The beer drinking, jaw breaking, baddest son of a gun in the WWE - Stone Cold Steve Austin left his mark on Wrestling.
Last Updated: 01/08/08 4:30pm
The beer drinking, jaw breaking, baddest son of a gun in the WWE - 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin left his mark on Wrestling during a remarkable eight-year career.
The larger than life Texan burst onto the WWF scene in 1996 when he powered his way to the King of the Ring title after being offered the opportunity to join WWF as Ted DiBiase's "Million Dollar Champion."
Stone Cold wracked up his fair share of rivals during his career - none more fearsome than his feud with Bret Hart which began with a defeat to "The Hitman" at the 1996 Survivor Series.
As their hatred for one another surpassed boiling point, Bret appeared to have inflicted more misery on the "Texas Rattlesnake" by eliminating him from the 1997 Royal Rumble.
However, Austin's exit was missed by the referee and he re-entered the fray to throw The Hitman over the ropes on his way to one of the most controversial of Royal Rumble victories.
WrestleMania XIII saw the pair lock horns once more in a submission match - playing right into the hands of the "Excellence of Execution".
Despite refusing to tap out to the infamous "Sharpshooter", Austin eventually passed out due to losing too much blood - handing The Hitman one of the most hardfought wins of his career.
Stone Cold's Royal Rumble success continued in 1998 when he eliminated Rocky Maivia to claim the Number One contender spot to fight Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XIV - boxing legend Mike Tyson on hand to referee.
With Tyson deciding to join rival faction DX the odds looked stacked against Austin, however, after planting a deadly "Stone Cold Stunner", Tyson shocked the world by completing the three count to hand Austin his first heavyweight title.
Three months of gold around his waist was briefly brought to an end by Kane in a First Blood match in June 1998, only for the Rattlesnake to snatch it back a day later before once more relinquishing it at Survivor Series.
His title loss triggered a ferocious rivalry with 'The Corporation' as Vince McMahon and then The Rock found themselves on Austin's most wanted list.
The 1999 Survivor Series saw Stone Cold sidelined from action for 11 months after Triple H had ordered Rikishi to mow down the Rattlesnake in a car resulting in serious spinal injuries.
Stone Cold's popular return saw him heap revenge on "The Game" as he helped The Rock to his fourth title glory at Backlash 2000 before making his competitive return with a win over Rikishi at No Mercy.
Austin's next title shot came at Armageddon 2000 when he fought in a Six-Man Hell In A Cell Match, which also had reigning champion Kurt Angle, The Rock, Triple H, Rikishi, and The Undertaker.
After planting a devastating Stunner on The Rock, Austin had the title in his grasp. However, the ever opportunistic Angle snuck in to snatch the pin to deny Stone Cole a dramatic win.
Austin's hopes raised yet again when he eliminated Kane from the 2001 Royal Rumble, therefore becoming the first and only ever three-time Royal Rumble winner, and the Number One Contender for the WWF Championship.
WrestleMania XII brought Austin and The Rock together in one of the most anticipated title match ups in recent years.
It was Austin who claimed the gold - his fifth in total, before shocking the world to join forces with fierce foe McMahon as The Rock was then suspended for wrestling for four months.
The absence of the "People's Champion" saw Austin keep the gold for 5 months and 22 days - the longest championship reign in several years.
"The Invasion" in 2001 saw Austin's latest rivalry - with Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit - brought to the boil again as The Rattlesnake proved his class by fending off both to retain the gold in a Triple Threat Match.
However, Jericho gained his revenge on Austin at Vengeance 2001. Jericho defeated both The Rock and Austin consecutively in that night winning the WCW World Title and later the WWF Title and combining them to create the WWF Undisputed Championship.
At Backlash 2002 Austin faced the Undertaker in a Number 1 Contender match for the Undisputed Championship, but Austin was robbed when The Undertaker kicked a steel chair into his face and covered him for the pinfall.
Despite Austin having his foot on the rope, special referee Ric Flair failed to spot it. Austin began another feud - this time with Flair and faced him in a 2-On-1 Handicap match at Judgment Day 2002 - Flair's partner was Big Show Paul Wight.
Austin's last PPV match ended with defeat in a classic match with The Rock at WrestleMania XIX - an excellent way, despite the result for one of the all time greats to end his distinguished career.
Austin has made part-time appearances since and despite rumours of a permanent return to the main arena - injury seems set to scupper any such hopes.
- Bret "The Hitman" Hart
- Ultimate Warrior
- The Rock
- Hulk Hogan