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Wrestling / "Stone Cold" Steve Austin

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"You sit there and you thump your bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn't get you anywhere! Talk about your psalms, talk about John 3:16Austin 3:16 says 'I JUST WHIPPED YOUR ASS!'"
Austin at King of the Ring 1996

*glass shatters*


"Stone Cold" Steve Austin (born Steven James Anderson; December 18, 1964; later Steven James Williams) is a professional wrestler who wrestled for Jerry Lawler's USWA, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro-Wrestling (among others) before signing with the WWF in 1995, under whom he'd wrestle almost exclusively for the rest of his career.

Originally a heel, Steve had a respectable four-year run in Atlanta as one half of the tag team The Hollywood Blondes. Eric Bischoff took over the company in the mid-nineties, and "Stunning" Steve Austin was a victim of his red marker. While wrestling in Japan, he received the standard Bischoff pink slip ("not marketable") and drifted to ECW, where his former manager Paul Heyman held open a spot for him. Since Austin was recuperating from injury, Heyman characteristically used "The Extreme Superstar" to run down WCW every chance he got ("Where the Big Boys Play With Each Other™!"). Meanwhile, the recently-fired WCW announcer Jim Ross convinced his new boss, Vince McMahon, to give Austin a try. Which wouldn't be the last time Eric screwed himself.


When the nWo came onto the scene, the American Professional Wrestling landscape changed overnight, redefining the type of personality that could headline a show. WWE chose to react by elevating "The Ringmaster" Steve Austin, who solidified his identity with that famous King of the Ring '96 speech. The "Stone Cold" personality, which Austin had been refining since his ECW days, was a hard-drinking, bald-headed Man's Man in addition to being just a Big Man.

As the poster boy for WWF's Attitude Era, SCSA drew more money in two consecutive years than the previous three combined, and more than all of the Hogan years. This translated to some of the highest ratings that wrestling would ever see on cable television. Vince McMahon decided to put the heat generated from Montreal to good use by becoming a rival — a juiced-up corporate bigwig. The Rock also became a rival; the heir apparent to Hulk Hogan who constantly feuded with "Stone Cold" (which boosted his popularity).


Unfortunately, Steve's accumulated neck injuries caught up with him, and he bowed out of wrestling once the Monday Night Wars were over. (WCW died the week before WrestleMania X7, ECW died shortly after, and the Austin/McMahon feud ended the night of. Crazy how much the industry changed in a short amount of time.) WWE almost immediately went back to Rock as its main attraction, and the product gradually returned to its PG roots.

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 has made a few more appearances from time to time, including his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame 2009.

Not to be confused with that other Steve Austin (hence his nickname "Bionic Redneck").

Steve Austin appears in the following works:

Comic Books:



Western Animation:

"If you want to read Stone Cold's tropes, gimme a hell yeah!":

