15 Fun Facts About “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Updated on February 12, 2024
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin fun facts

Exploring “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s journey unveils a legend who revolutionized wrestling. Known for his feuds with icons like The Rock and Vince McMahon, his podcast “The Steve Austin Show,” and his love for country music, Austin’s career is layered and diverse. From his iconic beer celebrations to his philanthropy, he’s more than his “Stone Cold” persona.

Delve into the world of Steve Austin, a wrestling icon who transcended the sport, embodying resilience and charisma. Discover more about the man who delivered stunners both inside and outside the ring through fun facts about Steve Austin.

1. Early Life and Transition to Wrestling

Before becoming a cultural icon in the wrestling world, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin navigated a journey that began far from the bright lights of the wrestling ring, grounded in the competitive fields of college football. Born Steven James Anderson on December 18, 1964, in Austin, Texas, and later known as Steven James Williams, Austin’s early life was rooted in the Lone Star State, where he developed a passion for sports that would set the stage for his future in athletics and entertainment.

Football Beginnings

Austin’s athletic journey took a significant turn during his college years, where he showcased his talents on the football field. After high school, he pursued his passion for football by securing a scholarship to Wharton County Junior College, followed by a transition to the University of North Texas. At North Texas, Austin played as a defensive end, a position that required agility, strength, and a strategic mindset—traits that would later define his wrestling persona​​.

However, Austin’s college football career was not without its challenges. An injury forced him to switch positions, from linebacker to defensive end, underscoring his adaptability and resilience in the face of adversity. Despite the promise of a career in sports, Austin was drawn to a different path, one that would eventually lead him to the world of professional wrestling​​.

Pivot to Wrestling

In 1989, with his college football career behind him, Austin made a life-altering decision to pursue professional wrestling, a move that marked the end of his formal education and the beginning of a legendary career in sports entertainment. His initial foray into wrestling was under the tutelage of Chris Adams, a respected figure in the industry, who provided Austin with the foundational skills and exposure he needed to succeed. This period of Austin’s life was characterized by financial hardship and rigorous training, a testament to his dedication and the sacrifices he was willing to make for his dream​​.

Austin’s early wrestling career, marked by his participation in World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) and the United States Wrestling Association (USWA), laid the groundwork for his development as a performer. It was during this time that he honed his skills, developed his in-ring persona, and began to make a name for himself among wrestling enthusiasts​​​​.

Steve Austin during his college football days

Steve Austin during his college football days. Image: Reddit

2. Ring Name Origin: The Birth of “Stone Cold”

The iconic moniker “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was ingeniously suggested by his ex-wife, Jeanie Clarke, during a casual moment at home. Frustrated with a list of uninspiring ring names and inspired by a documentary on the cold-blooded hitman Richard Kuklinski, Austin sought a name that reflected a remorseless villain persona.

His quest ended when Clarke, observing Austin with a hot cup of tea, advised him to drink it before it turned “stone cold,” unwittingly christening one of wrestling’s most legendary figures​​.

3. First Steps into Wrestling: Joining Chris Adams’ School

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s wrestling journey commenced at Chris Adams’ wrestling school, located in the iconic Dallas Sportatorium, for a modest fee of $45. This pivotal decision in 1989 marked the beginning of Austin’s transformation into a wrestling superstar.

The school, led by the seasoned wrestler Chris Adams, provided Austin with the foundational skills and discipline required in the squared circle, setting the stage for his legendary career​​.

Steve Austin during his WCCW days

Steve Austin during his WCCW days. Image: bleacherreport.com

4. Stone Cold’s Near Career-Ending Injury

At SummerSlam 1997, a high-stakes match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Owen Hart took a perilous turn. What was anticipated to be a classic wrestling showcase ended in a harrowing moment that threatened Austin’s career and mobility. During an attempted piledriver, Austin was dropped head-first onto the mat, causing immediate paralysis and intense pain. This injury was not only a physical setback for Austin but also a mental and emotional ordeal, as he faced the terrifying prospect of never walking again.

Despite the severity of the injury, which included a bruised spinal column and temporary paralysis, Austin showcased his indomitable spirit. In a remarkable display of resilience, he managed to finish the match and even win the Intercontinental Championship, although he was clearly debilitated. The aftermath of this incident saw Austin out of action for several months, undergoing rigorous recovery and rehabilitation.

Austin’s return to the ring was met with a mix of anticipation and concern. Would he be able to perform at the same level? Could his body withstand the rigors of professional wrestling? These questions lingered, but Austin answered them with his actions, adapting his in-ring style to become more of a brawler than the technical wrestler he was before. This transformation played a significant role in his rise to superstardom, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.

