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21 Years Ago, Stone Cold Steve Austin Changed Professional Wrestling Forever

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In 1996, professional wrestling was in a down period. Shows weren’t selling tickets. TV ratings were down. Things just weren’t looking very good. But thanks to chance and circumstance, one man was able to change the world of professional wrestling forever. On June 23rd 1996, Stunning Steve Austin became Stone Cold and ushered in the attitude era.

The story goes that Triple H was scheduled to win the 96 KOTR. But, thanks to his involvement in the infamous curtain call, the WWE canceled his scheduled push and put him on jobber duty as punishment. The WWE was searching high and low for a man to make into a new star. During this time, Steve Austin was paired up with the Million Dollar Man and was a low level mid-card guy at best. But, Ted decided to quit the WWE.

With Steve losing his gimmick due to the Million Dollar Man’s departure and Triple H being punished, Vince and a few of the creative guys decided to give Austin a chance to see what he could do.

During the first match of the KOTR PPV, Austin had his lip almost ripped off by Marc Mero and had to receive medical treatment for his injuries. Since Austin needed medical help, he didn’t really have time to meet with anyone to go over any creative ideas. Austin knowing that Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts was a born again Christian and was using that as his gimmick at the time, Austin put some stuff together in his head while\l getting stitched up. The rest, as they say, is history.

Stone Cold delivered what is widely considered one of the best promos in the business. In short order, he became the biggest money draw in the history of professional wrestling. He become an icon of the sport. And he ushered in the Attitude Era, which is considered one of the greatest periods in the history of professional wrestling.


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