Throwback Thursday: A WWE Network Birthday Tribute to Stone Cold Steve Austin

December 17, 2015 by Brock Allen

WWE Network Throwback Thursday - Logo

Tomorrow, December 18, 2015, marks Stone Cold Steve Austin’s 51st birthday.

To honor the occasion Throwback Thursday on turns Throwback Tribute once again as we celebrate the legacy of the toughest S.O.B. in the history of the WWE with eight classic matches, as seen on the WWE Network.

WWE - Stone Cold & Bret Hart Stare Down

For more Stone Cold Steve Austin check out Rivalries: Austin vs. McMahon: Part One and Part Two, WrestleMania 13: Austin vs. Hart, WrestleMania Rewind: The Austin Era Begins, WrestleMania Rewind: Austin vs. Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin: The Bottom Line on the Most Popular Superstar of All Time, the Stone Cold Podcast, and the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

“Mixed Tag Team Steel Cage Match” (WATCH)
“Stunning” Steve Austin & Jeannie vs. “Gentleman” Chris Adams & Toni
USWA Challenge August 31, 1990 (AIRED: Sept. 22, 1990)

It’s a classic case of student versus teacher in one of Steve Austin’s earliest matches on the WWE Network. With future wife Jeannie, “Stunning” Steve goes to war with the man who started Austin in the business, “Gentleman” Cris Adams and Adams’ wife Toni. This fun, fast-paced match shows that Austin, less than 2 years in the business, was indeed a diamond in the rough.

WCW World Tag Team Championship (WATCH)
The Four Horsemen (Arn Anderson & Paul Roma) vs. The Hollywood Blonds (Steve Austin & Brian Pillman)(c)
WCW Beach Blast ’93 July 18, 1993

WWE - Stone Cold as Stunning Steve Austin

After lampooning the Horsemen on “A Flair of the Old”, the newly reformed Horsemen (and Paul Roma) were looking for revenge. The beginning of the end for The Blonds, this hard-fought match is a masterclass in tag team psychology and a mere glimmer of the greatness to come for Steve Austin.

WCW United States Heavyweight Championship – “Best Two of Three Falls Match” (WATCH)
“Stunning” Steve Austin w/Col. Rob Parker vs. “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes(c)
WCW Starrcade ’93: 10th Anniversary December 27, 1993

One of the more anticipated matches on the card, this psychological clinic is a must-see for classic wrestling fans. Marking the start of a 244 day reign as U.S. Heavyweight Champion this win successfully transitioned Austin out of the Hollywood Blonds phase and into singles stardom.

WCW United States Heavyweight Championship (WATCH)
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. “Stunning” Steve Austin(c)
WCW Bash at the Beach ’94 July 17, 1994

WWE - Stone Steve Austin vs. Ricky Steamboat in WCW

With the arrival of Hulk Hogan WCW was in a state of flux. Austin’s time as US. Champion was coming to an end as was “Stunning” Steve’s time with WCW. One of the last high-profile victories of Austin’s run in WCW, this match is yet another psychological showcase that was arguably the match of the night.

ECW World Heavyweight Championship – “3-Way Dance” (WATCH)
The Sandman(ECW World Tag Team Champion) w/Woman vs. “Superstar” Steve Austin vs. Mikey Whipwreck(c)
ECW December to Dismember: Ultimate Jeopardy 1995 December 9, 1995

After departing WCW Austin landed in Paul Heyman and Tod Gordon’s ECW during a key transitional point in the promotion’s history. After cutting a series of memorable promos (Steve-A-Mania, That’s Not For You, and Uncle Eric), and then cutting his hair, Steve Austin found the edge that would make the “Superstar” a worldwide phenomenon. This, Austin’s last match in ECW, is a chaotic war between three of the eras most unique wrestlers.

“Number One Contender’s Match for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship” (WATCH)
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart
WWF Survivor Series ’96 November 17, 1996

WWE - Stone Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart

This was the match and the feud that put Steve Austin over the top in the WWF and cemented “Stone Cold’s” place as the future of the pro wrestling biz. In Bret Hart’s first PPV match since WrestleMania XII Hart and Austin wowed the MSG faithful and stole the show in one of the best matches in Survivor Series history.

WWF Championship (WATCH)
The Undertaker vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin(c)
WWF SummerSlam 1998: Highway to Hell August 30, 1998

Besides Bret Hart no one did more to establish Steve Austin as a true WWF Superstar than The Undertaker. Despite Austin being knocked out early in this match by an inadvertent headbutt Austin never lost a step and proceeded to put on yet another classic war with “The Dead Man”.

