A2Z Analysiz: The Legacy of Stone Cold Steve Austin

Release Date: February 12, 2008

~DISC 1~

MATCH #1: Steel Cage Match for the WCW Tag Team Championship – Hollywood Blondes vs. Dos Hombres, Slamboree, 5.23.93

Dos Hombres are Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas (but not really). Steamboat controls the early part of the match with armdrags and chops. Neither Pillman nor Austin can take an advantage. Steamboat works over both men’s arms, and Douglas does the same. Steamboat comes back in and the challengers’ strategy is sound. Austin takes a nasty back body drop into the cage. That almost was an unfortunate landing. He then gets whipped into the cage. Austin goes to the eyes and is able to tag Pillman in. Pillman goes for the eyes as well, and uses a chokehold. Austin and Pillman continue to use underhanded tactics and quick tags to hold the advantage for a change. Pillman chokes one of the Hombres in the corner with the infamous Blondes’ towel. The Blondes try the Rocket Launcher but Douglas gets the knees up. He tags out to Steamboat and goes nuts on everyone. He hits an electric chair drop on Austin and crotches Pillman on the top rope. The masked challengers are in control, and Steamboat climbs to the top of the cage, pausing to remove his mask. He hits a huge cross body block on both Blondes and gets a two-count but for some reason the bell rings. Steamboat hits each Blonde with a DDT but still can’t keep them down. The Hombres each hits a dropkick on a Blonde but still no pin. Austin Hits the Stun Gun on Douglas out of nowhere to get the pin at 16:07. That was a very good tag team match with a hot finish slightly ruined by the timekeeper ringing the bell early.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #2: Stunning Steve Austin vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman, Clash of the Champions XXV, 11.10.93

Pillman attacks Austin as soon as he enters the ring, and then takes off after Austin’s manager, Col. Robert Parker. Austin attacks Pillman from behind, but Pillman thwarts him. Back in the ring Pillman continues on offense. They fight back outside the ring and on that silly entrance ramp WCW had. Austin tries a piledriver but Pillman backdrops him instead and heads to the top rope. Pillman goes for the Flying Something and Austin gets his boot up, and then tosses Pillman off the ramp and onto the guardrail. Pillman hits a slingshot cross body back into the ring, but it only gets two and then Austin press slams Pillman onto the top rope. Austin goes to work on Pillman’s leg, using the ropes for additional leverage in a half Boston Crab. Pillman finally comes back and knocks Austin down from the top rope. Austin counters by dropping Pillman onto his chest in a suplex, and then jumps off the rope only to be hit with a dropkick. Austin tries a powerbomb and Pillman hits a rana out of it, which Schiavone calls a “victory roll.” Pillman tries another slingshot cross body, but Austin catches him in a powerslam for two. Pillman recovers and hits a DDT for two. Pillman goes for a crucifix, but Austin falls back on him and goes up to the top rope again. He misses the Big Something and Pillman rolls him up for two. Austin tries the Stun Gun and a bit of an awkward spot leads to Parker interfering, allowing Austin to get the pin at 9:12. That started off hot and got a little sluggish at the end. It was still good fun though.
Rating: ***

MATCH #3: WCW United States Heavyweight Championship Match – Stunning Steve Austin vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Clash of the Champions XXVIII, 8.28.94

Austin had been champion for almost eight months at this point. Steamboat takes the early advantage and Austin claims he used the hair. Poor Bobby Heenan has trouble understanding the rules of this match, because if Austin loses the match by DQ he also uses the title, and Heenan thinks that means this is a no-disqualification match, but it’s not. Austin has “Dragon Slayer” on the back of his tights. Schiavone and Heenan spend a good portion of the early going talking about who attacked Hulk Hogan earlier in this show. Austin and Steamboat have been having a good back and forth contest in the meantime. Steamboat hits a powerslam and they go to a split screen to show an ambulance, presumably carrying Hulk Hogan. Give me a break. Steamboat takes control of the arm and Austin can’t get out of the hold. Austin comes back by tossing Steamboat through the ropes to the floor, but Steamboat drags Austin out and gives him no time to catch his breath. Now instead of talking about the match, Schiavone passes along the message that Sting is so mad that Hogan got attacked that he has called in a plane to bring him to the show so he can wrestle for Hogan if he has to. Steamboat and Austin who? For some reason Barry Darsow is at ringside yelling things. I have no idea where that angle ever went. These two are having a terrific match despite the commentators not caring. Steamboat goes for a big cross body block, but Austin avoids it. Austin slaps Steamboat in the face several times, just to be a jerk. Steamboat finally grows tired of it and unleashes fury on Austin. Steamboat hits an awesome spinebuster for two. The Electric Chair Drop gets two as well. Small package gets two. Jackknife cradle gets two. Austin tries a piledriver but Steamboat slips out the back door and gets a backslide for two. Sunset flip gets two. Austin pops up and hits a clothesline. Austin dumps Steamboat over the top rope, which would be a DQ if Steamboat hit the floor but he skins the cat back in the ring instead. Moments later Austin goes for a bodyslam but Steamboat rolls him up a la WrestleMania III, and wins the U.S. Title for the fourth and final time. Screw the commentators, but this match was terrific, and shows how good of a wrestler Austin was at this stage of his career. And Steamboat was still awesome too.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #4: Triangle Match for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship – Mikey Whipwreck vs. Steve Austin vs. Sandman, ECW, 12.9.95

