WWE Personified: A Tribute to the Texas Rattlesnake, Stone Cold Steve Austin
Like all true fans of professional wrestling, it's hard to focus on just one wrestler if you are attempting to explain it to a friend or colleague.
It's often a battle of names and historic events that help you solidify your point as a fan of the sport. Stone Cold Steve Austin is one of those names that is forever intertwined with the sport's pure existence. He is in the upper echelon with Shawn Michaels and Undertaker when it comes to his name and everything he gave to wrestling.
There are too many memories to actually boil it down to one specific moment—it is quite impossible.
Austin did things that some professional wrestlers wouldn't even dare of even thinking. His neck was broke by Owen Hart at SummerSlam '97, but he walked out on his own power. It was considered by himself that he may never be able to walk again.
Fast forward, he is wrestling on your screen once again.
That encapsulates Stone Cold Steve Austin and the legacy he's left behind. Rumors swirl about one more return match with CM Punk, but it is not needed. The memories are enough and the legacy will always remain.
This is my return article in the "Personified" series. I have done Edge, Shawn Michaels, Eddie Guerrero and Christian. Now Austin is the man under my microscope as I look at the variables below very closely and develop a worthy tribute to a man that put his neck on the line for World Wrestling Entertainment.
Just like the last article, it will be a four-part slideshow that will contain the man behind the character, his impact on the business, what made him an icon and a "thank you" for the commitment he showed.
And here we go with the...
Man Behind the Stunner: Steven James Anderson
You can find him at brokenskullranch.com. Anderson is an accomplished hunter and outdoorsman when he is not throwing himself from rope to rope. Formerly known as Steven Anderson, he then changed his name to Steven Williams and then to his ring-name, Steve Austin, in late 2007.
Austin uses the same brutal and aggressive behavior in the ring as he does in the movies. He has starred in many movies, more recently than before like The Expendables, The Condemned, The Longest Yard, Hunt to Kill and Knockout.
His TV career was not often so successful. He was in the hit show Chuck for a little while and was part of the rejuvenation of Tough Enough as a host. Austin is known for his no-nonsense attitude and a physical style of handling disputes.
Off World Wrestling Entertainment's TV, Austin has been shadowed with many controversies, which makes fans like myself and many around the world grasp for reasonable justification.
He was married to former WWE Diva Debra Marshall and throughout the years of their marriage, controversy started to begin. June 15, 2002, there was a call from the Austin household of Marshall crying and with many bruises on her body.
A few months later, Austin was charged with domestic abuse and was put on probation and fined $1,000. The marriage failed and a divorce was filed by Austin in July of that year. Five years later, it was announced that Austin had been using steroids and the intense rages were caused by that.
Without going into much more detail than that, Austin isn't perfect. Much like Shawn Michaels, both of their pasts are shrouded with doubt and controversy. Over time, however, it can be alleviated and fixed. Michaels is a born-again Christian and Austin is doing quite well with his successes.
Stone Cold will always be the man who put the Attitude Era on the map and spearheaded a revolution. No matter the examples of imperfection, Austin remains in our hearts for the actions he portrayed in the ring.
Along the lines of being "the man," Austin was...
Cornerstone of the Attitude Era
If you hear Attitude Era, you think Stone Cold Steve Austin. Words cannot describe what Steve Austin contributed to the industry, let alone WrestleMania. He participated in seven matches at the big event and was the star of the show in each one of them.
It doesn't stop at WrestleMania; it was every single night in his career. He laid it out on the line and he was damned if there wasn't sweat rolling down his face and he was barely able to breathe. That was how hard Austin worked from 1995 until 2004.
The Attitude Era was Stone Cold's to hold and cherish for as long as it lasted. D-Generation X, the Rock, Mankind, the Undertaker and many other people helped start the worldwide phenomena, but you can thank Austin for making it as popular as it is today.
You sit there and you thump your bible and you say your prayers and it didn't get you anywhere. Talk about your Psalms and talk about your John 3:16; Austin 3:16 said he just whipped your ass.
Many claim that Austin's quote kick started the Attitude Era and his rise as an anti-hero. His unscripted promos and verbal beatdowns created the star we watch in the highlights and history DVDs today.