5. The Spartan Diet of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Early in his wrestling career, Steve Austin faced significant financial constraints, leading to a minimalist diet consisting primarily of canned tuna and potatoes. This austere meal plan was not out of preference but necessity, as Austin had to make do with what he could afford while training and wrestling.

His dedication and sacrifice during these humble beginnings underscore his commitment to pursuing his dreams in the squared circle, reflecting a level of resilience and determination that would define his legendary career.

6. Debut as “The Ringmaster”

Before the world knew him as “Stone Cold,” Steve Austin made his debut in WWE as “The Ringmaster” in January 1996, a persona that would soon be overshadowed by his iconic “Stone Cold” character. Austin was introduced as Ted DiBiase’s protégé and was even handed the Million Dollar Championship, a symbol of DiBiase’s wealth and influence. This initial character, however, didn’t fully utilize Austin’s charisma or in-ring prowess, and it wasn’t long before he transformed into the rebellious, beer-swilling antihero that would lead WWE into the Attitude Era.

The Ringmaster was a stark contrast to the vibrant “Stone Cold” character, with Austin initially playing a more subdued role under DiBiase’s guidance. This period was crucial, though, as it laid the groundwork for one of wrestling’s most dramatic character evolutions. The character lacked the depth and connection with the audience that Austin would later achieve as “Stone Cold.”

Despite the lackluster start, Austin’s dissatisfaction with The Ringmaster gimmick led him to approach Vince McMahon with a desire for change, signaling the beginning of the end for The Ringmaster and the dawn of the “Stone Cold” era. Inspired by a documentary on a hitman named “The Ice Man,” Austin envisioned a cold, ruthless character that eventually led to the “Stone Cold” moniker, thanks to a serendipitous comment from his then-wife about his tea going “stone cold”​​.

The transformation from The Ringmaster to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin marked one of the most significant character developments in wrestling history. Austin’s new persona would go on to define the Attitude Era and become a symbol of WWE’s shift towards more edgy and adult-oriented content. This change not only revitalized Austin’s career but also played a pivotal role in WWE’s success during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

7. Pivotal WWE Rivalries of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s rise to WWE superstardom was fueled by intense rivalries that defined the Attitude Era and captivated audiences worldwide. Austin’s feuds weren’t just battles for titles; they were gripping narratives that elevated the drama and excitement of WWE programming.

One of Austin’s earliest and most significant feuds was with Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Their rivalry culminated in a Submission Match at WrestleMania 13, which is often cited as one of the greatest matches in WWE history. The iconic image of Austin, bloodied but unbowed, refusing to submit, solidified his status as a resilient hero.

Austin’s battles with The Rock represented the peak of the Attitude Era, with their contrasting personalities and in-ring styles leading to a trilogy of unforgettable WrestleMania main events. These matches, especially their encounter at WrestleMania XVII, are considered among the finest in the event’s storied history.

No discussion of Austin’s rivalries would be complete without mentioning his feud with Vince McMahon. This battle between the rebellious Austin and the authoritarian WWE Chairman captured the imagination of fans and symbolized the anti-authority sentiment of the time. Their confrontations, both in and out of the ring, were central to WWE’s success during the late ’90s.

Other notable feuds included his intense confrontations with Triple H, Kurt Angle, The Undertaker, and Shawn Michaels, each adding layers to Austin’s character and showcasing his versatility as a performer.

Steve Austin vs The Undertaker

Steve Austin vs The Undertaker. Image: essentiallysports.com

8. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s Four Marriages, Four Legacies

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s personal life, marked by his wrestling legacy, also reveals his journey through love and fatherhood. Austin has been married four times, each relationship shaping a different chapter of his life. His second marriage to Jeanie Clarke was particularly significant, giving him three daughters: Stephanie, Cassidy, and Loren, showcasing a softer side of the wrestler away from the ring. Austin also adopted Clarke’s daughter, Jade, from a previous relationship, further expanding his family.

After his time with Clarke, Austin’s personal life saw more tumult with his marriage to Debra Marshall, ending amidst controversy. However, it was his fourth marriage to Kristin Feres in 2009 that brought stability and happiness, highlighting a transformative chapter in his life.

9. Fired from WCW

Eric Bischoff’s decision to fire “Stone Cold” Steve Austin from WCW in 1995 marked a significant turn in wrestling history. Citing Austin’s frequent injuries and a perceived bad attitude as reasons, Bischoff felt Austin’s performance and reliability were compromised. A specific incident where Austin, recuperating from an injury, was perceived as uncooperative about a TV segment, further strained their professional relationship.

