Posts tagged Stone Cold Steve Austin
Ruthless Aggression - 3:16

Happy Steve Austin Day! Fastlane thoughts, Kofi running the gauntlet, RKO & AJ delivering an epic segment, Stokely Hathaway and the new NXT signings, plus this week in 2003.

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 511
Smackdown 187

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MONDAY MORNING GLORY: How much longer will 'THEY' deny the Bears?
USATSI

USATSI

What more do you have to do to earn respect? Field the most dominant team in the NFL? Hold the NFL’s top offense to six points and zero touchdowns? Go from worst-to-first in the span of a year? Exorcise your demons against THAT team and THAT quarterback? The one who made it a point to remind everyone how much success he’s had in your home crib.

What else do the Chicago Bears have to do for the nation to consider them as a legitimate Super Bowl contender?

The Monsters reclaimed the NFC North for the first time in eight years on Sunday, beating the Green Bay Packers 24-17. The game was never a certainty for the Bears; a ridiculous fake punt failed at midfield, giving Packers QB Aaron Rodgers good field position and setting themselves up for the game-tying touchdown & two-point conversion. On the next Chicago drive, Tarik Cohen coughed up the football deep in Packer territory, handing the knife back to the surgeon that has carved up this franchise up game-after-game for most of the last decade.

All of a sudden, serenity suddenly turned into panic. The familiar feeling of impending doom started to creep up from behind the loyal Bears fanbase, starving for success after four-straight seasons of putrid, last-place finishes.

But while Packers fans stood by with smug looks on their faces, anticipating another comeback win from their arrogant gunslinger, there was just one problem…

No one told the Bears defense they should be worried.

“We don’t know how to quit,” said Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks post-game. “There’s so many guys in this room that care about one another and have bought into what we’re trying to build here and want this to be a great team… that when we’re up against the wall, we’re gonna keep fighting.”

Leonard Floyd, the second first rounder taken during the Ryan Pace era, sacked Rodgers on the following play, and the defense held for a 3-and-out on that drive. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky then lead the Bears on a five-play, 45-yard drive capped off with a Trey Burton touchdown that put Chicago ahead for good.

“I’m most proud of the type of guys we have in our locker room, the culture we’ve created,” said Trubisky, who bounced back from the worst game of his career a week ago against the Rams and completed 20-of-28 passes for 235, two touchdowns and no interceptions. “We know that nobody really believed in us on the outside in the preseason or even throughout the season, but we know what type of team we had.”

The defense held serve, picking off Rodgers in the endzone - his first in 402 passing attempts, FOX wouldn’t fail to remind you - and sealing a division crown for the Bears. It was a fairytale moment for the city of Chicago, long haunted by number 12 and his penchant for sucking the hope from the hearts of those who bleed orange and blue. This is how it had to happen. This is how the Bears needed to win the division. This is how they needed to show the nation that Chicago can compete for the Lombardi Trophy.

Alas, what was the biggest story on NFL Gameday Prime that night?

“What is the Bears biggest liability?”

What more must they do to prove to the Shannon Sharpe’s and the Stephen A. Smith’s of the world that they belong?

A week ago, the narrative from national media was that the Rams don’t play well in the cold, but in reality, Vic Fangio devised the perfect gameplan to stop an explosive LA Rams offense (one that the Eagles duplicated last night). During the week, it was how the Cowboys are more dangerous in the playoffs than the Bears. Yes, that same Dallas Cowboys team that laid a goose egg in Indianapolis on Sunday. This week, it’s how Trubisky is the “weak link” that will hold the Bears back. Soon enough, they will run out of red herrings, and they’ll have to admit the truth: the Bears have the George Halas trophy, and a trip to Atlanta, well within reach.

All they have to do is take it.

QUICK HITS

George Kittle and the San Francisco 49ers won’t be playing in January, but they just got a huge win on Sunday over a Seattle Seahawks team fighting for a wild card spot. You’d think Kittle would be on cloud nine, but really, he was trying to hurry the fuck up and get to San Jose for Sunday’s WWE TLC show.

First off, that shirt is fucking fire. As a lover of wrestling tees, vintage and new, I commend his style choice. You can never go wrong with a Stone Cold Steve Austin tee. It’s the Ol’ Reliable of pro wrestling tees! You know when you wear one, you’re gonna receive tons of compliments not just from fans, but normal people who stopped watching wrestling when they realized in fifth grade that they liked girls, but damn that Stone Cold Steve Austin was a mean sumbitch wasn’t he?!