  • Adam Westing: Austin appeared in the animated adaptation of Dilbert as the judge during a child custody hearing over Dilbert's baby.
    Steve Austin: Austin 3:16 says "order in the court!"
  • 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.
    • Austin also recorded alternate commentary (alongside Jim Ross) for several of his most famous matches as part of an official Blu-ray release from WWE and later recorded solo commentaries for his matches with Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13 and The Rock at WrestleMania X-Seven both of which he released as a part of his podcast.
  • Animal Motifs: The Texas Rattlesnake. Also a Red Baron.
  • Anti-Hero: One of the first extremely popular ones in wrestling. He was a Sociopathic Hero when he first turned, although he lightened into an Unscrupulous Hero during his nicer periods.
  • Arch-Enemy:
  • The Artifact: The Stunner is clearly in reference to his "Stunning" Steve Austin persona, in spite of the fact that he didn't start using it until he became Stone Cold.
  • As Himself: He did his own voice as a Recurring Character on Celebrity Deathmatch. (He claimed in an interview that the only thing he didn't like about his animated alter-ego was that he had four fingers on each hand.)
  • Atrocious Alias: Austin has noted that before the "Stone Cold" monicker was conceived, several ring names were considered for him. They considered calling him Chilly McFreeze at one point. Just imagine the glass shattering, the music hitting, and JR yelling out, "McFreeze! McFreeze! McFreeze!" Baron Von Ruthless was another one that was considered. No shit, the guy Frozone made fun of for being long-winded. And yes, Austin has noted how atrocious they were, although he jokes that if they rejected the Stone Cold moniker, he'd have tried to be the best Baron Von Ruthless that he could be.
  • Audience Surrogate: In his feud with Vince McMahon, for anyone who's ever had a Bad Boss.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: 1996 King of the Ring winner, which kicked off Austin's rise to the top.
  • Ax-Crazy: Was often unstable and unpredictable against his enemies, and would sometimes Stun people for no real reason.
  • Badass Baritone: Austin's deep, growling, Texas-drawling voice is about as iconic as everything else about him.
  • Badass Beard: Except for his "Stunning" run in WCW
  • Badass Boast: One month after winning the 1996 King of the Ring, while being interviewed about his victory, he gave this gem of a line:
    Austin: On the eighth day, God created Stone Cold and I'm rewriting the book! I will continue to whip every one's ass until someone's got the guts, the talent, or a machine gun to stop me!
  • Badass Driver: With all the random vehicles he has driven into the arena to terrorize his enemies, he qualifies. It's practically a running gag.
  • Badass Mustache: Looking at him, you will find out
  • Bald of Awesome: Hell yeah!
  • Bald of Evil: When he was a heel, of course.
  • "Bang!" Flag Gun: Did this to Mr. McMahon in order to get rehired in the WWF. The flag had "BANG 3:16!" written on it.
    Austin: McMahon 3:16 says I just pissed my pants!
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: He used the Sharpshooter against Bret Hart and the Rock Bottom against The Rock, albeit his variant of the latter had him remain standing. There's also his match with Chris Benoit where they essentially swapped wrestling styles. Subverted during his ECW run, where he used Hulk Hogan's moveset to no avail, though obviously not against Hogan himself.
  • Because I Said So: "And that's the bottom line cause Stone Cold said so!"
  • Beergasm: Half down his shirt for the fans, half in his mouth for himself.
  • Begin with a Finisher: He had this fame especially in battles with many enemies (like a ring full of wrestlers hitting each other) as well in chats with other wrestlers in the ring and specifically with Mr. McMahon, in which his first move is noneless than his Stone Cold Stunner.
  • 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.
    • It's also a not-so-bright idea to be messing with JR while Austin's around. Just ask Triple H who punched JR during one of Austin's match.
  • 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 on the Rock/Mankind match that gave the latter the title (in the words of the competition, that put some butts in the seats), 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 '90s 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.
      Austin: I'mma go down to Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat-Whataburger (*what*) and I'mma order a Whataburger with cheese (*what*) a Whataburger without cheese (*what*) a Whataburger with double cheese (*what*) some French fries (*what*) some MORE French fries (*what*) and *** it with a Fresh-catch fish sandwich (*what*) Another Whataburger with double cheese (*what*)
    • 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.
    • But that wasn't the last time he mentioned eating a lot of food. Later that year...
