پنجشنبه 13 بهمن 1390 09:41 ب.ظ
Feuding with Mr. McMahon (1997–1999)
On September 22, 1997, on the first-ever Monday Night Raw to be broadcast from Madison Square Garden, Owen Hart was giving a speech to the fans in attendance. During his speech, Austin entered the ring with five NYPD officers following, and assaulted Hart. As it looked Austin was going to fight the officers, Vince McMahon ran into the ring to lecture Austin about why he couldn't be "physically" able to compete. After telling McMahon that he respects the fact that he and the WWF cared, Austin attacked McMahon with a Stone Cold Stunner, leaving McMahon in shock. Austin was then arrested on charges of trespassing, assault, and assaulting a police officer. This marked the beginning of the Austin-McMahon rivalry.
With Bret Hart's departure for WCW, Austin and Shawn Michaels were the top superstars in the company. Austin won the 1998 Royal Rumble, lastly eliminating The Rock. The next night on Raw, Austin interrupted Vince McMahon in his presentation of Mike Tyson, who was making a special appearance, over the objection of McMahon referring to Tyson as "the baddest man on the planet." Austin flipped off Tyson, which led to Tyson shoving Austin much to McMahon's embarrassment, who began to publicly disapprove of the prospect of Austin as his champion. Tyson was later announced as "the special enforcer" for the main event at WrestleMania XIV, although he appeared to be aligning himself with WWF Champion Shawn Michaels' stable D-Generation X. This led to Austin's WWF Championship match against Michaels at WrestleMania XIV, which he won with help from Tyson, who turned on DX by making the deciding three-count against Michaels, and later hit HBK with his knock-out punch. In fact Shawn Michaels had suffered two herniated discs and another completely crushed at the hands of The Undertaker in a Casket match at the Royal Rumble. This victory ushered in the Austin Era, and with it, The Attitude Era.
On the Raw after Austin won the WWF Title, Vince McMahon presented him with a new title belt and warned Austin that he did not approve of his rebellious nature and that things could be done "the easy way or the hard way." Austin gave his answer in the form of another Stunner. This led to a segment a week later where Austin had pledged a few days prior in a meeting to "play ball" with McMahon, appearing in a suit and tie, with a beaming McMahon taking a picture of himself and his new corporate champion. The entire thing was a ruse by Austin who in the course of the segment proceeded to tear off the suit, tell McMahon it was the last time he would see Austin dressed like this, punch his boss in the "corporate grapefruits," and take another picture of the two of them while McMahon was doubled over in pain. In April 1998, it appeared Austin and McMahon were going to battle out their differences in an actual match, but the match was declared a no-contest when Dude Love made an appearance. This led to a match between Dude Love and Austin at Unforgiven: In Your House, where Austin hit McMahon with a steel chair, then the following month they had a rematch at Over the Edge: In Your House for the WWF Championship. Austin managed to retain the title despite McMahon acting as the referee and his "Corporate Stooges" (Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson) as timekeeper and ring announcer, respectively.
McMahon continued to do everything he could to ruin Austin, and he finally scored a big victory for his side at the 1998 King of the Ring tournament. There, Austin lost the WWF Championship to Kane in a First Blood match. Austin further infuriated McMahon by winning back the championship the next night on Raw. Austin also emerged victorious against The Undertaker at SummerSlam. In response, McMahon set up a Triple Threat match at Breakdown: In Your House, where The Undertaker and Kane pinned Austin at the same time. McMahon decided to vacate the WWF Championship and award it based on a match between The Undertaker and Kane, in which Austin was the guest referee. Austin refused to count for either man and attacked both towards the end of the match. McMahon later fired him, although Austin got revenge by kidnapping McMahon and dragging him to the middle of the ring at "gunpoint," which ended up being a toy gun with a scroll that read "Bang! 3:16." Also the segment was very "embarrassing" to McMahon as it showed he was so scared that he urinated his pants. Stone Cold was later re-signed by Shane McMahon. In the semifinals of the Survivor Series tournament to award the vacant WWF championship, Austin lost to Mankind, after Shane double-crossed Austin. The next night on Raw, Judge Mills Lane ruled that The Rock had to defend his newly won WWF Championship against Austin that night, due to Austin still having a rematch clause after losing the belt at Breakdown: In Your House. The Undertaker interfered and hit Austin with a shovel, earning Austin a disqualification victory, but The Rock kept the championship. At Rock Bottom: In Your House, Steve Austin defeated The Undertaker in a Buried Alive match after Kane Tombstoned The Undertaker into the grave. With this victory, Austin qualified for the 1999 Royal Rumble.
