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Celebrate Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Birthday by Revisiting His Most Intense WWE Rivalries
It's Stone Cold Steve Austin's birthday, so let's celebrate with look back at his most iconic feuds!
December birthdays just keep coming!
Last week, USA Insider celebrated Rey Mysterio’s birthday by looking at all the times the WWE Hall of Famer proved age is just a number. But as the WWE Universe should know by now, Mysterio isn’t the only prominent WWE Superstar December birthday.
None other than Stone Cold Steve Austin is celebrating his birthday today – the Texas Rattlesnake turned 59, a milestone made all the more impressive considering he went toe-to-toe with Kevin Owens at WrestleMania just a year and a half ago. In honor of one of the most influential and memorable WWE Champions of all time, we’re looking at Stone Cold’s most intense WWE rivalries!
Stone Cold vs. Mr. McMahon
Steve Austin’s unforgettable, years-long rivalry with the then-owner of WWE, Mr. McMahon, is remarkable on multiple levels. Not only did it introduce the “evil” authority figure into the WWE Universe (a trope that still exists in some shape or form today, for better or worse), but it propelled Stone Cold into the stratosphere – the feud perfectly encapsulated everything the Attitude Era was. Most fans could relate to the everyman who an egomaniacal boss was constantly holding down, and the result was the WWE Universe throwing their full support behind the most iconic antihero professional wrestling had ever seen.
From their in-ring encounters to their countless outside-of-the-ring interactions, Steve Austin and Mr. McMahon put the fans’ collective entertainment first – whether Stone Cold was pouring cement into Mr. McMahon’s prized Chevy Corvette or giving him a much-needed visit in the hospital during a 1998 episode of Monday Night Raw.
From a business standpoint, fans and experts alike agree that if it weren’t for the relentless Austin vs. McMahon feud, the entire trajectory of WWE would’ve changed.
Stone Cold vs. Bret Hart
When Steve Austin left WCW and joined the ranks of WWE in 1996, the wrestling world’s interest was piqued. When Steve Austin transformed into “Stone Cold,” the WWE Universe was intrigued. But when Steve Austin began feuding with Bret “Hitman” Hart, they were hooked.
While Austin’s transformation from The Ringmaster to the Texas Rattlesnake solidified him in the upper echelon of WWE Superstars, his iconic rivalry with Hart made him a household name. From their classic match at Survivor Series 1996 to their Submission Match at WrestleMania 13, the two represented a style of wrestling that transcended the sport. In the eyes of many fans, the hatred and animosity between the two men was real, almost too real.
Ask a random fan what the greatest match of all time was, and inevitably, you’ll hear someone respond with “Bret and Stone Cold at WrestleMania.” It’s a match that set the bar so high that neither Superstar attempted to top it with a third go-round.
For Stone Cold to become arguably the greatest WWE Superstar of all time, he needed a proper introduction to the WWE Universe – his feud with Bret Hart served that purpose and then some.
Stone Cold vs. Triple H
By all accounts, the WWE roster was loaded in the late 90s and early 2000s. As a result, marquee matchups were common, and looking back, the WWE Universe didn’t know how lucky they had it! After a hellacious feud with Mick Foley in 2000, Triple H – firmly entrenched in the most villainous era of his career – set his sights on Stone Cold Steve Austin. Their feud went from zero to one hundred in about six seconds, culminating in a barbaric match rarely seen in WWE: Three Stages of Hell at No Way Out 2001.
The premise of the clash was simple: The first stage of the match was a standard wrestling bout, with the second being a street fight. If – and only if – the match was tied at one fall apiece, the two Superstars would compete in an impromptu steel cage match. In true WWE fashion, the Three Stages of Hell match lived up to its name as Austin took Triple H to the limit but eventually fell in the third stage of the match.
Interestingly enough, this match featured no championship on the line – the hatred between Triple H and Austin boiled over so much that neither man cared about the prestigious WWE Championship during their feud. Although the two Superstars eventually patched things up and aligned themselves as the “Two-Man Power Trip” after Austin’s turn to the dark side at WrestleMania X-7, their fierce and (frequently bloody) rivalry set the standard for brutality in WWE at the time.
Stone Cold vs. The Rock
You cannot define the rivalry between Steve Austin and The Rock with just one match. They faced off countless times, most memorably at WrestleMania 15, 17, and 19 – each as the main event of the evening. Although they would have moments when they seemed to enjoy each other’s company during their respective careers, their endless feud was marked by a begrudging respect for one another.
Both Superstars credit the other for being the reason they became larger-than-life, and the WWE Universe doesn’t debate that sentiment. They needed to constantly chop the other one down to reach the heights they each did. Whether they were throwing each other into rivers or beating each other into oblivion, Austin and The Rock drove each other to be the best – and as a result, they are arguably the best to ever step foot in a WWE ring.
In fact, in 2023, many in the WWE Universe still believe that Steve Austin and The Rock throwing it down one more time is the dream match of the century – no matter how enticing a Rock/Roman Reigns WrestleMania main event is!
Stone Cold vs. The Undertaker
Only the most hardcore WWE fans may remember this rivalry. Still, it lives rent-free in our heads here at USA Insider for one reason: It involved Stephanie McMahon and an “Unholy Union” dark wedding!
Let’s take you back to April 1999:
Yes, this actually happened, and it’s notable for one reason: It’s the first time Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mr. McMahon were aligned in their interests! As it turns out, even Steve Austin had morals in 1999 – Mr. McMahon was at the mercy of The Undertaker, who intended to marry Stephanie and ostensibly be next in line to run WWE. While conventional wisdom suggested Austin would revel in the fact that McMahon’s personal life was crumbling, that wasn’t the case. Austin saved the day to the shock of the millions of fans watching!
For the WWE Universe, this marked the first time Austin revealed his good intentions. Of course, his rivalry with The Undertaker is more than just one botched wedding ceremony. Countless matches were had (including an all-time classic at SummerSlam) between the two Superstars, and over time, The Undertaker proved he is worthy of being one of Austin’s all-time greatest opponents.
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