“All Titles on the Line Match” (WATCH)
The Brothers of Destruction (WWF Tag Team Champions The Undertaker & Kane) vs. The Two-Man Power Trip (WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin & WWF Intercontinental Champion Triple H)
WWF Backlash 2001 April 29, 2001

WWE - Stone Cold & Triple H vs. Undertaker & Kane

The night after Austin joined Mr.McMahon at WrestleMania X-Seven Triple H followed suit, costing The Rock the WWF title in the “Steel Cage” rematch and forming the “McMahon Alliance”, or “Two Man Power Trip”. The Brothers of Destruction, hellbent on eliminating Austin & Triple H from the WWF, defeated Edge & Christian on the April 19th SmackDown! for their first WWF Tag Team title win. With their win in this match Steve Austin and Triple H became the first tag team to hold all the major WWF titles simultaneously since Diesel and Shawn Michaels had done it at In Your House 3.

Final Thoughts

After retiring in March of 2003 Stone Cold Steve Austin remains to be one of the biggest stars in the history of pro wrestling. As these eight matches illustrate there wasn’t a person or style Austin couldn’t work. With undeniable charisma and unparalleled ability and drive, and one of the era’s best psychologists, Austin helped usher in the “Attitude Era” and was responsible for changing the dynamics of pro wrestling in ways very few wrestlers had before. As Steve Austin turns 51 tomorrow we pay tribute to “The Rattlesnake” and a legacy that will never be matched. So crack open a “Steve-weiser” and gimme a “hell yeah” as we say happy birthday to Stone Cold Steve Austin!

WWE - Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker

That’s it for TBT on WDN this week – thank you for reading! Are you a WWE Network subscriber? If so, check out the matches, see them for yourself, and let us know what you think below.

Until next week, see ya at ringside!

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  1. Anan says:

    Nice list. Because the beginning of Austin’s pro wrestling career is here as a match with Chris Adams is on the list, felt it best to have his first WWF Title win at WM14 against HBK and his last match ever at WM19 with The Rock. The KOTR 1996 finals and post-match speech would’ve been nice additions too. Those omissions aside, I like this list.

    I’m most familiar with the last 3 matches so I don’t have to rewatch them to know how I feel about them. I saw the others and they’re great matches for their time.

    vs Bret Hart – The WM13 match is a classic in its own right. The build, the storytelling, the post-match, the double turn, it’s all perfect drama. The Survivor Series match didn’t have the drama, but it had a blood free classic wrestling encounter. Austin was the perfect comeback match for Bret while Bret was the perfect stepping stone for Austin and his career boost. Perfect match.

    vs Taker – I don’t know that Austin would agree with you here. First, JR said he didn’t like Taker/Austin matches feeling they didn’t mesh well. I don’t know what criteria he’s basing that on. From a wrestling masterpiece standpoint, maybe he is right. But from a brawl or fight between two big guys (big as in not light heavyweight), I thought they matched up well. Secondly, Austin stated that after that concussion he was a step or two back, his performance wasn’t up to his standards (how could it be? Amazing he was even able to finish the match with a concussion.)

    I don’t think either were the best opponent in their respective careers. I believe Austin was one of Taker’s toughest while Taker may have been arguably the toughest of Austin’s. In fact that may go for many men’s careers as Taker, no matter his condition will never stop coming at over 110%. That’s as tough as tough can be. And I’m talking about a battle tested currently 50 year old wrestler here. Don’t mean to be a suck up or whatever here.

    Of all their PPV matches, Summerslam remains my favorite. The summer long build, entrance, storytelling, post-match stuff…it was all great and the only fitting way to a great Summerslam. Their other PPV matches – Cold Day In Hell, Rock Bottom, Over The Edge, Judgment Day, Backlash – weren’t as good. Going into A Cold Day In Hell, the focus seemed more on Austin/Hart Foundation than on Austin/Taker. Prior, during and after the match, The Hart Foundation were the central focus. Their Buried Alive match at Rock Bottom, maybe I didn’t enjoy it because I enjoyed the first one between Taker/Mankind more. Over The Edge, by 1999, it was clear Taker was less than 100%. He did his best. But when one of the participants isn’t 100%, matches just aren’t as good as they would be if everyone was healthy. And is it just me or did he look to be bigger at Over The Edge than he was at Summerslam 98? Judgment Day, it wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t the best match on the card. IMO, Austin’s Summerslam 98 performance was better despite the concussion. By Backlash 2002, I thought Austin’s best ring days were behind or getting behind him.

