“A Scary A** Night”: WWE Legend Reveals Stone Cold Steve Austin’s “Cruel Ironic” Suffering After Life-threatening Neck Injury

Published 09/24/2022, 12:00 AM EDT

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“Stone Cold” Steve Austin is one of the biggest draws in the history of pro wrestling. He led the WWE during its most popular era and was the face of the company. But all of this could’ve never happened after he suffered a near-life-threatening injury. 

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During the summer of 1997, Austin and the legendary Owen Hart fought for the Intercontinental title.  

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The two would compete at SummerSlam that year with the stipulation that if Austin lost, he would have to kiss Hart’s butt. This match, however, would change Austin’s life forever. 

During the match, Hart went for a piledriver and botched it, which resulted in ‘Stone Cold’s vertebrae being compacted on impact and partial paralysis.

Legendary WWE commentator Jim Ross revealed what was going through Austin’s mind in the aftermath and how it affected him.

Jim Ross said Stone Cold Steve Austin thought his run was over

SummerSlam 1997 had a lot of big matches with Triple H facing Mankind inside a Steel Cage and Bret Hart challenging The Undertaker for the WWE Championship.

Steve Austin and Hart, two gifted in-ring workers, would have looked to steal the show and make it a night to remember. Sadly, the night would be remembered for other reasons involving the two men.

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Hart hit a slightly miscalculated piledriver on Austin, which led to him suffering a neck injury and temporary paralysis. He had lost feeling in his fingers and had a bruised spinal column. 

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

Jim Ross, who was commentary during this match, talked about the incident on an episode of Grilling JR. He said it was a scary moment for everyone.

He stated, “It was a scary ass night. I could promise you. And Steve is so despondent, because I think he truly believed in his heart that his run was over. Yeah. And it’s almost like you know, cruel irony. 

He said for a guy like Steve Austin who worked hard to get his big chance in WWE; it was difficult to see it possibly slipping away. 

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JR added, Here’s the guy that worked all his life to get to the WWE. And to get his break, he got all that happened. He made it happen. And then all of a sudden, it looks like it’s over. So that was a very emotional night, to say the least, a lot of late-night phone calls, follow up, follow up with doctors, things like that.” 

Thankfully, the ‘Texas Rattlesnake’ made a quick recovery and returned to in-ring action a few months later. But due to his neck injury, Austin would use a restricted move set for the rest of his career. Once seen as a technical wrestler, he would transform into a brawler in the later stages of his in-ring career.

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This, however, didn’t stop the beer-drinking icon to rise to stardom in WWE. ‘Stone Cold’s popularity soared in the ‘Attitude Era’ as he became pro wrestling’s biggest draw.

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Written by:

Sherjeel Malik

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Sherjeel Malik is a WWE writer at Essentially Sports. He has been a passionate Wrestling fan since childhood and his all-time favorites include 'The Hardy Boyz' and Randy Orton. Sherjeel also follows soccer religiously and is a Liverpool fan.
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Edited by:

Veer Badani

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