Austin and Whipwreck start the match, as this is one of those goofy three-ways that doesn’t start with all three men in the ring. Austin is in incredible shape here and doesn’t seem to be sweating Mikey at all. Mikey had been champion just over a month at this point. Whipwreck tries to ground Austin with a side headlock, but it doesn’t keep Austin down for long. Sandman comes out now, and I’m not sure what the time intervals were, and Styles doesn’t explain it so it just appears random. Sandman is one half of the ECW Tag Team Champions with 2 Cold Scorpio, and he is accompanied by Woman. Scorpio also holds the TV Title, so Sandman and Scorpio could form a two-man Power Trip if he wins this match. Austin is momentarily distracted by Sandman, but is able to hit a piledriver on the floor and Mikey is down. Sandman finally gets in the ring and he and Austin fight for a minute until Mikey gets back in the ring. He hits a Frankenmikey on Sandman but gets powerbombed when he tries it on Austin. Sandman pulls the ropes down when Mikey tosses Austin in, and he tumbles to the floor. The fans in the front row are absolutely disgusting. Mikey unleashes fists on both his challengers, and then delivers a dual low blow. Austin is able to land the Stun Gun on Mikey to eliminate him at 12:34. So there will certainly be a new ECW Champion. Austin and Sandman fight outside the ring and into the crowd. They finally go back into the ring and Austin stays in control. Woman pours beer on Sandman, and that wakes him up like Popeye’s Spinach. Austin gets in the referee’s face after a near fall, and Woman hands Sandman brass knuckles. Austin’s foot is on the ropes but the ref doesn’t see it and Sandman gets the pin and the title for the second time (according to WWE, or third if you count the Eastern Championship Wrestling Title) at 20:03. That was a typical ECW brawl, and reminded me why I never cared much for this promotion.
Rating: **

MATCH #5: Caribbean Strap Match – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Savio Vega, Beware of Dog 2, 5.26.96

Ted DiBiase has put his WWE career on the line should Austin lose this match. If Austin wins, Savio becomes the Million Dollar Man’s chauffer. Austin takes control in the early going but Savio fights back with a back body drop. Austin tries to hide outside the ring, but Savio pulls the strap hard and Austin crashes into the ring apron twice. They fight outside the ring and Savio is lighting Austin up right now. Austin absorbs a beating for a few minutes and then comes back and uses the strap on Savio a bunch of times. He’s able to touch two turnbuckles but Savio breaks it up. Austin comes back and throws Savio over the top rope, and the momentum drags Austin out as well. That looked very dangerous. They fight outside the ring for a bit, and Savio reclaims control. Back in the ring he goes for the turnbuckles. He gets three before Austin breaks it up. Savio stays on offense and delivers a superplex. Both men are down and Savio is first to his feet and he touches three turnbuckles but Austin catches him in a sweet spinebuster at the last second before Savio could get number four. Austin is in control now. Austin tries the tombstone but Savio reverses it, then Austin reverses that and dumps Savio to the floor. Back in the ring Savio is able to make another run at the turnbuckles. He gets three again, and Austin takes control and tires using the million dollar dream but Savio escapes. He then tires up Savio around the throat with the strap and he goes after the turnbuckles. He doesn’t realize that Savio is touching the buckles behind him. Austin accidentally pulls Savio into the corner and that’s wins the match at 21:23. That match holds up really well today, with stiff work and great intensity. This had to be Savio Vega’s best match ever.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #6: #1 Contender Match for the WWE Championship – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret “Hit Man” Hart, Survivor Series, 11.17.96