Austin's next definitive chance to exact revenge on Mr. McMahon came during the 1999 Royal Rumble match. On Raw, McMahon drew Austin's entry number with the obvious intention of screwing him over. Austin drew entry number one, while McMahon drew number two thanks to WWF Commissioner Shawn Michaels. During the Rumble match, McMahon slipped out of the ring and into the crowd as Austin chased him down. It turned out to be a trap as McMahon led Austin into the lobby restroom where he was ambushed by members of The Corporation. Austin was injured and taken away in an ambulance. With Austin gone and not in the Rumble match, McMahon joined the announce table in calling the match. Later on, however, Austin returned in an ambulance and re-entered the Royal Rumble, delivering a Stunner to the Big Boss Man and eliminating him. With the assistance of the Corporation and a last minute interference from The Rock, Austin was eliminated by McMahon himself, and McMahon won the 1999 Royal Rumble. With McMahon turning down his number-one contender spot against The Rock, WWF Commissioner Michaels awarded Austin the title shot during Raw the next night. At St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Stone Cold got a one-on-one match against McMahon in a Steel Cage match, with the WWF Championship opportunity at WrestleMania XV at stake. During the match, Paul Wight made his debut, breaking through from under the ring and attacking Austin. Wight's attack propelled Austin into the side of the cage forcing the cage to give way and dropping Austin to the floor first, making him the victor. Austin defeated The Rock at WrestleMania XV for his third WWF Championship.
Austin faced The Rock in a rematch at Backlash, in which Shane McMahon was the referee. During the match, Vince McMahon approached the ring, only to hand Austin back his 'Smoking Skull' belt and take Shane out of the proceedings. Austin won the match when another referee made the count. The Undertaker, however, won the WWF Championship from Austin at Over the Edge. Due to events revolving around Vince McMahon, Stephanie and Linda McMahon made Stone Cold the Chief Executive Officer of the company. Vince and Shane McMahon challenged Austin to a Handicap Ladder match at King of the Ring with the CEO title on the line, which the duo of father and son won. The next night on Raw, however, Austin made it clear that while he was the CEO of the company, he could have a title shot at any time and place to be determined by himself. Austin made the WWF Championship match that night on Raw and defeated The Undertaker to win his fourth WWF Championship. However, after he won it, The Undertaker came and hit him with the title belt, leading to a First Blood match between the two at Fully Loaded where Mr. McMahon stipulated that if Austin lost he would never be able to wrestle for the WWF Championship again, and if Austin won, he would never see McMahon again. Austin won after interference from X-Pac, hitting The Undertaker with a TV camera and gave McMahon a goodbye Stone Cold Stunner. Austin held on to the WWF Championship until SummerSlam when he lost it to Mankind in a Triple Threat match also featuring Triple H. Austin would get his rematch at No Mercy against Triple H but lost after The Rock accidentally struck him with a sledgehammer that was meant for Triple H. When Survivor Series rolled around, Triple H was still champion. Austin was booked into a Triple Threat match for the WWF Championship against Triple H and The Rock. However, Austin was run down by a car in the parking lot. The Big Show would replace Austin in the match and would win the WWF Championship. What followed was neck surgery by Dr. Lloyd Youngblood and a nine-month rehabilitation with the car angle as his reason for leaving. In reality, Austin had needed neck surgery since the Owen Hart incident in 1997.
 Return and heel turn (2000–2001)
Austin appeared at Backlash 2000, attacking Triple H and Vince McMahon to help The Rock reclaim the WWF Championship. At Unforgiven, Austin made his official return. The company, meanwhile, tried to find out who ran him down at Survivor Series the previous year. Rikishi finally admitted to being the driver because "he did it for the people." At No Mercy, Austin was back to face Rikishi in a No Holds Barred match. During the match, Austin motioned he was going to drive his truck into Rikishi, who by that time was a bloody mess. Before he could, he was stopped by officials, the match being deemed no-contest and Austin was (kayfabe) arrested and later bailed by Commissioner Mick Foley. During a handicap match against Rikishi and Kurt Angle, Triple H came down with the apparent intention of teaming with Austin. After clearing the ring, Triple H smashed his sledgehammer over Austin's head, and revealed it was actually him behind the whole scheme, devised to shield the WWF Championship from Austin and end his career. At Survivor Series, Triple H had plotted to run Austin down again during their match (thus repeating the events of the previous year's Survivor Series) but his plot failed when Austin lifted Triple H's automobile with a forklift, then let it drop 20 feet, causing Triple H to shout "Holy shit!" just before the car was released. Also, in the year 2000, Stone Cold Steve Austin competed in a 6 man Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon for the WWF Championship, against Triple H, the Undertaker, Rikishi, Kurt Angle and The Rock. In the end, Stone Cold Steve Austin gave The Rock a Stunner and was about to pin him when Triple H came in the way and got a stunner. But Kurt Angle took advantage of the situation and pinned The Rock and picked up the victory, hence retaining the WWF Championship. After the match, Stone Cold Steve Austin delivered a stunner to Kurt Angle, while he was celebrating his victory.
Austin won his third Royal Rumble in January 2001, last eliminating Kane. His rivalry against Triple H ended at No Way Out in a Three Stages of Hell match, with Triple H beating Austin two falls to one. Then, at WrestleMania X-Seven, Austin turned heel by hitting The Rock with a steel chair several times to win the WWF Championship. After the match, Austin shook hands and shared a beer with Vince McMahon. With the victory, Austin became a five-time WWF Champion. The next night on Raw, after teasing a quick face turn, the heel turn continued. He also altered his character considerably over the next few months, in a deliberate turn from the rebellious and anti-establishment character beloved by the fans, Austin became a whiny, temperamental prima donna who would complain incessantly when he felt he was not getting the respect from the fans and wrestlers that he deserved. He also developed an infatuation with McMahon, going to great lengths to impress him and even going so far as to hugging him and bringing him presents. McMahon, though visibly uncomfortable and wary by the attention, was still grateful to have Austin with him instead of against him. During a cage match with The Rock in a rematch for the title, Triple H came down to the ring with a sledgehammer and together with Austin viciously attacked The Rock and put him out of action. Austin further cemented his heel turn the following Thursday on Smackdown! when, during an interview with Jim Ross about his actions at WrestleMania, thought Ross was denouncing their friendship and then proceeded to attack and brutally assault Ross. Austin and Triple H became a team and called themselves The Two-Man Power Trip.
Austin and Triple H were the top heels in the company, and feuding with The Undertaker and Kane. After defeating Kane and The Undertaker for the WWF Tag Team Championship at Backlash, they held the Tag Team Titles, the WWF Championship (Austin), and the WWF Intercontinental Championship (Triple H) all at once. At Judgment Day, Triple H lost his Intercontinental Title to Kane. Then, the following night on Raw, Austin and Triple H wrestled against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit with the Tag Team Titles on the line. Midway through the match, Triple H tore his quadriceps muscle. As planned, the team lost the Tag Team Titles at the end of the match when Triple H accidentally hit Austin in the stomach with a sledgehammer, but the injury to Triple H, which kept him out for the remainder of the year, forced the WWF to go in another direction. Austin had a minor injury for a month.
 The Invasion (2001)
Austin was paired with Kurt Angle and feuded against Jericho and Benoit. This culminated with a Triple Threat match at King of the Ring, in which Austin faced the former tag team champions. Although WCW's Booker T interfered, Austin scored the victory and retained his championship. The feud ended at that point, as Benoit had neck surgery after the match, sidelining him for the following year.
In July 2001, with Benoit out for surgery, the Austin/Jericho feud was dropped without a mention. With the Rock still away making movies, the WWF desperately rushed out the plans for The Invasion. As The Invasion storyline began and progressed, McMahon was watching helplessly as his empire crumbled around him due to The Alliance luring more and more talent away from the WWF, and his biggest allies, Austin and Angle, were too busy sucking up to him and bickering amongst themselves to successfully counter the Alliance. Austin made it known that he was against teaming with Angle, whom Austin saw as both a threat to his WWF Championship, as well as an annoying tag-along. A frustrated McMahon appealed to Austin to return to his old Texas Rattlesnake persona, even imploring him to give him a Stone Cold Stunner. Though intending to fire up Austin, it backfired and only seemed to hurt the feelings of Austin, as he promptly left the arena, dejected. But the week before InVasion, the old Stone Cold Steve Austin "returned," delivering Stunners to the Alliance members. This was all part of the setup for a swerve at the event, where Austin betrayed the WWF team and partner Angle to help the Alliance win, as Austin assumed leadership of the group. The reason why Austin did this was that he felt McMahon was grooming Angle to take over his spot, and that he himself was "unappreciated" when McMahon insisted he return to the old Austin. This turned him heel once more.
