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Top 10 Stone Cold Steve Austin Matches of All Time

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Jarett Burke
It’s time to stomp a mud hole and walk it dry! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 “Stone Cold” Steve Austin Matches. For this list, we’re looking at the best in-ring performances by the Texas Rattlesnake. Often remembered for his antics outside of the squared circle, like dropping the “Austin 3:16” promo or driving a Zamboni to the ring, “Stone Cold” was also a great wrestler and put on many spectacular performances with some of the biggest names in the business. So, here’s his best! And that’s the bottom line, because Stone Cold – Er, WatchMojo says so!
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Top 10 Stone Cold Steve Austin Matches

It’s time to stomp a mud hole and walk it dry! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 “Stone Cold” Steve Austin Matches.

For this list, we’re looking at the best in-ring performances by the Texas Rattlesnake. Often remembered for his antics outside of the squared circle, like dropping the “Austin 3:16” promo or driving a Zamboni to the ring, “Stone Cold” was also a great wrestler and put on many spectacular performances with some of the biggest names in the business. So, here’s his best! And that’s the bottom line, because Stone Cold – Er, WatchMojo says so!

10: Vs. Chris Benoit

Smackdown

While it’s always incredibly difficult to mention Benoit in wrestling circles, there’s no denying the fact that the guy could wrestle. And, in a 2001 episode of Smackdown, he brought out the best of Austin’s heel character in a very one-sided matchup where “Stone Cold” played the sneaky villain barely able to escape the clutches of the more-powerful Benoit. With the “Crippler” dominating Austin for much of the match, it forced “Stone Cold” to wrestle a much different style from his typical dominate performances. Taking advantage of Vince McMahon as the special guest referee, he played every heel card he could to slow down Benoit before rolling him up for a distracted, quick pin.


9: “Royal Rumble 3:16”

Royal Rumble (1997; 1998; 2001)

More of an achievement than a match, “Royal Rumble 3:16” signifies Austin’s amazing feat of winning three Royal Rumble matches within a span of five years. These three victories also grant him the crown for the most Rumble victories in history, with heavyweights Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Batista and John Cena each holding two victories. The Texas Rattlesnake’s first Rumble victory came in 1997 where he cheated his way to victory, eliminating Bret Hart. The following year he’d eliminate The Rock on his way to Wrestlemania, and in 2001 Austin threw Kane over the top rope to secure his third and final Royal Rumble. Simply put, watching any of these rumbles is an absolute must if you want to see the best of the bionic redneck.

8: Vs. Chris Jericho

Vengeance (2001)

In the world of wrestling, wins and losses are less important than the match quality; and, in a losing effort, “Stone Cold” gave another great performance against Y2J in a title unification match, which sought to combine the WWE Championship with the WCW World Championship. With the referee knocked to the outside both Vince McMahon and Ric Flair would attempt to shift the balance of the match, but it would be Booker T who’d have the greatest impact when he interfered from the outside and clobbered Austin leaving him unconscious for the pin.


7: Vs. Kurt Angle

SummerSlam (2001)

Not only was Austin a heel in 2001, but he was also leading The Alliance against Team WWE in a battle for control of the very company he helped save from WCW during the Monday Night Wars. It was probably confused booking like this that killed the now infamous “Invasion Angle,” but – hey! – at least we got a great feud between Austin and Angle! “Stone Cold” turned on Angle earlier in the year to join the Alliance, so Kurt was booked as the white-hot babyface, which allowed Austin to deliver one of his best heel performances. The unpopular DQ finish only served to somehow make Austin’s performance even more underhanded and devious.

6: Vs. Shawn Michaels

Wrestlemania 14

This match may not have been one of Michaels’ best, seeing as he was dealing with a serious back injury that almost ended his career, but for “Stone Cold” it signalled the beginning of the “Austin Era” in WWE. The Texas Rattlesnake was the hottest thing in the business at the time, and with HBK needing time off for surgery and Bret Hart on his way to WCW, it was obvious that Austin was the company’s future. He’d win his first title from the ailing Michaels and never look back. This match helped put WWE on the mainstream map as well, gaining tons of media coverage for the inclusion of Mike Tyson in HBK’s corner.


5: With Triple H Vs. Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit

Raw

During Austin’s heel run in 2001, he teamed with Triple H in a brief but successful tag run that saw the two singles stars win the tag belts. Austin and Triple H made for a great, technical team that brutalized opponents along the way to their meeting of the hungry coupling of Jericho and Benoit. While the match has become famous for being the first time Triple H tore his quad muscle, the performances from all four veterans far outshine the unfortunate injury suffered by “The Game,” and the final few minutes of the match are truly electrifying, seeing chairs, tables and sledgehammered introduced on way to a Y2J and Benoit victory.


4: Vs. Triple H

No Way Out (2001)

Just a few months before Triple H and Austin held tag-team gold, they were involved in a bloody feud that culminated in a “Three Stages of Hell” match at No Way Out 2001. The first pinfall was determined in a standard match, the second in a street fight and the third, and final pinfall, inside of a steel cage. Once again, Austin took the loss with Triple H taking two out of the three falls, but at least this time around the fans were clearly on his side, as it was revealed that “The Game” had been scheming against The Texas Rattlesnake for over a year and was responsible for plotting to end Austin’s career.


3: Vs. Dude Love

Over The Edge (1998)

This match had all the underpinnings of a great “Stone Cold” bout: Austin was a mega-face, he squared off against an opponent under the influence of Mr. McMahon, the deck was stacked against him seeing as Vince was the special guest referee and his Stooges (in Pat Paterson and Gerald Brisco) were ringside, and he still managed to kick everyone’s ass and celebrate with a few beers. Also, the Undertaker made a surprise appearance in Austin’s corner as well, adding some extra star power. In the end, McMahon took a chair shot to the skull, Taker destroyed Patterson and Brisco, and Austin hit the stunner for the three count in a delightfully chaotic match.


2: Vs. Bret Hart

Wrestlemania 13

The match that turned Austin into a hero overnight and made the long-time WWE fan-favourite. After a spectacular build up in 1997 during the battle between USA and Canada, Hart had Austin in his famed Sharpshooter and refused to break the hold even with special-guest referee Ken Shamrock demanding he do so. Austin’s blood-soaked face as he refuses to tap and passes out into unconsciousness is an iconic wrestling image, and his loss in the match was actually the start of something much, much bigger than the match itself: it signalled the completed shift of Austin from a crude heel to a beloved badass.


1: Vs. The Rock

Wrestlemania 17

When it comes to “Stone Cold’s” fantastic bouts with The Rock, it’s hard to choose just one, but their encounter at Wrestlemania 17 takes the cake as Austin’s best match – and likely The Rock’s as well! There was something special that happened when these two men faced off against one another – each trying to outdo the other and be WWE’s top dog – and this match was no different. The intense atmosphere coupled with the insane twist of Austin aligning with McMahon engrained this battle in the minds of wrestling fans forever.
Of course, there are two other fantastic matches between Austin and The Rock to watch in Wrestlemania 15 and 19 – but for our money, 17 is truly these two at their best.

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