Winning the Royal Rumble match for an unprecedented third time in January 2001, Stone Cold was guaranteed a shot at the WWF Champion, who at the time was Kurt Angle.
However, the following month at No Way Out, The Rock defeated "The Olympic Hero" to win the belt for a record sixth time, and set up a mouthwatering Wrestlemania rematch with "The Rattlesnake."
Adding an extra dimension to the rivalry, McMahon named Austin's wife Debra as The Rock's manager in the lead up to "The Showcase of the Immortals," with Stone Cold promising to hold "The Great One" personally responsible if anything happened to her.
On the March 12 episode of Raw, The Rock found himself trapped in Angle's ankle lock during a rematch between the two, and Debra entered the ring to tend to "The People's Champion."Angle then placed her in the ankle lock for her troubles, drawing the ire of her husband.
Austin stormed the ring, and levelled Angle before keeping his word and dishing out a Stunner to The Rock.
"'The Great One" retaliated the following week, when Austin made his way to the ring during The Rock's match, only to find himself on the receiving end of a Rock Bottom.
On the final Raw before Wrestlemania, Debra was rescinded of her managerial duties by McMahon after failing to prevent a wild pull-apart brawl between the two archrivals.
With the stakes more personal than ever and the WWF Championship on the line, anticipation was at fever pitch leading up to the April 1 rematch on "'The Grandest Stage of Them All."