most part, all three wrestlers phoned it in, and nothing is duller than a phoned-in match consisting of mostly kicks and punches. Undertaker and HHH’s beatdowns on Austin were plodding and seemingly endless, too. Bleh. **
Austin goes for the Stunner, but Angle counters it. Angle goes for the Angle Slam, but Austin counters it and pushes him right into the referee. Austin grabs his title and brings it in the ring. Regal jumps in the ring and takes the belt away from him. Regal ends up smashing Angle with the title! Regal throws the referee back in the ring to make the cover, but Angle kicks out just in time. Austin throws a hissy fit. Austin picks Angle up and delivers a Stunner that ends it @ 23:30 Phew. This had some accelerating back-and-forth action. Both wrestlers also added more fortitude to all of their spots than usual, which emphasized just how imperative winning was for the both of them. They developed some great chemistry together, which helped the counter-for-counter sequences to be on-point and executed at a blistering pace. And, they really sent the crowd into a frenzy down the stretch by doing a great job of selling the drama; especially Austin, who had some penetrating body language and urgency during the go-home stretch. One of the best Raw matches ever. **** ¼
WWF Heavyweight Title, No DQ Triple Threat: Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle vs. Rob Van Dam (10.21.01)
RVD and Austin argue, allowing Angle to German Suplex the both of them. They both regain the advantage and stomp on Angle. Both RVD and Austin have a stare down, but Angle attacks RVD from behind. Austin attacks both Angle and RVD, which kills the suspense for the Austin/RVD showdown. He goes for the Stunner, but Angle reverses to the Anklelock. RVD breaks the hold with a dropkick. Austin throws Angle to the outside and attacks Van Dam’s leg. Austin locks in a STF on RVD, but Angle breaks it up. Angle and Austin brawl out to the floor. RVD hits a rolling plancha from the top on both of them. Back in, Angle hits RVD with a Capture Suplex and hits a top-rope moonsault. Austin picks up Angle for a Stunner, but Angle counters it. Angle goes for a Stunner of his own, but Austin blocks it as well. They both clothesline each other. RVD goes for the Five-Star Frogsplash. But whose side is he on!? Both wrestlers move out of the way, so we don’t know who he was trying to hit. Austin hits Angle with Stunner. RVD attacks Austin and then hits the split-legged moonsault. Angle breaks up the pin and hits the Angleslam on RVD.
This starts off as a slugest. Austin wins the exchange. He goes for Stunner, but Rock fights it out and bails. Outside, Austin picks up the Rock and drops him on the railing and then he throws him into the stairs. In the ring, Austin hits a backdrop suplex for two. Austin follows up with a lariat and chokes Rock with the ropes. Rock fights back and clips Austin’s knee. The Rock keeps going after Austin’s knee. Austin tries to fight back, but Rock whiplashes his neck into the mat. Rock locks in for the Sharpshooter, but Austin manages to make it to the ropes. Rock viciously smashes Austin’s knee into the post. He mocks Stone Cold by putting on his vest. They both go for a clothesline, which takes both of them out. Austin hits the Thesz Press and then elbows Rock in the face. Austin hits a Rock Bottom on Rock that gets a two. Austin goes for the Stunner, but Rock blocks it.
Rock hits the Stunner on Austin, but Austin kicks out. Austin blocks one of Rock’s punches and hits a Stunner that picks up a near-fall. Rock nails Austin with a lowblow, but he misses the People’s Elbow. Austin goes for another Stunner, but the Rock hits a spinebuster. He hits People’s Elbow, but Austin kicks out. Rock hits a Rock Bottom that picks up only a two. He hits another one, but it only picks up a two. Finally, a third Rock Bottom in a row picks up the win @ 17:53. The best analogy I can come up with to describe this is it is like going to see a Rolling Stones concert in 2014. Surely, they are not as good as they once were, but that does not change the fact that they are the Rolling Stones. I could also look past the fact this is mostly an amalgamation of kick outs from finishers, because Austin was in no condition to wrestle this match, yet he did for the sake of the fans and business. And he deserves a lot of commendation for doing that. *** ½
Final Verdict on the Blu-Ray Matches: People can say what they want about Austin’s heel turn, and I’d probably agree with most of their views on it. There is no denying, though, that Austin’s ring-work then was at its highest point post-neck injury. Unfortunately, however, some of Austin’s greatest work in ’01 is missing because of the Chris Benoit debacle. He had a few great bouts with Benoit on Raw and Smackdown, and a Raw tag match (Triple H/Austin vs. Jericho/Benoit) that was incredible. Also, I think they could have substituted the Austin/Undertaker/HHH match with either Austin/HHH from No Mercy ’99 or their classical 3 stages of hell brawl at No Way Out ’01. Nit-picking aside, this was another great disc.