Without Steve Austin, there is no Attitude Era. They correlate with each other as much as CM Punk and the so-called "Reality Era." Both men are emblematic of both eras.
An era defined a man in this example. The legend that was created belongs with the legend it created in the era it defined himself in.
A confusing statement it might be, but it all ties together as one single body.
From 1997-2002, we saw brutality, harsh vulgar, lots of blood, controversial subjects and storylines, excitement and maybe the best era in professional wrestling's history. We can thank Stone Cold for all of those memories.
He was the cornerstone of the Attitude Era and a cornerstone in wrestling's rich history.
For now, Austin will be remembered for not just the accolades, but for being...
The Original, Prominent Anti-Hero
The definition of anti-hero is stated as: "A protagonist who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure, as nobility of mind and spirit, a life or attitude marked by action or purpose, and the like." Austin is a heroic figure, at least in the minds of professional wrestling.
He made it cool to enjoy the bad guy. Isn't that all we ever wanted?
Liking the bad guy made you evil, but it sure did raise your adrenaline and heighten the blood pressure with every stunner you gave your friends in the backyard.
As Austin progressed as a star and went toe-to-toe with the Rock in their legendary feud, his anti-hero status jumped to all-new heights and launched his name to synonymous status around the wrestling world. Along with Michaels, Hulk Hogan, Mick Foley and Bret Hart, Stone Cold made a name for himself through hard work and perseverance.
Mostly everything that came out of Austin's mouth was all his. He went to Vince and told him about the character, Stone Cold. He loved it and the rest is history.
The originality of Austin almost reigns supreme over every professional wrestler in the business. Ideas are sparked by Vince, the creative team or somebody else high in management, but this time, Austin had control of his destiny.
His demeanor will always be memorable and the passion he showed for the business is almost unmatched. There is nothing else I can really elaborate on.
All I can do is respect someone who put his own sweat and tears in the squared circle and gave it his all. In the end, that is all you can really ask of a wrestler.
After all is said and done, there is only one thing left for me to say...
Thank You, Stone Cold Steve Austin
To a man who started a revolution.
Steven Austin, along with those mentioned earlier like Degeneration-X, propelled the World Wrestling Federation (Entertainment) to new heights not ever previously reached. Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart led the early part of the decade and Austin took the reins with the Rock and never let go.
World Wrestling Entertainment is where Austin made his mark. Not with WCW and ECW prior to that, but in the WWE, where Vincent Kennedy McMahon gave him his shot with a new character called "Stone Cold."
Brilliant and genius.
There isn't a way to thank someone like Christian, Eddie Guerrero, Edge, Shawn Michaels and now Austin because they are actually thanking the fans (us).
The way he wouldn't tap from Bret Hart while his face was full of blood, or after Owen Hart broke his neck, but he still walked out of that arena at SummerSlam '97 were only two examples of his love for the sport.
Dedication and commitment at its finest. Not to mention passion oozed from the man. He wasn't satisfied until perfection was met.
His feud with Dwayne Johnson will go down as one of the most entertaining rivalries in WWE history.
Many memories are sustained in our brains until time's end because of Stone Cold's promise to entertain the masses every single night.
A revolution was started the evening of his Austin 3:16 promo. It is called the Era of Attitude.
He personifies attitude and that made him the first anti-hero. Somebody that many fans could relate to in a sense. These days, people are comparing CM Punk to the next Stone Cold. About a year or so ago, it was Orton who was being compared to Austin.
Nobody will be another Stone Cold Steve Austin and that's the bottom line....
because Stone Cold said so.
One More Round
This certainly has been a rather fun piece for me to write. As any fan will tell you, a connection is made between fan and wrestler that is too difficult to put into words. Austin brought out the best in me as a fan and we all brought out the best in him.
I hope I did justice to a fabulous career and man, Stone Cold Steve Austin.
I would love your opinions and feedback on this article, as I paid tribute to one of the best the business that we had the opportunity to witness.
Have a great Thursday everyone and remember...
Thank you again. I love you from the bottom of my heart and that's the bottom line.... because Stone Cold said so!
-Stone Cold from his Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony