Stone Cold Steve Austin spoke about the infamous “curtain call” incident that took place at Madison Square Garden on May 19th, 1996, when Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were leaving for WCW. Nash and Triple H were heels at the time and Shawn Michaels and Scott Hall were the babyfaces. After their match, they broke kayfabe by all hugging at the end, an incident that led to serious heat backstage. Here is the video of the infamous incident
Regarding his perspective at the time, Stone Cold said the following about the “curtain call”
“I’m glad about ‘The Curtain Call’ now, but I remember being very confused watching it all go down because I was right there, behind the curtain watching it all and I couldn’t believe these guys were breaking kayfabe”
It is said that this incident is what helped elevate Stone Cold Steve Austin and give him the red-hot momentum that led to him breaking box office records for the company. How did this happen? Stone Cold explained.
First, he mentioned the heat and punishment that the Kliq were supposed to receive for that incident. They could not punish Nash and Hall since they were leaving, and they could not punish Shawn Michaels because he was the WWF Champion at the time.
So the only person left to punish Triple H. Triple H at the time was scheduled to win the upcoming King Of The Ring tournament but plans changed and two weeks before the tournament, Vince McMahon told Stone Cold that he was going to win.
Had that not happened, Stone Cold would never have come up with the “Austin 3:16” catchphrase or the “because Stone Cold said so”. Austin said that had this not happened he may have ended up being a career midcarder. He said that he’s glad the curtain did happen and that he got the opportunity.
You can hear the famous speech of Austin that shot his popularity here
It should be noted that while Austin 3:16 did help him get more over and help his future merchandise sales, it was not the very moment that he shot to the top. It was what gave him momentum. His match with Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13 the following year saw the double turn where Austin became a babyface, and the crowd got well behind The Rattlesnake.
It was a year later at Wrestlemania 14 when Austin defeated Shawn Michaels to win his first WWF Championship. And the rest, as they say, is history.