"Stone Cold" Steve Austin is the poster boy for WWE's Attitude Era, the biggest Professional Wrestling superstar of The Nineties, and one of the most popular wrestlers of all time. He was voted the third greatest superstar of all time by the WWE roster for WWE's 50 Greatest Superstars of All Time DVD set (behind Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker).He is not to be confused with that other Steve Austin (hence his nickname "Bionic Redneck").You can read all about his extensive and impressive career at That Other Wiki.
"If you want to read Stone Cold's tropes, gimme a hell yeah!":
Alternate DVD Commentary: In WCW, Diamond Dallas Page (a rookie at the time) would record all his matches so he could watch them and improve his in-ring work. Often Austin and Mick Foley would watch with him and do snarky commentary on the tapes just to bug Page. Foley noted that Page now jokes he "could make a fortune" with those tapes.
Awesome Yet Practical: The Stone Cold Stunner looked awesome, could be done quickly, could be done to anybody from Stephanie McMahon to The Big Show, and could be done from everywhere from the middle of the ring to the hood of a truck. It was so useful, Austin could clear out entire stables with it.
Berserk Button: Never under any circumstances waste beer in front of him. Especially if you challenge Austin to a drinking contest. He doesn't care if it's Canadian beer, if you are willing to challenge him, you will drink it. JBL learned that the hard way.
Big Damn Heroes: While a lot of wrestlers will do run-ins to save fellow wrestlers, Stone Cold was probably the master at it. There's nothing quite like watching a collection of heels giving a beatdown to an outmatched face, only to hear that famous glass break and watch Stone Cold run in and lay waste to everybody he can find. Of note are his run-in to save Stephanie from The Undertaker and the Ministry Of Darkness the Raw after Backlash '99 (probably the first time Stone Cold acted like a genuine hero as opposed to just a Nineties Anti-Hero), his run-in to help the Rock finally take the WWF Championship from HHH a year later at Backlash '00, and his run-in with a pool cue to take out EVERY MEMBER of the Alliance and save the WWF roster in the early part of the Invasion before he turned later at the next PPV.
Big Eater: His later promos often consist of him discussing how much food he's eaten.
"I'mma go down to Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat-Whataburger, and I'mma order a Whataburger with cheese, a Whataburger without cheese, a Whataburger with double cheese, some French fries, some MORE French fries, and *** it with a Fresh-catch fish sandwich! Another Whataburger with double cheese...
At the time, he was kayfabe working on building his gut that time for the Royal Rumble...because a low center of gravity makes it harder for him to get thrown over the top rope. Legendary woman wrestler The Fabulous Moolah noted once Austin had what wrestlers from her generation referred to as "a natural body"; being someone who worked out in the gym and worked hard in the ring, but spent most of their time on the road eating at diners.
Big "WHAT?!": His last catchphrase, so engrained in the WWE audience that a decade after his retirement, crowds STILL do it on a weekly basis.
Blond Guys Are Evil: His natural hair color, which he grew out long "surfer style" to play the Heel "Stunning" Steve Austin in WCW.
Breakup Breakout: He and Brian Pillman formed the Hollywood Blondes in WCW: Austin went on to become the biggest star of all-time. Pillman, however, is revered as a legend in his own right, pioneering the high-flying cruiserweight style in North America that would go on to be a staple of the late 90s. Pillman was poised for super-stardom, avoiding the trope, but his untimely death stopped that.
Car Fu: Used various large vehicles as weapons during his WWE run.
HHH got hoisted as well: By taking out Austin, this left the third spot in the main event against The Rock open, and it was filled by...THE BIG SHOW, who proceeded to beat HHH for the WWE World Heavyweight Title that night.
Literally hoisted when Haitch arranged a sneak attack at the next Survivor Series...he intended to run Austin down again. Cue fork lift where the car he was in was lifted up and dropped from about thirty feet.
Cloudcuckoolander: Ever seen his Twitter page? His wars with sharks and Toyota Priuses, and his misadventures in Chickensaurus farming are classics.
Austin's heel act in 2001 was the embodiment of this trope. It was also a big reason why he had a hard time getting over as the top heel, he was too damn funny to be booed.
The Steve Austin Show takes this to new heights. Episode 7 has him get into an argument with and wrestle a fly. It's as insane as it sounds.
Combat Pragmatist: Austin turned this into an art form. Even as "Stunning" Steve Austin, his finisher, the Stun Gun, essentially involved dropping his opponent's throat onto the top rope. In the WWF, he took it Up to Eleven, using chairs, vehicles and, at one point, shooting Scott Hall with a net gun.
Cool Car: Austin got to drive a lot of awesome vehicles during the Attitude era, including (but not limited to) a tanker truck full of beer, a Zamboni, a collection of monster trucks, and a cement mixer (see below).
