“Stone Cold” Steve Austin was the perfect superstar at the perfect time. It was like catching lightning in a bottle. To this day, he might be considered the “coolest” professional wrestler of all time because he was legitimately a badass.
Society was changing in the late 90s from the wholesomeness we once knew to more sex, drugs, grunge, hip hop, nu-metal rock, and anti-hero culture. People didn’t want the typical white meat babyface or superman superhero, but they wanted the guy who said and did what he wanted even if that meant beating up his own boss. They wanted the guy who did everything a villain would do but do it for the people. That was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. He never tried to be a good guy or change his brash attitude to appease anyone - that’s why everyone loved him and still does to this day.
Austin made his WWE debut as the “Ringmaster” in 1995 and it was short-lived. By 1996, Austin began showing a more brash and cocky attitude that really came to the forefront during his victory promo after winning the King of Ring. This would become known as the infamous “Austin 3:16” promo. The character would be defined by other unforgettable moments, such as the time he broke into Brian Pillman’s house and his feud with none other than Bret “The Hitman” Hart. The entire time, the "Texas Rattlesnake" was portrayed as a selfish, rule-breaking, foul-mouthed bad guy. But he was so good at it and also constantly proved his toughness that he inevitably became a fan favorite. He also became one of the most popular stars in the business during the hottest time in the wrestling business. Stone Cold defined the Attitude Era for the WWE and helped the pendulum swing in their favor during the "Monday Night Wars."
Austin would win three Royal Rumbles, become a Triple Crown Champion and win the WWE Championship six times. From Zambonis to beer trucks, Austin left us with so many great memories. He left us with so many great promos and catchphrases, such as the infamous “What?” chant that still annoys fans and wrestlers to this day. He had memorable feuds with Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Vince McMahon, The Rock, Triple H, Undertaker, and so many others. He's appeared on TV Shows, movies, talk shows, and all over the entertainment scene and transformed into a pop-culture icon.
Although he retired in 2003 due to neck injuries, he never lost his popularity. He returned for one last match against Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 38 and was still as over as he ever was. I mean have you ever really heard any wrestling fan say that Stone Cold sucks? He was WWE’s most popular star during their most popular era and that alone makes him without a doubt, the greatest WWE superstar of all time and the top pick on this list of the best WWE wrestlers.