The DVD lists the date of this match as 11.16.96, but that is incorrect. They start slowly as the commentating trio are wondering how long will it take for Bret to shake his ring rust off. Bret takes the first real advantage with a hammerlock. He hits a few of his signature moves early on, but not in the usual order. And who says he doesn’t ever change it up? He goes for a bulldog but Austin pushes him off chest first into the turnbuckle. Austin goes up for the superplex but Bret drops him chest first on the mat (we’ve seen that a lot on this DVD) and Bret hits the elbow off the top rope instead of the second like he usually does. They fight to the outside of the ring and Austin hammers on him. They fight into the crowd and knock down one of the guardrails. Bret is in control now. Austin reverses that though and slingshots Bret onto the Spanish announce table in a cool spot and then just goes over and starts pounding on Bret. Man, Austin was so good. He continues to beat on Bret with elbows and slams. The crowd is actually behind Austin in some areas. He locks on the abdominal stretch and uses the ropes for leverage. Bret comes back with a stun gun, one of Austin’s moves, and hits a piledriver. Austin recovers and hits a superplex, but Bret is able to grab a small package out of it. Austin hits the Stunner out of nowhere but Bret is able to kick out at two. Austin locks on the Texas Cloverleaf, which is very similar to the Sharpshooter. He throws Bret ribs-first into the steel ring post in a cool spot, but Bret is able to recover soon after. Bret tries a sleeper but Austin hits a jawbreaker out of it. Austin goes for the Million Dollar Dream and Bret uses his experience to beat Austin using the same move he used on Roddy Piper at WrestleMania VIII to get the pin at 28:33. What an absolutely phenomenal match. The hatred felt real, the action was as good inside the ring as it was outside, it made Bret look good in winning his comeback match and Austin looked good for hanging with Bret. This is brilliant stuff.
Rating: ****¾

MATCH #7: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Yokozuna, SummerSlam Free-For-All, 8.18.96

Austin attacks from behind to start the match and starts throwing hands. They soon get shrugged off and Yoko goes to work now. Austin thumbs him in the eye and tries a clothesline. He tries three, and on the third one Yoko grabs him and hits a Samoan Drop. He follows that up with a legdrop. He goes up for the Banzai Drop but he pulls the top turnbuckle off and falls back right on his head, allowing Austin to get the pin at 1:53. That was actually kind of fun for a sub-two minute match. Yokozuna was really good.
Rating: *


MATCH #8: WWE Championship Match – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Undertaker, Cold Day in Hell, 5.11.97

Todd Pettengill wonders if Austin is worried about the five empty seats in the front row that the Hart Foundation will be sitting in. He of course is not worried and says he’d whip all of their asses. Pettengill narrates a clip of a confrontation these two had, and calls a kick a knee, and a chokeslam the tombstone piledriver. What a tool.

Undertaker gets distracted by the Hart Foundation, so Austin attacks him from behind and starts slugging away. The fight goes outside the ring in short order, and Austin takes the opportunity to yank Owen Hart out of the front row and beat on him. Undertaker takes a few shots at the Harts as well. Back in the ring Austin takes control at first but Undertaker comes back with a flying clothesline. He goes up and hits the rope walk for two. Austin fights back by going to the eyes and then he puts on a headlock. Undertaker doesn’t stay in that too long and the two trade moves and try not to be distracted by the Harts. Austin is working on Undertaker’s knee. He uses the STF and JR is pretty funny in explaining it to Lawler. Undertaker recovers and pushes Austin over the top rope with his good leg, and he goes right after the challenger. Undertaker goes after the knee as well, so both guys are using the same strategy. Undertaker tries a sleeper but Austin hits a jawbreaker to break it. They continue to battle each other, and Undertaker hits the chokeslam. Austin comes back with the Stunner and the bell rings, and we see that Brian Pillman rang the bell to confuse everyone. Austin and the referee get distracted, and Undertaker sits up. He goes for the Tombstone and Austin counters it, only to have it re-countered and Austin sells it like a champion and Undertaker retains at 20:07. The Hart Foundation immediately rushes the ring and goes after the WWE Champion, except for Bret, who is in a wheel chair. Austin takes the opportunity to knock Bret over and take his crutch, and he goes into the ring and uses it on the Harts. Austin and Undertaker clean house. Austin hits Undertaker with another Stunner just because he’s pissed. That’s a really good face versus face match thanks in large part to the involvement of the Hart Foundation. It’s not as good as their match at SummerSlam ‘98, but I’m glad this match is on the set since the SummerSlam box set came out.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #9: World Tag Team Championship Match – Shawn Michaels & Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Owen Hart & British Bulldog, Raw, 5.26.97