      Austin: So while I was trying to make that decision, I drove down to the Sonic Drive-In (*what*) Ordered a jalapeño burger (*what*) A chicken-fried steak sandwich (*what*) A chili cheese dog with extra onions (*what*) French fries (*what*) Tater Tots (*what*) Washed it down with one beer (*what*) Two beers (*what*) Three beers (*what*) a shot of whiskey (*what*) a margarita (*what*) and a bloody mary. (*what*)
  • Big "WHAT?!": His last catchphrase, so ingrained in the WWE audience that a decade after his retirement, crowds STILL do it on a weekly basis.
    • Also, Flat "What" and various other varieties of "what". Basically, if there was a way to say "what", Austin managed to do it at some point in his career.
    • He's also featured in the current trope page image.
  • Big "YES!": "Oh... Hell... Yeah!"
  • Bittersweet Ending: Austin's final match was at WrestleMania XIX against The Rock; he lost.
    • Downer Ending: Barely averted; Austin was rushed to the hospital the night before WrestleMania with an irregular heartbeat that almost killed him. According to some reports, doctors advised him not to do the match at all, but feeling he owed it to the fans, and to The Rock, Austin performed anyway.
  • Captain Ersatz: You can find "him" the Game Boy Advanced Fire Pro Wrestling.
  • Car Fu: Used various large vehicles as weapons during his WWE run.
  • Cassandra Truth: As Austin and Bret Hart revealed during their 2020 "Broken Skull Session" interview, Austin note  had warned Bret in advance not to go to WCW, because they were idiots who had no idea what they were doing and would ruin him. Bret would later regret not listening to Austin.
  • Catchphrase
    • "Do unto others before they do unto you!"
    • The Hollywood Blondes ended promos by saying, "Your brush with greatness is over."
    • "Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass!"
    • "If ya wanna see Stone Cold (do something awesome), gimme a hell yeah!" "Hell yeah!" invoked
    • "And that's the bottom line, cause Stone Cold said so!"
    • "DTAnote ! Don't Trust Anybody!
    • "WHAT?!"
    • Whenever the crowd chants "asshole" at a heel he's facing, he'll say "I don't know how good your hearing is, but you got about [insert number of fans in attendance] calling you an asshole!"
    • And more recently, in his Twitter-posted magic trick videos: "How does he do it, ladies and gentlemen, how does he do it?"
  • Catchphrase Insult: He usually calls anyone "jackass", "piece of trash", or "piece of crap".
  • Cheap Heat: Stone Cold Steve Austin was so popular that referring to him in any way could get a cheap pop long after he had left an active role with the company.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: There's a reason one of his nicknames is "The Rattlesnake".
  • 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 seven 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). You could also win his signature jeep in a 1996 Royal Rumble sweepstakes.
    Chris Jericho: I loved how the Austin character just morphed into a guy who would just drive any type of vehicle onto the show and trash things.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Piledrivers were phased out, with a few exceptions, after Austin's injury during the match with Owen Hart. Austin himself played this trope straight in his feud with Kurt Angle by using it on Angle as a counterpart to Angle's anklelock.
  • Deal with the Devil: Frequently after his Face–Heel Turn and alliance with Vince McMahon in 2001, it was said that he sold his soul for the WWF Title.
  • Dem Bones: His ring and entrance attire usually have skulls on them, and his merchandise often depict glowing eyed skeletons. In 1998 and 1999, he carried around a custom "Smoking Skull" championship belt.
    • After his retirement he moved into an estate he christened the Broken Skull Ranch which became his brand going forward.
      • He's hosted a CMT show called "The Broken Skull Challenge"
      • He hosts a one-on-one interview show on WWE called "The Broken Skull Sessions"
      • He's involved with the brewing of a beer called "Steve Austin's Broken Skull IPA"
  • 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 favors.note  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 
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Stone Cold once finished a promo with this:
    Austin: I'll tell you why, because Stone Cold said so! And that's the bottom line, why?! BECAUSE OL' STONE COLD SAID SO! And that's the damnedest bottom line I ever bottom-lined!
  • Disproportionate Retribution: During one episode of Monday Night Raw, Austin shared a beer in the ring with fellow babyface Stacy Kiebler. When she took a sip but refused to finish it, Austin responded by giving her a Stunner.
  • 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.
  • Don't Do Anything I Wouldn't Do: Austin said this to Goldberg when handing him a ticket to No Way Out 2004, in which Goldberg's rival, Brock Lesnar, was defending the WWE Championship. The problem with this was later lampshaded by Vince McMahon:
    Vince McMahon: There isn't a damn thing you wouldn't do!
  • The Dragon: To his Arch-Enemy Vince McMahon following his Face–Heel Turn at WrestleMania 17. Probably one of the most shocking examples
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Plays this role on the new season of WWE Tough Enough but not to the degree of costar Bill DeMott.
