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The 10 Best “Stone Cold” Steve Austin Matches

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WWE

Hey Yo! It's The Wrestling Classic here with another list for ONE37pm. Earlier this year, we saw something I thought I would never witness as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin came out of retirement after 19 years at WrestleMania 38 to wrestle Kevin Owens. I was at WrestleMania XIX so I am biased when I say I thought the way he wrapped up his in-ring career before against The Rock was really fitting but it really was a WrestleMania moment. This made me want to look back at the “Stone Cold” era of Steve Austin’s career to create a list of his greatest matches for the people. This list is only considering the WWE portion of his run from 1996-2022. Therefore, there won’t be any Steve Austin matches on this list from his tenures in WCW and ECW. Now let’s get to my list of the 10 best "Stone Cold" matches.

Be sure to share this article and debate with your friends. Also, be sure to let me know how you feel about this list on Instagram or Twitter.

Honorable Mentions

King of the Ring - 06/23/96

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Jake Roberts

In Your House: Final Four - 02/16/97

Intercontinental Championship

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart vs. Undertaker vs. Vader

King of the Ring - 06/08/97

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels

In Your House: Canadian Stampede - 07/06/97

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Goldust, Ken Shamrock & LOD vs. The Hart Foundation

In Your House: D-Generation X - 12/07/97

Intercontinental Championship

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. The Rock

Raw - 06/29/98

WWF Championship

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Kane

St Valentine’s Day Massacre - 02/14/99

Steel Cage Match

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon

Backlash - 04/25/99

WWF Championship

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. The Rock

Fully Loaded - 07/25/99

First Blood Match

WWF Championship

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker

No Mercy - 10/17/99

WWF Championship

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Triple H

Armageddon - 12/10/00

Hell in a Cell

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle vs. Undertaker vs. The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Rikishi

SmackDown - 05/31/01

"Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Chris Benoit

King of the Ring - 06/24/01

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho

Unforgiven - 09/23/01

WWF Championship

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle

No Mercy - 10/21/01

WWF Championship

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle vs. Rob Van Dam

Survivor Series - 11/18/01

Winner Takes All

Team Alliance  vs. Team WWF

Vengeance - 12/09/01

Undisputed Championship

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Chris Jericho

WrestleMania X-8 - 03/17/02

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall

No Way Out - 02/23/03

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Eric Bischoff

WrestleMania 38  - 04/02/22

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Kevin Owens

10. "Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WWF Championship, WrestleMania 15 - 03/28/99)

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WWE

This was the first match in the Austin/Rock WrestleMania trilogy. By 1999, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was already a made man and the hottest act in the company. By the end of 1998, The Rock had aligned himself with Vince McMahon and the Corporation and became the Corporate Champion. Austin spent most of 1998 and the early part of 1999 being screwed out of the championship as Mr. McMahon didn’t find him fit as the face of the company. The fans were strongly behind Austin as he had to overcome the odds even from his personal life as he was going through a divorce at the time. This slightly beat out their rematch the following month at Backlash because it had fewer shenanigans.

9. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker (WWF Championship, SummerSlam - 08/30/98)

When doing the research for this list, I didn’t realize how many times The Undertaker and Steve Austin crossed paths from 96-02. In 1998, in possibly his biggest challenge to date in his first run as WWF Champion, Austin had to face The Undertaker at SummerSlam. It was dubbed the "Highway to Hell" as leading up to the event, the odds seemed stacked against Austin as The Undertaker and Kane were on the same page for the first time since Kane arrived in the WWE. This meant Austin had to look over his shoulders at all times for Kane. Both men were in their prime here and over with the fans as The Undertaker had not fully turned heel yet. Both The Undertaker and Austin seemingly injured themselves mid-way through the match, yet they still were able to pull out a main event-worthy classic. It was the victory Austin needed to validate that he was on top and will forever be remembered as one of the very best Stone Cold matches.

8. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels (WWF Championship, WrestleMania 14 - 03/29/98)

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WWE

The rise of Stone Cold’s popularity from 1996 to 1998 was like nothing we had ever witnessed before. He was an obnoxious and brash bad guy who did what he wanted when he wanted without caring about the repercussions. This attitude (along with his toughness) made him a fan favorite. As things were changing in the WWF after the infamous "Montreal Screwjob," it was becoming more obvious that Austin would get his moment on top. By the end of 1997, it became clear he was next to challenge Shawn Michaels for the WFE Championship. Inserting Mike Tyson into the picture and having Austin go face-to-face with him just elevated the Rattlesnake’s stock even more. The match was solid and better than we expected considering Michaels had a bad back injury. The Austin-Era had truly begun.

7. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Dude Love (WWF Championship, Over The Edge - 05/31/98)

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WWE

Everything was good in the world once Stone Cold had won the WWF Championship at WrestleMania. However, Mr. McMahon quickly realized he had a World Champion representing his company who played by his own rules which basically meant breaking all of his. It became an obsession for McMahon to get that championship off Austin without having to strip him without cause. Enter the unpredictable Mick Foley, who had three different personas. Love had aligned himself with McMahon after initially wanting Austin and McMahon to get along. Once again, McMahon stacked the odds against Austin to hopefully get the title off of Austin. This included McMahon making himself the guest referee. Austin once again found a way to overcome the odds in a really solid match between two legends. It only added more fuel to the fire for the Austin/McMahon rivalry. This off-the-wall brawl is easily one of the best Stone Cold matches.

6. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle (WWF Championship, SummerSlam - 08/19/01)

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WWE

Following WrestleMania X-Seven, Austin had turned heel again aligning himself with his archenemy Mr. McMahon. During this time we saw a more insecure and cowardly but still violent "Texas Rattlesnake." However, when the WCW and ECW invasion took place, it lead Mr. McMahon to beg for the old confident Stone Cold that he feuded with over the years. This ultimately led to Austin aligning himself with Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Paul Heyman, and the rest of the Alliance due to him thinking Mr. McMahon didn’t appreciate him. In Austin’s mind, he also thought McMahon was grooming Kurt Angle to be his next guy. This kicked off the feud between the two and a series of great matches. The first one took place at Summerslam 2001. Although it ended with a DQ finish, it was an absolute banger.

5. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Triple H (3 Stages of Hell, No Way Out - 02/25/01)

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WWE

The rivalry between Stone Cold and Triple H went all the way back to the Summer of 1999. Triple H became adamant about becoming the WWF Champion and keeping it. This meant getting rid of Steve Austin. At the '99 Survivor Series, Austin was struck by a car in the parking lot to write him off of TV for a real-life neck surgery that would keep him out for nine months. When he returned in the Fall of 2000, he was focused on finding out who ran him over. Initially, we found out it was Rikishi but later found out it was Triple H behind the entire thing. They settled their lengthy feud in a 3 Stages of Hell match at No Way Out 2001. The first fall was a singles match, which Austin won. The second fall was a Street Fight, which Triple H won. And the final fall was a steel cage match where Triple H would finally defeat Austin. It was a personal and bloody affair that marks one of the most brutal and best Stone Cold matches of all time.

4. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WWF Championship, WrestleMania X-7 - 04/01/01)

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WWE

The build-up for this match might have been one of the greatest build-ups for a WrestleMania main event. It’s definitely in the top five WrestleMania main event build-ups with the video package in the top two with Limp Bizkit’s "My Way" as the soundtrack.

I know most of you are probably shocked this match landed at number four, but the first three hold a different significance to me. Unlike their match at WrestleMania XV, both men were super hot fan favorites at the time. During Austin’s absence in 2000, The Rock became the top babyface in the company. When Austin returned in the Fall of that year, fans were just anticipating for them to cross paths again so they could battle over the WWF Championship and that top spot. It finally was going to happen when Austin won the 2001 Royal Rumble and The Rock defeated Kurt Angle for the WWF Championship at No Way Out 2001.

The match was a classic filled with drama and had the fans split down the middle. Austin was obsessed with reclaiming his spot - The Rock's popularity created insecurity within him, which lead him to turn heel in the final moments of the match by aligning himself with his longtime nemesis Mr. McMahon to win the championship and claim the top spot.

It was something you could see the seeds being planted for but couldn't envision actually happening, but it eventually took place. It’s still a banger to this day and undoubtedly one of the best Stone Cold matches.

3. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Bret "The Hitman" Hart (Survivor Series - 11/17/96)

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WWE

Bret Hart represented everything that was good and wholesome in the 90s. When "The Hitman" lost the WWF Championship to Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 12, he took time off from the company. Hart didn’t return until the Fall of 1996. During that time, an outspoken and brash superstar named Steve Austin had begun rising to the top starting by winning the 1996 King of the Ring tournament. On that night he cut the iconic yet sacrilegious "Austin 3:16" promo on Jake "The Snake" Roberts, which received a mixed response from the fans but put Stone Cold on everybody's radar.