This is a rather famous Raw match. It’s Shawn Michaels’s return from losing his smile back in February. The commentary sounds like it’s in a tin can for some reason. This one starts off hot with Austin and Owen, with Austin in control. Austin tags in Michaels and they show some teamwork in working on Owen’s arm. Bulldog tags in and immediately uses his power to take over. Michaels soon recovers though and everyone is going a mile a minute in this one. Other members of the Hart Foundation are nearby as the challengers continue controlling the champions. The Legion of Doom is watching on, and they are slated for a shot at Owen & Bulldog at the upcoming King of the Ring. Brian Pillman, Bret Hart, and Jim Neidhart make their way closer to the ring as Owen and Bulldog take control briefly. Owen tries a sleeper but Austin hits the jawbreaker. Bulldog and Michaels both get tagged in and Michaels is on fire. Bulldog stops that with a press slam, landing Michaels crotch first on the top rope and Michaels took a great bump there. Owen rams his back into the ring post outside the ring, and then tosses Michaels back in. Michaels is taking the beating now. Owen hits his awesome belly-to-belly suplex but Austin kicks out. Michaels keeps trying to make the tag but Owen and Bulldog thwart him. Owen hits the enziguiri but Michaels kicks out and makes the tag to Austin and Bulldog is tagged as well. Austin brawls for a minute and Michaels sneaks in the ring and delivers Sweet Chin Music to Bulldog and Austin covers for the pin and his first title in WWE at 10:24. It was short but really hot the entire time, and all four guys are great at this point, so this was a terrific tag match. Austin ignores the beating on Shawn Michaels to go attack the helpless Bret Hart, just because he’s that much of a dick.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #10: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels, King of the Ring, 6.8.97

These two are the World Tag Team Champions at this point. They show a clip of Austin giving Pillman a swirly earlier in the evening, which I think is awesome. Austin knocks Michaels down early and gives him the double bird, and a mentally challenged fan tries to get in the ring, only to be stopped by security. Michaels goes out and talks to help the poor kid, and Austin goes out to attack him. Michaels goes back out to help the kid again, and they bring him backstage. I don’t remember ever hearing about this before, but I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it. Back to the match now, Michaels grounds Austin with a headlock. Austin fights back and mocks Michaels’s signature pose. Michaels fights back and utilizes the side headlock. Austin counters the Thesz Press with an inverted atomic drop and a clothesline over the top rope. He follows him to the floor. Back in the ring Michaels gets an O’Connor roll and a drop toehold followed by the armbar. Austin tries to fight back but Michaels continues grounding Austin via the armbar. Finally Austin makes the comeback and sends Michaels crashing into the guardrail on the floor. He then pulls the ring mats up from ringside. Austin further abuses Michaels, throwing him into the guardrail again and then the ring steps. Then he picks Michaels up and drops him chest first on the concrete. Back in the ring Austin maintains control. Michaels finally makes the comeback and tosses Austin to the floor and hits a baseball slide. He tries to suplex Austin back inside but Austin slips out the back door, but Michaels is able to hit the flying forearm and unload on Austin. Michaels charges into the corner but Austin moves and Michaels eats a shoulder full of post. The referee takes a bump and Michaels tries Sweet Chin Music but it’s countered to the Stone Cold Stunner. Austin wakes up the referee, and then delivers a Stunner to him just for fun. Michaels hits Sweet Chin Music and another referee comes down not to make the count, but to check on the first referee. This makes Michaels mad, so he gives the Sweet Chin Music to that referee. The original ref is up now and he counts a near fall for Michaels. Senior official Earl Hebner comes down and stops the match at 22:33 due to a double-disqualification. That was a fun chaotic match but the finish sucked. It’s obvious why they had to do it, but it was definitely not satisfying.
Rating: ****

