A Beer That Ended an Era
STONE COLD! STONE COLD! STONE COLD!
These are the words spoken by Jim Ross when he saw "Stone Cold" Steve Austin pin Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 14 to become the WWE Champion. It is a moment that runs through my head every once in a while.
A man from the state of Texas became the biggest thing to hit the WWE since Hulk Hogan. Austin lost at WrestleMania 12, but in the end really won because of how things changed when Bret Hart was the face and Austin was the heel, and how it was switched up after the great match they put together had changed wrestling history.
Stone Cold was the foul-mouthed, beer-drinking, finger-gesturing, bad ass, SOB that ran the WWE. One of the greatest rivalries in wrestling history, the one with him and Mr. McMahon was a classic. His title reigns and the way he would beat his opponents made the WWE what it was.
When I saw the beer that sat in the middle of the ring in Dallas, Texas after Team Bischoff beat Team Austin, that is where Austin's career started and really ended to me. Austin would have his final match later the next year against The Rock, another match that became a classic to me because it was one for the ages—even though it was the third and final match at WrestleMania for both of them.
Austin getting put into the Hall of Fame this year was a great moment in wrestling, as he was the man that did what Hogan did for over a decade and ran the wrestling world as "the man."
Hulk Hogan gave it to Stone Cold, and he gave it to John Cena when he gave him that beer at the end of the Hall of Fame—in a way, passing the torch to the man that would be what Hogan and Austin were.
Austin did everything someone could possibly do in the wrestling business. He was the Million Dollar Champion, a two-time Intercontinental Champion, four-time Tag Team Champion, the King of the Ring, three-time Royal Rumble winner, the fifth Triple Crown winner, and a six-time WWE Champion.
Austin had also been Wrestler of the Year, No. 1 Wrestler, Feud of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Most Popular and Hated Wrestler, Match of the Year, and was one of the greatest talkers in the WWE.
The beer, to me, symbolized so much. Watching Austin, it symbolized what I wanted to be: an outlaw a man that wouldn't take any crap from anyone.
The beer sitting there in the middle of the ring hurt me, as a tear went down my eye. I felt the same as when Austin got off the four-wheeler, turned to the crowd, and raised the beer up in the air, showing his respect to the people that supported him through the best of times and the worst of times.
The legacy that Stone Cold left behind will always be remembered when you watch Raw or SmackDown because he went on those shows and did what he wanted whenever he wanted. Austin is one of the main reasons the WWE still runs today, because without him the WWE would be second to WCW, or close to it.
The Austin-McMahon rivalry was the main focal point of the WWE winning the ratings war, because when the rivalry grew so did the ratings for the WWE.
Jim Ross saying "Austin's stomping a mud hole and walking it dry" and the famous "STONE COLD! STONE COLD! STONE COLD!" will be missed and never heard again, except on the Austin's DVDs.
The quotes that he made that are still talked about today like:
- "Austin 25:17 says I will strike down upon your ass with great vengeance and furious anger!"
- "If you put an 'S' in front of Hitman, you have my exact opinion of Bret Hart."
- "One of these days, I'm going to look down at your grave and it's going to say, 'Here lies Bret the Hitman Hart, the biggest piece of crap that ever walked the face of the earth; and the reason he's laying here is because Steve Austin whipped his pink and black ass.' And that's the bottom line, because Stone Cold said so."
- "I'm gonna walk right into the Smackdown Hotel, check into room 316, and burn the son of a bitch to the ground!"
The famous "WHAT" quote and the greatest quote I have ever heard,
- "You 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 man Stone Cold was, the effort he put in, and the injuries he took just to give the fans what they wanted—even when we thought he was doing so because he was the Outlaw—was all to give the fans what he wanted.
Austin in the late '90s and early '00 was what Flair always was, and that was "The Man."
Austin, this article is my unique toast to you for giving me, a wrestling fan, something to look forward to, tuning in next week, same Stone Cold time, same Stone Cold Channel!
Oh Hell Yea
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