Austin had to work hard for his spot. He was constantly mistreated in WCW. Even though many of the boys saw his talent, the higher-ups just did not want to acknowledge it. Although, no matter how poorly he was being utilized, Austin always gave his utmost effort to make everything he did worthwhile. He was hungry, driven, and determined to be on top of the world. With his mind completely invested in pursuing his goal, he ended up accomplishing exactly what he wanted to do.
The extras are awesome, because they show how much range Austin had as a performer. He wasn’t just the Rattlesnake. He portrayed a variety of different personas, and performed them all with tons of believability .
A special thanks to Extant1979 for taking the time to look over this entire review for me.
shipped to me free of charge (yay me!). I was rather enthusiastic about it,
because I have only seen the documentary. When I find
the time, the next DVD I will review is either CM Punk or Bret Hart, depending
on which one arrives here first.
The Bottom Line on the Most Popular Superstar of All Time
articulated generally through Steve Austin’s point of view, and it is a
comprehensive look at his entire career. Austin augments in some interesting
and distinctive insights of his greatest and poorest moments. The others who
were involved provided a fine effort as well. They all supplement their
assessments on specific moments in Austin’s journey, which makes the DVD feel
more balanced. Austin pulls no punches, as he tells stories exactly
how he witnessed it (although he is less angry towards with those who
mistreated him this time around).
still visible that he has a lot of passion for the business, as
his emotions come forth when he talks about moments in
his career. I personally appreciated the early parts of the DVD more
than anything else. That is because I was not fully educated on all of small
details from that era, thus I found the backstories from that time more
about it: WWE know how to impressively format and edit their documentaries, but
this one just exceeds essentially every documentary they have ever produced.
That is merely because of Austin’s capabilities to narrate his
journey in an exhaustive manner.
from Stone Cold Steve Austin. Three of them include alternative commentary done
by Jim Ross.
Austin (w/Jeannie – 5/90)
Austin was frustrated with Adams holding him back, so he turned on him. To add
insult to injury, Austin stole his wife. Even though it is tempting, I’ll take
the high road by skipping over a Chris Benoit joke. Adams attacks Austin from
behind, although Austin powers him and puts a beat down on him. Adams fights
back with a superkick. He goes for a suplex, but Jeannie grabs his legs. That
drops Austin on top for the win @ 4:25. Afterwards,
Jeannie sprays her hairspray in Adams eyes. They try to beat him down, but
Adams fights back and then chases them off. Not much to say about this
Steamboat vs. Ric Flair & Steve Austin (w/Sensuous Sherri – 07/30/94).
start this off. Ricky smacks and tosses him around. Sting comes in and beats
Flair up some more. Outside, Flair cowardly hides behind Sherri. Sting doesn’t
want to hit a woman, and that allows Flair to rake his eyes. Flair was just the
best at portraying a coward. Back in, Austin and Sting are now
the legal men. Sting tosses Austin around and locks in an armbar. Steamboat
tags in and hits Austin with a crossbody off the top. Everyone jumps in the
ring, forcing the referee to establish some law and order. Back from
commercial, Austin hits Steamboat with the Stunner to get out of a chinlock,
although it’s not even a signature move yet. Steamboat blocks a hiptoss into a
backslide. He cannot fully execute it, though, so he pushes off the turnbuckles
to flip back over Austin. He gives Austin a superplex for a two count. Sting
receives a tag and goes up to the top splash, but Austin gets his knees up.
Flair tags in and hits a suplex, but Sting is a no-selling bastard.
an inside cradle that picks up a two. Flair retreats and heads to the floor to
regroup. Back in, Sting ducks a double-team clothesline and comes back with one
of his own. Austin tries to pick up a quick win with a few rollups, but Sting
gives Austin a press slam. He goes for another, but Austin gives him a low blow
behind the referee’s back. Flair comes in and tosses Sting over the top.