  • 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 be 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.
    • On RAW Homecoming, the entire McMahon family was stunned by Austin. Can anything go right for these poor people in the Attitude Era? (The answer is no.)
  • Drunk Driving: He'd often jump on his all terrain vehicle and ride around the arena after doing his beer bash. Once Johnathan Coachman assembled the team of Goldust and Big Van Vader to fight Stone Cold, but Stone Cold no showed, Vince McMahon revealing Austin had been in a motor vehicle accident.
  • 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.
    • Even during his first year in WWE he was "The Ringmaster." (WWE put up a clip of his debut match on their YouTube channel: Take a look here.) He was managed by "The Million-Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase) (to compensate for a perceived lack of interview skills), still had hair (albeit in a buzz cut by that point), and wrestled a very hold/submission-based style.
    • 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). In his Broken Skull Sessions interview with Bret he attributed the forced style change post-injury from a technician to an outright brawler to be what made his style fully gel with the Stone Cold character. His early Stone Cold promos involved Austin speaking in a Creepy Monotone instead of the loud, brash voice many are accustomed to.
  • 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.
    • One huge example of Enemy Mine happened when Austin helped his Arch-Enemy Vince McMahon win the WWE Championship from HHH.
    • His tag team title run with Shawn Michaels was this. They both teamed up due to a mutual feud with The Hart Foundation, but tensions were so strained that they had a PPV matchup against each other while still holding the tag team belts.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Austin's coronation as the 1996 King of the Ring, where he bad-mouthed Jake "the Snake" Roberts trying to recover from his alcoholism, became the basis of the Stone Cold character.
  • The Everyman: Despite the outlandishness of pro-wrestling, this was probably the key to Austin's success. He didn't have a weird gimmick, he had a normal-sounding name, he dressed plainly (black trunks, t-shirt/vest, jeans) and had no tattoos, he didn't look like some musclebound, roided-up bodybuilder, he spoke plainly, his moves weren't crazy high-flying or technical ones, and, possibly most important of all, the person he loved beating up the most was his own boss, a.k.a. every average person's secret fantasy.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Austin, the foul-mouth, beer drinking, S.O.B. who will gladly attack anyone he sees, his motto is "Don't trust anyone" after all. And yet, not even Austin himself can open up a can of whoop ass in front of old nuns, something Booker T took advantage of when escaping from him.
  • The Face: His vulgar, trash-talking, beer-drinking, rebel Anti-Hero persona was the poster boy of the Attitude Era.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: 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. It is a lot simpler than saying "Three-quarter facelock jawbreaker."
    • As the Ringmaster, he used the Million Dollar Dream (Cobra Clutch). After ditching Ted DiBiase, he wouldn't use the move again until WrestleMania X-Seven against The Rock, as an unsuccessful desperate attempt to win the title.
    • Pre-WWE, he used the Stun Gun (drop-your-opponent-throat-first-on-the-top-rope, aka Eddie Gilbert's Hot Shot.)
  • Flanderization: Towards the end of his career Austin had a tendency to apply the Stunner to pretty much everyone he interacted with, including other babyfaces, often with no provocation whatsoever.
    • During the RAW 25th Anniversary show, Austin's much-anticipated appearance was reduced to him coming out, guzzling beer, and Stunnering Vince once and Shane twice. This, from one of the greatest promos of the Attitude Era.
  • Flipping the Bird: The Stone Cold Salute, which he does to both foes who piss him off and the audience (who return in kind). He actually gets over by flipping off the very people who support him.
  • Foreshadowing: His Face–Heel Turn (and simultaneous alliance with archnemesis Vince McMahon) in 2001 was subtly foreshadowed in the interview leading up to the match. In the interview, Austin tells The Rock that he needs to beat The Rock more than anything in the world.
  • 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.
    • During the segment in which he pretended to be a "corporate stooge" for Mr. McMahon, Austin smacked him in the grapefruits, took the camera from him, and proceeded to take a picture of him while McMahon keeled over in pain. And this when Mr. McMahon brought in two police officers to ensure that Austin wouldn't try something funny and yet the officers stood there and did nothing.
  • Guile Hero: Besides ass whoopings and butt kickings, Stone Cold was actually an extremely devious and conniving adversary. Most of his feud with Vince and other opponents consisted of the heels putting all kinds of restraints or obstacles in his path, or going to extreme lengths to avoid him, only for Austin outmaneuver everyone by using disguises or resorting to psychological warfare.