Demoted to Extra: Following his match with The Rock at WrestleMania XIX, Austin appeared on WWE programming in a non-wrestling capacity (mainly as an authority figure) until 2004, when he left the company due to contract disputes and a budding acting career.
Austin had also retired due to injuries at that time: he hasn't wrestled another match since.
In 2002, Austin was scheduled to face rising star Brock Lesnar on Raw in a match during the King of the Ring tournament; Austin would have jobbed to Lesnar (who, in fact, eventually went on to win the tournament). However, Austin - who had been shafted out of a match with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8, facing Scott Hall instead - thus making it his first WM appearance since WMXIII where he wasn't in the main event- felt that losing to Lesnar on Raw would do neither man any favorsnote According to Austin, he didn't mind putting over Lesnar, but thought that losing in an early KOTR round on RAW with no build-up would make Austin look weak while throwing away money. He felt that building up to Lesnar facing Austin in the KOTR finals on PPV would've not just made money, but also would've given Lesnar an incredible rub with a big-stage win over Stone Cold, instead of a random win on RAW with no bigger star in the tournament for Lesnar to face afterwards. After disagreements with the creative staff over the issue, Austin took his ball and went home, no-showing Raw and not appearing on WWE programming until 2003.
Austin didn't like the idea of facing Hall because he thought Hall was unreliable. WWE was aware of this, which was why they didn't announce a match ahead of time for Kevin Nash, since he was the Plan B. In the event that Hall, being Hall, had screwed up and gotten himself fired prior to the show, they could simply have plugged Nash into Hall's spot.note Hall DID get canned, but it happened over a month later, following the "Plane Trip from Hell" in May 2002.
''I'll tell you why, because Stone Cold said so! And that's the bottom line, why?! BECAUSE OL STONE COLD SAID SO!"
Domestic Abuse: Austin did this to his former wife Debra Marshall and an ex-girlfriend of his in Real Life, the former of which claimed that Austin forced her to write a letter saying that everything was okay. Not cool Austin.
Drives Like Crazy: Monster trucks over The Rock's Lincoln. Cement trucks into Vince's corvette. A zamboni over lighting equipment and used as a ramp to attack McMahon. A beer truck that was too big for the TitanTron and nearly caused it to pulled down.
Drop The Cow: Since Austin's active career with WWE ended, any appearance he makes is just buildup until he inevitably Stone Cold Stunner(s) everyone in the ring, whether it makes any sense or not. The crowd always goes crazy for this. Arrive. Stunner. Leave.
Early-Installment Weirdness: In voice, demeanor, not to mention the long blond hair, "Stunning" Steve Austin (1989-1995) is like a whole other person. In fact, if you look at pictures of him from that era and try covering up the hair, he still doesn't look anything like he did as Stone Cold.
Prior to his broken neck at SummerSlam 1997, he was a feared technical wrestler, who had a unique style that mixed submission holds and brawling (witness his WrestleMania XIII classic with Bret Hart)
Enemy Mine: Stone Cold and the Rock were never friends even as mutual faces, though a common Raw main event was to team the two together against their respective opponents at the upcoming PPV. Usually, the other team was part of the same stable (and thus more unified), so a reoccurring theme was whether Austin and the Rock could get along enough to beat them.
The Farmer and the Rattlesnake: Many times, Stone Cold would act friendly to somebody else only to kick them in the gut and then stun them for the hell of it. Sometimes, he even lampshaded it by saying "DTA! Don't trust anybody!" right after.
Finishing Move: The Stone Cold Stunner. The move was popularized through Austin to the point where it's exclusively called a "Stunner" whenever anyone performs it.
Plus it's a lot simpler than saying "Three-quarter facelock jawbreaker."
As the Ringmaster, he used the Million Dollar Dream (Cobra Clutch)
Pre-WWE, he used the Stun Gun (drop-your-opponent-throat-first-on-the-top-rope, aka Eddie Gilbert's Hot Shot.)
Funetik Aksent: Played for Laughs, as Austin would refer to the McMahons' hometown of Greenwich, CT (which is pronounced "Greh-niche") as if it were pronounced "Green-witch."
Game-Breaking Injury: While everyone will rightfully speak the world of the late great Owen Hart, he is also noted for shortening the career of Stone Cold with that infamous piledriver, which was so devastating that WWF virtually banned the popular move for everyone effective immediately. Stone Cold was able to sustain his career by changing from a typical chain wrestler to his signature kick-and-punch Main Event Style (that eventually spread company-wide to save wear-and-tear) before the neck injury put him out for good in 2003.
Garbage Wrestler: Due to his neck problems, most of Austin's wrestling repertoire in WWF consisted of just beating the shit out of the other guy.
In one of his ECW promos, he called the promotion's style "violent crap."
