Stone Cold Steve Austin doesn't need any introduction. The "Texas Rattlesnake" is a WWE Hall of Famer and cemented his legacy in the world of professional wrestling long ago. But did you know that if it wasn't for The Undertaker's support, Steve Austin might have missed out of one of the best-selling pieces of merchandise in WWE history?
Steve Austin's design idea for his classic "3:16" shirt was nearly shut down by Vince McMahon
When a WWE Superstar becomes popular with the audience, their logos, catchphrases and other identifying character traits also become popular too. In the case of Steve Austin, his broken skull logo has grown to become a brand of its own. However, Austin almost didn't get approval to use his now-trademark logo on his merchandise at all.
In a bonus clip from the latest episode of Undertaker: The Last Ride (a documentary series based on "The Deadman's" last few years in WWE), Steve Austin revealed why the broken skull logo was, at first, shot down and explained how The Undertaker eventually helped him get approval for it. The six-time World Champion recalled:
Finally, the office said, 'Hey, let's come up with a t-shirt for you.' I had turned into 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin... 'So, let's do some merch.' So I said, 'okay, let's do the Austin 3:16 and put a skull on the back and carve in 'Stone Cold,' like it came from a chisel,” Steve recalls. “Vince said, 'well, hold off on the skull. Not so fast. I kind of feel like it might be Undertaker's gimmick or his property. But if you clear it with him, then, okay, we can do that shirt.' So sure enough, I walked over to Mark, I said, 'hey, man the office finally wants to do a T-shirt for me. I want to put a skull on the back, but they kind of feel like that's in your territory. If you clear it, I can use the shirt. But if you shoot it down, I understand.' He goes, 'yeah, man, go for it.' (h/t: Fightful)
To this day, the "Texas Rattlesnake" remains thankful to The Undertaker and appreciates how "The Phenom" helped him at a time when most of the the industry's main event players were only concerned with looking after their own interests.