MATCH #11: World Tag Team Championship Match – Stone Cold Steve Austin & Dude Love vs. Owen Hart & British Bulldog, Raw, 7.14.97

This is the end of a tournament to crown new World Tag Team Champions. Austin was supposed to pick a new partner when Shawn Michaels got suspended for fighting backstage with Bret Hart, but he never bothered to do so because he hates everyone, so he starts the match on his own. Owen and Bulldog take the early advantage of course, but Austin fights back as best he can. Vince says that Austin’s partner has arrived, and we see some white boots in the back, but we don’t know who it is yet. Owen and Bulldog continue to dominate. Austin gets lucky and is able to dump both of his opponents over the top rope to the floor and some strange music hits and Mick Foley appears on the Titan Tron dressed as Dude Love! This is Dude’s debut, and he says he will be Austin’s partner. The look on Austin’s face here is priceless. It’s kind of strange to note that Dude Love appeared in WWE before Cactus Jack. The match resumes and Austin tags Dude in! He’s still wearing his sunglasses in a very nice touch. Dude’s glasses finally come off and Owen goes right to the eyes and tags out to Bulldog. He tries the Powerslam but Dude goes for the Love Handle (not named as such yet). The referee gets distracted by Owen and Austin sneaks in and delivers the Stunner to Bulldog and Dude covers for the pin and the titles (Foley’s first in WWE) at 7:23. The match was short and heavy on angle, but it was a good angle and I liked Dude Love, so this is a fun match for me.
Rating: ***

MATCH #12: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Owen Hart, SummerSlam, 8.3.97

Michael Cols plays this year’s Todd Pettengill, as he tries to get a word with Austin on his way to the ring and gets brushed off. Owen attacks Austin’s knee before the bell and rams it into the ring post. Owen is known for the Sharpshooter just like Bret, so it’s a good strategy. Austin doesn’t take that crap for too long and now he goes on offense. He goes to work on Owen’s left arm. When Owen recovers he works on Austin’s hand and fingers, since he hates the middle finger being directed at him. Austin comes back with a Stun Gun and Owen tries to come back with a rana but Austin powerbombs him and then clotheslines him over the top rope. Owen starts walking back to the dressing room but Austin will have none of that. Owen recovers back in the ring and now starts working on the neck. Austin fires back with a clothesline out of the corner and goes for the Sharpshooter but it’s blocked and Owen hits a clothesline to knock Austin down. A German Suplex by Owen gets two. He then goes to the Camel Clutch, and puts it on the real way, not the sissy Scott Steiner way. Austin tries to make a comeback but Owen cuts him off with a DDT. Austin puts on a sleeper which Owen reverses to one of his own, which Austin escapes with a jawbreaker. Owen soon recovers and goes back to the neck. He uses the ropes for leverage and the referee breaks it up. Then comes the spot that would slightly alter the course of WWE history, as Owen delivers a sit-out tombstone piledriver (which became known as the Owen Driver ’97) to literally paralyze Austin. Referee Earl Hebner tries to see how Austin is doing, while Owen lamely taunts the crowd. Austin lays there for over a minute before weakly (not that anyone can fault that) rolling Owen up for the surprise pin. I’m sure the finish would have been better had the winner not been, you know, paralyzed, but the fact that he did anything at all is a miracle. I also don’t want to take away from the goodness of the rest of the match due to a freak accident, because this was a tremendous match up until the piledriver. Both guys tried a few things in the early going until Owen found something that worked (the neck) and then they really went with it. Austin is helped to the back by officials, so you know he’s really hurt.
Rating: ****

MATCH #13: WWE Championship Match – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Dude Love, Unforgiven, 4.26.98

