“Stone Cold” Steve Austin represented the Attitude Era and led WWE into battle on a weekly basis during the Monday Night Wars with WCW. He also sold a boatload of t-shirts amassing an incredible amount of money in royalties. He deserved every cent of those royalties as well, but as he recently discussed on The Steve Austin Show, his legendary Austin 3:16 promo at the 1996 King Of The Ring event was mostly off the cuff.
It’s unthinkable to consider WWE letting a Superstar go out in a highlighted situation like winning the King Of The Ring without some kind of verbiage handed to them to recite. This was the case for Austin and as he remembers his experience, it just goes to show how different of a company WWE is now in more ways than one.
“I would go on to say, ‘You sit there and you thump your Bible and say your prayers, but that didn’t get you anywhere. You talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16, Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass.’ I would go on to talk about the championship match between Shawn Michaels and Davey Boy Smith as I was wrapping up this promo, I needed to button-up this promo and go home. I could hear the RF microphone, Vince was doing commentary. I knew I needed to shut the F up and take it home, but I needed a button. So as I’m hearing Vince I’m saying to myself, ‘I need a go home line, I need a go home line.’ That’s when I sh*t: ‘And that’s the bottom line cause Stone Cold said so.'”
“As a heel in 1996 when King Of The Ring — when the only reason that I won King Of The Ring that year is because of the big breaking kayfabe thing that happened in a cage at Madison Square Garden between the Kliq. Triple H was supposed to win King Of The Ring that year, Triple H didn’t.”
“As I was walking across the parking lot in Massachusetts, I hear this voice behind me, ‘Steve, you got a second?’ It was Vince McMahon — ‘Yessir I do,’ He said, ‘Hey man I just wanted to let you know in two weeks, you’re winning King Of The Ring.’ I said, ‘Okay,’ and I carried my bag in the building and worked TV.”
“It was a chance opportunity. I was never designed to win. I was never supposed to win, but when I did win based on the circumstances that happen, working that first match of that pay-per-view with Marc Mero when he did that flippity-flip thing and busted my mouth and put fourteen stitches in my damn lip, he didn’t I had to go to the hospital in the middle of the pay-per-view, get stitched up, stay in my work gear, came back and got ready to work Jake The Snake Roberts in the final.”
“That’s when Michaels Hayes told me that Jake The Snake cut a religious-based promo on me and that’s when the Austin 3:16 was born.”
It’s wild to think that arguably the biggest star of WWE History might never have reached that next step if it weren’t for Marc Mero kicking him in the face, Jake Roberts using religion in a promo and the Kliq’s MSG Curtain Call. It just goes to show that you ever know what might be a huge factor in helping the next big name break out in WWE.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin happened organically which is something WWE doesn’t seem to appreciate as much now as they once did. Perhaps this is a sign of the times which also might, unfortunately, mean that WWE will never see another character as big as The Rattlesnake.
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