Also, I understand it… Priorities first. Why do I wanna be here answering all these stupid ass questions to help some writer from The Athletic write his post-game recap when Becky Lynch, Asuka and Charlotte are about to tear each others faces off in a Tables Ladders and Chairs match and I’M ALREADY LATE?!?!?!?!?! Fuck your questions bruh bruh, I need to get to these ringside seats ASAP!

Ruthless Aggression ep. 19 - Show Me the Money
My Favorite 'Mania: Wrestlemania XXX

The second it was announced that WrestleMania was returning to the Superdome in New Orleans, I knew I would be going.

It wasn't a surefire decision; there were many factors that needed to play itself out in order for me to be in NOLA right now, but at the time, there wasn't a doubt in my mind that I wouldn't be down here breaking my WrestleMania virginity.

The Superdome is the site of my favorite WrestleMania: WrestleMania XXX. It's not the greatest - to me X-Seven is the standard for what a Mania should be - but XXX had all of the intangibles: a ferocious crowd, intriguing feuds, an influx of past, present and future, and a captivating babyface the crowd could embrace. Oh, and the unthinkable happened. Top to bottom, XXX is the most entertaining WrestleMania in recent years.


Three Kings

XXX was billed as the true return of Hulk Hogan to the company after years with TNA. He was tabbed to "host" WrestleMania, which is hard to do when you don't even know where you're hosting the show. It's the SUPERDOME, Terry... not the Silverdome.

And then... the glass broke, and the stadium went into a frenzy. Stone Cold Steve Austin standing face to face with Hogan in the center of a WWE ring. It's something we as fans have wanted for decades: the two biggest stars in their respective companies in the late 90s finally meeting.

When you didn't think it could get any better, The Rock's familiar voice hit the loudspeakers and out came the Brahma Bull, who's wrestled both Austin and Hogan in legendary WrestleMania matches. Three of the four stars on WWE's Mount Rushmore together for the very first time gave me goosebumps. It was a WrestleMania moment that will endure for ages.


From B-plus player to World Champion

The story of Daniel Bryan in WWE is so genuine. We all know about Vince McMahon's obsession for big guys and how size may have derailed a few guys from reaching the top of the company. One look at Daniel and you could see an extremely talented worker - perhaps an Intercontinental Champion - but a world champion was out of the question.

The thing about Daniel Bryan is he has what so many other superstars lack - heart.

That beating heart was felt all throughout the Superdome that night as Daniel got through not just Triple H to open the show, but then defeating the other two members of Evolution, Batista and Randy Orton, to win the WWE Championship in the main event. The purity of Daniel Bryan is so easy to get behind. He's the most relatable everyman the WWE has had since Austin, only moreso. Everybody has been told in one way or another that they're not good enough, that they don't measure up to the competition, that they'll never achieve their dreams. They said the same thing about Daniel. He proved everyone wrong.


The end of the streak

There isn't one superstar more synonymous with WrestleMania than the Undertaker. Sure the event was built off the back of Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels is nicknamed "Mr. Wrestlemania", and Stone Cold, John Cena and Roman Reigns have all headlined the show at least three times. But the Deadman has what they don't.

The Streak.

For 21 consecutive appearances, the Undertaker walked down that long aisle to the ring, got the 1-2-3, and walked back victorious. The Streak became a sideplot to the big event; you didn't just watch WrestleMania for the spectacle, you watched to see who will finally put an end to The Streak.

And then, Brock Lesnar became the one in 21-1, dropping Taker with three F5's before earning the shocking pinfall win. Go back and watch the ref's 3 count and listen to the split second of stunned silence in the air while the crowd digested what they just saw. They couldn't believe that this unstoppable force was reduced to a mere mortal, and very dominantly I might add. We knew Taker didn't stand a chance against Brock in a normal match, but this is WrestleMania. The Deadman doesn't get defeated at his show, in his yard.

But all great things must come to an emphatic end. Fans complain about the streak ending, mainly the fact that it ended to a part-timer in Brock instead of a wrestler that could have benefitted from the rub, like CM Punk. But this couldn't have ended any other way. Brock ending The Streak will live on in WWE history.

As far as Taker goes, they call WrestleMania "the showcase of the immortals." There's no greater immortal to grace the WrestleMania stage than the Undertaker.

My Favorite 'Mania: Wrestlemania XIX
WWE

WWE

If you’re posed with answering the question, “What is the greatest WrestleMania of all time?” chances are you have an instant reflex. The choice that many people pick is WrestleMania X-Seven. For good reason, too. X-Seven was the culmination of the greatest boom period that the wrestling business ever saw. While watching the event, whether it was live or even now, you get the sense that you are legitimately watching the end of an era. It was a special night in Houston, to say the very least.

