I’m not typically a big subscriber in covering and talking about moments in sports history due to believing that it’s kind of hackey to discuss things that happened on each day. I feel this way because it’s low hanging fruit that takes zero thought to cover. Call me an asshole if you’d like and anti-fun, but as a comic and guy who likes to come up with unique/interesting content, that’s how I see it.
But, occasionally I’ll see a post discussing something that happened years on a particular day and be struck with a lot of emotion thinking about just how underrated that moment really was. That’s what happened a few minutes ago and put me down the path of blogging about it.
I was 10 years old and I’ll never forget where I was when this happened and how I felt about it. It was awesome and it was such a different approach to being interviewed that I and the rest of America had no choice but to be like “whoa, that was cool.” Everything about how Stone Cold went about just absolutely degrading the old, broken down Jake the Snake Roberts was so different to what you got from a WWF wrestler. You can even look at Michael Hayes reacting to see that it was something out of the ordinary. It’s not crazy to think that this interview did not just put the rattlesnake down the path of being one of top 5 greatest wrestlers of all time but it ushered in a completely different business model that the WWF desperately needed, which ended up saving the company and making it the juggernaut that it is today. If Stone Cold Steve Austin doesn’t do this interview exactly like this, who knows where the state of wrestling is?
Being a 10-year-old, after seeing this set in motion a series of driveby Stone Cold Stunners that I would administer to my classmates, which resulted in several conversations with the principal of my school where we discussed the pros and cons of Stone Cold stunning kids who had no idea it was coming. He made valid points, but when I would come over the top and say DTA and use sign language, I pretty much had the guy seeing it my way. I know for a certainty that I’m not alone in this, so if you have any stories of stunning your friends and siblings, please let me know about it.
I really don’t think it’s far fetched to say that the way wrestling is thought of and how it’s basically constructed, is partly due to Stone Cold Steve Austin and this promo after his victory at King of the Ring is what started it all. The Ringmaster was dead and Stone Cold reigned supreme for years jettisoning the Attitude Era and ultimately overtaking WCW.
But besides being a wrestling phenomenon after this promo that leads into Stone Cold becoming Stone Cold, this promo put the wheels in motion for so many things. The butterfly effect of this promo is mind-numbing if you think about it. Guys started railing against their bosses, drinking beer like a savage and inserting their name into the catchphrase: “and that’s the bottom because… said so.” It made wearing WWF merchandise cool. If you didn’t own an Austin 3:16 shirt, I didn’t want to associate with you. This promo was a catalyst for so many bald guys with goatees gaining the confidence in being badasses. There are so many other trends that began because of this promo. Let me know any others that I’m missing.
So, when I say that this is one of the most important moments in American history, I don’t think that is hyperbole. I think that is a straight up fair assessment. I understand all the moments in wars that secured our way of life are more significant, but you’re plain old close minded if you think that the date which Austin 3:16 began is just another date. It isn’t, it’s much bigger than that.
Here’s the full version of the promo