Austin is on fire in the early going as Ross and Lawler take potshots at Eric Bischoff. Dude tries a move or two but Austin is having none of it, and follows Dude to the floor and they brawl out there. Austin still is in control, coming back from every attack Dude tries. Dude finally gains an advantage back in the ring and starts working on the neck. Dude puts Austin in a submission hold and Vince McMahon makes his way to ringside and sits in a chair and makes eye contact with timekeeper Mark Yeaton. They’re really playing off Montreal here. McMahon gets out of his chair to taunt Austin, and Austin goes after him, distracting him long enough for Dude to clothesline him from behind. Austin makes his way back to the ring and Dude puts Austin in the abdominal stretch and Vince tries to get the timekeeper to ring the bell. When Austin reverses the hold Vince begs off. They go back to the floor and Austin hits one of those sick suplexes on Dude where the back of his legs hit the ring steps. Dude crawls over the guardrail to try and escape Austin, but he just follows him out and tosses him back over. Back in the ring Dude executes a neckbreaker. The referee goes down and Austin tries the Stunner but Dude puts on the Love Handle. Austin is down and out but so is the referee. They go back to the floor and Dude tries to use a steel chair but it backfires. Austin picks up the chair and goes to hit Dude with it but he overshoots him and hits Vince McMahon instead. Austin rolls Dude back in the ring and hits the Stunner and makes his own three-count and declares himself the winner at 18:50. That’s a pretty serious shot for Vince to take at this time, so the match was memorable for that alone. It was also an excellent brawl and Dude Love looked strong by bringing Austin down with his finisher, so a rematch makes total sense. Of course Austin can’t count his own fall, so the decision is announced as a DQ win for Dude Love since Austin used a chair.
Rating: ****

MATCH #14: First-Blood Match for the WWE Championship – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kane, King of the Ring, 6.28.98

Austin rushes to the ring and hits a Thesz Press right off the bat and drops an elbow. He hits Kane in the face with his title belt and removes the turnbuckle and tries to ram Kane into that. Austin has a sizable bandage around his right elbow. Kane starts to beat on Austin and the Hell in a Cell cage starts lowering (this was the same night as the famous Undertaker vs. Mankind Hell in a Cell match). Kane tries to trap Austin under the lowered cage, but he just kind of stops trying at one point. He throws Austin into the cage several times, trying to bust him open. They continue to fight outside the ring and now the cage is being raised, with Kane hanging over the doorway. Austin pulls him down and rams him into the guardrail. The champion has a small cut on his back, but the referee said earlier today that it was going to have to be something major to end this match. That’s a wise ruling. Austin tries a piledriver on the floor but Kane delivers a back body drop. They fight all the way up to the entrance ramp and around that area. They fight back up to the announce table and Austin hits Kane with one of their mini-fans. The referee goes down and Kane hits a flying clothesline from the top rope. Austin comes back and slugs away on Kane. Mankind comes out with a steel chair and the cell starts coming down again. He takes a Stunner and Kane gets one too. Now Undertaker makes his way out with a chair of his own. Austin has a chair too. Undertaker goes to hit Mankind but instead he hits Austin’s chair and knocks it back into his face. Undertaker clotheslines Kane over the ropes and dumps Mankind out as well. He then throws the referee back into the ring, and Austin is bleeding heavily from the head. Undertaker revives the referee and Kane hits Undertaker in the back with a chair. Austin is up and he levels Kane with the chair, but the referee sees Austin bleeding and calls for the bell at 14:52 and Kane is the new WWE Champion. The match was a pretty boring brawl, since Kane has always been a boring brawler.
Rating: *½

MATCH #15: WWE Championship Match – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kane, Raw, 6.29.98

Austin starts the match aggressively, as he hates not being the WWE Champion. He tries the Stunner early but Kane avoids it. Austin then knocks Kane to the floor and follows him out to run him into the steel steps. Back in the ring the champion goes on offense. Kane abuses Austin both inside and outside the ring. Bearer gets a shot in outside the ring, so Austin chases him and Kane knocks him down again. Undertaker comes out to the ring and the crowd actually boos. The action in the ring continues for a few more minutes until Austin gets the Stone Cold Stunner and regains the title at 8:27. The crowd goes ballistic and Undertaker comes into the ring and he winds up taking a Stunner as well. The match was pretty terrible, but it popped an enormous rating, so good for it.
Rating: *¼


MATCH #16: No Holds Barred Match for the WWE Championship – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock, Backlash, 4.25.99