Sherri puts a beat down on him outside. Back from commercial, Flair and Austin
work over Sting. Austin tries a forearm smash off the second rope, but Sting
gets his knees up. Sting makes the hot-tag to Steamboat. He hits both Austin
and Flair with a ton of chops. Austin catches him with a back body drop and
kicks him in the mouth.
abdominal stretch and cheats by grabbing the ropes. Flair comes in and corners
Steamboat with some right hands and chops. Steamboat attempts to squirm out of
the heel corner to make the tag to Sting, but Austin cuts off the tag just in
time. It was a smart time to do a false tag. Austin locks in a chinlock.
Steamboat fights out and hits a chop that sends him to the floor. Sting comes
in the ring and goes crazy on Flair. He hits a Stinger Splash and then locks in
the Scorpion Deathlock, but neither man is legal. Sherri jumps on Sting from
the top to break up the hold. Sting catches her and tosses her on top of Flair.
Elsewhere in the ring, Austin rolls Sting up with a handful of tights for the
win @ 23:40. This awesome match had wall-to-wall action throughout.
They worked from the base and built this akin to a pyramid. They did this
by putting the correct layers conjointly in place until it reaches
its crescendo, with most of it being built on the crowd’s
reactions. Kindred to most critically acclaimed matches, the
wrestlers brought the fans on a dramatic roller coaster excursion.
What honestly made the old WCW tag matches a cut above the rest was that they
would build to a variety of sub-climaxes. In simpler terms, the action
didn’t repeatedly build without any letup; they knew when to turn
up the action and when to turn it back down. **** 1/4
Finals: Steve Austin vs. Jake Roberts (06/23/96).
to the hospital to get his lip stitched from his semifinal match with Marc
Mero. Austin never had the best of luck wrestling Mero. Soon after this, they
worked together again and the arena’s lights went out. Meanwhile, Roberts was
still selling his internal injuries not from drinking, but instead because of
Vader. Austin attacks Jake’s ribs with no mercy. Gorilla Monsoon threatens to
stop this for Jake’s health. Jake waves him off and then sucker punches Austin.
Jake goes for the DDT, but Austin throws him into the corner. He proceeds to
ram his ribs into the corner repeatedly. Austin picks him up and hits the Stunner @
4:30. The purpose was to get Austin over as a callous son of a bitch, and
this was rather successful in doing so. From a workrate perspective, this
wasn’t very good, and that was mostly a result of Jake being past his prime.
His reaction time was delayed, especially when it came to selling
some of Austin’s offense. The most important part of this whole
thing occurred afterwards, though. Austin cut his famous improvised
promo that commenced the 3:16 era.
as everything he said was heartfelt, assertive and defiant.
Needless to say, this would not have come across as realistic if a writer
composed it for him. * for the match, ***** for the promo.
Hart vs. Steve Austin (03/23/97).
incredibly gifted wrestlers that just clicked with each other. On an otherwise
uninspiring WrestleMania card, both of these ring magicians defined the
suspension of disbelief. This had nuclear heat, giving off a notion that
they sincerely wanted to annihilate each other. Right off the bat, this turns into
a vehement brawl. Bret hits Austin with a swinging neckbreaker.
Bret tries to lock in the Sharpshooter, but Austin fights it off and gets back
on his feet. Austin hits Bret with a Stone Cold Stunner. Austin cannot
capitalize, though, so Bret kicks him in the leg and then debuts the Ringpost
Figure-Four Lock. Bret goes to work on Austin’s leg, although Austin fights
back and crushes Bret with a chair shot. Austin hits a suplex and then hits the
Vertical Flying Elbow. Austin hits a Russian legsweep and then locks in the
Koji Clutch. Bret tries to fight out, causing Austin to lock in a Boston Crab
instead. Bret makes it to the ropes, though. Austin tries to lock in the
Sharpshooter, but Bret rakes his eyes. Bret tries to mount a comeback, but
Austin tosses him to the outside.
