STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN - OR - WHY I AM A WRESTLING FAN
Well, the unimaginable has happened, and now, Stone Cold Steve Austin is no longer a part of the WWF. I guess it was bound to happen - but under these circumstances? Why? Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Stone Cold Steve Austin alone is the reason why I am still a wrestling fan after the incredibly boring and pointless run of Bret Hart. When nobody else in either the WWF or WCW gave me any reason to watch, along came the Austin character.
It was truly groundbreaking. Gone were the notions of "good guys" and "bad guys", even the usually uber-mark Aptermags got rid of their "most popular" and "most hated" rankings. Stone Cold Steve Austin defied every normal tradition of pro wrestling. People were ready for someone that said what he was going to do and do it. After years of listening to the preaching of Hulk Hogan, and the ultra-whiny diatribes of Bret Hart, wrestling fans opened their heart to this guy that came along wanting to paint a school bus black, go around the country just to whip people's asses. What a switch from the training, prayers, and the vitamins!
Bear in mind that I'm not trying to defend the behavior of Steve Williams. Not showing up for work is grounds for firing, and beating your wife is grounds for other things. I'm not talking about any of that. I'm not here to make a judgment about someone's personal character, their workrate, or anything else. This is all about what entertains ME.
So while Steve Williams is a boorish thug, Stone Cold Steve Austin was also....a boorish thug. Maybe we shouldn't be too surprised at his reactionary behavior as of late. After all, Williams has always said the Stone Cold character was basically a reflection of him, only intensified. But still....
Stone Cold Steve Austin is GONE? What the HELL? The WWF fired their top drawing card? What's next, the Yankees releasing Jason Giambi? If I were Vince McMahon (which I'm not, he's a billionaire and I'm a poor college senior), I'd like to think that if someone no-showed twice, I'd fire them - unless they were my top dog. In which case I'd keep him on board, trying to reach a reasonable solution until I could afford to drop him.
So now who's left? The Rock? HA! Sorry, Rock-fans, but he's just the best of the rest. He'll keep the WWF's buyrates reasonably high, and keep some fans' interest - but not mine.
Stone Cold Steve Austin was different in every sense of the word. He was a versatile character and a damn entertaining one. Wrestling will not be the same without him, and it won't be any better for a while. I watched the WWF out of habit while I was younger, but Steve Austin kept my interest, kept me a fan. It kept me buying tickets. I was there at Wrestlemania X-Seven when Austin defeated Rock for the WWF Title. I heard the reaction of the fans - they were CHEERING VINCE MCMAHON. Only Steve Austin's endorsement could do that. I was there at Wrestlemania X-Eight when Austin, demoted to the midcard, destroyed Scott Hall. Austin's ovation was second to only Hulk Hogan's. I went to two WrestleManias - all because of Stone Cold Steve Austin.
So now I look over the WWF's roster and see absolutely nothing compelling. Stone Cold was the glue that held the WWF together. And now they've ruined that. The WWF will survive, but it'll do it without my regular viewership. I'm still in shock that Austin is gone. In fact, I quote Austin when I react to the unbelievable reality-
"Stone Cold Steve Austin is out of the WWF."