Badseed's Bottomline Supplemental #7
The Stone Cold Truth
Written By: Steve Austin with Jim Ross and Dennis Brent
I have followed Steve Austin's career since his meager beginnings as indie athlete and performer. There is nothing like following the rise of one wrestler from nothing to something and Austin is probably the first wrestler I really had the opportunity to see rise through the ranks, and still maintain his style, charisma, and talent through hell and back!
The Stone Cold Truth is a book that was years in the making. From the time that Mick Foley wrote his autobiography, fans have been clamoring for this narrative and it is certainly a must-read for any bona fide wrestling fan out there. From the beginning I was shocked, because I thought all this time that Austin liked his trainer, Chris Adams, and I always wondered why he never really responded to Adams' murder not that long ago. Well, turns out, he thought Adams was a good-for-nothing son of a bitch and did not like the shifty nature of his trainer. However, Austin learned a lot from the gifted British star and their feud made a name for the Texas Rattlesnake.
It was his work in World Class Championship Wrestling and USWA with Adams that landed Austin in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). There, we discover how the company thought highly of him, putting the TV Title on him upon his debut. We also learn that there was initial discomfort on Austin's part having to team up with Flyin Brian Pillman, as one of the greatest WCW tag-teams, the Hollywood Blondes. WCW decided that the best way to reward the duo would be to split up the hot tag-team champions and thus began a decline in his relationship with the company and while he won the TV and US titles again, once Austin became injured, Eric Bischoff would fire him with a phone call and a Fed-Ex letter. Austin really opens a can of whoop ass on WCW and their lack of real wrestling knowledge.
Austin carried that grudge for some time and when he joined ECW, he took the time to rip on WCW, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, discovering an ability to work the mic that eventually led to the character he created in the WWE. We hear about his entrance in the WWE as the Ringmaster, how he didn't like it and decided to come up with his own name. Austin discusses the rise of his character and how he would have never risen past the upper mid-card status if he had not come up with the Austin 3:16 catchphrase and the speech he delivered after winning the King of the Ring tournament.
Once in the WWE, Austin discusses a plethora of subjects, including working with Pillman again, Pillman's death, how it affected him and then his thoughts on Owen Hart and the injury he suffered and still suffers from at his hands, but how it did not stop him from giving Hart the touching toast at the end of the RAW show, the day after Owen died. We also hear about Austin's own recent near death experience, something I did not know about, at Wrestlemania 19, his first real match back since walking out on the company not long after Wrestlemania 18. Austin even discusses his real reasons for leaving and what happened when he got back. It is here that we get a hint that his wife, Debra, was a little bit of a money grubbing, star craving woman who was angered by Austin's decision to leave the business, much like what happened with Jerry The King Lawler. When Austin discusses his comeback, he also discusses his realization that Wrestlemania 19 was his final match, but not the final chapter in his saga.
That said, I have to point out there are a lot of missing chapters in his saga. I would have loved to read more about his work in the Dangerous Alliance and WCW's decision to have him lose the U.S. Title to Hacksaw Jim Duggan in seconds. I would have loved to hear more about what was behind Brian Pillman pulling a gun on Austin during their WWE feud, his matches with Bret Hart, being booed in Canada as part of the unique WWE storyline feud between Austin and the Harts. I wanted to know what it was like getting in the ring again with Owen at Survivor Series to win the Intercontinental Title again, after the big injury at Summerslam and what he thought about throwing the belt in the river rather than giving it to the Rock when he decided to go after the World Title. We hear nothing about his feud with the Undertaker or Kane and the infamous angle where he pretended to shoot Vince McMahon and McMahon peed his pants. It was nice to hear from JR and Austin's family in the book, but they could have used the space to tell more stories.
In the end, The Stone Cold Truth, was damn well worth it, and while there is a lot missing, there is a lot included to compensate, including his thoughts on how wrestling has evolved, where it is today, how he would run things a bit, his various gimmicks and storylines, including his heel turn and his thoughts on Bischoff now that the two have to work together again. You can't cram your whole life in one book. I just hope that there is a sequel in the works, because after reading this book, I was left wanting a lot more and not necessarily in a bad way, but in the way that would have me spending much more on the wrestler who helped me love wrestling once again and that's The Stone Cold Truth.
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