Good Is Not Nice: Heel, face, or neutral, if you get on his nerves he will Stun you. And that's if he's feeling particularly nice.
Groin Attack: Austin in his ring attire would sometimes stomp his opponent's family jewels between the legs when he's down. For some reason, this doesn't seem to get him disqualified.
Ha Ha Ha No: A clip of Austin laughing and then suddenly falling into a stone-faced, serious expression has built its way up to Memetic Mutation status.
Heel-Face Turn: At WrestleMania 13 he fought a brutal submission match with Bret Hart, but refused to submit and endured the pain until he passed out. This heralded Austin properly being recognized as a Face by the WWF while Bret Hart made a Face-Heel Turn by attacking Austin after the bell. A year later, Austin would be the biggest star wrasslin' has ever seen.
However, while Austin was feuding with the reunited Hart Foundation, he and the other Americans still got the heel treatment in Canada and Europe.
Reformed But Not Tamed: One of the best examples of pro wrestling. Even after turning face, he still gives stunners to anyone unprovoked as well as behaving like an all-out Jerkass.
Actually, probably smarter to take it. If you do, you'll probably only be on the receiving end of a stunner. If you don't, he might take it personally.
Take the beer and toast with him, but run the hell out of the ring IMMEDIATELY after.
It's gotten to the point where, when Austin gave commentators Booker T and Josh Matthews stunners while celebrating with them after Michael Cole's defeat at WrestleMania 27, Josh and Booker actually got mad at Michael Cole for getting them so excited over his defeat that they'd be dumb enough to get in the ring with Austin in a beer bash, knowing the end result.
After WCW introduced Goldberg in 1997, MANY people labeled him an Austin ripoff because of the similar appearance and outfit ([bald head and black trunks and boots), and saw it as hypocritical, since, according to Austin, Bischoff had told him that a guy who wears such a basic outfit wouldn't get over.
Kick the Dog: Austin's 2001 heel turn was full of this, from brutally attacking his friend Jim Ross, and The Hardy Boyz andLita (the latter two with Triple H), and then attempting to cripple Kurt Angle when it became apparent that he cannot beat Angle in a one-on-one match.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: Stone Cold Steve Austin tormented Vince McMahon in many ways during their feud, such as attacking him in the hospital and holding him hostage with a gun (it was a toy, though). As one of the most prominent wrestling villains of the late 1990s, Vince received no sympathy from the fans.
Popularity Power: ...and even after he was turned heel in 2001, people still cheered for him...
...or when he was pretty clearly in the wrong, he was still cheered. A good example was when he came back in 2000 after his 1999 Survivor Series collision and was "investigating" who did it (i.e. just beating up anyone he felt like). Commissioner Mick Foley was almost unreasonably lenient with Austin's behavior, only asking that Steve not interfere with matches, which Stone Cold continued doing with impunity. Eventually, Foley was backed into a corner and had to suspend Austin. Despite the fact that Foley was only doing his job and Austin was being unreasonably selfish in his behavior, Austin's massive popularity led to Foley getting boos during the semi-feud.
One Steve Williams Limit: Austin first began competing under his real name, Steve Williams. However when Mid-South merged with Austin's employer, World Class Championship Wrestling, Dutch Mantell forced Austin to change his name to avoid confusion with Dr. Death Steve Williams who was, at that time, more famous.
Power Stable: The Dangerous Alliance and The Stud Stable in WCW. The WCW/ECW Alliance in WWE (interesting as Austin had been in WWE, WCW, AND ECW). His tag team with HHH (known as the Power Trip) kind of qualifies, as they were just as dominant as a Power Stable even though they were only a tag team, winning multiple titles.
"I ain't no sexy boy! I don't dance, son!"note The video featured above is a promo concerning the 1996 Survivor Series featuring Austin taking stabs at Bret Hart for "quitting" his career after losing to Shawn Michaels in sudden death overtime in the Iron Man Match at WrestleMania XII. Austin in this promo also mocked Shawn for not being a "real man," (Shawn was ducking Austin at this time to prevent a feud between the two) hence the "I ain't no sexy boy" line.
Real Life Writes the Plot: In a sense. After a botched piledriver by Owen Hart broke Austin's neck, Austin had to change his wrestling style to accommodate his injury; in turn, other wrestlers adapted to this, and produced what is termed by some as the "main event style" that is still employed to this day.
An actual version of this happened following the infamous "Curtain Call Incident" at Madison Square Garden on May 19th, 1996, involving The Kliq (Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, HHH, and Shawn Michaels, a mixture of babyfaces and heels, all hugged each other in the middle of the ring following Nash's last match in the WWF until his return in 2002). Somebody had to take the fall; with Hall and Nash leaving for WCW, and Shawn holding the WWF Championship, HHH had to accept the punishment - which was to be denied winning the 1996 King of the Ring tournament. The man who took his spot as the tournament's ultimate victor? Steve Austin, who was catapulted to superstardom thanks to the victory.
