"Stone Cold" Steve Austin is one of the greatest characters in not just in wrestling, but across the board in pop culture. From his no-nonsense look to the simple attire of all black everything, it was Austin that redefined the WWE and started a revolution of his own. He was the company's first true anti-hero that defied the company itself and made sure Monday Night Raw was just that.
Today on March 16th, 3-16, it is Stone Cold Steve Austin once again, so we hope you're raising a foaming Steveweiser and giving the authority a two-finger salute (within reason of course). The WWE Hall of Famer also has the greatest finisher in all of professional wrestling: the Stone Cold Stunner.
The Stunner is versatile, impactful, and goes along with Austin's glass-shattering theme in all the right ways. The kick to the gut knocks the air our and brings you down, then the dropping jawbreaker seals the deal. Originally conceived by Mikey Whipwreck in ECW as the Whipper-Snapper, but Austin's evolution of the move and colossal popularity, it was renamed as the stunner, with the Stone Cold Stunner being the base of each variation.
Over the hundreds of stunners Austin gave to poor unfortunate SOBs, which were the most important to his career and to the WWE? Which stand out among the best of the best? So give me a hell yeah, and let's take a look at Stone Cold Steve Austin's greatest stunners ever given.
Honorable Mention: Linda McMahon
Austin had been feuding with the McMahon family for a few years at this point and while Vince, Shane, and Stephanie had all received stunners in the past, ole Linda was left out, not that she minded.
On Monday Night Raw's homecoming episode, Linda finally made it on to the list and was delivered his finishing maneuver. The thing that made this so unique and fun was that Austin had already knocked out the rest of the McMahon family and the banter and awkward seduction between him and Linda was classic.
When performing the move, Austin loosened his grip and we can see Linda drop before he does, but it was the idea that Austin would just stun women in their 60's just because he didn't like their bloodline...and because there was nobody there to stop him.prevnext
#5: The Rock
I'll be the first to admit this is kind of cheating, but the Rock's reaction to the stunner was always so over-the-top and dramatic and when you add in Jim Ross' commentary, you'd think Rock would never come out of his coma.
It's beyond goofy and pretty much downright cartoonish, but whenever these two would be in the ring, it was pure pro wrestling magic. Nobody sold the Stunner like the Rock and while it's hard to place an exact one, they're all collectively amazing in their own way. Who else can sell a move using a backflip as a sort of escape plan when your body has shut down. It's like he's trying to get away from Austin even though his whole body has been paralyzed.
Ahh, professional wrestling.prevnext
#4 Shawn Michaels
This was it.
Almost two years of being on the cusp of megastardom, Austin stunned Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XIV for the WWE Championship, placing him at the top of the card and cementing his place in WWE history.
The thing about this was that there was a bit of countering with HBK trying to hit Sweet Chin Music and then Austin blocking and Michaels going for it again, but finally Austin hitting the Stunner on the wrestling icon to become the new champion.
You have to remember, around this time Shawn Michaels was considered untouchable. He had just beaten the Undertaker at the Royal Rumble in a casket match that year, which led to the start of the end of his first run.
This was Austin's big moment and even with Mike Tyson's fast count, with the stunner landing on HBK, it brought in a whole new generation.prevnext
Steve Austin and Goldberg was the original fantasy warfare during the Monday Night Wars in the late 90's. While their aesthetics were similar and both had dominating personas in the ring, Austin was more in your face and intense, Goldberg left the talking in the ring with his squash matches. The wrestling world wanted nothing more for these two to have a match.
Well when was WCW was bought out, Goldberg decided to wait out the rest of his contract and just go home. Some considered that smart, but the timing could not have been better with a heel Austin coming into the forefront.
When Austin finally did get to Goldberg, he was on his way out of the WWE. Literally.
All criticism of this match aside, the fact we still had that moment of Austin delivering a glorious stunner is part of WrestleMania history, even if it's tied to a much-maligned match.prevnext
2: Jake "The Snake" Roberts
The impact of this certain stunner didn't just leave Jake Roberts breathless and incapacitated but allowed Austin to permanently leave his stamp in the WWE and all across professional wrestling.
And it wasn't even supposed to happen.
It's a well-known fact that Triple H had been the original contender to win the King of the Ring tournament in 1996, but due to some politics involving Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, his push was ceased and Austin got the rub instead.
Roberts was one of the biggest stars of his day and his return to the WWE in the mid-90's a Bible-quoting changed man wasn't exactly the direction the company was going. No, it was Austin that sent Roberts packing and began his own rise to the top.prevnext
#1. Vince McMahon
How is this not number one, right?
Vince McMahon once played down his role in the company and stuck himself behind the commentator table. Once it was revealed that he was the owner, his television role escalated and became something more personal and villainous.
Austin's rise to the top had its own share of obstacles, but for the first time ever, a WWE performer laid his hands on the company's owner and set a new presedence for the type of rivalries to come.0comments
Austin hit McMahon and the game was on, but it's Vince's reaction that lives infamy with his glazed over expression.
With this stunner, Austin became not only the biggest fan favorite since Hulk Hogan, but a marked man in the eyes of his boss.prev