Kurt Henning. Mrs. Elizabeth. The Original Iran Shiek. Classy "Freddie" Blassy. One Of The Pitbulls. Road Warrior Hog. Crash Hardy. And now, Stoned Cold Steve Austin joins the ominous list of warriors who have died or retired in the last year.
For the first time since he returned to the sport from being fired by Eric Bischov eight months ago, after quitting a year-earlier, two years after he had to take a year off because of a neck injury, The Memphis Rattlesnake is calling it a day.
There will never be another Steve Austen in this business -- Good Old JR Ewing said so himself. With that mind, we've decided to take a walk down Memory Lane and Know Your Role Boulevard, and recall some of his greatest moments.
Please note: Most of the facts here were taken from his official biography, although I had to rely on some stuff from my always-impeccable memory. So let's get right to it!!!
The 1960's – Austen is born. He's born bald, a look that would follow him throughout the years. He has two parents; a mother and father. I think this was in Texas.
1971 or 2 – Showing his first signs of rebellion against authority, Austen gave his trademark 'Stun Cold Stoner' move to a teacher.
The late-1980's – Austen begins wrestling in the old World Classy territory, learning from the top stars of the company, including Bill 'Crocodile' Dundee and The Guy Who Dressed Up As A Ninja Turtle.
1991 – Austen is "called up" to the "big time", working in "WCW", where Dustey Roads was the "booker" in that "territory."
June 1991 – Austen wins the eighth-most prestigious title in the industry, the WCW Television Title. He goes on to defend the belt at least six times a week, every week, for the next eighty-four weeks (often twice on the same television show), competing against such championship-caliber stars as Firefighter Chip, P.N. "Hot" Newz and That Guy Who Wrestled In The Spider Costume.
Winter 1991 – Austen is one of the charter members of Pauly Dangerously (now known as Smack! Down General Manager Paul Herman)'s Dangerously Alliance, along with Ric Rood, Enforcer Erin Anderson and Numerous Others. They would go on to end virtually every WCW TV show attacking some jobber until Ricky The Dragon Sailboat and Barry Wind' Em In A Leather Jacket And Cast ran to the ring to clean house.
May 1996 – Austen delivers that now-famous promo: "I'm comin' tah Hamilton, Ontario on May 27th to kick some ass. I don't care who they got lined up for me! Tickets are on sale at all Sam The Record Man and Sandler's Shoe Repair stores. And that's all ah got tah say about that!!!"
Back to 1992 – Sorry, I got ahead of myself there. Austen wins the U.S. title off Someone and defends it against contenders such as Das Wonderbra Alan Wright, Jerry Be Bad and Nikolai Koloff.
April 1994 – In a stroke of genius, WCW officials team Austen up with Colonel Robert Sanders, who would later go on to become Mississippi Lee in the WFF. Later, they break up the tandem so that Austen can become a tag team with Bryan Flyin Pillman in The Bollywood Blondes. They have no chemistry together and quickly split up without winning the titles.
Sometime Around The Spring of 1995 – Austen is FIRED by WCW because Eric Bischov says he can't market a man in black boots, black gloves, a black beard and a black pair of trunks. Obviously Bischov never heard of Bad News Allen before.
Austen recalls in his book: "Bischov didn't even have the guts to fire me in person. The bastard fired me via e-mail. At first, I thought it was one of those spam ads selling me cartridges for my damn printer. But then I realized that was just something in my 'junk mail' folder and I checked my inbox and Bischov said 'Stoned Cold Steve Austen… You're Firrrrrrrrrred!!!'."
Austen also got an email titled " GOVERNMENT GUARANTEED OPPORTUNITY z wjv q dh", from email@example.com. He never opened it. It was probably from The Man They Used To Call Vadar.
August 1995 – Austen joins Extremely Championship Wrestling for a cup of coffee (not the length of time, that's actually what he got paid), interfering in matches with Mikey Whippersnapper and Cactus Jack Manson. He did a lot of intense promos there as well, such as the one where he threatened to pee on the audience at the ECW Asylum.