WrestleMania X-8 had the unenviable task of following up this incredible show. Apart from one match (Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock) the consensus thought is that it was a whiff. The same, however, cannot be said about the one that followed X-8.

In my opinion, WrestleMania XIX is every bit as good as WrestleMania X-Seven. I can take a step further and say that it’s a better show from top-to-bottom, too (with one very large exception, of course).

The show starts off with the WrestleMania debut of Rey Mysterio. Mysterio, a staple of the Cruiserweight division in WCW and the previously ECW, too, made his first arrival in WWE in the summer of 2002. He quickly ascended up the ranks and proved why he was so regarded as one of the best high-flyers in the game. He faced Matt Hardy, the Cruiserweight Champion (you read that right, if you’re unfamiliar) in a pretty scintillating opener. Hardy won dirty, and while they could’ve given Mysterio his due here to start the show, he would eventually go on to win the Cruiserweight Championship in Anaheim later that year from Hardy to culminate this feud.

Next was a match that, well… okay, this was probably the worst Undertaker match in a few years. He faced The Big Show and A-Train in a handicap match, partly because they’d taken out his partner, Nathan Jones. Yes, you may remember Nathan Jones, “The Colossus of Boggo Road,” who was too green to be in this match that they had him taken out. To be fair to him though, they booked this well, had him show up and land a few kicks in before Taker hit A-Train with a Tombstone.

Third up was a Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match. Trish Stratus became the Women’s Champion after defeating Jazz and Victoria, the reigning champion going into the event. For the time they were given (7:17) the three women made the best of it. Trish got her WrestleMania moment (A YEAR AFTER SHE SHOULD HAVE IN TORONTO) and would set the tone for the remainder of the year (Writer’s Note: You should check out the No DQ Match that Trish had with Victoria back at Survivor Series. This whole feud was actually pretty good for this era).

After setting the world on fire in the fall of 2002, the SmackDown! Tag Team Division got the spotlight on the main card. Team Angle (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin) faced Los Guerreros and the ragtag team of Chris Benoit and Rhyno. Benoit and Rhyno came together shortly after Edge suffered a debilitating neck injury the month before, and quickly were able to make an impact. It would, however, be the new kids on the block who got the victory, as Benjamin and Haas walked in and walked out as WWE Tag Team Champions.

WWE

WWE

Things really kicked up a notch next. Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho fought in one of the best WrestleMania matches of all time. It was arguably the match of the night on this evening in Seattle, Washington. A year after being on the losing side of the Undisputed Championship Match, and a year after being a complete afterthought in his feud with Triple H, Jericho brought his A+ game and delivered in the biggest spot yet in his career. Michaels won via a rollup, and Jericho delivered a kick below the belt to leave Michaels laying. It’s classic Y2J and classic HBK. This is one of my favorite Mania matches ever, and part of what spurred this event to be an all-timer.

Now… the next match was tough to swallow. Triple H and Booker T fought over the World Heavyweight Championship. Going into the night, Hunter berated Booker, telling him that “People like him don’t get to be World Champion.” There’s a lot of code and racial undertones here, and it makes the decision to have Hunter go over Booker even worse. Even WORSE was the fact that it took one Pedigree to do it, AND the fact that it took Triple H nearly 20 seconds to finally get a pin on Booker. And there wasn’t even any other near fall. It’s the worst part of this match and the worst booking decision in WrestleMania history. Luckily, the rest of this show helps ascend it up high.

WWE

WWE

Mr. McMahon and Hulk Hogan fought in a Street Fight that was “20 Years in the Making” next. This was a beautiful disaster, and booked exactly how it should go. You got blood, you got weapons, and you even got “ROWDY” RODDY FREAKIN’ PIPER showing up for the first time in a WWE ring in nearly TEN years! Hogan got the better of Vince in a very memorable Street Fight that got this event’s momentum back.

Then came Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock for the third time in Mania history. The match’s video package is extremely memorable, spliced with the theme song for Mania -- Crack Addict by Limp Bizkit -- and the story was simple. Rock had felt he’d done it all… except beat Stone Cold at WrestleMania. And so, in his third try, after three Rock Bottoms, Rock got the three count on his contemporary and biggest rival to leave XIX as a winner. This would prove to be Stone Cold’s final match of his career, and he went out as best he could.