Austin rushes down to the ring and starts unloading on Rock. Special referee Shane McMahon distracts Austin right away and Rock takes control. Austin comes back with a Thesz Press and unloads with punches. He tries a back body drop but Rock hits a spinning neckbreaker instead. Austin gets tossed over the top rope and they fight down the aisle. Rock throws Austin into the backdrop for the event. He tries a suplex on the floor but Austin reverses it to one of his own. Austin then throws Rock into the backdrop and drops a heavy case on him. The fight continues to spread all throughout the arena. They go to the Spanish Announce Table and Rock delivers the Rock Bottom through it. Rock takes one of the Spanish Announcer’s headset and talks trash. He tries to use a chair but Austin blocks it. Rock is still able to throw Austin through the guardrail at ringside. He then sets Austin up on the English Announce Table and then he spots the camera man and commandeers his camera. He talks more trash to Austin. Rock then gets a view of the audience, giving Austin the chance to get to his feet and deliver the Stunner. What a great spot. They get back to the ring and Austin tries another Stunner but Rock pushed him off into Shane. If Austin gets disqualified he loses the title, but Shane elects not to DQ Austin at this time. Instead he covers Austin with Rock’s arm and counts a near-fall. He goes out and gets the title belt and accidentally levels the Rock with it. Austin covers but before Shane can count three he stops and flips Austin off. That brings out Vince McMahon with former WWE referee Earl Hebner. Apparently Hebner has been rehired. Vince has the Smoking Skull Belt and he hits Shane with it. Rock hits Austin with the other belt back in the ring. Hebner counts two and Austin kicks out. Austin hits the Stunner on Rock and then hits him with the belt to get the pin at 17:09. That was definitely better and more fun than their WrestleMania XV match.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #17: Non-Title Match – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Eddie Guerrero, Smackdown, 11.16.00

Eddie’s Intercontinental Title is not on the line here. Eddie gets on the microphone and taunts Austin, saying he’s afraid of his Latino Heat. He lies down and offers Austin the first shot. Meanwhile backstage, Austin drives a fork lift in front of the McMahon-Helmsley locker room so that no one can get out. The pop for Austin’s entrance is enormous. Austin attacks Eddie right away with fists and elbows, also using the Thesz Press and a suplex. Eddie tries to bail but Austin follows him out, so Eddie attacks the knee to thwart Austin’s onslaught. He goes for a dropkick to the knee in the corner but Austin moves and Eddie crotches himself. Austin adds two more shots and Eddie’s sell of it is great. Finally Austin decides to hit the Stunner and end the match at 4:12. That was really short but actually fun while it lasted.
Rating: **

MATCH #18: No Disqualification Match – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H, Survivor Series, 11.19.00

Austin, in what should be shocking to no one, comes down to the ring quickly and starts throwing punches and elbows and generally abusing HHH. He is in fire and HHH can’t get anything going for the first few minutes. They fight outside the ring and up the aisle towards the entrance. HHH hits Austin with some scaffolding and now he is in control. They go all the way backstage, which must be thrilling for the live crowd. They fight back up to the Spanish Announce table, and Austin reverses an Irish whip and sends the Game into the steps. Austin this HHH with the monitor to bust him open, then follows it with a shot with his beer cooler. He pauses to drink a beer because he’s thirsty. Back in the ring a bloody HHH takes over on offense. Austin comes back with a spinebuster. They soon go back to the floor and brawl some more. HHH sets up for a Pedigree on the ring steps but Austin back body drops him on the announce table. Back in the ring Austin hits the Stunner. Instead of going for a pin he tries to Pillmanize HHH’s neck, but the Game avoids it and heads to the floor and the brawl heads all the way to the back. They actually cut The Radicalz attacking Austin out, because I guess wrestling fans aren’t ready to see Benoit yet. We cut to HHH getting in a car to avoid Austin. Unbeknownst to the Cerebral Assassin is that Austin has commandeered a forklift, and raises the car about 30 feet in the air and drops it, the car flipping over on the way down. That ends the match around 25:00. Austin wasn’t kidding – something was very off in that match, and the finish was colossally stupid, especially given that Triple H was back on TV within I think two weeks. Ugly match from two normally great performers.
Rating: *¼

MATCH #19: Three Stages of Hell Match – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H, No Way Out, 2.25.01

Austin charges the ring and it’s a fistfight to start. He takes the early advantage and they spend a bit of time on the floor in the early going. Austin works on the arm, since this is just a regular match. He hits a Thesz Press and follows up with an elbow. Triple H comes back and goes after Austin’s weakened neck. He also attacks the knee to really wear Austin down. Triple H puts on the figure-four Leglock and yells for Austin to give it up. Austin gets out of it and a few moments later tries the Stunner but he can’t hit it. They trade near falls on a rollup. Triple H tries a jumping thing off the ropes and Austin catches him with a boot and then a Stunner to end the first fall at 12:21.

