“A Really Shocking Twist”: Stone Cold Steve Austin Changed WWE’s Landscape With One Decision Driven by Anger

Published 07/09/2022, 11:30 AM EDT

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Stone Cold Steve Austin rose up the ranks quickly during the late 90s in the WWE. The iconic 3:16 promo left a mark over the fans, which helped him get over in a brief span accompanied by some memorable early matches.

Austin rules during the attitude era alongside The Rock. They both were the highlight of the WWE television and Austin had some splendid matches with him. However, one match of Austin nobody got to see was against Brock Lesnar. This match would be one of the highlights of the career of both men.


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Recently, on the 26th episode of Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, the elder Hardy brother discussed Jeff Hardy vs The Undertaker ladder match. He recalled everyone’s reaction to Stone Cold Steve Austin walking away from WWE after being told to lose against Brock Lesnar at the King of the Ring.

Matt Hardy said, “I remember that was really a shocking twist of fate to do a play on my finish. It was a very shocking twist of fate, I know everybody was surprised like, ‘Oh my god this is Stone Cold, I can’t believe he walked out and just left.’”

He added, “And then we kind of heard the circumstances surrounding it later on. We didn’t knew what the deal was at first and I know even speaking to Steve and some of the interviews he’s done, he regrets doing that and he would have handled it very much differently.” 

Stone Cold has later regretted not having this match, as this would have made huge money for WWE. He thought about one match and not a potential feud in the future after being told to lose against ‘The Next Big Thing’.

Why did Stone Cold Steve Austin hesitate to lose against Brock Lesnar?

Matt Hardy, on his recent podcast, shared the reaction everybody had when Stone Cold walked away from WWE. He did so because WWE told Austin to lose against Brock Lesnar without any built. However, Hardy gave his version of why ‘The Rattlesnake’ hesitated to lose.

When Did Steve Austin Become “Stone Cold?”


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Hardy said, “It’s hard when you are in that mindset of like, ‘I’m the top star here, I have to protect myself.’ Much like I said with Undertaker being so protective of his character. I mean Steve is well felt like he was doing what was best for his persona.”


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Austin didn’t know what Lesnar really was going to do in the future as a WWE superstar. He wondered if it was worth sacrificing Stone Cold Steve Austin who is still a legitimately huge draw and feeding him to Brock Lesnar, especially with no built.


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Several years later, when Lesnar appeared on Stone Cold’s podcast, they discussed this potential match. Austin admitted making a mistake and Lesnar knew why he walked away. They hold no grudges over it and are great friends for a long time.


Written by:

Tushar Deogharkar


One take at a time

Tushar Deogharkar is a WWE writer at EssentiallySports. Tushar has done his Master's in Tourism Management and is an ardent fan of pro wrestling. He follows WWE and AEW very closely and wants to learn how the promotions are run.
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Edited by:

Vibhanshu Kumar