As time goes by, it appears that the status of Stone Cold Steve Austin as a genuine legend of the wrestling business goes uncontested.
The WWE Hall of Fame Superstar and multi-time world champion, is one of the company's most popular names of all time. After being fired unceremoniously by WCW earlier in his career, he arrived in what was then the World Wrestling Federation to, shall we say, limited fanfare.
But through sheer work-rate and determination, coupled with a tremendous charisma and appeal that would soon push through to the fore, Austin established himself as a top star in 1997 and, in truth, never looked back.
At the forefront of much of that popularity and rise to the top was the ever-effective Stone Cold Stunner, the finishing move that's gone on to become one of the most recognisable of all time. Men and women of all ages have eaten a Stunner or two from the Texas Rattlesnake, Stone Cold Steve Austin - and some of them in the most incredible of circumstances.
With this in mind, we're delving into the archive to put together a collection of the most shocking Stone Cold Stunners of all time. Enjoy - and that's the bottom line, 'cus Stone Cold Said So!
#5. Good ol' JR takes a hit
Back in 1997, Austin was co-holder of the WWF tag team championships alongside his rather unlikely partner, Dude Love. Injury issues pertaining to Austin, however, meant that the duo were forced to relinquish those championships. Nothing strange in that. But bear with us.
The man taking the titles was the 'evil' Commissioner, Sgt. Slaughter, who was in the ring being interviewed by Jim Ross at the time Love and Austin made their way to the squared circle. Dude gave up his gold, and Austin did so, too, albeit by hurling the championship belt at Slaughter's feet.
Seemingly an innocent bystander, Ross appeared to offer Austin no more than his heartfelt wishes given the Texan's plight. As we came to know, though, Stone Cold doesn't handle pity well - and for his 'trouble' Ross was nailed with a Stone Cold Stunner right then and there. Ouch!
# 4. Shut up, Regal!
"Hello, my name is Steven William Regal!"
Standing in the middle of the ring some 20 years ago during an episode of Monday Night Raw, was the pompous, snivelling William Regal - not exactly a welcome guest at Penn State University, despite his cheery greeting, which continued...
"I have come from Great Britain to become a goodwill ambassador to you, my friends, the American people!"
It was safe to say, the Brit didn't exactly have the crowd on board - something he well and truly confirmed about two sentences later when he called the University an establishment with a "shoddy" reputation.
He was there, he said, to enlighten them with the joy of literature and, believe it or not, proceeded there on the spot to begin reciting the entirety of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Well - it would have been the entirety, had there not been a timely interruption from Stone Cold Steve Austin who, its fair to say, had no interest in hearing any more.
Head out, Stun the guy talking nonsense in the ring, head back. Simple!
#3. He who'd become King...
June 23rd, 1996 might not be a date that is etched into the minds of too many wrestling fans, but you'd do well not to understate its significance.
You see, that was the night on which Stone Cold Steve Austin won the King of the Ring tournament. Having steadily made more of a name for himself earlier that year with a notable first WrestleMania appearance just months earlier, Austin took a huge step further in his career on this particular night.
Having already downed Bob Holly and Savio Vega on WWE television in the weeks prior to the tournament (from 1996 onward, only the latter stages of the tournament were actually staged on the night of the pay-per-view that actually bared its name), Austin was left with the job of notching two more victories to seal the crown.
He managed the feat with reasonable ease, seeing off Marc Mero before, in just four and a half minutes, beating Jake 'The Snake' Roberts in the final. What followed is probably what you'll remember more - the infamous "3:16" promo that launched Austin into super-stardom, but never forget that it was a handy Stone Cold Stunner that got him that far in the first place.
#2. Mr President
Stone Cold Steve Austin himself lives by the motto "Don't Trust Anybody!"
In turn, then, you would expect that many who cross his path, be they friend or foe, should know that only too well. After all, some of the nicest guys and girls on the planet have been on the deadly end of a Stunner over the course of some chaotic years in WWE.
For the latest in the collection of shocking Stunners, we profile one of many such examples where Austin, in a flash, turned on someone he'd seemingly befriended - and for nothing other than the sheer fun of it.
Rewind to WrestleMania 23 and you'll find Vince McMahon and Donald Trump at war in WWE. Yes, I said Donald Trump. The so-titled Battle of the Billionaires, the two vicariously squared off at 'Mania, with Umaga and Bobby Lashley representing the two men respectively, while Austin was the special enforcer of the whole affair.
Trump's man Lashley would, of course, get the win and, as a result, McMahon had to have his head shaved - much to the delight of Trump, Austin, the thousands in attendance and, no doubt, countless others.
It was a scene of much glee and merriment in the ring, but warning signs flared when Austin and Trump appeared to share a beer together. You know what that means, right? Donald, who would go on to become US President and the most powerful man on the planet, ate a Stunner. Woah!
#1. The one that started war...
Of all the Stone Cold Stunners that ever were, there's little doubt that there would have been many, many thousands fewer were it not for this one - the Stunner we put as our most shocking of all time.
It came in 1997 and, again, at a time when Austin was battling serious injury issues; some of them legitimate, but mostly designed to play into storylines. It was around this time that Vince McMahon had first started publicly acknowledging himself as the owner of WWE and, as such, he was desperate to keep the company from harm by insisting on-screen that Austin accept that he simply wasn't cleared to wrestle - and so would be doing so at his own risk.
It was, in hindsight, beautifully done. Slowly, it planted the seeds of what would grow to become arguably WWE's most memorable and entertaining rivalry - and it all exploded with the force of one, iconic, brilliantly-sold Stunner. "I accept the fact that you and the World Wrestling Federation care," barked Austin at McMahon, before infamously adding "I also accept... that you can kiss my a**!"
And with that, and a boot to the mid-section, Austin laid out McMahon in Madison Square Garden. A star, arguably, was born, and a rivalry to last decades was set on its way.