We have now entered the Street Fight. Austin wastes no time bringing the fight to the floor, and suplexes Triple H on the steel aisle twice. Austin hits Triple H with the TV monitor, and then back in the ring he unleashes a series of brutal chair shots. They go back outside the ring and Austin finds a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. Austin ends up getting hit with it, and he’s the first one to bleed. Triple H tries a Pedigree on the announce table but Austin back body drops him onto the other table. There’s blood all over the announce table. Back in the ring Triple H hits Austin with the ring bell that Austin himself had placed in the ring. They continue to abuse each other with weapons, and Triple H is busted open now too. Triple H finds his sledgehammer. Austin avoids being hit with it and brings the fight back inside the ring. He goes for the Stunner but HHH kicks throws him off and levels him with the sledgehammer in the face. He follows that with a Pedigree and we’re all even at 28:10.

The cage will now be lowered, and the weapons they had with them are still in the ring of course. Triple H dominates to start, and digs the barbed wire into Austin’s head. Austin fights back with a chair shot from the seated position. He gets the barbed wire now and he uses it on Triple H. Austin gets in some offense and a few near falls. Triple H comes back and hits the Pedigree and Austin kicks out and the crowd has lost it. Austin finally hits the Stunner but Triple H kicks out of that. They get up and Triple H has the sledgehammer while Austin has the barbed wire board, and they hit each other simultaneously. Triple H luckily falls on top of Austin and that’s enough to get the pin and win the match at 39:25. That was the exact opposite of their Survivor Series match, since it had intense brawling, great psychology, great selling, great heat and great everything. This is one of the best matches either guy ever had.
Rating: *****

MATCH #20: No Disqualification Match for the WWE Championship – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock, WrestleMania X-7, 4.1.01

Austin attacks Rock right away. Rock doesn’t back down, so Austin hits a Thesz Press and the crowd is white-hot. Both men try their finishers within the first two minutes, and then the battle spills to the floor. Austin takes advantage and back in the ring he nails a superplex and removes the turnbuckle padding. Rock soon recovers and they go back to the floor. The crowd remains hot. Austin hits Rock with the ring bell, and he’s busted open. Every time the Rock is on offense the crowd boos, and Austin gets super cheered for everything he does. Rock runs Austin into the exposed turnbuckle and goes to the floor and grabs the ring bell. He nails Austin with the ring bell but still can’t get the three. He stays in control though, and hammers Austin down several times. Back outside the ring Austin slingshots Rock into the ring post and then hits him with a monitor. Inside the ring Austin tries the Stunner but Rock blocks it and puts on the Sharpshooter. Austin breaks out and puts on a Sharpshooter of his own. Austin puts on the Million Dollar Dream but Rock Bret Hart’s his way out of the move for a near fall. Rock actually hits the first Stunner of the match but it only gets two. That draws Vince McMahon out to the ring, and the crowd heartily boos. Rock hits the People’s Elbow and McMahon comes in the ring and pulls Rock away. An angry Rock begins chasing McMahon, who has some wheels for a guy his age. Back in the ring Rock runs into a Rock Bottom from Austin and that gets two. Austin tries the Stunner but Rock pushes off and the referee goes down. He hits Rock with a low blow and then tells McMahon to give him a chair. Boy is this heel turn not really getting over how they must have wanted it to. Austin holds Rock for a McMahon chair shot and McMahon wakes the referee up but Rock kicks out at two. Then Austin goes for another chair shot but Rock scores with a Rock Bottom. Rock pulls Vince into the ring for a beating. That gives Austin a chance to hit the Atomic Stunner for a very near fall and the crowd is going ballistic. Austin levels Rock with the steel chair but it still only gets two. The challenger gets frustrated and delivers repeated chair shots all over Rock’s body and that finally is enough for the pin and Austin’s fifth WWE Title at 28:08. The heel turn didn’t really go over that well with the live TEXAS crowd so the finish felt a bit awkward. Other than that this is a fabulous match almost as good as the one Austin had with Triple H just over a month prior.
Rating: ****¾

The Pulse: There are lots of great matches here, with eight of the twenty matches reaching four stars or higher (one at five), and six more at three stars or higher. A couple of matches are out-and-out clunkers, but their inclusion makes sense for one reason or another, so this is definitely an excellent set. It’s hard to watch old Austin given how much of a self-parody he turned into. Even so, he is on a very short list of the most famous, important, and influential wrestlers of all-time, so I can easily recommend owning this.

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