    If there’s one thing I didn’t like about their Summerslam match, Austin using a desperate heel tactic – a low blow that mysteriously to me when undetected by the ref or the ref just didn’t care to DQ Austin for using it – to win. Everyone’s behind Austin there, yet are booing Taker’s low blows against Lesnar. Summerslam 98, wish Taker won too. Bad leg, still kept his word and told Kane to go to the back. Taker was not the typical heel. IMO, never really has been. Any help he got, it’s not like asked for any help.

    w/HHH vs Taker & Kane – Not a bad match by any means. I enjoyed it. Took longer than a match usually does to get officially started though which if there is a bad thing about it, I think it’d have to be that.

    • Brock Allen says:

      Hello, @Anan. I agree that Austin/Taker never clicked the way some would have liked but there is little doubt that the rub Austin got from working with Taker was huge. Standing up to the Deadman took Austin to another level. As far as SS ’98 goes I would say its their best match, concussion or not (and one of the reasons I included it was because it illustrates Austin’s toughness to a tee), though I was never really a fan of their matches. Secondly, I thought of including the 3 matches you listed, even WM 14, but I wanted to better show the arc of a man’s career, not just the highlights. All of these matches catch Austin at a pivotal time in his career, on the cusp of something life or career altering that changed the course of his career, which is why the Survivor Series match was included and not WM 13. This was no easy list to compile, especially after I cut it to 8 instead of 10 to narrow the focus even further. One match I really wanted to include, for selfish reasons, was Austin/Dude Love from Over the Edge ’99. It’s pure WWF at its finest. Thanks for reading, @Anan, and taking the time to comment. Happy Holidays and take care.

      • Anan says:

        @Brock Alen:

        I really appreciate your lists because of the effort it takes in thinking what to include in and omit from an 8-10 list that is centered on history/years of wrestling. Not easy. No matter what’s included and left out, every list will be subjected to opinion because everyone’s gonna say this should have in, that should have been replaced/left out, etc.

        On your point(s) about Taker vs Austin, I agree. Austin got the rub from Taker. So many have. The biggest rub IMO was Brock Lesnar. He broke The Streak, beat Taker at HIAC again and the only PPV victory Taker has on him is the controversial one from SSlam. He does own pinfall victories over Lesnar on TV though so it’s not like he’s never beat him. I think that will be Taker’s legacy as far as the man goes. His character has a legacy of its own. But the man’s legacy is his respect, locker room leader status, willingness to do what’s best for business as he has the business’ agenda rather than his own, and put others over and doing so at the expense of his own body/health and even at the expense of his 3rd greatest accomplishment, The Streak. His 2nd greatest accomplishment is The Undertaker character. His first is a legendary feat of 25 years in WWE.

        • Brock Allen says:

          Thank you, @Anan, for appreciating the time and effort it takes to bring TBT to life. Most of all, though, thank you for reading and enjoying the articles. That means the most to me.

          As far as Taker goes, I couldn’t agree more with what you said. He is a one of kind athlete and performer who is, in my book, the greatest WWE Superstar of all-time. Thanks again for reading and commenting. Happy Holidays.

          • Anan says:

            I’d love to see you do a WWE Network Fantasy Feature. If not you, then maybe Mark D, the guy who used to do Fantasy Concepts which I don’t know if it’s still active as I don’t notice anything new there. Or both of you can do it. Like what new show to see centered on…..starring…..what you’d like to see on the next Countdown, Rivalries, WM Rewind, WWE 24 episodes… Beyond The Ring feature….documentary features on….next WWE Week centered on….so on, so forth. Just a suggestion.

      • Anan says:

        @Brock Allen:

        Sorry for the double post. I hope to one day see a Throwback Thursday list on Kane, Sting and Taker. Taker may have gotten one during Undertaker Week on WWE Network????

  2. Ruthless.Attitude.Eras.4Life says:

    Happy upcoming Birthday to the Rattlesnake.. 🙂

    Great picks, for overviewing his career seeing it with important historical eyes.. while not so much important historical, my favorite match, if I was to pick one, is the inagural “3 stages of Hell” from No Way Out 2001 against HHH: everything just clicked that night between Trips and Austin.. ad to that the fresh new innovative match stipulation and the always fantastic commentary chemistry that King and JR had from that period, and you have one of many Rattlesnake classics, again imo maybe even THE classic of the classics.

    • Ruthless.Attitude.Eras.4Life says:

      Damn! tied with the WM 13 match of course! 😉

    • Brock Allen says:

      I agree @Ruthless.Attitude.Eras.4Life, the “3 Stages of Hell” is one of my favorite Austin matches (with the WM 13 match, as you pointed out). It nearly made the list but I didn’t want the list comprised of too many losses. Another of all-time favorites, still makes me laugh, is the Dude Love/Austin match from Over the Edge, I believe. JR and King are at their best and the match is just pure fun. Thanks for reading and talking the time to comment. Happy Holidays and take care!

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