  • HA HA HA—No: A clip of Austin laughing and then suddenly falling into a stone-faced, serious expression has grown popular even outside of the fanbase. Unsurprisingly, this extended to his season as the head trainer of Tough Enough. Doesn't matter if you're a grizzled ring vet or a complete noob trying too hard, he'll tetll you if he thinks you're being a dick.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Attacked both heels and faces, regardless of alignment. If anything, that made the fans love him more.
  • 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.
  • Hell Is That Noise: His theme by Disturbed in 2001 counts with its murderer-esque guitar riffs.
  • The Hero: Shares this role with The Rock in the Attitude, InVasion, and the first part of Ruthless Aggression Eras.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Austin's character since his retirement has been built on this. If he offers you a beer, DO NOT TAKE IT.
    • 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.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • HHH had him run over by a truck at Survivor Series 99. HHH got hoist 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 hoist 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.
    • Even he found the "What" mind game annoying when it was used against him by CM Punk.
  • Hollywood Apocrypha: "Austin 3:16 says 'I just whooped your ass!'". He had been working on a variation on "Ezekiel 25:17" but he didn't quite have it until King of the Ring.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Austin has admitted that he's a bad singer, and he employed this "skill" during his skits with Kurt Angle and Vince McMahon.
  • Hot-Blooded: "Arrive, Raise Hell, Leave!"
  • How Much More Can He Take?: Austin at the end of his "Submission Match" at WrestleMania 13.
  • Hypocrite: Openly questioned Stephanie and Shane McMahon for making Alliance members fight each other the very next show after they lost four championships…only to then put them all in a battle royal to determine the #1 contender to Chris Jericho's WCW Championship. Subverted in that Austin's actions ultimately had a point; if we're gonna make our own guys fight each other, do it for an actual strategic reason (like determining the best world title contender at the time), not to indulge in petty punishment or revenge.
  • I Have Many Names: His birth name was Steven James Anderson. His mother remarried when he was pretty young so he took his stepfather's surname "Williams". Then he changed it to his ring name "Austin" in 2007.
  • Important Haircut: His hairline was deteriorating rapidly in the nineties, but he still tried to be a long-haired blond (e.g. the vanilla of pro wrestling) who preened about his looks all the time. Not so as Stone Cold.
  • Improbable Weapon User: During his brawl with Booker T in the supermarket, he uses everything from flour to eggs to milk to frozen pizzas to kick Booker's ass.
  • Ink-Suit Actor
  • Ironic Echo: Austin was very upset that Owen Hart never called him to find out his condition after Hart broke his neck with a botched Tombstone piledriver. This only becomes Ironic because Austin never bothered to check up on Masahiro Chono after breaking his neck in an almost identical fashion, during an NWA World Heavyweight Championship match, in September 1992. Only avoids crossing over into hypocrisy because Austin, at the time, had no idea that Chono was actually injured.
  • Ironic Nickname: The "Stone Cold" moniker contrasts Austin's character as he is a Hot-Blooded, volatile wrestler and his promos mostly consist of imagery of flames in the background. Though it's actually an Artifact Title, as the gimmick was originally based on serial killer "The Iceman" Richard Kuklinski, complete with Austin being an emotionless predator who spoke in a Creepy Monotone.
  • It Will Never Catch On:
    • What Eric Bischoff said after Austin was fired from WCW over the phone. Thing is, he was catching on prior to the signing of Hogan. Lampshaded at Unforgiven when he was the next big thing, and in WWE 13.
    • 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.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Austin said when interviewing Eric Bischoff years later on his podcast that he probably would have fired him, too. Austin has also admitted that while he was a great worker in WCW, he was weak at cutting promos. His time in ECW under Paul Heyman made him a better promo and gave rise to the Stone Cold character. He may have never found that skill and character if he hadn't been fired from WCW. Furthermore, WCW Standards and Practices would have never allowed the Stone Cold character to go in the direction it did. Austin has ultimately concluded that getting fired from WCW was the best thing that happened to his career.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As a face. While his motto was "don't trust anyone" and was known for Stunning heels and faces alike, he also didn't shy from helping people out once in a while:
