Stone Cold Steve Austin
, real name Steve Williams, grew up in Edna, Texas
. He dropped out of college
with under 15 credits left until graduation and went to work on loading dock
He eventually got the notion to start training as a professional wrestler
, a sport
which he had watched since childhood
. He started training locally, and soon began competing in a small promotion.
He got his first big break when he was hired by World Championship Wrestling
. He was initially successful, becoming one half of one of the best tag team
s in recent memory, the Hollywood Blondes
, alongside Brian Pillman
. "Stunning" Steve Austin was held back due to politics, however, and was eventually fired over the telephone by Eric Bischoff
during rehabilitation of an injury.
This led to a short run in Extreme Championship Wrestling
, where "Superstar" Steve Austin gave a series of ultra-bitter shoot interview
s against his former employers. He was soon after picked up by the World Wrestling Federation
Not many people remember Austin's first gimmick
in the WWF
, when he was known as The Ringmaster
, Ted DiBiase
's Million Dollar Champion. For good reason: the gimmick sucked. He soon after began a slow metamorphasis
into the beer swilling
, foul mouthed
, bird-flipping, bad motherfucker
that graces your television screen
each week: Stone Cold Steve Austin
Austin suffered a near-crippling neck injury at the hands of Owen Hart
'97, forcing him to take a few months off to heal. It should be noted that even though he was unable to move his arms or legs for close to a minute, he still managed to drag himself over to Hart and limply cover him to win the match--because he was supposed to win.
In professional wrestling, the show must go on
Gaining the World Wrestling Federation
Championship for the first time at Wrestlemania
XIV (March 1998) he has unquestionably been the number one face (good guy) in the WWF ever since, selling more memorabilia and clothing than Hulk Hogan
ever did in his prime. His feud with Vince McMahon
, the owner of the WWF
, was one of the most successful and money-making draws in pro wrestling history.
A neck injury
forced him to take an eleven month seat on the sidelines (November 1999-October 2000), after which he returned to reclaim his spot at the top of the professional wrestling
world, although he now arguably shares that honor with The Rock
, who in Austin's absence established himself as just as popular as Austin had been.
In a highly controvertial move, Austin turned heel at Wrestlemania X-Seven
during his match with The Rock
with the WWF Championship on the line.
He allied himself with Vince McMahon
--until now his greatest nemesis--to
ensure himself of winning the title. It was a highly gutsy move,
as turning your number one star into a bad guy isn't always the greatest
thing for ratings and merchandise sales. Fans soon showed their willingness
to boo him just as much as they'd been cheering him before--although the
reaction to him in some areas was still mixed, instead of the wholeheartedly
negative reaction the WWF wants.
He soon teamed with fellow heel HHH, beating the snot out of anyone
who got in their way. After HHH went out with a leg injury a few
months after Wrestlemania, Austin's been wrestling as a single again, most
recently defending his WWF Championship against popular babyfaces Chris
Benoit and Chris Jericho at the 2001 King of the Ring.