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I hate Stone Cold Steve Austin. Stone Cold Steve Austin is bad for wrestling. Stone Cold Steve Austin represents everything I hate about the World Wrestling Federation. Stone Cold Steve Austin sucks.

When Stone Cold Steve Austin returned to the WWF after a serious neck injury in September 2000, he was not coming back to the WWF he once held in the palm of his hand. The brawling, foul-mouthed style that Austin brought to the top of the professional wrestling world was now a thing of the past, with superstars such as Triple H, Mick Foley, The Rock and the (then) up-and-coming Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle reintroducing the art of intense, heated interviews and great wrestling. After Austin was sidelined in November 1999, these men (except in Angle's case) followed up on years of promise and hard work to rise to the top of the WWF.

Feuds such as Rock/Triple H, Foley/Triple H, Jericho/Benoit and Angle/Triple H were all built around emotion and incredible intensity. So when Austin came back after this year of incredible success, both financially and in terms of wrestling, he was going to join in and follow the movement, right?

Wrong.

Immediately after Austin returned, we saw the attempted main-event push of Rikishi, while the summer-long pushes of Benoit and Jericho were put on the backburner. Instead of Austin forming another classic feud to follow the example of the year's predecessors, we saw a return to the old Austin/McMahon feud and Austin's habit of hitting anyone in sight with his Stone Cold Jawbreaker, just for the hell of it. It was as if Austin simply erased the entire year of hard work by the rest of the roster for the last year, just to return to a formula that had run its course.

Fast forward to post-Wrestlemania 17. Steve Austin has finally regained the WWF Title, but has finally added a new element to his personality for the first time in 5 years with a heel turn. The quality of his matches goes up immediately, his style changes and, while the WWF's previous intensity is gone following a Triple H injury, Austin ushers in an era of hilarious promos and skits. Everything is better, right?

Wrong.

After the pushes for Jericho and Benoit finally resurface, Austin beats them convincingly. Kurt Angleís pushed as a face and fares well against Austin, but his face run fizzles out quickly. Eventually, with Austinís joining of the WCW/ECW Alliance, we are back to where we were a year ago with Austin vs. the entire WWF (including Vince). But as long as Austin gets what is coming to him, since he's a heel, it will be ok, right?

Wrong.

After the Alliance dies, we see Austin turn face without ever doing a high profile job. He never got what he deserved. I'm not saying he played politics, because I think the WWF had to turn him back at that point, but it is just another problem in the handling of Austin's character.

Now, a year and a half after the comeback from neck surgery, and we are right back to where we were when he left back in 1999. He is feuding with the owner (now Ric Flair), with a heel Undertaker as his biggest wrestling adversary, with his brawling being the style of the day. The most talented wrestlers on the roster are fighting meaningless midcard feuds. The WWF (after 4 years of being booked as the toughest son of a bitch on the planet, remember) asks Austin to job to an upper-midcard guy in Scott Hall, and he refuses, instead going out and kicking Hall's ass, then going home and throwing a temper tantrum.

Some people think Undertaker needs to retire. I love the Undertaker and hope he sticks around for a while. Some people think Vince needs to get off TV. I like Vince and hope he sticks around for a while. People have just about written death certificates for Jericho, Angle and others. But those guys will be fine, as soon as one thing happens.

Steve Austin needs to see the writing on the wall. He needs to give back to the sport and the people that made him what he is today.

The Bucs Fan
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