Even if HHH had won the tournament, Austin could have become a star anyway. However, this would have robbed the world of Austin's coronation speech where he mocked runner-up Jake "The Snake" Roberts, boasting that Jake's prayers and John 3:16 didn't get him anywhere before telling the born-again Christian Jake Roberts that Austin 3:16 means he just whooped your ass. Thus, one of the most popular Catch Phrases ever was born. It also presumes that the company could have survived 1996 at all without Austin beginning his big rise.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: When acting as GM for the "All Star" edition of Raw on June 13, his first appearance is giving an EPIC one to The Miz, not even giving Miz a chance to speak.
Red Baron: "Stunning" and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, "The Texas Rattlesnake," "The Toughest S.O.B. in the WWF," "The Bionic Redneck."
Rule of Cool: After King of the Ring 1996, Austin ran on this and beer for the rest of his career.
Schmuck Bait: The October 28, 1999 episode of SmackDown! saw Austin use this against DX with tremendous success. First, he caught Road Dogg in a bear trap. Second, he caught Billy Gunn with "the ol' snare on the ground." Then he called up X-Pac on his cell phone and mentioned Casey Kasem and his catchphrase, "Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars," and then dropped some ceiling tiles on him. The show ended with the recovered DX in the ring. HHH called out Austin, who answered and proceeded to run them down, saying that "Badass" Billy Gunn should be called "Dumbass Billy Gunn," and called X-Pac "so damn stupid, so damn stupid." Austin started heading down to the ring to face DX when a net fell on them.
Sociopathic Hero: When he first turned face. And post-retirement, when he tends to give stunners to everyone in the vicinity, women and other non-combatants included. Even is the recipient was a face it was never considered a heel turn; just Austin being Austin.
Stunned Silence: The only time he's had this reaction in his entire career was the aforementioned R-Truth dressed as a Confederate soldier skit. Keep in mind this is a career that's had him Kayfabe arrested, ran over and had an undead cult leader hang him from a gothic cross, try to kill him at least once, as well as trying to both bury him alive and embalm him while still alive. This shows just how bad he considered the R-Truth skit when that was the first and only time he's ever been struck completely dumb by anything WWE has ever done.
While certainly someone who never aspired to political correctness, Austin clearly recognized the perversity of a black man dressed as a Confederate Soldier.
Tag Team: The Hollywood Blondes, with "Flyin'" Brian Pillman in 1993 WCW, who were ultimately Screwed by the Network. WCW that year initiated their "Disney tapings," where they taped months of their syndicated weekend show WCW Worldwide at a studio in Orlando, FL.note Sound familiar? These tapings set in stone title changes and storyline developments months before they were scheduled to happen, breaking Kayfabe and essentially booking themselves into a corner. The tapings dictated that the Blondes would lose the WCW World Tag Team Titles to the Four Horsemen team of Arn Anderson and Paul Roma, who would lose them soon after to The Nasty Boys. Unfortunately, Pillman was injured prior to WCW Clash of the Champions XXIV, August 8th, 1993, so WCW simply inserted Lord Steven Regal into Pillman's place in the match. Anderson and Roma won, of course.
Temporarily A Villain: Steve Austin was always an Anti-HeroVillain Protagonist, since he was a face who did heel stuff, but in the InVasion angle he temporarily joined the invading WCW side, which was by definition the "bad" side of the angle. As soon as the angle was over he was back to his old self again.
Earlier in his career, he wore long black pants with colorful designs on them, which falls under the Early-Installment Weirdness described above.
Villain Protagonist: While there's no question that he was an Anti-Hero from 1998 onward, it could be argued that he was basically a Villain Protagonist in 1997. Although the crowd was firmly on his side against the Hart Foundation, he acted like the same vicious heel he had always been - beating up on babyfaces, even the ones who helped him. When Mankind helped him in a handicap match, for example, he hugged him and then gave him a Stunner and told him he'd never work with a freak like him. When he was forced to relinquish the Intercontinental and Tag Team Titles thanks to his neck injury, he made a hitlist of the three main authority figures (lead announcer Jim Ross, Commissioner Sgt Slaughter, and Vince McMahon) and made sure to beat them all up while mocking them for it the whole time. Mind you, they were all babyfaces and were looking out for his safety. Just 18 months earlier, that same type of storyline was used to get Vader over as a monster heel.
Your Princess Is in Another Castle: After several months of Vince McMahon constantly trying to keep him away from the title, Austin finally won it back at WrestleMania 15. Vince later revealed himself as the Higher Power behind The Undertaker's Ministry Of Darkness after having his henchmen screw Austin out of the title again.
...and that's the bottom line, ’cause Stone Cold said so! *glass shatters*