  • Kick the Dog: Austin's 2001 heel turn was full of this, from brutally attacking his friend Jim Ross, and The Hardy Boyz and Lita (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.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Ironically not when they gave him the silly Stone Cold serial killer gimmick, but when he won the King of the Ring and gave his now famous fiery promo to Jake Roberts.
  • Large Ham: Several of Austin's promos fell into this category.
  • Lovable Rogue: Austin was a "tweener", but was mainly treated as a face in feuds...
  • Master of Disguise: Austin stalked Vince McMahon several times this way before proceeding to beat the crap out of him after revealing his identity to him. During the Attitude era, he disguised himself as a show staffer, a fireman, and most notably a doctor. During the Ruthless Aggression era, Austin even disguised himself as Santa Claus while Vince was delivering a promo at the inaugural Tribute to the Troops event.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: Pretty much the Trope Codifier for Professional Wrestling, the Stone Cold character got its start when Austin was in ECW before he came to WWE and ran with a lot of the themes ECW was gaining its fanbase with.
  • Odd Couple: With Kurt Angle and Vince McMahon during the start of the Invasion storyline. It's often considered some of the funniest promos in WWF history.
  • One-Man Army: Stone Cold Steve Austin's "trust no one" maxim meant he often had to rely on himself while feuding with entire stables. The whole fusion of the Corporation and Ministry of Darkness was apparently just to mess with Stone Cold.
  • One Steve 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.
  • Overly Long Gag: WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? It managed to last long after Austin left the ring.
  • Passing the Torch: By putting Austin over, Jake Roberts symbolized the old style of wrestling making way for the new.
  • Patriotic Fervor: In Raw on 2003, aired on Memorial Day, two punks interrupted Lillian Garcia's singing of the National Anthem; suffice to say, Austin didn't like that.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Often caused loads of property damage during his feuds.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Occasionally, such as referring to Muhammad Hassan and Daivari as "sand people."
  • Popularity Power:
    • 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.
    • If anyone else would do what he did (e.g. attack people at will, heel or face), they would usually change from face to heel. Not Stone Cold, that was just how he was, and the commentators lampshaded it frequently.
    • He was so over with the fans that when Vince shook his hand during the infamous heel turn at the end of his match with The Rock at WrestleMania X-7, many people thought Vince had turned face instead!
  • 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.
  • Rated M for Manly:
    • This promo definitely sums it up best.
    • "I ain't no sexy boy! I don't dance, son!"note 
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Admits to watching every episode of GLOW back in the day, and can still recite the song lyrics.
  • "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.
    • Hell, giving this to Jake Roberts following the 1996 King of the Ring tournament was his Establishing Character Moment. As part of it, he claimed that quitting drinking was how Roberts lost his edge.note 
      Stone Cold: All he's gotta do is go buy him a cheap bottle of Thunderbird, and try to dig back some of that courage he had in his prime.
    • As the Judge on Tough Enough, he gave these every week to whoever ended up in his "bottom three", or rather he eliminated one of them and then gave a "The Reason You're Here" speech to the other two that he let stay around. Wind up there three times and automatic dismissal.
  • Rebellious Spirit: Stone Cold Steve Austin's feud with Vince McMahon marked the first time someone had stood up to the boss. It was basically a blue collar worker doing what many want to but realistically cannot.
  • Recognizable by Sound: When you hear the glass shatter, you know someone's about to have a can of whoop-ass opened on them. As Austin himself once said: "when you hear the glass, it's your ass."
    • This was used in humorous fashion in a segment with Booker T. When Booker T heard the sound of a beer can opening, he got a huge Oh, Crap! expression on his face as he realized Austin was right behind him in a supermarket.
  • Red Baron: "Stunning" and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, "The Texas Rattlesnake," "The Toughest S.O.B. in the WWF," "The Bionic Redneck," "The Extreme Superstar".
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: One of the best examples of pro wrestling. Even after turning face, that didn't change his character. He still gives stunners to anyone unprovoked as well as behaving like an all-out chaotic Jerkass.
  • Retired Badass: he's retired but he can still kick ass.
  • 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.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!
  • Shout-Out: He named himself after the main character of The Six Million Dollar Man.