November 1995 – Austen is signed to a contract with Vince MacMahon's WWE (now known as WWF) and immediately is paired with former Million Dollar Champion Teddy Biase, saddled with a silly gimmick called "The Rapmaster". He finally gets to ditch his manager and quit The Million Dollar Company as per a pre-match stipulation in his match with Savio Vegas.
May 1996 – Oh wait, we already did this one, didn't we?
November 1996 – At the Surviving Series that year, Austen loses to Brad The Hatman Hurt in a match where Hurt turns heel and Canadian, and where Austen turns babyface.
August 1997 – In the main event of SummerShow, Austen accidentally breaks Oren Hurt's neck by putting him in a sitdown piledriver. He later dies (two years later).
November 1997 – "Brad Screwed Brad!", in the now-infamous Minnesota Snowjob at Surviving Series. It was important because it cast Vince MacMahon as a heel character, something the fans love to see lots and lots of, even to this day.
Around The Same Time – Austen captures the imagination of Americans everywhere with such catchy catchphrase phrases as "DTA – Trust No One"; "Huh?"; "That's The Bottom Line, Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization, Cause Stoned Cold Said So"; "Austin 31.6 Says I Just Screwed Your Ass"; "If You Want To See Me Drink Some Beer, Give Me A Heck Yes"; "If Ya Smell What The Rock Is Cookin'"; "Have A Nice Day"; "Screw You, Austin, You're Fired!!!"; and "Oooooooooh Yeah".
March-ish, 1998 – Austen wins the Regal Rumble for a shot at the title Wrestel Mania the next… wait, wait… I missed something in here. This is why Scott Keeth is well paid and I'm not. Hold on…
January, 1998 – Austen wins the Regal Rumble for a shot at the title at Wrestel Mania the next month.
February 1998 – Austen gets married, several times over. They end in divorce.
March-ish, 1998 – Austen wins the WORLD TITLE at Wrestel Mania!!! He defeats Heartburn Kid Shawn McMichaels, with more than a little help from special guest referee Tyson Beckford.
The Next Night – Austen gets into a Heated Debate with Superstars of Wrestling host Vince MacMahon over what to wear. This prompts a one-on-one match between the champion and the scrawny announcer, only to be stopped by… Dude, Where's My Love, the wacky alter-ego of Mark Foley
April 1998 – Austen beats The Dude at the pay-per-view spectacular Over The Hill, although MacMahon tries to interfere.
September 1998 – Vince MacMahon starts feuding his son Sean MacMahon (now known as Shane 'O Max) because of his decision to support Austen. Sorry, that wasn't clear… because of MacMahon's decision to support Austen.
October 1998 – MacMahon hires The Bad Boss Man as his personal bodyguard.
December 1998 – MacMahon begins building a stable of wrestlers known as The Company, starting with Rocky Maivia and including China, The Big Stupid Red Machine Kain and Numerous Others.
March 1999 – MacMahon starts feuding with The Under Taker because Taker's Ministry of Hope stable starts torturing and marrying MacMahon's daughter Stephoney (now known as Stephoney MacMahon-Helmsley. Under Taker talks about a 'Higher Power', which turns out being Vince MacMahon anyways. Which still doesn't make a ton of sense, years later.
May 1999 – MacMahon orders a… oh, wait, wasn't this all supposed to be about 'The Memphis Rattlesnake'? My bad.
November 1999 – Austen is forced to retire for good because Rikishi Phatu And Your Mother Too runs him over with a car.
September 2000 – Austen returns back to the company and decides that Triple HHH really hit him a year ago and placed him in a coma. He kills HHHH by dropping his car with a forklift as a small measure of revenge.
March or April 2001 – Austen turns heel and wins the WORLD TITLE at Wrestel Mania by beating up Rocky Maivia, with more than a little help from special guest referee Vince MacMahon. He decides to become the leader of the WCW/ECW/USWA/WCCW/GLOW Alliance in the InVention angle, which bombs immediately, according to 1wrestling.com.
March 2002 – Austen refuses to do a job for Scott 'Last Hall' Call at Wrestel Mania.