This moment, seemingly a setback, catapulted Austin into WWE fame, where he became an iconic figure. Austin’s WCW firing is often viewed as a pivotal mistake by WCW, underscoring the unpredictable nature of wrestling careers and the importance of resilience and talent in overcoming professional hurdles​​​​​​.

Steve Austin in WCW

Image: atletifo.com

10. Wrestling Legend, Six-Time WWE Champion

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s wrestling career is a saga of relentless ambition, marked by his tenure as a six-time WWE Champion. His journey from a promising talent in WCW to the zenith of WWE immortalized him as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. Austin’s influence catalyzed the Attitude Era, a golden age for WWE, characterized by its edgy content and skyrocketing popularity.

Austin’s feuds with industry titans like Vince McMahon, The Rock, and Bret Hart are legendary, etching memorable chapters in wrestling history. His defiance and charisma resonated with fans worldwide, turning WWE programming into a cultural phenomenon. Notably, his match against Hart at WrestleMania 13 is celebrated as one of the greatest, embodying the grit and passion that defined Austin’s career.

Despite an untimely departure from the ring due to injuries, Austin’s impact remains unparalleled. His induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009 was a testament to his contributions to the sport. Austin wasn’t just a wrestler; he was an era-defining superstar whose legacy continues to inspire.

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin with the WWE Championship belt

Image: Pinterest

11. From the Ring to the Big Screen

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin, beyond being a wrestling legend, has also made his mark in Hollywood, showcasing his acting prowess in various films and TV shows. Notably, his roles in “The Expendables” and “The Longest Yard” have displayed his versatility as an actor, allowing him to step out of the wrestling ring and onto the movie set with ease.

In “The Longest Yard,” a 2005 comedy film that stars Adam Sandler, Burt Reynolds, and Chris Rock, Austin plays a guard, joining a stellar cast that brings a unique blend of humor and action to the screen. This film, a remake of the 1974 classic, revolves around a group of prisoners who form a football team to challenge their guards, with Austin’s performance adding a gritty realism to his character​​.

“The Expendables,” a 2010 action-packed thriller, features an ensemble cast of action stars including Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and Jet Li. Austin plays a henchman in this high-octane narrative about a group of mercenaries on a mission to overthrow a Latin American dictator. His role, although not the lead, stands out for its intensity and physicality, contributing to the film’s overall appeal​​.

Austin’s journey into acting also includes appearances in animated series and TV shows. Notably, his guest appearances in “Celebrity Deathmatch,” where he participated in animated fights against various celebrities, and his recurring role in “Nash Bridges” as Detective Jake Cage, have further solidified his acting credentials​​.

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin in "Damage" movie

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin in “Damage” movie. Image: screenrant.com

12. Hunting and Fishing Enthusiast

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin enjoys hunting and fishing in his leisure time, often sharing his outdoor adventures on social media. Despite his popularity, a post about his hunting success sparked mixed reactions among his followers, with some expressing disapproval of the activity.

Austin’s passion for the outdoors is a lesser-known aspect of his life beyond wrestling, showcasing a different side to the iconic wrestler​​.

13. The Steve Austin Show: A Podcast from the Texas Rattlesnake

The Steve Austin Show emerges from the vibrant mind of none other than “Stone Cold” Steve Austin himself. Broadcasting live from Hollywood, CA, and drawing deeply from the rugged terrain of the Broken Skull Ranch, this podcast is a testament to Austin’s enduring charisma. A blend of tales from Austin’s post-wrestling life, reminiscences of jaw-dropping past adventures, and hearty conversations with friends from the wrestling world, entertainment, and beyond, Steve Austin ensures the content is as unpredictable as his storied career in the WWE.

The podcast has garnered a loyal following, earning rave reviews for its candid nature and Austin’s inimitable presence. Fans from across the globe tune in to catch up with the wrestling legend, appreciating the mix of nostalgia and new insights into his dynamic life. While some listeners have expressed a desire for more current episodes amidst the classic reruns, the impact of Austin’s storytelling and guest conversations remains undiminished​​.

For those looking to dive into the world of Steve Austin post-wrestling, “The Steve Austin Show” offers an unfiltered, robust platform where the legendary wrestler-turned-podcaster explores an array of topics with his unique flair. The podcast is available on various platforms including PodcastOne and Apple Podcasts, ensuring that fans old and new can access the treasure trove of content that Austin has to offer.

14. The Beer Enthusiast

Steve Austin’s post-match celebrations weren’t just iconic; they were soaked in authenticity and gallons of beer. The WWE legend, known for his “Stone Cold” persona, famously incorporated his love for beer into his character, creating some of the most memorable moments in wrestling history.