When Bret Hart returned to the company, the first person he wanted to challenge was Steve Austin. This was Austin’s breakout moment as Bret Hart had been with the company since the mid-80s and had been waving the company's flag as one of their top guys for the last five years. Plus this challenge was made for the '96 Survivor Series, which was taking place in the WWF’s Mecca - Madison Square Garden in New York City. It was really Austin’s opportunity to prove he could hang with the best at the top of the card.

This was a straight wrestling match with no gimmicks or stipulations. These two went toe-to-toe with hot near falls all throughout the entire match. The match was entertaining from start to finish. There was a lot of pressure put on Austin to perform at a high level and he succeeded at having his best match in the company up to this point. In the end, Austin never tapped but failed to win because he held the Million Dollar Dream sleeper hold on for too long to the point where Hart countered it and snuck away with a pinfall win.

2. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WrestleMania XIX - 03/30/03)

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WWE

Personally, this is my favorite match of the Austin and Rock WrestleMania trilogy. I may be a little biased because I was there live, but there was a lot of significance to this match. It would be the last time we would see Austin and The Rock face off against each other. At the time, nobody really knew this would be Stone Cold’s last match in 19 years. This would also be The Rock’s last WrestleMania singles match until 2012. Lastly, it felt like a farewell to an era…the Attitude Era.

The two legends were back in familiar roles as Steve Austin was the returning fan favorite and The Rock was in his heel "Hollywood" persona. There was no championship on the line this time around and they weren’t fighting for the top spot. Instead, The Rock was obsessed with the fact he had never beaten Austin at WrestleMania even though they faced off at the event two times before. It was truly a clash between superstars who ruled the roost for four to five years. I’m not bothered that Stone Cold came out of retirement this year to wrestle Kevin Owens, but this was the perfect storybook ending to Austin’s career. The match still holds up.

The encounter had a big match feel even though it wasn’t the main event. The company had already been a year into its new "Ruthless Aggression" era so it made sense that Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship would go on last. But this match really felt like a farewell to the era that came before. They pulled out all the stops. They had entertaining spots and kicked out each other's finishers. It took three Rock Bottom’s, but The Rock was finally able to beat Steve Austin at WrestleMania. They shared a personal emotional moment after the match and Austin walked out with his pride in hand. This final Austin vs. Rock clash is definitely one of the best Stone Cold matches I've ever seen.

1. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Bret "The Hitman" Hart (Submission Match, WrestleMania 13 - 03/23/97)

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WWE

This is my favorite match of all time so if you’ve read any of my other lists (such as Bret Hart’s greatest matches), it shouldn’t surprise you that this is number one. Following their encounter at the '96 Survivor Series, the "Texas Rattlesnake" never stopped being a thorn in "The Hitman’s" side. The plan was never for Bret Hart to face Steve Austin again at WrestleMania - instead, a rematch between Hart and Michaels was planned. However, when everything changed because Shawn Michaels "lost his smile," the company decided to run back Austin versus Bret Hart for WrestleMania since the rivalry was still ongoing.

Austin had screwed Bret Hart at the 1997 Royal Rumble by returning to the match after being eliminated only to win the match. Following that, when Bret Hart had won the vacant WWF Championship in a Fatal-Four Way Match that Austin was also involved with, the "Bionic Redneck" would interfere in "The Hitman’s" first defense against Psycho Sid. The usually cool, calm, and composed Bret Hart was being pushed to the edge by a cocky, arrogant, and brash Steve Austin. Austin was also becoming more and more of a fan favorite during this time, which called for the epic double turn to happen during this epic encounter.

The match took place in front of a rowdy Chicago crowd. It was a Submission Match, which meant both men had to try to make each other tap out. The UFC’s Ken Shamrock was officiating the match. This had a little bit of everything. It was a technical match and a brawl but overall it told a great story. The story of the company's hero turning on the fans after being pushed to the edge by disrespect was amazing. The anti-hero became the new fan favorite because the people couldn’t deny his tenacity and toughness. It was the greatest double turn in history. Austin never tapped out, yet he passed out in a pool of his own blood.

The image of Austin’s face covered in the crimson mask is still one of the most iconic images in wrestling history. This match and his feud with Bret Hart made Stone Cold. If you have never seen it, please go check it out because it's at the top of everyone's lists for the best Stone Cold matches of all time.

I hope you all enjoyed this list of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin matches. Tell me if you disagree and let me know what you think over social media. Ya dig? Oooh Yeah!

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