Stone Cold Steve Austin is among the conversation for the greatest wrestler of all time. His run on the top of the WWE was short, but during that time the company had never been more popular. A large part of that was due to Austin.
His WWE career only lasted 7 years, save for a one-off match in 2022. In this article, we’ll details Steve Austin’s WWE debut, his final match in WWE and how he rejected the chance for a Wrestlemania match in 2023
Steve Austin’s WWE Debut
Steve Austin debuted as “The Ringmaster” on the January 8th, 1996 episode of Monday Night Raw. The match was taped the month prior, when Austin had signed for the company after being fired by WCW.
The Texas Rattlesnake had been released by WCW in 1995 while suffering from a triceps injury. He was signed to ECW but could not wrestle at first. Instead, he cut a series of promos shooting on WCW, Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan.
Here, his promos and eventual matches caught the eye of Jim Ross and Kevin Nash, who convinced Vince McMahon to hire the young Texan. He joined the WWE and was given the gimmick “The Ringmaster”, a technical wrestler with little personality and managed by “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase.”
“The Ringmaster” Steve Austin wrestled his first WWE match against Matt Hardy on the January 8th, 1996 episode of Monday Night Raw. Hardy was not signed to the company but was brought in as a jobber. His brother Jeff Hardy had debuted as a 16 year old 2 years prior, losing to Razor Ramon in a squash match on Raw.
Steve Austin defeated Matt Hardy in his debut match in WWE by forcing him into submission with a Million Dollar Dream. After the match, he was awarded the Million Dollar Championship by DiBiase in celebration of his victory.
Stone Cold Steve Austin Last Match
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s last match in professional wrestling was against Kevin Owens at Wrestlemania 38. It was his first match in 19 years since retiring after his Wrestlemania 19 match against The Rock.
The match was not confirmed until the day of the show. Austin was hesitant to step back into the ring and left it down to the wire to confirm his involvement in the match.
WWE did plan around this though. If he decided he did not feel up to the match, they had planned to still have him a part of the show. The match got set up because Kevin Owens goaded him to appear on “The KO Show” at Wrestlemania, mocking Austin and his home state of Texas on the run up to Wrestlemania 39.
At Wrestlemania, Kevin Owens challenged Steve Austin to a no holds barred match in the main event of Wrestlemania. Austin accepted the match, rolling back the years as he brawled around the ring like he was 20 years young. He even took a suplex on the concrete on the outside, a huge bump for anybody let alone a retired near-60 year old with neck issues.
Austin looked great in his last match in the WWE. He wrestled for over 20 minutes and looked back to his best. He drank beers as he beat Owens all across the arena, hitting all his classic moves for the peak of his career.
Eventually, Steve Austin defeated Kevin Owens by hitting him with a Stone Cold Stunner and pinning him for the victory.
Austin Turned Down A Match For Wrestlemania 39
WWE offered Steve Austin the chance for one last match at Wrestlemania 39. It is unknown who they wanted him to wrestle against but it did not matter.
Austin rejected the chance to wrestle again, despite getting into in-ring shape on the build up to the Royal Rumble 2023. According to Dave Meltzer, Austin contemplated but ultimately turned down the chance for a Wrestlemania 39 match and will stay retired from professional wrestling.
On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said:
“As far as Austin goes, Steve might be at the show – I wouldn’t be surprised at all – he might do something on the show, but he did in fact turn down wrestling at the show.
“He was offered Lesnar, he was offered Roman Reigns, he could have named his opponent if he wanted to do it with anybody else.
“But he did not choose to wrestle on the show.”