What might surprise fans is the genuine nature of these celebrations—Austin consumed real beer in the ring, except for a single occasion in Montreal where he was handed non-alcoholic beer due to local regulations. His ability to chug beer after grueling matches, sometimes leading to a slight buzz, is a testament to his commitment to the character and the entertainment of fans worldwide.

One of the most staggering tales from Austin’s beer-soaked saga occurred in Japan, where he, along with his companions, reportedly went through 115 beers in one night, showcasing not just his capacity for alcohol but also the camaraderie within WWE. Beyond the ring, Austin’s passion for beer led him to collaborate with El Segundo Brewing Company, creating the Broken Skull IPA, a brew that embodies his tough-as-nails persona.

Steve Austin celebrating in the ring with a beer can in each hand

Image: independent.co.uk

15. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s Crushing Losses

Even the toughest of the tough meet their match, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, an icon of the WWE universe, is no exception. His journey through WrestleMania, the grandest stage of them all, is a testament to his resilience, but it also highlights the formidable opponents who have handed him crushing defeats.

One of Austin’s most notable losses came at the hands of Bret “The Hitman” Hart during WrestleMania 13 in a submission match that has gone down in history as one of the greatest WrestleMania matches ever. The match was a brutal affair, culminating in Austin passing out from the pain of Hart’s Sharpshooter, solidifying Hart’s victory without Austin ever submitting. This match was crucial in the evolution of Austin’s character, marking a turning point that would eventually lead to his rise as one of WWE’s most beloved anti-heroes.

Another significant defeat was at WrestleMania 19, where Austin faced The Rock in what was billed as the final encounter in their storied rivalry. In a match filled with drama and high stakes, The Rock finally managed to best Austin at WrestleMania, using not one but three Rock Bottoms to secure the win. This match was particularly poignant as it marked Austin’s last match as a full-time wrestler, closing the chapter on one of the most electrifying rivalries in WWE history.

These defeats, while moments of setback for “Stone Cold,” underscore the intense competition and the sheer willpower of the wrestlers involved. They also highlight the unpredictable nature of WWE, where any superstar can rise to the occasion and any match can become a historic event.


How did Steve Austin get his nickname?

Steve Austin’s “Stone Cold” nickname originated from his ex-wife, who suggested he drink his tea before it became “stone cold,” inspiring him to adopt the moniker that matched his cold, calculating wrestling persona.

What did “Stone Cold” Steve Austin do before wrestling?

Before wrestling, Steve Austin pursued a career in football, playing college football at North Texas State University (now known as the University of North Texas) and working as a dock loader, demonstrating his physical prowess early on.

Did Steve Austin ever have hair?

Yes, Steve Austin had hair earlier in his career. Photos from his early wrestling days show him with a head of blonde hair, which he eventually shaved off, creating his iconic bald look.

What is Steve Austin famous for?

Steve Austin is famous for being a WWE Hall of Famer, known for his “Stone Cold” persona, popularizing the “Austin 3:16” catchphrase, winning multiple championships, and his pivotal role in the Attitude Era of wrestling.

Why did “Stone Cold” Steve Austin quit?

Steve Austin’s departure from full-time wrestling was due to a combination of injuries, notably neck and knee issues, and creative differences with WWE management, leading to his retirement from in-ring competition.

Did Steve Austin ever play football?

Yes, Steve Austin played college football as a linebacker at North Texas State University, showcasing his athletic ability before transitioning into the world of professional wrestling.

What was Steve Austin’s first wrestling name?

Steve Austin’s first wrestling name was “Stunning” Steve Austin, which he used during his time in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) before becoming “Stone Cold” in WWE.

What catchphrases is Stone Cold Steve Austin known for?

Stone Cold Steve Austin is renowned for several catchphrases that have become synonymous with his WWE persona. Most notably, “Austin 3:16” is his signature phrase, which he coined after winning the 1996 King of the Ring tournament. Another famous line is “And that’s the bottom line, ’cause Stone Cold said so!” which he often used to conclude promos.

What special moves did “Stone Cold” Steve Austin use?

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s most iconic special move is the Stone Cold Stunner, a jaw-dropping finisher that involves Austin dropping his opponent’s chin onto his shoulder in a seated position, often followed by a dramatic fall to the mat. This move, coupled with his aggressive brawling style, made his matches unforgettable. Austin also utilized other techniques like the Lou Thesz press followed by multiple punches, showcasing his adaptability and raw power in the ring.

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