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WWE: Who Had the Better Career? Stone Cold Steve Austin or the Rock?

Merlot WilliamsCorrespondent IINovember 7, 2011

WWE: Who Had the Better Career? Stone Cold Steve Austin or the Rock?

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    I've got to be honest, I was reluctant to even take on this topic for my "A or B" series suggested by my long-time fan Ryan Lauro and reader Sephiroth. The magnitude of these men's careers is what the superstars of today only hope to be at the end of their careers.

    These two icons have done all there is to do in the world of professional wrestling, and both men moved on to careers in Hollywood. They are two of the three biggest names, nay, biggest stars to ever come out of wrestling.

    So this begs the question, which of these two mammoth personalities had the better career of the two? Since I cannot simply give one side, then the other and then my final word, for the first time in my "A or B" series, I will be breaking each man's career down into seven categories, then make my decision from there. Read on, friends, and let's see who is the better icon!

Rise to Stardom

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    Stone Cold

    Steve Austin started out in World Class Championship Wrestling and signed with World Championship Wrestling after the former of the two companies folded. He enjoyed moderate success in the mid-card and tag team divisions with Brian Pillman, but he was fired by WCW executive Eric Bischoff in 1995 supposedly due to Austin being on the injured list too long. (In reality, Austin was not seen as "marketable" by Bischoff.)

    It was at this point that Austin elected to sign with ECW, where he delivered his now infamous shoot on Mr. Bischoff and the entirety of the WCW management.

    Later that year, Austin signed with the WWF and began wrestling under the name The Ringmaster with Ted DiBiase as his manager. After a short stint under the aforementioned gimmick, Austin won the King of the Ring Tournament in 1996, and the rest is history.

    The Rock

    The Rock began his career as a WWE guy. Due to his father, grandfather and many cousins already being in the wrestling business, Rock more or less already had a foot in the door. He had a brief stint in Jerry Lawler's United States Wrestling Association before coming to the WWF.

    He was immediately thrust down the fans' throats as a face, and after a short time, the fans simply didn't buy it. They turned on him so quickly, it was decided to turn Rock heel and join the Nation of Domination, where he began to develop his now trademark personality.

    And the point goes to...

    The Rock. He definitely had a much quicker rise to stardom. I know I'm gonna catch some heat for that one, but Austin paid some heavy dues in many organizations before he was looked at as a bona fide star.

    Current Score:

    Austin - 0

    Rock - 1

Number of Championship Reigns

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    Stone Cold

    Austin is one of the most decorated superstars who has ever stepped in the ring. With his combined WCW and WWE title reigns, the man is a six-time Tag-Team Champion, two-time Television Champion, two-time United States Champion, two-time Intercontinental Champion, a six-time WWE Champion, a former King of the Ring and the only man to ever win the WWE Royal Rumble event three times.

    The Rock

    All of The Rock's major wrestling accomplishments were made in the WWE. He is a five-time Tag-Team Champion, two-time Intercontinental Champion and a nine-time Heavyweight Champion (WWE and World Heavyweight).

    And the point goes to...

    Stone Cold. While he may not have had top-tier success in WCW, he still remained a mid-card sensation with multiple championships to his name.

    Current Score:

    Austin - 1

    Rock - 1

Years Wrestled (Veteran Status)

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    Stone Cold

    Austin began his wrestling career in 1991 in WCCW/WCW. Over the following 12 years, he would wrestle in ECW and later WWE, with the majority of his career spent with WWE.

    The Rock

    The Rock began his wrestling career in 1995 and was active within the WWE for 8 years, making sporadic appearances from 2004 to current day.

    And the point goes to...

    Stone Cold. Without question, Austin is the more seasoned veteran of the two. This is coupled with the fact that Austin wrestled for many years with a surgically repaired neck.

    Current score:

    Austin - 2

    Rock - 1

How They Retired

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    Stone Cold

    With the pain of the road, as well as his surgically repaired neck wearing on him, Austin had one last hurrah against The Rock himself at WrestleMania XIX. Though he would come out on the losing end of this match, he got to go out on terms that he was satisfied with.

    The Rock

    While The Rock had dabbled in mainstream media before his WWE departure in 2004, he left in good health to pursue a career in acting.

    And the point goes to...

    Stone Cold. As selfish as it is of me to say, in my opinion, Stone Cold left because he had to medically, not because he wanted to. His last match with The Rock was a test that he wanted to undertake to see if he could still perform to the level that he could in his earlier days, and he could leave at the top of his game without a tarnished legacy. 

    Don't misunderstand, however, I don't begrudge The Rock for his success in Hollywood. As a fan of his, I am very happy he is doing well, but don't tell the fans you are "never going away" and then turn right around and leave again.

    Current score:

    Austin - 3

    Rock - 1

Lasting Effect on the Business

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    Stone Cold

    Many fans, even in WWE's current PG era, have had the pleasure of seeing Stone Cold knock back a few Steveweisers, stomp a mud-hole in someone, give 'em a Stunner and be on his merry way. He has been featured in many of the WWE video games as a downloadable character, or character on the main roster, and his "WHAT!?" chant can still be heard echoing in arenas throughout the world. He also had a championship belt modeled after his persona that has since been retired, but is still available for sale as a replica at wweshop.com

    The Rock

    Though he may be gone, The Rock will ultimately always have a piece of himself in the WWE. For many years, WWE has had their "B" Show, as well as one of (eventually the combined) their video game series named after his popular phrase of "Layin' the smackdown!"

    And the point goes to...

    The Rock. Smackdown! is still on television after 12 years, and for the past 7 years, The Rock has not been a part of the active roster.

    Current score:

    Austin - 3

    Rock - 2

Who Is the Bigger Box Office Draw?

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    Stone Cold

    Steve Austin's movie career (as much as I hate to say it...) has been lukewarm at best. He has only starred in a few big-time box office movies, most notably The Expendables, and has an average box office opening weekend of $28,746,403 (source).

    The Rock

    The Rock left WWE to be a movie star, and he does it quite well. He started off in a guest role in The Mummy Returns and has never looked back. He has been in a total of 17 movies and his average opening weekend is $28,766,956. The movies he has been in total have grossed over $2 trillion worldwide (source).

    And the point goes to...

    The Rock. The numbers don't lie.

    Current score:

    Austin - 3

    Rock - 3

    This means it's all tied up with one category to go! Let's settle this one in the ring!

Who Won Most of Their High-Profile Matches?

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    These two titans met many times, but what better place to make our final decision than to look at the track record of their matches at WrestleMania.

    The two men met at three different WrestleManias with the following results:

    Wrestlemania XV: Austin defeats The Rock for the WWE Championship.

    Wrestlemania X-Seven: Austin defeats The Rock for the WWE Championship.

    Wrestlemania XIX: The Rock defeats Stone Cold in his last WWE match.

    And the point goes to...

    Steve Austin winning two out of the three WrestleMania bouts, which brings the final score to:

    Austin - 4

    Rock - 3

Conclusion

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    So based on my breakdown, Stone Cold Steve Austin takes this one. What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments section!

    Until next time, I'm Merlot Williams, and that's my opinion.

     

    Remember to stop by my writers page if you want to see your idea made into one of my A or B Series articles! I usually post these late Saturday night to early Sunday morning, unless I have a four-hour drive ahead of me Sunday morning. Ciao all!

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