  • 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 if the recipient was a face, it was never considered a heel turn, just Austin being Austin.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Ringmaster.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Big Daddy Cool Diesel. Diesel was beginning a similar sociopathic loner gimmick before abruptly leaving for WCW, shortly before Austin's star-making King of the Ring win.
  • Stage Names: Austin was born Steve Anderson and grew up Steve Williams. Dutch Mantel gave him the name Steve Austin so he wouldn't be confused with "Dr. Death" Steve Williams.
  • 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  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.
  • Take That!
  • Temporarily a Villain: Steve Austin was always an Anti-Hero Villain 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.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Done quite a bit during his feud with Vince McMahon. Subverted with his real-life retirement which has so far lasted eleven years and counting.
  • Theme Naming: As a member of the Hollywood Blondes, he used a standing figure-four leglock called "Hollywood and Vine", and a modified figure-four called "That's a Wrap."
  • Third-Person Person: Although The Rock is more known for this, Stone Cold fell into this quite often as well.
  • Took a Level in Badass: OH! HELL! YEAH! Perhaps the ultimate example in Professional Wrestling. In his WWF career, Steve Austin started out as just a random henchman of Ted DiBiase, but thanks to the now-legendary promo at the 1996 King of the Ring event, he gradually transformed into the stone-cold badass that fans eventually grew to love, cementing his place as a true legend of the ring and helping to put pro wrestling on the map in the late 90s.
  • Trash Talk: While it's common in wrestling, he is perhaps one of the most prolific trash-talkers in wrestling along with The Rock.
  • Troll: If he's not kicking your ass, then he's trying to get your goat. Just look at his tenure as the co-General Manager of Monday Night Raw back in 2003 if you want proof. To say that he made Eric Bischoff's life hell would be an understatement.
  • Ultimate Job Security: The reason Vince didn't just fire him for his antics was because of the boatloads of money Austin's presence was drawing in.
  • Underwear of Power: Earlier in his career, he wore long black pants with colorful designs on them, which falls under the Early Installment Weirdness described above.
  • Verbal Tic: During his tenure as The Ringmaster, he would say "man" after every third word in his promos.
  • Villain Decay: Happened in record time during his stint as Vince McMahon's Dragon. Austin went from a vicious, sadistic man who would constantly Kick the Dog to constantly sucking up to Vince by giving him gifts and hugging him to the point where even Vince wanted Austin to go back to being his old self. During his heel run in the Alliance, Austin would be somewhere in between these personas, and of course his inadvertent creation of the "What?" chant didn't help things.
  • 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.
  • Villain Team-Up: In 2001, with HHH (as the Two-Man Power Trip).
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Austin and The Rock in real life.
  • Vocal Evolution: His voice during his "Stunning" days is higher-pitched and less gruff compared to how he sounded from the late 90s onwards.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: ECW World Heavyweight Champion Mikey Whipwreck pulled down the back of Austin's tights during their match at ECW November to Remember 95.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: Even with all the other Alliance wrestlers being assimilated into the company after the Invasion storyline was over, Austin especially stands out for being the leader of the Alliance who almost brought the company to its knees and nearly took it down. After that, he basically turns face again and all the on-screen wrestlers treat him as if he's one of the boys again.
  • Would Hit a Girl: It seems an unwritten rule in the WWE that everyone is fair game for the Stone Cold Stunner, whether they're male, female, face, heel (no matter which one he is at the time), or even regardless of whether or not they're an actual trained wrestler. He's done it to with Stephanie McMahon, Chyna, Linda McMahon, Lita, (twice, one of them with HHH) and Stacy Keibler (who committed the cardinal sin of refusing to drink the beer Austin gave her.) Sadly, he has been known to hit Debra too in reality.
  • Wrestling Psychology: An often forgotten aspect about Austin was just how good he was when it came to in-ring psychology, even after his neck injuries. As a babyface he would often wrestle quite ruthlessly yet was always determined to win, not being the kind to give up even when in great pain (as Bret Hart would find in their famous WrestleMania match). However when he turned heel in 2001, one of the first signs of how much Austin had changed was how easily he tapped out when locked in a submission, showing how much he had changed after turning.
  • 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*

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Steve Austin


One Punch KO

Hugo Panzer knocks out agent Greta with a single punch

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / OneHitKill

Media sources:

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