an Irish whip and it sends Austin over the timekeeper’s table. Austin is
bleeding from hitting his head on the guardrail. Bret smashes his face off
everything around ringside, causing Austin to bleed like a stuck pig. Back
inside, Bret hits a backbreaker and then the Vertical Elbow drop. He grabs
a chair and goes to work on Austin’s knee. Hart tries to lock in the
Sharpshooter, but Austin kicks him in the nuts. Austin starts stomping a
mudhole into Hart. He hits a superplex and then goes outside to grab an
extension cord from ringside. He tries to lynch Bret on the apron, but Bret
knocks Austin in the face with the ringbell. Awesome, stiff spot that came out
of nowhere. Bret locks in the Sharpshooter. Austin will not quit, though, but
he ends up passing out because of the pain @ 22:05. Afterwards,
Hart keeps attacking Austin, causing Shamrock to pick Bret up and slam him to
get him to stop. This had everything you could want in brawl:
intensity, abhorrence, psychology, storytelling, color, conceivable selling,
facial expressions that help articulate the narrative, an incredible
atmosphere, and some truly elegant booking. They pulled off exactly
what McMahon wanted them to do: a double-turn. Hart turned into a narcissist
heel that only was concerned about winning, and Austin turned into a
this ended up revealing some of his inner face-like qualities,
like his resiliency and perseverance. The finish exemplified
those two exact things, since he refused to tap out to the Sharpshooter,
causing him to pass out from the pain. This was significant, historic, and just flat-out tremendous. I cannot
think of a match that was better than this one in WWE’s history. *****
Steve Austin vs. The Rock (w/the Nation – 12/06/97).
his black 3:16 truck. He jumps off and lands right on Rock. The Nation jumps in
ring and tries to put a beatdown on him, but Austin fights them all off. D-Lo
takes a backdrop on the windshield of the truck and then takes a Stunner on the
top. The bell finally rings. Austin hits the Thesz Press and starts punching
Rocky in the face. Rock fights back and sends Austin to the floor. Kama tries
to hit Austin with a chair shot, but he ends up knocking Faarooq out cold with
it. Rock hits Austin with a low blow when the referee was distracted. The
Rock hits the People’s Elbow, but it only gets a two. He goes for it again, but
Austin avoids it. Austin goes for the Stunner, but Kama jumps on the apron. He
goes to attack him, but the referee stops him. Austin ends up giving the
referee a Stunner. Rock grabs some brass knuckles, but is met with a Stunner. A
new referee comes in and counts to three. Austin retains the IC championship @
5:34. This was a brief illustration of things to come in WWF’s main event
scene: a lot of all over the arena bar-fight brawling, although a complete lack
of application of the rules, with kudos to Vince Russo.** ½
Shawn Michaels (w/DX) vs. Steve Austin (3/29/98).
vs. John Cena from Wrestlemania 27, because everyone was more concern about
what would happen with Tyson and Austin. And that ended up causing Shawn
Michaels’ and Austin’s saga to take a back seat. Obviously, HBK desperately
needed surgery and time off to repair his back due to the bump he took on the
casket when he was working with Undertaker. Rumor has it that he still did not
want to job to Austin, but Undertaker sat him down and told him that he had to
do what was right for business. Take it for what it’s worth. Austin pulls down
HBK’s tights, exposing his buttocks to the crowd. I bet that is HBK’s favorite spot.
Austin backdrops Shawn right on DX. Outside, Hunter tosses Austin into the
barricade, although that gets Hunter and Chyna thrown out from ringside. Back
in, Austin goes for a Stunner, but Shawn ducks to the apron and is knocked face
first into the announce table. Ouch.
where Shawn takes over. He beats Austin down and then taunts the crowd. The
pace slows down when Shawn works over Austin’s knee. HBK locks in the
figure-four. Austin fights out and shoots Michaels into the buckle for a
nearfall. HBK puts in a sleeper, but Austin backs him right into the referee.
Austin stomps a mudhole into HBK’s chest. Shawn fights back with a
“flying” forearm. That sets up Sweet Chin Music, but Austin catches
Shawn’s boot and goes for the Stunner. Shawn counters and goes for another
attempt at Sweet Chin Music. Austin spins him around and gives him the Stunner.
There is no referee, though, so Tyson jumps in and makes a quick three
count @ 20:01. I’d assume Tyson was just a bit overzealous
and that’s why he did a fast count. It’s surprising to me that not many people
bring up the fast count, though. Afterwards, HBK shoves Tyson, who retaliates
by delivering a knockout punch. Both Tyson and Austin celebrate. There is
nothing wrong with this. It had solid pacing and timing throughout, although it
was disappointing due to the amount of talent they both had. They
honestly could have wrestled a better match in their sleep if HBK was
healthy. After all, their contest at King of the Ring ’97 was better, in spite
of having minimal build. The counter-for-counter ending was a gut-wrenching
sequence, though. *** ¼
2: This was a very good
disc, although I believe some
of his significant work was missing. He noted that he was able to handpick
everything, even if they were on other DVDs. With that in mind, where is the
Austin/Pillman vs. Ricky Steamboat/Shane Douglas contest that displayed the
Hollywood Blondes as a dynamic and cohesive tag team? Where is one of the
Steamboat ones that proved he could hang with one the greatest in-ring workers
ever without missing a beat? And where is his outing with Bret Hart from
Survivor Series ’96 that displayed how impeccably scientific and mechanical he
was at his peak? I fully understand that all these matches were important to
him, but I just wish that at least one of those were on this disc, if not all
question that there was some great content on this disc. From his big win over
the icon Sting, to his five-star brawl with Bret Hart that ended up redefining
the business, all the way to his world title win that propelled him as the biggest
commodity in wrestling since Hulk Hogan. And there is more to come. Disc 3 is
all about Austin’s career on top of the wrestling world.
