Stone Cold Steve Austin’s infamous “What?” chant is one of the more polarizing wrestling crowd chants ever. Many a promo has been interrupted by crowds hijacking the show with the catch phrase. Fox has even spoken out against the chants.

Jim Ross revealed the origins of the chant on his latest Grilling JR podcast. Ross says the whole thing started out as a rib on Christian. Austin incorporated it into his character from there.

“That was derived from Christian calling Steve [Austin] on his cellphone while he was driving, and Steve would screw with Christian and say ‘what?’ like the signals were breaking up. That’s where the ‘what?’ came into play.”

Crowd chants are one of the strange aspects of wrestling that can totally change the direction of a segment. There have been stories of wrestlers altering their delivery specifically to avoid the dreaded chant. Even Fox, who broadcasts WWE SmackDown, said the chant is disrespectful via their WWE on Fox Twitter. The tweets have since been deleted.


“We saw people chanting it to @AngeloDawkins as he said goodbye to @WWENXT, and now to a ‘Hall Of Famer’ on RAW. That’s not a sign of rebellion, it’s a sign of disrespect.

Now back to RAW.”

Steve Austin himself had some fun with the situation, tweeting his own “What?” Fortunately, nobody is actually hurt by the chants. A skilled talker can easily skirt around them, or even turn them around on the crowd. For those who can’t stand it, you have Christian to thank.

What’s your opinion on the “What?” chant? Do you think it takes away from the show? Let us know in the comments.

Thanks to WrestlingInc. for the transcription!

Tags: Steve Austin
Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a news contributor for Ringside News and Thirsty for News. Michael has an M.A. in Communication Technology from Point Park University in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

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