WWE

WWE

The finale of this event pit two of the best to ever do it against each other. Brock Lesnar, the 2003 Royal Rumble winner, capped off an incredible first year in WWE against another man known for his impeccable rookie year: Kurt Angle. The reigning WWE Champion squared off with “The Next Big Thing” in a match that had two of the best amateur wrestlers the company had against one another. The match is a thrilling watch, even now. Lesnar’s failed Shooting Star Press is one of the more unfortunate moments in WrestleMania history that luckily didn’t turn into a total disaster for him. He was still able to finish the match, and it took three F5’s to finally put Kurt down for the count.

WrestleMania XIX is in a 1a/1b situation with X-Seven for me. These are the two greatest Manias ever in my book. The card has a big blemish on it from Booker/HHH, but the rest of it more than makes up for it. Austin-Rock III and HBK-Y2J are two all-time great matches, and Lesnar-Angle is a great main event that crowns what is, at worst, the second-best rookie year in the company’s history. WrestleMania XIX is, without a doubt, my favorite WrestleMania ever.

My favorite 'Mania: Wrestlemania X-Seven
WWE

WWE

As Wrestlemania 34 draws near, a lot of people have been talking about how good the card looks, top to bottom. It’s hard to argue. From Ronda Rousey’s WWE debut, to Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles, to Charlotte and Asuka, this card has something for everyone. All 12-14 matches should be very good and entertaining and tell a great story.

Personally, the build-up has reminded me a lot of what is widely regarded as one of the best Wrestlemania's of all time, and my personal favorite: Wrestlemania X-Seven.

Wrestlemania X-Seven was a huge deal for several reasons. First, it was technically the first Wrestlemania ever in which WWF didn’t have a rival promotion to worry about, as WCW had shut down just a few weeks earlier. It also marked the first Wrestlemania in Texas, and the first Wrestlemania to take place in a football stadium since Wrestlemania VIII was in Indianapolis’ Hoosier Dome nine years earlier. So, right off the bat, X-Seven had a huge feel to it.

Did it deliver? Yeah. It did. People still talk about to this day. While I could go in-depth with every match on the card (because they’re all awesome), I’m gonna just focus on my three favorites.

Kurt Angle d. Chris Benoit

A rivalry that would stretch from Wrestlemania 2000 to Benoit’s eventual Royal Rumble win and transfer to Raw, Angle and Benoit had no shortage of classic matches in that four year stretch. This one stands out as one of the three or four best.

There wasn’t really much of a story behind this match (or their feud in general) except for they were the two best submission artists in the WWF and constantly wanted to make each other tap out. Coming off years of overbooked NWO angles and Attitude Era shenanigans, it was nice to get a match where two guys try to make each other tap for 15 minutes. It was also incredibly smart booking, as Angle tapped while the ref was knocked out and eventually made Benoit tap while the ref was looking. It made it so they could continue the feud. Benoit would get hurt shortly later, but they would pick it right back up when he returned in 2002.

TLC II: Edge and Christian d. Dudley Boyz and Hardy Boyz

It’s 2018 and TLC matches are pretty much not a special thing anymore, due to the advances in concussion research and the toning down of WWE in general. Plus, they have a pay-per-view dedicated to the match every year.

Back in 2001 though, this was still incredibly fresh and new. And while these were the only good tag teams in the company at the moment, they sure knew how to put on a show.

This TLC match has no shortage of memorable moments. From Edge spearing Jeff Hardy out of mid-air, to the super tall ladder, to everyone going through at least one table, it’s pretty amazing that all six of these guys still had careers after this match and are still in relatively good shape today.

Stone Cold d. The Rock

Look, the ending was really really stupid and unnecessary and one of the dumbest things WWF/E have ever done. I’ll be the first to agree. But damn, this match is one of Austin’s three best of all time.

I think it’s right up there with his match against Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13. It checked every single box for me. Obviously, Austin had to main event the first Wrestlemania to ever be held in Texas, and the crowd loved him. Austin using the Million Dollar Dream was an amazing callback. Rock hitting a Stunner and Austin hitting a Rock Bottom was awesome.

It would have been a perfect ending to a great night if only he hadn’t sided with Vince McMahon. But, the match itself is still absolutely excellent.


Does Wrestlemania X-Seven still hold up today? Yes. Absolutely. The impact was felt throughout much of the 2000s, as it made Angle and Benoit into stars, was the start of a change from the Attitude Era to the Ruthless Aggression Era (which technically started here despite not getting named as such until 2002), and gave us another classic in the Austin/Rock rivalry. I didn’t even get into things like Undertaker vs. Triple H, or one of the most entertaining hardcore title matches in WWF history between Big Show/Kane/Raven. Simply put, this show is just as entertaining today as it was 17 years ago, and I hope Wrestlemania 34 holds up just as well.