Just watched a video from RAW, April 2001 where Stone Cold was battling The Rock in the steel cage. At some point during the match, because Austin is now aligned with Mr. McMahon, HHH comes down and helps beat down the Rock.
If my memory serves me, this Austin heel turn was very unpopular, especially after they spent all that time building him up. Was there a long term plan with this story line, or was Vice just seeing what the fans would ultimately tolerate, and thus turning Austin back to a face just a few short months later?
WrestleZone.com has learned from WWE sources that an angle has been pitched for WrestleMania XXX in which Steve Austin hits CM Punk with a stunner to set up a match for WrestleMania XXXI. It should also be noted that Punk was spotted in Chicago last night at a concert and there has been no word if either guy has agreed to the angle itself.
Credit Justin LaBar, WrestleZone.com
On his time with OMEGA: It was great. I had met The Hardy Boys in 1996 when we were all just job guys in the WWF and me and Matt hit it off right away and he had told me his plan for OMEGA and I wanted to be a part of it. Myself and Joey Mercury and Christian York would drive down there and be a part of it. It was crazy because we didn't know what was going on, but we were just guys who loved wrestling, and wanted to be something different. Years later people would be like, “wow this is something good.” His “elimination” from the WWE's light heavyweight title tournament: I was in the original bracket for like a week, and then I was replaced. Because at the time they were doing the qualifying matches on like Shotgun Saturday Night , and this was like before Scott (Taylor) was Scotty Too Hotty, and Brian Christopher was just Brian Christopher from Memphis, and it was just this big thing to put the title on Taka (Michinoku). So you would win a match on Shotgun or Superstars and "qualify" for the tournament. My chance to qualify was in Atlantic City in 1997 and I was wrestling Jimmy Cicero, and we ended up getting bumped off the show because The Iron Sheik & Tiger Ali Singh went way too long. I was angry for like a year at Tiger Ali Singh, but now he's one of my better friends. So they ended up scrapping my match and in return, they sent me to Memphis to USWA for the last few weeks before the company closed. On his start with ECW & The $100 Toehold Challenge with Tommy Dreamer: I was back on the indies for about a year before I started with ECW. I was working with Nova a lot leading to a big cage match and Dreamer was there, and he liked my anti hardcore thing, and eventually there was an opportunity for a guy to come in (to ECW). And Nova told Paul, "I know you want Reckless Youth, but I think Steve Corino would be a perfect fit." We both got tryouts and I ended up getting a job. And then I was just an opening match jobber for guys like Chetti & Nova for like the first 3 months, and then we were in Trenton, NJ and Dreamer said he would work with me that night. He asked me if I was good on the mic, and I said I was alright. He told me to come up with something funny, and I came up with the whole $100 challenge and we ended up having a 22 minute match and 11 minutes was on the microphone during the match. On promos being scripted: It's the evolution of wrestling. The WWE is such a television show. They call it sports entertainment, and it's very much like your Law & Order or Modern Family. They follow a script. Would I personally love it to be more of a Curb Your Enthusiasm where you get to improv some stuff? Absolutely. And I think a lot of times the talent is a little more comfortable with that. On a personal level, give me an idea of what you want and I'll just go with the flow. It always worked for me in ECW. Paul would give me an outline and I would fill in the blanks. Did TNN sabotage ECW? Everybody was so excited about going on TNN, and I remember the first Television taping- I thought it went all wrong. Why were we doing TV in Dayton, Ohio when we were a Philadelphia company or a Queens, NY company? Why aren't we putting our best crowd in there? Not that Dayton was a bad city, but why are we going to a big arena trying to tape TV when we were this alternative blood and guts, smoky arena type of company? I knew right from there that Paul (Heyman) wasn't happy. I think the first taping got scratched and we had to do a second one. And Paul didn't do himself any favors, because instead of being corporate Paul, he was, you know, Paul Heyman. He created "The Network" to crap on the network we were on. On Ring Of Honor through the years: It's so different. I think that people tend to forget how different it is. ROH is not Gabe (Sapolsky), Doug (Gentry) or Rob Feinstein's ROH anymore. It's a television product for Sinclair Broadcasting. It's basically their brand for their Television stations and I think it's on in 88 different markets, but it's really become a television product. Some of the loyal fans from 2002-2010 say we've lost what we were going for and they just have to realize that it's a different product. Gabe, Doug, and Rob's vision was awesome and so was Cary (Silkin) and Adam Pearce's and now with corporate backing it and with Hunter Johnston as the booker, it's still great, it's just a little bit different. It's a different world. Does Sinclair have any say in on-air product for Ring of Honor? I'm sure, but I don't know that. It's very quiet about how things work in the office. It's a “don't ask, don't tell" thing also, and things are good, so why poke the bear if we don't need to? On Matt Hardy in ROH: A lot of people don't understand why Matt Hardy was brought in, but they have to understand the television business side of it. Matt Hardy, for a lot of years, was on the WWE and they were in front of 3-5 million people a week. People know who Matt Hardy is and if you can get an extra 10% of those people watching your show (ROH) just because Matt Hardy is on there – it's not that Matt Hardy is being featured, it 's just that fan that says he only watches WWE and who do does Ring Of Honor have, and you say "Michael Elgin, Kevin Steen, Steve Corino, and Nigel Mcguinness," and they've never heard of them, but then you say you have Matt Hardy. They'll say they remember Matt Hardy and his brother Jeff and they watch the show and see Matt. But then they see these guys like the Adam Coles, Michael Elgins, Jay Lethals, and Tommaso Ciampas and Kevin Steens, and they say, "Wow this is what we want to watch." I think that's part of the influence. On Daniel Bryan: We over-think sometimes as fans. I watch Raw and Smackdown as a fan. I never try to over-analyze and say they're doing this or that wrong. There is no doubt that Daniel Bryan is so over, right? But, you don't think WWE knows this? You don't think a money making machine like WWE doesn't see what's going on? I think us as wrestling fans want Daniel Bryan to be in that main event spot right now, whereas the WWE says we're making money off this guy right now. Let's string it along and see how far we can go because we're going to need a main event for Wrestlemania 31. Stone Cold Steve Austin was over at King Of The Ring 1996, but go back and see how long it took him, as they strung him along, and people wanted to cheer, and they were cheering him at Survivor Series 1996 with Bret (Hart). They were cheering him in every match, and finally they did the turn and put the rocket up his ass a little bit after WrestleMania 13 and he didn't get the belt until the next WrestleMania, so you have a year and a half where they knew he was over and he was going to make big money for them and they just took their time, and I think that's what they're doing here with Daniel. They know he's over and he's not going anywhere. Think about how genius it was putting him with The Wyatt family for 3 weeks. They literally turn him heel and the crowd said no way. The fans feel like Bryan is one of them and he is doing everything they would do if they were wrestlers. I think it's great. To me, if I'm Vince McMahon or Triple H or Stephanie McMahon, I have it in my mind how Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk is my main event for WrestleMania 31.
I wanted to present a topic before you and your loyal Blog of Doom-ites. I'm doming some WWF 2001 reviews for my website (kingsrecaps.wordpress.com in cane you're interested) and naturally I'm talking about the Steve Austin heel-turn that failed. I think one problem that doesn't get pointed out enough was the way it was first presented, and you know how important first impressions are. We've grown used to see Ausitn as the gruff tough-guy, but once the heel turn happened as Wrestlemania, he suddenly had to follow the WWF rulebook which states "All WWF heels must be cowardly". Suddenly Austin's stalling, running from battles, begging off during matches, and the biggest kicker occured on the May 10th Smackdown.
If you remember on that show The Undertaker wet into Austin's lockerroom where his stuff is and waited for him to arrive. So what does Austin do? He whines to Vince McMahon about it. Read that again: Austin whines to Vince. The guy who ususaly beats everyone up is complaining to the authority figure. That's what really killed the heel turn right there.
Anyway I wanted to bring this up for a discusson with your readers. Keep up the good work and all that.