The wrestler that would come to define an era, a period in industry lore, was once dismissed as generic, a flavourless nothing in black trunks and boots. His in-ring skill was never questioned, nor was his mere admittance into the wrestling realm. But Stone Cold Steve Austin was not destined to be just a face among the crowd. Instead of receding into the background as a bit player, Austin amplified the entire pro wrestling world at max volume, revitalizing the medium in a way few could have ever predicted.
Almost universally, Austin's face makes the subjective Mount Rushmores that fans and critics assemble. The mere utterance of his name transports us all to a moment in time when being good was great, but being bad was best. The promise of unrestrained mayhem and danger on Monday nights held an allure for fans worldwide, as no wrestler has ever felt more authentic defying authority than Stone Cold.
We here at Cultaholic never need a reason to delve into the Book of Austin, to flip through the pages of a brilliant wrestling career that could never possibly be duplicated. The bottom line on Steve Austin is that while few could ever equal his greatness, nobody has ever surpassed it.
10. Deer in the Headlights
At the age of 24 in 1989, Austin wrestled his first-ever match under his given name of Steve Williams. While Austin would prove to be an absolute natural, to the point where he was holding his own with gifted veterans after just two or three years in the business, his first match didn't indicate much in the way of his future success.
Austin's first match took place in Dallas, TX at the famed Sportatorium, against a wrestler by the name of Frogman LeBlanc. Austin by this point had a fundamental understanding of the basics, but knew very little about how to structure a match. Through the course of the bout, which Austin called both "brutal" and "horrible," Austin remembers arm-dragging LeBlanc upwards of eight different times. It was so bad that the referee, a veteran wrestler named Tony Falk, had to verbally guide him through the sequences, calling some spots, to get Austin to the end of the match, since Austin was lost. For the experience, Austin claimed he was paid $40, a far cry from where he would be after just a few short years.