Stone Cold Steve Austin Thought He Could Make His WWE WrestleMania 17 Heel Turn Work

Austin was confident he could pull it off, according to Matt Hardy

The ending to WrestleMania X-Seven remains a contentious topic, as some point to it as the beginning of the end of WWE's Attitude Era purple patch. 

In it, Steve Austin turned heel by aligning himself with his arch-enemy Mr. McMahon in order to beat The Rock for the WWE Championship. 

Austin has since stated several times that if he could go back in time he would 'call an audible' and hit McMahon with a Stone Cold Stunner (in order to cancel out the heel turn). 

At the time, however, The Texas Rattlesnake was convinced he could make it work, at least according to Matt Hardy. 

Discussing the turn on a recent edition of his The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, the former multi-time WWE Tag Team Champion said: 

"It [the locker room's reaction to the turn] was interesting. I mean Steve was really confident in himself and he thought he could make this thing work and I like that mentality, I like the approach of trying something different and new. You have to always change, you have to always evolve, right? Stone Cold became a character that was so beloved, it was very hard to get him booed and that was gonna be problematic all the way through that. 

"I almost, to me, it feels very similar to Jeff Hardy. It would be hard to make Jeff Hardy a full fledged heel because he's just such a beloved character and people connect with him in a way that very few people do. Stone Cold was that way too. I know he went out, and it was in Texas of all places where he is absolutely put on a pedestal, and he was getting cheered when he was beating The Rock's ass after aligning with Mr. McMahon or whatever. They knew that was going to be problematic so they said 'How can we get some legitimate heat on this guy?' and he said 'Well, let's call in these young heartthrobs, the Hardy Boyz and Lita, Team Extreme'. Let's get some heat on those guys".

Austin would remain a heel for the better part of the year, before turning babyface once the Invasion storyline had run its course. 

H/T Fightful

Share this post

Kurt Angle Planning To Have Neck Fusion Surgery

Report: Two More Names Seen As Potential WWE Main Roster Call-Ups

Lewis Howse

Written by Lewis Howse

Features journalist for Cultaholic.com and script writer for the Cultaholic YouTube Channel.