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'Stone Cold' Steve Austin at WWE Royal Rumble: Reliving His 3 Battle Royal Wins

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistJanuary 21, 2016

Credit: WWE.com

Stone Cold Steve Austin has accomplished a lot during his wrestling career, but there is one accolade on his resume nobody else has matched.

On January 21, 2001, Austin became the first person to ever win three Royal Rumble matches. He was in a pretty exclusive club with his original two wins, but after his third victory, Austin was in a league all by himself.

These weekly Throwback Thursday articles usually look at one match and its impact, but this week is going to look at all three of Austin's Rumble wins.

The first victory came in 1997. Stone Cold was the fifth person to enter the match, and he lasted over 40 minutes, eliminating an impressive 10 Superstars in the process.

This was one of the few times where a Superstar did not get a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania, but it was Austin's fault he lost his title shot.

Bret Hart was defending the belt against Psycho Sid on an episode of Raw when Austin got involved, costing Hart the match and the title. Stone Cold's WrestleMania spot against the champion was taken away, so he faced Hart in a bloody submission match instead. Jim Ross provided a list of his "top 10 Royal Rumble moments" (h/t Fox Sports):

Jim Ross @JRsBBQ

Jim Ross' Royal Rumble highlights and memories https://t.co/Z61Jw7AlNR via @FoxSports MY TOP 10 ROYAL RUMBLE MEMORIES. YOUR THOUGHTS?

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It was somewhat karmic for Austin to lose his title shot since he cheated to win the '97 Rumble by getting back in the ring after the referees failed to notice he had been eliminated.

The following year, Stone Cold drew No. 24. Entering the bout that much later helped Austin become only the third person in history to win back-to-back Royal Rumbles.

This time, he got his title shot at WrestleMania 14 against Shawn Michaels. Not only did Austin win the WWE Championship from The Heartbreak Kid, but this ended up being a career-defining match for both men.

Mike Tyson was the special guest referee, but it appeared as if he has aligned himself with DX heading into the bout. He even had a physical confrontation with Austin on an episode of Raw leading up to the event.

However, when it came time to count to three, Tyson revealed he was in league with Austin the whole time. Stone Cold got the win and became WWE champion in a moment that will be featured on highlight reels for years to come. ESPN's Mauro Ranallo noted just how lucky it is to draw No. 27:

Mauro Ranallo @mauroranallo

27 is the luckiest #RoyalRumble Match entry number. 4 winners (Studd '89,Yokozuna '93,B.Hart '94 & Austin 2001 drew that number.

Austin's final Rumble win came three years later when he drew lucky No. 27, making him the fourth person to win in that spot.

The match that followed at WrestleMania 27 is widely considered to be one of the best contests in the history of the pay-per-view. He faced The Rock in an instant classic and won the WWE title for an impressive fifth time.

It wasn't the last time Rock and Austin would square off at the biggest event of the year, but it was easily their best performance.

Not only did his three Rumble victories become one of the greatest accomplishments in his career, but it also led to him facing three of the best wrestlers of all time at WrestleMania.

Hart, Michaels and The Rock were three of Stone Cold's biggest rivals, and the matches they had at WrestleMania helped Austin create a legacy as one of the greatest performers in the history of the business.

Few men have accomplished as much as Austin did during his WWE career, and winning three Royal Rumbles is something nobody else has done since.

Which one of Stone Cold's Rumble wins was your favorite?

Thanks for reading and follow me on Twitter: @BR_Doctor.

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