Austen recalls in his book: "Here’s the bottom line: I’m Stoned Cold Steve Austen. I’ve drawn more money than anybody in the business. I’ve sold more merchandise that anybody in the business, and I’ve sold more pay-per-views than anybody in the business. I’m not the first in line for Scott Hal. I’m the last in line. I’m happy to do business with anybody---when it’s time to do business."
April 2002 – Austen decides to take his ball and go home, like a cowardly sack of shit, because Vince MacMahon kept booking him in tag team matches with Breadshaw against Rick Flare and the nWWWo.
Austen recalls in his book: "I decided to take my ball and go home, like a cowardly sack of shit, because Vince MacMahon kept booking me in tag team matches with Breadshaw against Rick Flare and the nWWWo."
Around the same time – Police search Austen's 'Neverland' ranch in Texas, investigating claims that Stoned Cold gave his wife Deborah MacMichaels a stunner.
January 2003 – Austen comes back to the WWWE!!! Eric Bischov is told by Vince MacMahon that he needs to hire Austen. So Bischov offers Austen a job to write articles for Monday Night Raw Magazine. Then Bischov goes to Texas to find him and decides he doesn't want to hire Austen. Then Jim Roth is fired because Bischov couldn't find Austen. Then Bischov is fired by MacMahon. Then Roth and Bischov are hired back because they signed Austen, and Austen challenges Bischov to a match. Then Bischov fires Austen.
Phew… who booked this crap? Must have been Russo…
April 2003 – Austen beats Rocky Maivia for the WORLD TITLE at Wrestel Mania, with more than a little help from special guest referee Earl Hebner.
October 2003 - Y J Stinger Chuck Jericho tells Austen that he's drunk with power, and has to retire.
"I was drunk with power, and I had to retire," Austen recalls in his book.
The stage is set for a 'classic' Loser-Must-Stop-Being-A-Co-General-Manager-Of-Raw match (did I mention he was a co-general manager? Damn.) at Surviving Series. Team Fock Fear vs. Team Bischov.
Team Bischov won when Legendary Killer Randy Orson beat up the owner of a basketball team. Austen had to retire.
… and that brings us up to present day. What a career!!! Except for Magnificent Marino, Austen probably had the best career EVER!!! I think The Texas Buzzsaw put it best in a passage from his book:
To be, or not to be: that is tha damn question (WHAT?) I said tha question! (WHAT?) A query! (WHAT?) An inquiry! (WHAT?) A question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer Tha damn slings and damn arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them? (WHAT?) I said, by opposing end them! To die: to sleep; -- If you wanna see me sleep, gimme a Oh Hell Yeah (OH HELL YEAH!)
No more (WHAT?); I said no more (WHAT?) I said that's it… and by a sleep to say we end Tha heart-ache and tha thousand natural shocks when I whip yer pathetic little ass. That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation What tha f… are you trying tah make me lose my patience?
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep (WHAT?); To sleep (WHAT?): TO SLEEP!!! perchance tah dream: ay, there's tha rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil My name is Stoned Cold Steve Austen. I'm tha WWF Champion, and I don't deserve to be treated like this. That makes calamity of so long life; For who would bear thah whips and scorns of time, I'm gonna whip yer damn ass!
Tha oppressor's wrong, thah proud man's contumely, Unless it's that creepy little bastard Christian Tha pangs of despised love (WHAT?) I SAID DESPISED LOVE!!!, tha law's delay, Tha insolence of office and tha spurns
That patient merit of tha unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? EH-EH!!! who would fardels bear, To grunt and sweat and drink bear and raise hell under a weary life, And that's all I got ta say about that.
But that tha dread of something after death, The undiscover'd country from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles tha will And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; And thus the native hue (WHAT?) I said hue.. of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pith and moment With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose tha name of action.-Soft you now! Tha silly little b***h Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons Be all my sins remember'd. 'Cause Austen 3.16 says, I just whipped yer ass, and that's tha bottom line.. cause Stoned Cold Said So!!!
Personally, I enjoyed Rocky-o and Juliet: A Guaran-damn-teed Tragedy a lot better, but to each their own.
Anyways, that's it for this week. Be sure to tune in next week for another EXCLUSIVE, JAM-PACKED edition!!! And remember, if you heard it here first, it's… Inside The Ropes!!!
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