Austin lost and regained the WWF Championship in a feud with Angle, who was put over by Austin as a threat. Austin lost the title to Angle at Unforgiven before regaining it on the October 8, 2001 episode of Raw. In a swerve, Angle joined the Alliance just before Survivor Series. As the Invasion angle dragged on, it was ultimately decided to bring the plot line to an end with Austin and a group of ECW and WCW wrestlers facing The Rock and a group of WWF wrestlers at the Survivor Series. Austin and his team lost after Angle betrayed him, thus ending the Invasion angle. The next night on Raw, as McMahon was about to award Angle with the WWF Championship for actions at Survivor Series, Ric Flair came out and announced that he owned half of the WWF. Austin came out and attacked Angle and McMahon, taking back the WWF Championship. Austin then had a beer bash with Flair, turning Austin face once again. Austin would hold the WWF Championship for another month before losing it to Chris Jericho at Vengeance 2001 due to interference from Booker T. Jericho defeated both The Rock and Austin consecutively that night, winning the WCW World Title and later the WWF Title and combining them to create the unprecedented WWF Undisputed Championship. After that, Austin continued another feud with Booker T. In one angle, Austin defeated Booker T in an unofficial grocery store fight.
 Issues with Bookings and Creative Teams; departure (2002)
Beginning 2002, although Austin's character remained with the WWF's most popular wrestlers as top face, his upcoming story lines in the build-up to WrestleMania were somewhat questionable compared to those of his previous years. In the 2002 Royal Rumble, Triple H made his long-awaited return from injury, with he and Austin two of the last four participants in the ring along with Kurt Angle and Mr Perfect. Austin was eliminated by Kurt Angle, however he shortly went back in the ring and hit all three with a steel chair. A few days later on Raw he defeated Kurt Angle to earn a shot at Chris Jericho's WWF Undisputed Championship at No Way Out 2002.
In the build-up to No Way Out, McMahon had re-signed the New World Order, who started a feud with him after (kayfabe) Austin refused a beer gift. Problems in the backstage creativity were however then seemingly beginning to surface. Austin was reported as being unhappy regarding Hulk Hogan's return to the WWF, and was reported as refusing to lose to Hogan in a proposed match at WrestleMania X8, while Hogan reportedly told McMahon the same regarding losing to Austin. Consequently, the match was re-billed as The Rock defeating Hogan, whilst Austin defeated Scott Hall, climaxing his feud with the nWo.
In a surprise altercation the next night on Raw, Austin refused to show up and took a week-long break without the company's consent, claiming exhaustion. McMahon claimed his actions caused fury among fans who had paid to see him that night. Austin returned on the April 1, 2002 episode of Raw, the first of the new "brand extension" era. The show was centered on which show he would sign with, and he ultimately chose Raw. Austin entered a feud with The Undertaker that resulted in a number-one contender's match for the WWE Undisputed Championship at Backlash 2002, which Austin lost despite having his foot on the rope when he was pinned. He would later be betrayed by Big Show, who went on to rejoin the nWo, and Ric Flair. Austin then defeated Big Show and Flair in a handicap match at Judgment Day.
In an interview on WWE television by telephone in May 2002, Austin stunned the company and fans by launching a verbal attack on the direction the company was heading in and slated the creative team for not using him the way he felt they previously did. The commentators struggled to keep Austin's opinions on a neutral wavelength, leading to the WWE apologising to fans for the outburst and stated it was not part of Austin's current or upcoming storylines. McMahon responded a week later on the same show playing down the outburst, claiming that Austin was merely the type of wrestler who was occasionally difficult to work with.
The WWE rehired Eddie Guerrero for Austin to feud with, while also prepping Austin for a feud with Brock Lesnar. Austin, however, vetoed any matches that would result in him losing to Lesnar and ultimately walked out of the company. Austin later explained that he thought hot-shotting a rookie made Austin look weak and did not give Lesnar a proper stage for such a big win over a star of the magnitude that Austin held.
Further fanning the flames amongst Austin's growing number of detractors was a well-publicized domestic dispute incident between Austin and his wife Debra.
Austin walked out again publicly stating he felt bad storylines were presented to him by the creative team. This time his departure was for good. McMahon, along with longtime Austin supporter and real-life friend Jim Ross, buried Austin on WWE programming, referring to him as "taking his ball and going home" because he wasn't getting his way, whilst also explaining to the fans that neither he nor Ross were able to persuade Austin to change his mind. McMahon insisted that Austin owed an apology to all the fans across the world, especially those who paid solely to see him that night. McMahon toasted to Austin's career with a beer thanking him for all his hard work nonetheless. The Rock also made an appearance on Raw despite being drafted to Smackdown!, and announced his frustrations towards Austin.
Austin's merchandise continued to sell greatly in the weeks following his departure, however with no sign of a return likely to be seen, the company stopped marketing his character, his merchandise, and removed his profile from WWE.com.
This period was documented in an episode of WWE Confidential.
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