Jim Ross recently recalled how WWE Chairman Vince McMahon stopped selling “Owen 3:16” shirts because Steve Austin disliked them.
Austin suffered a serious neck injury at SummerSlam 1997 after receiving a botched piledriver from Owen Hart. Following the event, Hart mocked his rival’s “Austin 3:16” catchphrase by wearing his own version of the iconic shirt.
Ross, WWE’s Head of Talent Relations at the time, spoke about Austin’s career on the latest episode of his Grilling JR podcast. He recalled how he spoke to McMahon about the shirt design after The Texas Rattlesnake raised concerns:
“Who gets paid on that shirt? The guy that invented 3:16 or the guy named Owen? It opened up a Pandora’s box of issues. I don’t think that shirt lasted long, I really don’t. I expressed to Vince [that] Steve was unhappy with it and I asked that question: who gets paid? Eventually the shirt disappeared," said Ross. [1:57:30-1:57:56]
Austin and Hart were not on speaking terms after the SummerSlam 1997 incident. Ross clarified that the two men reconciled before Hart tragically passed away at a WWE event in 1999.
Jim Ross thinks WWE legend Steve Austin is a role model for current wrestlers
Steve Austin is widely regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. The height of his popularity came in the late 1990s, around a decade after Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior dominated WWE’s main-event scene.
Jim Ross believes current wrestlers can learn from Austin’s ability to connect with fans simply by being himself:
“He’s a role model for everybody wrestling today," Ross continued. "He didn’t look like Hulk, he didn’t look like Warrior. He just was Steve, and what Steve was was this organic, real-feeling athlete. Being real got him over, and I don’t understand why guys can’t think of that today.” [21:05-21:34]
Austin is set to participate in a segment with Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 38 on Saturday, April 2. It is currently unclear if The Texas Rattlesnake will only appear on Owens’ talk show or whether their confrontation could lead to an official match.
Please credit Grilling JR and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.
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Q. Was Steve Austin right to complain?
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